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This week in Other Barks & Bites: Qualcomm stock soars 20% after settling patent litigation with Apple; the U.S. Supreme Court denies certiorari in two separate patent cases involving sovereign immunity and Section 101 invalidity determinations at the pleadings stage; the Second Circuit reopens a copyright case involving the former collage-making website Polyvore; “Lady Marmalade” songwriter seeks $20 million for unauthorized sale of music rights; a U.S. district judge rules that Askelladen’s patent challenge business model doesn’t violate competition law; and on Wall Street, a number of top patent earning firms announce their earnings next week.
Supreme Court Denies Cert in Case on Sovereign Tribal Immunity at the PTAB – On Monday, April 15, the Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari in Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., thus upholding the finding from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that an assertion of sovereign immunity by a patent-owning Native American tribe doesn’t shield patents from validity reviews at the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB).
SCOTUS May Strike Down Statutory Restrictions on Immoral Trademarks – On Monday, April 15, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Iancu v. Brunetti and early analysis of the proceedings indicated that the Justices of the Supreme Court are likely to side with Brunetti and strike down the Lanham Act’s limitations against scandalous and immoral trademarks on First Amendment grounds.
TS Patents LLC v. Yahoo!, Inc Denied Cert – On Monday, April 15, the Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari in TS Patents LLC v. Yahoo!, Inc., deciding not to answer whether a court can dismiss a patent suit under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for lack of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 or whether factual assertions of novel technical improvements must be taken as true at the pleadings stage.
Ninth Circuit Determines Case of First Impression on Avoidance of Licensing Fees – On Tuesday, April 16, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision in Erickson Productions, Inc. v. Kraig Rudinger Kast which determined that a website developer’s avoidance of paying licensing fees to use copyrighted images, an act of direct infringement, didn’t confer liability on a party employing the developer to build a website as the avoidance of licensing fees didn’t confer a direct financial benefit on the website owner.
Trademark Lawsuit Filings Up in Q1 2019 But Expected to Stabilize – On Tuesday, April 16, World Trademark Review reported on a trademark litigation study from Lex Machina that showed, while 863 trademark lawsuits were filed during 2019’s first quarter, that large year-over-year increase in first quarter filings isn’t expected to result in an increase in trademark suits filed throughout 2019.
U.S. Senators, Representatives Release Patent Eligibility Framework – On Wednesday, April 17, a bicameral, bipartisan group of U.S. elected officials, including Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), released a framework proposal for addressing patent eligibility issues which have arisen under interpretations of Section 101 of U.S. patent law.
Federal Circuit Affirms PTAB Invalidation of OxyContin Patent Claims – On Wednesday, April 17, the Federal Circuit issued a decision in Purdue Pharma L.P. v. Iancu which affirmed findings by the PTAB to invalidate claims covering the pharmaceutical formulation for OxyContin as the Board’s conclusions were supported by substantial evidence.
Second Circuit Vacates District Court Ruling in Polyvore Copyright Case – On Wednesday, April 17, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided BWP Media USA Inc. v. Polyvore, Inc., vacating a ruling from the Southern District of New York that the now-defunct collage website Polyvore didn’t infringe on copyright covering celebrity photos which it made available to site users for collage boards.
“Lady Marmalade” Songwriter Files Copyright Suit Against Sony/ATV – On Wednesday, April 10, Kenny Nolan, the songwriter responsible for the hit song “Lady Marmalade,” filed a lawsuit in the Central District of California seeking a reported $20 million judgment against Sony/ATV and other defendants who sold the rights to 77 musical compositions by Nolan, including “Lady Marmalade,” without Nolan’s consent.
Starz Apologizes for Twitter Takedowns Over Article on Pirated TV Shows – On Monday, April 15, cable TV network Starz issued a public apology over a copyright enforcement campaign which took down tweets from the Twitter platform which included links to an article from TorrentFreak that was about pirated TV shows but didn’t include links or any information on how to obtain pirated shows.
Apple Nixes Uniloc Fitness Monitoring Patent at the PTAB – On Friday, April 12, the PTAB issued a final written decision in an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding petitioned by Apple which knocked out all 32 claims of a patent covering a fitness monitoring technology. The patent was asserted by its owner, Uniloc, in an infringement suit against Apple in the Eastern District of Texas.
UKIPO Upholds Chanel TradeMark in Opposition Proceedings Over “CocoGoodsCo” – On Wednesday, April 10, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) issued a ruling in a trademark opposition action filed by luxury fashion firm Chanel which struck down an application for the trademark “CocoGoodsCo” filed by a Vietnamese retailer that would have covered soaps, shampoos and perfumes.
Fraud, Anticompetitive Activity Claims Against Askeladden Dismissed – On Monday, April 15, U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez of the District of New Jersey dismissed claims filed by Verify Smart Corporation which alleged that patent validity challenger Askeladden engaged in fraud and anticompetitive business practices by challenging a patent at the PTAB without identifying two banks real parties in interest.
