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This week in Other Barks & Bites: The Supreme Court today agreed to hear two trademark cases next term; Senators Thom Tillis and Chris Coons issue a statement regarding the recent round of patent eligibility hearings by the Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee; four bills that would impact pharmaceutical patents and practices have passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Huawei publicly calls out negative impact of Senator Marco Rubio’s legislative amendment preventing it from seeking U.S. patent infringement damages, one day after losing its trade secret case against CNEX Labs; Spotify settles a pair of major copyright suits targeting its music streaming service; Intel will reportedly auction thousands of IP assets related to wireless device technology; and revised data shows that U.S. GDP grew 3.1% during the first three months of 2019.
Supreme Court Grants Cert in Two Trademark Cases – The Supreme Court today granted two trademark petitions for next term. In Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc. v. Marcel Fashions Group, Inc., the Court will consider “Whether, when a plaintiff asserts new claims, federal preclusion principles can bar a defendant from raising defenses that were not actually litigated and resolved in any prior case between the parties.” In Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc. et. al., the question presented is “Whether, under section 35 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a), willful infringement is a prerequisite for an award of an infringer’s profits for a violation of section 43(a), id. § 1125(a). In the latter case, the courts of appeals are divided six to six on the subject; in the Lucky Brand case, the petition asserts that the district court conflated the distinct principles of claim preclusion and issue preclusion.
Senate Judiciary Committee Targets Pharma Patents – On Thursday, June 27, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent four bills to the full Senate floor that are aimed at lowering prescription drug prices. The Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act; the “Preserving Access to Cost Effective Drugs Act” or the “PACED Act”; the “Stop Significant and Time-wasting Abuse Limiting Legitimate Innovation of New Generics Act” or “Stop STALLING Act“; and the “Prescription Pricing for the People Act of 2019” were all reported out of committee in what Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called a step forward in the endeavor to lower prescription drug prices.
Huawei Says Rubio Amendment Would Be “Catastrophe for Global Innovation” – On Thursday, June 27, Chinese telecom giant Huawei held a press conference where its chief legal officer Song Liping said that Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) proposed legislative amendment to prevent Huawei from pursuing patent infringement damages in U.S. courts would threaten global innovation development and “break the foundation of IP protection.”
Sens. Tillis, Coons Release Statement on Patent Reform Hearings – On Monday, June 24, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE), respectively the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate IP Subcommittee, issued a statement on their subcommittee’s recent patent eligibility reform hearings indicating that the hearings reinforced their belief that patent eligibility in the U.S. “desperately needs to be repaired.”
Federal Circuit Says District Court Erred By Not Accepting Eligibility Claims – On Tuesday, June 25, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated the Northern District of California’s attorney fees award to Fitbit, Nike and others in a patent infringement case after finding that the district court misapplied the CAFC’s precedent when it invalidated patent claims owned by Cellspin Soft without considering Cellspin’s “specific, plausible factual allegations” regarding the eligibility of its patent claims.
Register Temple Tells House Judiciary Committee to End Compulsory Satellite License – On Wednesday, June 26, Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple told the House Judiciary Committee at a Copyright Office oversight hearing to let STELAR expire, ending a law that requires television broadcasters to license content at capped rates to satellite TV firms for rural customers. Royalties for such broadcasts have dropped by 85% over five years, Temple claimed.
PTAB Declares New Patent Interference Proceedings in CRISPR-Cas9 Battle – On Monday, June 24, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) declared patent interference proceedings between the University of California and the Broad Institute to determine which side was the first to invent CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technologies.
Huawei Loses Trade Secret Case Against CNEX – On Wednesday, June 26, a jury verdict entered into the Eastern District of Texas found that Huawei had stolen trade secrets from CNEX Labs, a startup founded by a former employee of the Chinese telecom firm, over Huawei’s own claims that CNEX committed trade secret theft.
Intel to Auction 8,500 IP Assets Related to Cellular Wireless Connectivity – On Tuesday, June 25, IAM reported that major tech firm Intel is expected to auction about 8,500 intellectual property assets related to cellular wireless connectivity technologies as part of the company’s plans to exit from the 5G smartphone modem market.
Spotify Settles Major Copyright Suits Brought By Bob Gaudio, Bluewater – On Thursday, June 27, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Swedish music streaming giant Spotify had settled two U.S. copyright cases filed by Bluewater Music Services Corporation and Four Seasons founding member Bob Gaudio alleging that Spotify had failed to comply with its compulsory licensing requirements.
Guardant Alleges Defendants Engaged in Joint Effort to Invalidate Patent – On Wednesday, June 26, GenomeWeb reported that Guardant Health asked U.S. District Judge Christopher Burke of the District of Delaware to compel both Personal Genome Diagnostics and Foundation Medicine, firms facing patent infringement charges from Guardant, to produce a joint defense agreement made between those parties to invalidate Guardant’s asserted patents.
Prenda Law Attorney Appealing Jail Sentence in Copyright Trolling Case – On Wednesday, June 26, Paul Hansmeier of the Prenda Law Firm, which has been embroiled in a case regarding a scheme to upload torrents of adult films to the Internet and then sue people who downloaded those films, appealed his 14-year jail sentence to the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
USPS Successful in Opposition to “Certified Email” Trademark – On Tuesday, June 25, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) sustained an opposition on the ground of likelihood of confusion which had been alleged by the U.S. Postal Service in challenging the registration of a trademark application for “Certified Email” filed by RPost Communication Limited.
Texas State Court Enters $26.5 Million Judgment in Trade Dress, Trade Secrets Case – On Tuesday, June 25, Tarrant County District Judge Michael McGraw awarded a $26.5 million damages award, including $10 million for trade dress infringement and $8 million in punitive damages, to Texas telecom firm XIP LLC against CommTech Sales LLC for that firm’s unlawful use of proprietary generator interface technology.
O-Town Trademark Opposed By UMG Over Motown Trademarks – On Monday, June 24, Variety reported that a trademark application filed by members of the boy band O-Town is involved in opposition proceedings at the TTAB brought by Universal Music Group over the mark’s similarity to a series of Motown trademarks.
Walmart Faces Trademark Infringement Suit From JetBlue Over Jetblack Service – On Friday, June 21, major retailer Walmart was named as a defendant in a trademark infringement suit filed by airliner JetBlue in the Southern District of New York which alleges that the Jetblack concierge service operated by Walmart subsidiary Jet is confusingly similar and dilutive to JetBlue’s trademarks.
Third Circuit Reopens Trade Secret Case Between Heraeus and Esschem – On Friday, June 21, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed-in-part a summary judgment granted by the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, allowing German firm Heraeus Medical to seek compensation for alleged trade secret theft related to bone cements occurring in the three years prior to the lawsuit’s filing in September 2014.
This Week on Wall Street
U.S. GDP Grows 3.1% During First Quarter of 2019 – On Thursday, June 27, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis published revised data showing that U.S. gross domestic product increased by 3.1% during 2019’s first quarter thanks to strong business offsetting weak sales during that period.
AbbVie Acquires Allergan for $63 Billion – On Tuesday, June 25, news reports indicated that pharmaceutical firm AbbVie had agreed to acquire drugmaker Allergan for about $63 billion in a move to shore up AbbVie’s growth prospects in the face of losing U.S. patent protections for the blockbuster drug Humira in 2023.
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