Other Barks for Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Newspaper deliveryIn this week’s edition of Other Barks: A well-known patent monetization firm jumps back into the brokered patent market in 2016’s fourth quarter. A federal judge in New York allows arguments over whether American movie star Marilyn Monroe has become too generic for any trademark rights to continue. Sony files a patent infringement lawsuit over set-top boxes. Forever 21 files a declaratory judgment action calling Adidas a trademark bully. Cher wins a copyright dismissal over claims her 2013 album cover was infringing. The Supreme Court gears up to hear oral arguments in a case that examines the limits of the patent exhaustion doctrine. Plus a very busy week on Capitol Hill.

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  • Intellectual Ventures Back in Brokered Patent Market – On Friday, March 10th, legal publication Bloomberg BNA published an article which reported that Bellevue, WA-based IP monetization firm Intellectual Ventures (IV) had re-entered the U.S. market for brokered patents during the fourth quarter of 2016. Data provided by the Richardson Oliver Law Group indicates that IV acquired 172 assets during 2016’s fourth quarter; IV acquired zero patents during 2015’s fourth quarter. IV’s patent purchasing activity has slowed significantly in recent years, from 4,679 assets bought during 2014 down to 1,777 assets in 2015 and 180 assets in 2016. (Link to Bloomberg BNA article on IV’s patent asset acquisitions)
  • Forever 21 Files Complaint for Declaratory Judgment Against Trademark “Bully” Adidas – On March 3rd, Los Angeles-based Forever 21, Inc. filed a complaint for declaratory judgment of non-infringement of trademarks against German design company Adidas AG (ETR:ADS) and its American subsidiary. Forever 21 filed the complaint in response to claims of trademark infringement over the use of stripes on clothing apparel from Adidas, which Forever 21’s complaint calls a “bully” in the trademark assertion realm. “Forever 21 has decided that enough is enough,” the complaint reads. “Forever 21 is not infringing any Adidas trademark and has not breached any agreements with Adidas. This matter is ripe for a declaratory judgment.” (Link to official complaint in Forever 21, Inc. v. Adidas America, Inc. et. al.)
  • Cher Wins Dismissal of Copyright Lawsuit Filed Over 2013 Album Cover – On Thursday, March 9th, news outlet Reuters reported that American singer and actress Cher won the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Brooklyn typography designer Moshik Nadav over typeface used on the cover of Cher’s 2013 studio album Closer to the Truth. Nadav’s suit alleged that Cher’s album production team copied elements of critically acclaimed logos designed by Nadav making the images “substantially similar or virtually identical.” According to Reuters, Nadav’s suit was dismissed without prejudice so Nadav may be able to pursue similar charges against Cher in the future. (Link to Reuters article on dismissal of lawsuit against Cher) (Link to official complaint in Moshik Nadav et. al. v. Genesh Productions LLC et. al.)
  • German Minister Announces Hate Speech Law Affecting Social Media – On Tuesday, March 14th, Germany’s Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection Heiko Maas announced proposed legislation which is designed to punish social network providers that the German government feels aren’t responsive enough in taking down hate speech posted to their networks. A prepared statement from Maas indicates that the law could create a fine of up to 50 million euros ($53 million USD) for companies that breach their obligations to remove speech which is criminal under European law. Reports of a year-long study on hate speech in social networks indicate that Facebook and Twitter are well below Germany’s statutory obligations to remove 70 percent of flagged content within 24 hours. (Link to German federal government website including Haas remarks)
  • NASA Completes Another Successful Test of Orion’s Parachutes – On Wednesday, March 8th, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) completed its latest test of parachutes for the agency’s Orion spacecraft, the vehicle which agency planners are hoping will bring man to Mars during the 2030s. The successful test was the second of eight tests which will certify the Orion parachutes as safe for human spaceflight; this most recent test looked at how the parachutes performed in terms of emergency abort capabilities, such as when a mission is aborted after launch. (Link to NASA announcement of successful Orion parachute test)
  • This Week on Wall Street – It’s another light week for earnings reports from the world’s patenting giants. Today, Redwood City, CA-based computer tech firm Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) is expected to report earnings for the third quarter of its 2017 fiscal year; Oracle placed 57th in 2015 among companies earning U.S. patents, earning 731 U.S. patents that year according to statistics published by IPO. Chinese online advertising holding company Tencent Holdings (HKG:0700) will report its earnings for 2016’s fourth quarter today as well. Tencent’s subsidiary Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) placed 255th in 2015 by earning 127 U.S. patents that year. On Thursday, software company Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:ADBE) of San Jose, CA, will report earnings for the first quarter of 2017. Adobe took in 319 U.S. patents in 2015, placing 115th that year.


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