Other Barks and Bites for Friday, May 17: Senate AI Working Group Releases AI Policy Roadmap; Voice Actors Accuse AI Company of Stealing Their Voices; USPTO Accidentally Publishes Patent Application Titles

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This Week in Other Barks and Bites: two voice actors file a class action lawsuit against an AI company accusing the firm of stealing their voice; the NMPA sends a cease-and-desist letter to Spotify asking the streaming company to pull unlicensed content from their platform; and the Senate AI Working Group releases a roadmap for Senate AI policy with scant attention to intellectual property.


USPTO Issues Notice of Erroneous Release of Patent Application Titles

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Friday, May 17, issued a notice to users that, due to a computer programming error in Assignment Center,which replaced the Electronic Patent Assignment System and the Electronic Trademark Assignment System on February 5, 2024, the Office “inadvertently published non-public patent application titles and numbers that could be viewed during the recordation process by unauthorized individuals with access to registered Assignment Center accounts.” This took place between February 5, 2024, and March 29, 2024, but the Office said “specifications, drawings, and claims were not part of the information made available and were not accessed.” More information is available here.

Voice Actors Accuse AI Company of Stealing Their Voices in Lawsuit

On Thursday, May 16, two voice actors filed a class action lawsuit accusing AI company Lovo of stealing their voices to create millions of voiceover productions. The lawsuit claims that the AI company violated the Lanham Act and various privacy laws by using voice actor’s voices without permission or compensation. The voice actors are asking for at minimum $5 million in damages. They said they were hired on the freelancer platform Fiverr under the guise of a research project and were not properly informed about what their voice would be used for.

Senate AI Working Group Releases Roadmap for Senate AI Policy

On Wednesday, May 15, the bipartisan Senate AI Working Group released a roadmap for the Senate’s AI policy. The roadmap includes recommendations to relevant committees to increase innovation and the technology’s impact on democracy and the country’s workforce. It includes limited attention for intellectual property concerns including asking relevant committees to examine reports from the USPTO and U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) about AI’s impact on IP law. “After talking to advocates, critics, academics, labor groups, civil rights leaders, stakeholders, developers, and more, our working group was able to identify key areas of policy that have bipartisan consensus. Now, the work continues with our Committees, Chairmen, and Ranking Members to develop and advance legislation with urgency and humility,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), member of the working group.

National Music Publishers Association Sends Cease-and-Desist Letter to Spotify

On Wednesday, May 15, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) sent a cease and desist letter to Spotify accusing the music streaming service of copyrighted musical content without proper licensing. The NMPA shared the letter with Billboard in which the group claimed, “Spotify appears to be engaged in direct infringement by hosting unlicensed musical works in its lyrics, videos and podcasts and by distributing unauthorized reproductions, synchronizations, displays and derivative sues of these musical works to its users. Making matters worse, Spotify profits from such infringement.” The letter was written by NMPA’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel Danielle Aguirre.

Supreme Court Rejects Pair of IP Petitions Related to Dating App and Controversial Forum

On Monday, May 13, the U.S. Supreme Court denied two petitions related to intellectual property. The Supreme Court declined to review a circuit court decision to revive a copyright complaint against controversial web forum Kiwi Farms. Therefore, the self-published author who filed the complaint against Kiwi Farms will be allowed to continue the copyright court battle. Supreme Court Justices also rejected Ikorongo Texas’s appeal of a Texas court’s ruling that invoked a rare requirement for reissue patents that invalidated the company’s patents during legal proceedings with the dating app Bumble.


WTR Ranks EUIPO as Most Innovative Patent Office, USPTO at 15th

On Thursday, May 16, the World Trademark Review (WTR) released its sixth annual IP Office Innovation Ranking which named the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) as the most innovative. According to WTR, the ranking “highlights the ways in which many IP offices are expanding beyond managing IP registers and shines a light on registries with gaps in particular tools and services.” This marks the fifth time that the EUIPO topped the list with the IP Office of Singapore being the only other sole winner. The USPTO was ranked tied for 15 in the list.

District Judge Rules Medical Manufacturer Did Not Infringe on Competitor’s Patent

On Thursday, May 16, a district court ruled a medical manufacturer did not infringe on a rival’s patent, according to a press release from Kurin, the winner in the case. Magnolia Medical originally sued Kurin, but a Delaware district judge determined that two claims in its patent did not amount to infringement. “From the beginning of this case, we felt confident that we would prevail and that the lawsuit was a desperate move by a competitor who could not compete in the marketplace,” said Bob Rogers, CEO of Kurin.

Comic Books Company Files Petition to Cancel DC and Marvel’s SUPER HERO Trademark

On Tuesday, May 14, comic book company Superbabies filed a petition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) to cancel comic book giants Marvel and DC’s SUPER HERO trademark. In the petition, the company said that it is seeking the cancellation so it can sell its comic books and stories “without fear of legal jeopardy or retaliation.” In 1980, DC and Marvel jointly filed the trademark registration for SUPER HERO, a term which according to the petition has been in use since 1909. “This petition is not just about a term; it’s about preserving the integrity and accessibility of a genre that has become a fundamental part of our culture,” said Adam Adler, Associate from Reichman Jorgensen Lehman & Feldberg (RJLF) and lead counsel for Superbabies.

Shopify Sues Chinese Tech Company for Copyright Infringement

On Tuesday, May 14, Shopify sued a Chinese competitor accusing the firm of copyright infringement and copying its e-commerce platform wholesale. In the lawsuit, Shopify refers to a subsidiary of Chinese tech company JOYY’s platform as a “thinly-disguised knockoff.” Most important for this lawsuit, Shopify stated that the platform is also available for use in the United States.

This Week on Wall Street

EU Opens Investigation into Facebook, Instagram Over Child Safety, Addiction Concerns

On Thursday, May 16, the European Commission launched a formal investigation into Meta for potentially breaching its Digital Services Act and failing to protect underage users. The EU is concerned that the apps may encourage addictive behavior in younger users, and it is also looking into the age verification policy of Meta. “We are not convinced that it has done enough to comply with the DSA obligations to mitigate the risks of negative effects to the physical and mental health of young Europeans on its platforms Facebook and Instagram,” said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market.

Walmart Plans to Lay Off Employees, Ask Remote Workers to Go Back to Office

On Monday, May 13, the Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart has plans to lay off hundreds of corporate workers and ask the majority of remote workers to head back to the office. The cut to Walmart corporate staff is part of the conglomerate’s larger plan to cut its workforce including plans to automate 65% of its stores by 2026.

Quarterly Earnings – The following firms identified among the IPO’s Top 300 Patent Recipients for 2023 are announcing quarterly earnings next week (2023 rank in parentheses):

  • Monday: None
  • Tuesday: None
  • Wednesday: NVIDIA (95), Analog Devices (173), Snowflake (204)
  • Thursday: Medtronic (21), Intuit (179)
  • Friday: None


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