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This week in Other Barks & Bites: the USPTO appoints a new Chief Information Officer; Apple uses Qualcomm chips in Germany while American professors urge the ITC to deny exclusion of iPhones found to infringe Qualcomm patent claims; two important IP cases will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next week; the EU approves copyright reforms, including the hotly-debated Article 13; Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro runs into issues at U.S. Copyright Office; Facebook could owe billions in fines for consumer data practices; a jury verdict dings Walmart for nearly $100 million in trademark infringement case; and Google announces multi-billion dollar plan to expand offices and data centers across the United States.
USPTO Appoints Chief Information Officer – On Wednesday, February 13, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that Henry “Jamie” Holcombe, a 20-year veteran of the information technology and financial industries, has been appointed to serve as the agency’s Chief Information Officer.
U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Two IP Cases Next Week – The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Return Mail, Inc. v. USPS on Tuesday, February 19 and in Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC on Wednesday, February 20. IPWatchdog will have coverage of both hearings.
Amazon Makes First Admission to Shareholders About Counterfeit Problem – On February 1, Amazon.com filed its Form 10-K annual earnings report with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. According to news reports, this is Amazon’s first SEC filing which mentions the issue the e-commerce giant has been having with counterfeits sold by third parties on its platform.
Apple iPhones Begin Using Qualcomm Chips in Germany – On Thursday, February 14, Apple announced that it would begin using Qualcomm chips to resume sales of iPhones in Germany after a German court banned iPhone sales as a result of a patent infringement ruling.
University Professors Ask ITC to Block Qualcomm’s Request for Import Ban – On Thursday, February 14, a group of 10 university professors, including Stanford’s Mark Lemley, sent a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) asking the agency to affirm an administrative law judge’s determination to deny an exclusion order against iPhones despite finding that the devices infringed upon Qualcomm patent claims.
EU Approves New Copyright Rules Including Article 13 – On Wednesday, February 13, negotiators from the European Union approved the first changes to EU copyright regulations in more than 20 years. The changes include provisions opposed by YouTube and Google such as Article 13, which requires Internet services with more than 5 million average monthly users to demonstrate best efforts in preventing uploads of copyright-infringing content.
Canada’s ISED Announces Patent Collective Pilot Program for SMEs – On Wednesday, February 13, Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada announced the launch of a Patent Collective pilot program intended to create a non-profit organization that will assist small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with patent and intellectual property needs.
Japanese Government Moves Towards Criminalizing Copyright-Infringing Downloads – On Wednesday, February 13, a Japanese government panel made recommendations to the nation’s Cultural Affairs Agency that would make illegal all unauthorized downloads of copyright-protected content, including computer games and manga.
Jury Orders Walmart to Pay $95.5 Million for Trademark Infringement – On Tuesday, February 12, a jury verdict in the Eastern District of North Carolina entered a $95.5 million damages award against Walmart for the retail giant’s infringement of Backyard grill trademarks owned by lawn and garden equipment retailer Variety Stores.
PTAB Denies IPRs Filed to Challenge Celgene’s Revlimid Treatment – On Monday, February 11, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) denied the institution of three inter partes review (IPR) proceedings filed by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories to challenge patent claims covering Celgene’s Revlimid treatment for multiple myeloma.
UPS Files Trademark Infringement Suit Against Marijuana Delivery Firms – On Wednesday, February 13, American package delivery firm UPS filed a trademark suit in the Central District of California against a trio of cannabis delivery companies marketing delivery and logistics services including United Pot Smokers and UPS420.
Alfonso Ribeiro’s Copyright Suit Over Carlton Dance Hits Snag – On Wednesday, February 13, a motion to dismiss filed in Alfonso Ribeiro’s copyright infringement suit against the makers of the Fortnite video game revealed that the U.S. Copyright Office denied Ribeiro’s request to register the Carlton dance which is at the center of Ribeiro’s infringement claims.
Echosens Wins Patent Infringement Suit in China Over FibroScan Tech – On Thursday, February 14, French medical tech firm Echosens announced that it had prevailed in a patent suit filed in China against Chinese domestic firm Wuxi Hisky Medical that alleged infringement of patents covering Echosens’ FibroScan chronic liver disease assessment technology.
Bayer Loses Appeal to Register Heart Trademark in EU General Court – On Thursday, February 14, the European Union General Court ruled against German pharmaceutical firm Bayer which was appealing the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s denial of Bayer’s application to register a stylized heart image as a trademark for cardiovascular disease scientific studies and medical services.
King Cake Baby Maker Sues Universal Studios for Copyright Infringement – On Tuesday, February 12, artist Jonathan Bertuccelli, the creator of the King Cake Baby mascot for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, sued the makers of the slasher films Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U over the alleged use of the mascot’s likeness in the films.
YouTube Dating Series Changes Name Due to Copyright Claim – On Tuesday, February 12, the makers of the Provo, Utah-based YouTube dating series The Bachelor of Provo announced that the series’ name would be changing to Provo’s Most Eligible after Warner Bros. Entertainment, makers of The Bachelor television series, succeeding in a copyright takedown notice with YouTube.
Booker T. Sues Makers of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Over In-Game Character – On Tuesday, February 12, Booker T. Huffman, known to WWE wrestling fans by his Booker T moniker, filed a copyright suit in the Eastern District of Texas against Activision Publishing over allegations that the Call of Duty character David “Prophet” Wilkes is a ripoff of Huffman’s own G.I. Bro comic book character.
This Week on Wall Street
Facebook Could Face Multi-Billion Dollar FTC Fine for Privacy Issues – On Thursday, February 14, The Washington Post reported that American social media giant Facebook is negotiating a fine with the Federal Trade Commission which could levy a multi-billion dollar penalty against Facebook for consumer data privacy issues.
Policy Think Tank Reports That Amazon Paid $0 in Federal Taxes for Two Years – On Wednesday, February 13, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) issued a report which stated that Amazon paid no federal corporate income taxes in 2017 and 2018 and received a $129 million rebate this year.
Google Announces $13 Billion Expansion Into 14 States – On Wednesday, February 13, Google CEO Sunday Pichai announced that the company will invest $13 billion through 2019 into data center and office expansions in 14 states including Ohio, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada, Washington and California.
Quarterly Earnings – The following firms identified among the IPO’s Top 300 Patent Recipients for 2017 are announcing quarterly earnings next week (2017 rank in parentheses):
- Monday: None
- Tuesday: Ecolab Inc. (208th); Medtronic Inc. (24th);
- Wednesday: Analog Devices Inc. (t-256th); Xperi Corp. (t-165th)
- Thursday: Echostar Corp. (t-197th); Globus Medical Inc. (t-230th); Hewlett Packard Enterprise (82nd); Interdigital Wireless Inc. (123rd);
- Friday: None
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