This week in Other Barks & Bites: China’s copyright office announces a 21% increase in copyright registrations between 2018 and 2019; Costa Rica asks WHO to build a voluntary patent pool for COVID-19 technologies, South Korea’s patent office builds a COVID-19 tech tracker; Amazon faces trademark infringement claims from NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and copyright infringement claims from Williams-Sonoma; Congress moves to pass a massive economic stimulus bill in response to COVID-19; dozens of PTAB cases face appeal after the Federal Circuit denies rehearing in Arthrex; and the Supreme Court finds that state sovereignty prevents individuals from filing copyright claims against states in Allen v. Cooper decision.
CAFC Upholds Examiner Rejection of Fruit Packaging Patent – On Thursday, March 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in In re Clarke affirming a patent examiner’s decision to reject patent claims covering a type of packaging for fresh fruit produce as unpatentable over the prior art.
China Reports 21% Increase in Copyright Registrations During 2019 – On Wednesday, March 25, China’s National Copyright Administration published statistics showing that nearly 4.19 million copyright registration applications were filed with the nation’s copyright office during 2019, a 21% increase over the 3.45 million copyright registrations filed in China in 2018.
South Korea’s KIPO Launches COVID-19 Patent Tracker – On Tuesday, March 24, Bloomberg Law reported that the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) launched a service that tracks international patent filing trends in medical technologies related to COVID-19. The agency also announced that they would prioritize examination for patent applications covering medical technologies for COVID-19.
Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Copyright Claims Against “Glee” High School – On Tuesday, March 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision in Tresóna Multimedia v. Burbank High School Vocal Music Association in which the appellate court affirmed the Central District of California’s dismissal of a copyright case filed against a high school show choir program that reportedly inspired the television series “Glee.”
PTAB Precedential Decisions Further Define Scope of IPR Institution – On Tuesday, March 24, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) designated two decisions as precedential: Advanced Bionics v. MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geräte, which denied institution of inter partes review (IPR) proceedings after the petitioner’s prior art arguments were substantially similar to those presented during prosecution of the patent; and Oticon Medical v. Cochlear Limited, an IPR which was instituted despite similar arguments during prosecution because the IPR petition asserted noncumulative prior art.
Supreme Court Sides With State Sovereignty in Blackbeard Copyright Case – On Monday, March 23, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Allen v. Cooper which held that North Carolina was not liable on grounds of state sovereignty for alleged copyright infringement involving the online sharing of videos and still images depicting a salvage project to recover the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship Queen Anne’s Revenge.
PTAB Faces Appeals After Federal Circuit Denies Rehearing in Arthrex – On Monday, March 23, the Federal Circuit denied a request for en banc rehearing in Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew, leaving in place a panel decision redefining administrative patent judges (APJs) at the PTAB as “inferior officers” under the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. The next day, Bloomberg Law reported that about 80 PTAB cases were facing appeal because of the Federal Circuit’s Arthrex decision.
Costa Rica Asks WHO to Create COVID-19 Patent Pool – On Monday, March 23, a letter addressed by Costa Rica’s President and Health Minister was sent to the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) to request that WHO create a pool for voluntary assignments of technology rights for the sharing of medical technologies useful to detect, prevent and treat COVID-19.
Lamar Jackson Sues Amazon Over Unlicensed Merchandise Sales – On Wednesday, March 25, Lamar Jackson, recently named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com in the Southern District of Florida alleging trademark infringement over the sale of unlicensed merchandise using Jackson’s likeness.
Idaho District Judge Awards Attorneys Fees Over Frivolous Trademark Motion – On Wednesday, March 25, U.S. District Judge David Nye of the District of Idaho issued a ruling granting Lakeview Cheese Company’s motion to compel answers to discovery requests from Nelson-Ricks Cheese Company and entering a monetary sanction against Nelson-Ricks after finding that it had filed a frivolous motion to quash Lakeview’s discovery request.
Nokia Announces 3,000 5G SEP Families Declared to ETSI – On Tuesday, March 24, Finnish telecom firm Nokia announced that it had declared more than 3,000 patent families as essential to the 5G mobile networking standard to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), doubling the company’s portfolio of standards essential patents (SEPs) over the past five years.
Jorgenson Steps Down as AIPLA Executive Director – On Tuesday, March 24, the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) announced that Lisa Jorgenson would be stepping down after serving as AIPLA’s Executive Director for five years.
Krampus Characteristics Not Eligible for Copyright Protection – On Tuesday, March 24, U.S. District Judge Richard Andrews of the District of Delaware issued a ruling granting a motion to dismiss a copyright case filed against the producers of the 2015 film Krampus after finding that elements of the Krampus character which allegedly infringed upon an earlier work weren’t protectable under U.S. copyright law.
USPTO Releases Expanding Innovation Hub to Increase Inventor Diversity – On Monday, March 23, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially unveiled the Expanding Innovation Hub online platform, which makes available toolkits and resources designed to help innovators who are underrepresented among inventors listed on U.S. patents.
Williams-Sonoma Files Motion to Add Copyright Claims to Case Against Amazon – On Friday, March 20, kitchen wares company Williams-Sonoma filed a motion for leave to file a second supplemental complaint in a Northern District of California lawsuit against e-commerce giant Amazon.com. Williams-Sonoma wants to add copyright infringement claims based on its discovery that Amazon algorithms selected copyrighted images to be displayed in online storefronts for counterfeit Williams-Sonoma products.
AbbVie Won’t Enforce Kaletra Patents – Recent news reports indicate that Chicago-based pharmaceutical firm AbbVie agreed to drop enforcement of its patents covering the HIV treatment Kaletra, which may have efficacy as a treatment against COVID-19, after the Israeli government invoked the nation’s patent law to approve a generic version of Kaletra despite AbbVie’s Israeli patents.
This Week on Wall Street
House to Pass Massive COVID-19 Relief Bill By Weekend – On Thursday, March 26, Reuters reported that lawmakers in the House of Representatives were pushing to pass the $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill on Friday or Saturday after the Senate approved the measure by a 96-0 vote.
White House to Adopt Measure to Curb Chip Sales to Huawei – On Thursday, March 26, CNBC reported that sources familiar with the matter indicated that the Trump Administration would approve a rule change requiring foreign companies using chipmaking equipment made by U.S. companies to obtain a U.S. license to supply chips to Chinese telecom giant Huawei in an effort to restrict that company’s supply chain.
Quarterly Earnings – The following firms identified among the IPO’s Top 300 Patent Recipients for 2018 are announcing quarterly earnings next week (2018 rank in parentheses):
- Monday: None
- Tuesday: Blackberry Ltd. (105th)
- Wednesday: None
- Thursday: None
- Friday: None
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