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This week in Other Barks & Bites: The Trump Administration’s Final Rule that would have required list prices of drugs to be displayed in television ads is blocked by the U.S. District Court for the District of D.C.; the STRONGER Patents Act is reintroduced into both houses of Congress; the leadership of the Senate IP Subcommittee releases a statement on the splintered Federal Circuit en banc denial in Athena; the U.S. Copyright Office designates the mechanical licensing collective; Huawei is the top earner of Chinese patents thus far in 2019; Intel enters a period of exclusive talks in its wireless patent auction; T-Mobile and Sprint extend their merger deadline; Amazon launches initiative to retrain 100,000 employees for high-tech positions; and major drugmakers ask the Supreme Court to take up a patent case involving functional claiming issues.
Federal Circuit Wipes Out PTAB Finding on Accessibility of Prior Art – On Friday, July 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. v. Infobridge Pte. Ltd. in which the appellate court vacated a finding by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that prior art asserted by Samsung wasn’t publicly accessible prior to the critical date of the Infobridge patent challenged in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings.
Trump Administration Rule on Drug Prices in Ads Blocked – The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision on July 8 that blocked a Department of Health and Human Services’ Final Rule that would require drug companies to include the list price of drugs covered by Medicare or Medicaid in television advertisements. The Final Rule was published in May and was set to take effect on July 9. It is one of a number of measures being touted by both Republicans and Democrats as an answer to the rising cost of prescription drugs.
STRONGER Patents Act Reintroduced – On Wednesday, July 10, the STRONGER Patents Act was reintroduced into both houses of Congress by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH). If passed, the bill would restore injunctive relief for patent owners, overruling the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in eBay v. MercExchange..
Huawei Earns Most Chinese Patents Through First Half of 2019 – On Tuesday, July 9, China’s National Intellectual Property Administration released statistics indicating that the country’s telecom giant Huawei, which has increasingly come under scrutiny by U.S. regulators, has earned 2,314 Chinese patents through the first six months of 2019, the highest total for any company receiving patents in China.
Sens. Tillis, Coons Release Statement on Section 101 After Athena – On Monday, July 8, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee, issued a statement on Section 101 patent eligibility issues after the Federal Circuit denied an en banc rehearing of Athena Diagnostics v. Mayo Collaborative Services. The statement reiterated the Senators’ commitment to reforming U.S. patent laws to prevent current case law from stifling innovation.
Drugmakers Petition SCOTUS to Review Functional Claiming Case – On Monday, July 8, pharmaceutical firms Eisai and Sanofi filed amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Court to grant a petition for writ of certiorari in Eli Lilly’s case against Erfindergemeinschaft Uropep GPR (EUG), arguing that EUG’s patent claims violate rules against functional claiming.
Federal Circuit Vacates PTAB Decision in VirnetX Case Involving Apple Joinder – On Monday, July 8, the Federal Circuit issued a decision in VirnetX Inc. v. The Mangrove Partners Master Fund which vacated and remanded decisions by the PTAB to invalidate claims of two VirnetX patents after the appellate court determined that the PTAB erred by joining Apple to the proceedings and finding that substantial evidence shows that Mangrove didn’t identify all real parties in interest.
Copyright Office Designates MMA’s Mechanical Licensing Collective – On Monday, July 8, the U.S. Copyright Office designated Mechanical Licensing Collective, Inc., as the mechanical licensing collective (MLC) enacted through passage of the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act. The industry-led group earned the designation after a contentious period of vying for the MLC against the American Music Licensing Collective, a group representing songwriters and smaller music publishers.
WIPO Announces Brazil Has Joined International Trademark System – On Wednesday, July 3, the World Intellectual Property Organization reported that it had received Brazil’s accession to the Madrid Agreement which it will officially join this October. The WIPO-administered trademark system now includes the ten largest world economies among its membership of 121 countries.