SDNY Trade Secret Case Seeks $300M in Damages for Improper Access in Auction Process – On Thursday, April 11, translation services company TransPerfect Global Inc. filed a suit alleging trade secret claims against private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, which is accused of using an auction process to improperly gain access to confidential financial information and trade secrets.
Colorado Judge Denies Summary Judgment Motion in Fracking Patent Case – On Tuesday, April 16, U.S. Magistrate Judge Scott Varholak of the District of Colorado issued an order denying summary judgment to plaintiff Frak Shack Inc. which had sought a finding of literal infringement. The denial moves the case, which involves a fuel automation station technology for hydraulic fracturing operations, closer to trial.
ClearOne Sues Shure in Northern Illinois Over Audio Conferencing Technology – On Wednesday, April 10, audio conferencing tech firm ClearOne filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois against Shure Communications alleging claims of trade secret misappropriation and infringement of a patent covering acoustic echo cancellation technology.
This Week on Wall Street
Qualcomm Stock Surges After Patent Litigation Settlement with Apple – On Tuesday, April 16, shares of Qualcomm stock surged by more than 20% on news that the semiconductor company had settled its patent royalty dispute with Apple. The settlement agreement includes a payment to Qualcomm from Apple and a chipset supply agreement between the companies.
Avinger Stock Rises More Than 10% on News of Patent Grant – On Wednesday, April 17, shares of medical device firm Avinger stock rose by 11% pre-market after the company was issued a patent and received five notices of allowance from the USPTO.
Facebook Admits Unintentional Upload of User E-mail Contact Lists – On Wednesday, April 17, Business Insider reported that Facebook admitted to collecting e-mail contact list information from 1.5 million users, info that was unintentionally uploaded to the social network platform.
Zoom, Pinterest IPOs Earn Multi-Billion Market Caps for Both Firms – On Thursday, April 18, initial public offerings (IPOs) of stock for both social media site Pinterest and videoconferencing firm Zoom had resulted in valuations of more than $13 billion for both firms by the middle of trading that day.
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: Halliburton Co. (51st); Hitachi High-Technologies Corp. (186th); Hyundai Mobis, Co., Ltd. (t-258th); Rambus, Inc. (t-213th); Shimano Inc. (t-240th); Whirlpool Corp. (t-127th)
- Tuesday: Citrix Systems, Inc. (t-271st); eBay Inc. (153rd); LG Innotek Co., Ltd. (79th); Lockheed Martin Corp. (t-199th); Procter & Gamble Co. (85th); Stryker Corp. (141st); Texas Instruments, Inc. (42nd); United Technologies Corp. (23rd); Verizon Communications Inc. (52nd)
- Wednesday: AT&T Inc. (30th); Boeing Co. (31st); Boston Scientific Corp. (113th); Canon Inc. (4th); Caterpillar Inc. (69th); Facebook, Inc. (60th); Fanuc Corp. (120th); Hyundai Motor Co. (29th); Kyocera Corp. (80th); LAM Research Corp. (171st); LG Chemical, Ltd. (61st); LG Display Co., Ltd. (65th); Microsoft Corp. (9th); Northrop Grumman Corp. (t-225th); Novartis AG (136th); Omron Corp. (t-237th); Paypal, Inc. (170th); SAP SE (78th); Sharp Corp. (57th); Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (t-282nd); STMicroelectronics, Inc. (59th); TE Connectivity (119th); United Microelectronics Corp. (23rd); Xerox Corp. (71st); Xilinx, Inc. (t-263rd)
- Thursday: 3M Co. (t-66th); Amazon.com, Inc. (15th); AU Optronics Corp. (t-219th); Bayer AG (124th); Borgwarner Inc. (t-250th); Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (t-271st); Comcast Corp. (t-209th); Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (t-282nd); Denso Corp. (43rd); Ford Motor Corp. (17th); Fuji Electric Co., Ltd. (t-130th); Hitachi Metals Ltd. (t-216th); Illinois Tool Works Inc. (140th); Intel Corp. (3rd); Juniper Networks, Inc. (137th); Macronix International Co., Ltd. (t-240th); Nintendo Co., Ltd. (t-213th); Nokia Corp. (26th); Raytheon Co. (109th); Rockwell Automation Technologies, Inc. (t-190th); Seiko Epson Corp. (25th); Shin Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd. (t-159th); SK Hynix Inc. (41st)
- Friday: Aisin Seiki K.K. (t-227th); Chevron Corp. (t-230th); Colgate-Palmolive Co. (t-275th); ExxonMobil Corp. (108th); Fujitsu Ltd. (21st); Hitachi, Ltd. (84th); Jtekt Corp. (t-244th); Komatsu Ltd. (178th); Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (74th); NEC Corp. (46th); NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd. (t-295th); Nitto Denko Corp. (202nd); NTT Docomo, Inc. (t-179th); Sanofi (t-127th); Sony Corp. (13th); TDK Corp. (177th); Tokyo Electron Ltd. (94th)