Bites (noun): more meaty news to sink your teeth into.
Barks (noun): peripheral noise worth your attention.
This week in Other Barks & Bites: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office promotes Scott Boalick to Chief Judge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB); the agency also announces a new pilot program for motions to amend at the PTAB; India’s Cabinet votes to bring trademark and industrial design law into accord with international standards; a trial date is set in the copyright case brought by the heirs of Marvin Gaye against Ed Sheeran; a Southern California district judge rules that a Dr. Seuss/Star Trek mash-up is a transformative fair use; Apple alleges that someone has tampered with a key witness in the Qualcomm patent infringement case; and UK finance ministers issue a report calling for more antitrust activity against American tech giants, including Facebook and Google.
USPTO Announces New Pilot Program for Motions to Amend at the PTAB – On Friday, March 15, the USPTO published a Final Notice in the Federal Register providing notice of a pilot program concerning motion to amend practice in America Invents Act (AIA) trials at the PTAB including inter partes review, covered business method patent review and post-grant review proceedings. The USPTO published a Request for Comments on the program last October and according to the preliminary notice, the Office received 49 comments on the program, most of which supported the Office taking action.
USPTO Appoints Scott Boalick as Chief PTAB Judge – On Wednesday, March 13, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that Scott Boalick was officially promoted to serve as the Chief Judge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board after serving as acting Chief Judge for the PTAB since last September.
More Than 350 “Individuals” Parrot EFF’s Save Alice Campaign in USPTO Comments – As of 3:00 PM ET on the afternoon of Thursday, March 14, there were 364 public comments on the USPTO’s revised subject matter eligibility guidelines of about 400 total comments posted by the agency which repeated the language of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Save Alice campaign to stop the agency from adopting the new guidance.
Japan Drops Proposed Law to Criminalize Unauthorized Downloads of Copyrighted Content – On Wednesday, March 13, news reports indicated that Japanese lawmakers had given up on an effort to criminalize illegal downloads of all copyright-protected content after stakeholder groups, including manga creators, voiced concerns over the excessive restraints on Internet use the law would create.
Apple Alleges That Key Witness in Qualcomm Case Has Been Influenced – On Tuesday, March 12, counsel representing Apple made a legal filing in the Southern District of California patent infringement suit brought by Qualcomm in which the consumer device giant alleged that attempts were being made to influence the testimony of a former Apple engineer who Apple also alleges is a co-inventor of the Qualcomm technologies at issue in the case.
Brokered Patent Market Grows to $353 Million in 2018 – On Tuesday, March 12, a 2018 Brokered Patent Market report issued by Richardson Oliver Insights indicated that the secondary patent market rose by more than $50 million up to $353 million in 2018 spurred by repeat transactions from major players such as AT&T, IBM, Google, Intellectual Ventures and Uber.
More Than 200 News Organizations Urge EU Parliament to Pass New Copyright Rules – On Monday, March 11, news reports indicated that 227 news organizations including Reuters, Independent, Evening Standard and World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers signed a letter to Members of the European Parliament urging that political body to adopt a new copyright directive that would strengthen copyright covering online snippets of news articles published by news aggregators.
India’s Cabinet Approves Accession to Nice, Vienna and Locarno Agreements – On Wednesday, March 13, India’s Union Council of Ministers approved a proposal for the country to become a signatory to the Nice, Vienna and Locarno Agreements, bringing India IP policy on trademark registration, figurative elements of trademarks and industrial design classifications into line with internationally accepted standards.
Foxconn CEO Gou Makes Public Statement on Microsoft Patent Suit – On Tuesday, March 12, news reports indicated that Foxconn CEO Terry Gou made public statements at a news conference in Taipei regarding a recent patent suit filed by Microsoft in the Northern District of California, which he said would result in almost no loss for Foxconn.
Judge Stanton Sets Trial Date in Ed Sheeran Copyright Case – On Friday, March 8, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton entered an order which set a September 11 trial date for the copyright infringement case brought by the estate and heirs of Marvin Gaye against Ed Sheeran over similarities between Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” and Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.”
Fox Searchlight Pictures Files Response Brief at 9th Circuit Over “The Shape of Water” Suit – On Monday, March 11, Fox Searchlight Pictures filed a response brief at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asking the appellate court to uphold the district court’s finding that the Guillermo del Toro movie “The Shape of Water” doesn’t infringe upon the copyright covering a morality play for high schoolers from the late 1960s.
Judge Sammartino Rules Star Trek/Dr. Seuss Mash-Up Parody is Fair Use – On Tuesday, March 12, U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino ruled that ComicMix did not infringe upon copyright owned by Dr. Seuss Enterprises by releasing a Star Trek-themed Seuss parody called “Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!” which Judge Sammartino found was a fair use of content from Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.”
Take-Two Interactive Takes Down Another GTA V Cheat Maker – On Wednesday, March 6, a consent judgment entered in the Southern District of New York terminated another copyright infringement case filed by Take-Two Interactive, the video game publisher behind Grand Theft Auto V, against the makers of the “Infamous” cheat for that game.
Alibaba and Alibabacoin Enter Settlement Ending Trademark Infringement Claims – On Monday, March 11, Finance Magnates reported that cryptocurrency firm Alibabacoin (ABBC) had entered into a settlement with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in which it agreed to refrain from the use of any trademarks including “Alibaba” in marketing its cryptocurrency.
Judge Orrick Orders UK’s J Barbour to Face Trademark Suit Filed in U.S. – On Monday, March 11, U.S. District Judge William Orrick of the Northern District of California ordered UK-based clothing firm J Barbour to face a trademark infringement suit filed by Levi Strauss despite the fact that a J Barbour subsidiary handles all U.S. sales. Judge Orrick found the parent company also liable because it operates a website advertising clothes in California.
Marc Jacobs Files Motion to Dismiss Nirvana Infringement Suit – On Friday, March 8, fashion designer Marc Jacobs filed a motion to dismiss an infringement case brought by the ‘90s grunge band Nirvana which accused Marc Jacobs of infringing on trademark and copyright through the “Redux Grunge Collection” clothing line.
This Week on Wall Street
UK Finance Minister Issues Report on Tech Company Antitrust Issues – On Wednesday, March 13, the UK’s Digital Competition Expert Panel issued a report which called for enhanced regulations on major digital tech firms like Google and Facebook, including a new digital markets unit that would enforce pro-competition rules.
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: None
- Wednesday: Bayerische Motoren Werke (196th); Micron Technology, Inc. (47th)
- Thursday: Nike, Inc. (99th); Tencent Holdings LTD (t-102nd)
- Friday: None
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