Intel Enters Period of Exclusivity With Bidder in Patent Auction – On Wednesday, July 10, IAM reported that Intel had notified interested parties that it was entering a period of exclusive talks with an unnamed buyer regarding a significant portion of the chipmaker’s portfolio of 8,500 wireless patent assets.
YouTube Announces Changes to Copyright Claim System – On Tuesday, July 9, a post on YouTube’s Creator Blog announced changes to the streaming video website’s Content ID copyright claiming system which will require copyright owners making manual claims to report timestamps identifying video portions using copyrighted content. The changes also include tools for content creators to manually remove copyrighted content to release the claims automatically.
Unified EU Patent Court Being Delayed by Germany, UK – On Tuesday, July 9, Financial Times reported that the planned Unified Patent Court (UPC), intended to serve as the single court handling patent infringement cases for 26 EU countries, was facing major delays owing to legal hurdles posed by Brexit and a German court challenge against that country’s participation in the UPC.
Armadillo Seeks Cancellation of Gibson Trademarks – On Monday, July 8, Armadillo Enterprises, the parent company of Dean Guitars, filed a counterclaim in the Eastern District of Texas seeking the cancellation of Gibson’s trademarks covering its Flying V, Explorer and ES-335 guitar body shapes and alleging that Gibson had engaged in tortious interference of Dean’s business relationships.
Yeti Coolers Files Trademark Suit Against Yetti Outdoors – On Monday, July 8, Yeti Coolers filed a lawsuit alleging claims of trademark infringement and unfair competition against Voyager Industries, an ice fishing house company that does business by the name Yetti Outdoors, in the Western District of Texas.
U.S. Asks Switzerland to Extradite Chinese Researcher Involved in Trade Secret Case – On Monday, July 8, Reuters reported that the United States has asked Switzerland to extradite Gongda Xue, a Chinese scientist who is accused of enabling the theft of $550 million worth of trade secrets from drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.
Litigious Copyright Lawyer Receives Pair of Sanctions Rulings – In the past week, New York lawyer Richard Leibowitz, who has filed 1,210 copyright lawsuits since being admitted to the New York State bar in August 2015, was on the receiving end of a pair of sanctions rulings totalling more than $100,000 in fines for behavioral conduct related to a bad faith motion to dismiss an expert and failure to appear at a pre-trial conference.
Distributor of Illegal Japanese Comics, Graphic Novels Arrested in Philippines – On Sunday, July 7, Romi Hoshino, the alleged operator of the Manga-Mura website responsible for an estimated $2.9 billion USD in damages for the illegal distribution of copyrighted Japanese works, was arrested at Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
This Week on Wall Street
T-Mobile, Sprint Extend Deadline on Merger for More Negotiations With Dish – On Thursday, July 11, news reports indicated that T-Mobile and Sprint have agreed to extend their deadline for finalizing the merger of the two telecom companies past the July 29 deadline as they both continue negotiations with Dish Network to sell assets that would improve the chances that the U.S. Justice Department will approve the T-Mobile/Sprint merger.
Amazon Upskilling 2025 Initiative to Spend $700M for Training 100,000 Employees – On Thursday, July 11, e-commerce giant Amazon.com announced an Upskilling 2025 initiative that will invest $700 million in efforts to retrain 100,000 of the company’s employees so they can serve in high tech positions such as software engineering and machine learning.
Quarterly Earnings – The following firms identified among the IPO’s Top 300 Patent Recipients for 2018 are announcing quarterly earnings next week (2018 rank in parentheses):
- Monday: None
- Tuesday: None
- Wednesday: ASML Holding NV (143rd); Bank of America Corp. (111th); eBay Inc. (141st); International Business Machines Corp. (1st); Skyworks Solutions, Inc. (t-155th); Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (23rd)
- Thursday: Capital One (193rd); Colgate-Palmolive Co. (t-262nd); Honeywell International Inc. (36th); Intuitive Surgical Operations, Inc. (t-247th); Microsoft Corp. (9th); Novartis AG (150th); SAP AG (90th); Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (8th)
- Friday: Schlumberger NV (59th)
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