Bites (noun): more meaty news to sink your teeth into.
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This week in Other Barks & Bites: the Inventor Rights Act is introduced into the House of Representatives; House overwhelmingly passes USMCA; major tech companies lobby the European Commission to address holdups in patent licensing; Cox Communications is hit with a billion-dollar verdict in a major copyright case; the USPTO issues a second extension to the effective date of its mandatory electronic trademark filing rule; the Copyright Office appoints Maria Strong as Acting Register of Copyrights; the EU’s highest court rules that e-book resales aren’t protected by copyright exhaustion principles; Senator Tillis announces series of DMCA modernization hearings through 2020; and Bristol-Myers Squibb wins $752 million in cancer treatment patent case against Gilead Sciences.
Reps. Davis, Gosar Introduce Inventor Rights Act Into House – On Wednesday, December 18, Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) introduced the Inventor Rights Act into the House of Representatives. If passed, the bill would give inventors who own their own patents the ability to opt out of validity trials held at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
Bipartisan House Vote Overwhelmingly Passes USMCA – On Thursday, December 19, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, was passed by the House of Representatives in a 385-to-41 vote, including 193 Democrats and 192 Republicans voting in favor of the trade agreement.
Copyright Office Appoints Maria Strong as Acting Register – On Wednesday, December 18, the U.S. Copyright Office announced that Maria Strong has been appointed to serve as Acting Register of Copyrights at the agency, effective January 5, 2020, following Karyn Temple’s departure. Strong had been serving the agency as Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs prior to her appointment to Acting Register.
Record Labels Win $1 Billion in Copyright Case Against Cox Communications – On Thursday, December 19, a jury verdict entered in the Eastern District of Virginia awarded $1 billion in copyright infringement damages to major record labels including EMI, Warner Music Group, Sony Music and Universal Music after finding that Cox Communications was liable for infringement after failing to prevent the mass piracy of more than 10,000 songs by its Internet subscribers.
CAFC Vacates Ruling of No Copyright Infringement Based on Federal Statute – On Wednesday, December 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Syngenta Crop Protection v. Willowood in which the appellate court vacated-in-part a ruling from the Middle District of North Carolina after determining that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) didn’t preclude Willowood’s liability for copyright infringement in producing fungicide labels that were similar to Syngenta’s products.
CAFC Vacates PTAB on Nonobviousness Based on Secondary Considerations – On Wednesday, December 18, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in FOX Factory v. SRAM in which the appellate court reversed a nonobviousness finding by the PTAB after determining that the PTAB erred in determining that patent owner SRAM was entitled to a presumption of nexus between the challenged patent claims and SRAM’s X-Sync bicycle chainrings, which aren’t coextensive with the patent claims.
Apple, Cisco and Other Tech Firms Urge EU to Tackle Patent Abuses – This week, a coalition of 27 companies including Apple, Cisco, Ford, Dell, Daimler and BMW signed a letter addressed to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioners Margrethe Vestager and Thierry Breton asking for the European Commission to address “patent abuses” reducing access to patented technologies which the companies say are stifling innovation related to connected devices.
USPTO Again Delays Effective Date of Mandatory Electronic Trademark Filings – On Wednesday, December 18, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a final rule in the Federal Register which delayed the effective date on which the agency will require electronic filings for all submissions related to trademark applications to February 15, 2020. The USPTO had previously extended the effective date of the mandatory filing rule from October 5 to December 21.
Sen. Tillis Announces Series of Senate IP Hearings on DMCA Modernization – On Tuesday, December 17, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chair of the Senate IP Subcommittee, authored a post published by The Hill which announced that the subcommittee would hold a series of hearings throughout 2020 focused on updating copyright law by working towards a modernized version of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
EU’s Highest Court Rules That Second-Hand E-Book Sales Violate Copyright – On Thursday, December 19, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a decision which found that e-book reseller Tom Kabinet had violated EU copyright law after deciding against Tom Kabinet’s argument that copyright exhaustion principles for the sale of physical books should also apply to the resale of e-books.
Northern California Hears Arguments About Fraudulent Follow-On Patent – On Thursday, December 19, U.S. District Judge Joseph Spero of the Northern District of California heard arguments on a motion to dismiss a case filed against Allergan and Adamas Pharmaceuticals which alleges that those two entities violated the False Claims Act by fraudulently obtaining a follow-on patent to extend the period of exclusivity for the Alzheimer’s disease treatments Namenda and Namzaric.
Delaware Dismisses Patent Suit Against HP for Lack of Plausible Allegations – On Wednesday, December 18, the District of Delaware entered a ruling dismissing a complaint for patent infringement filed by Super Interconnect Technologies after finding that its complaint had failed to plausibly allege a connection between its asserted patent claims and HP’s Envy x2 detachable PC product.
ITC Enters Limited Exclusion Order Against 10X Genomics – On Wednesday, December 18, the U.S. International Trade Commission entered a limited exclusion order against 10X Genomics in a Section 337 investigation brought by Bio-Rad Laboratories preventing 10X Genomics from importing most of its infringing genetic tests except for microfluidic devices used in ongoing research projects.
Intel to Offer Connected Device Patent Portfolio to Highest Bidder – On Tuesday, December 17, IAM reported that tech giant Intel Corp. will be putting up for sale a portfolio of more than 80 patent families related to connected devices which wasn’t part of its recent semiconductor patent sale to Apple.
Google Loses Motion to Dismiss Impact Engine Patent Suit – On Tuesday, December 17, a ruling entered in the Southern District of California denied a motion to dismiss filed by Google in a patent lawsuit brought by Impact Engine allowing its claims, including willful infringement claims, against Google’s Display Ad Builder to proceed in court.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Wins $752M Patent Judgment Against Gilead – On Friday, December 13, major pharmaceutical firm Bristol-Myers Squibb announced that it had been awarded $752 million in a jury verdict entered in the Central District of California for Gilead’s infringement of patent claims covering CAR T-cell immunotherapy treatments for cancer through the sale of Yescarta through Gilead’s Kite Pharma subsidiary.
USPTO Removes Senior Legal Advisor From Gilead Case – On Friday, December 13, STAT reported that the USPTO had removed a longtime employee from serving as a legal advisor on a patent challenge brought by AIDS activists against a potential patent-term extension for Gilead Sciences after posting controversial remarks about the activists’ challenge on Twitter.
This Week on Wall Street
Xperi, TiVo Merger Creates Entertainment and Semiconductor Licensing Giant – On Thursday, December 19, entertainment technology firms Xperi and TiVo announced that they had agreed to a merger that would create a company valued at about $3 billion with a combined patent portfolio that makes the company one of the largest intellectual property licensing platforms in the entertainment and semiconductor technology markets.
Micron Obtains Government License to Sell Products to Huawei – On Wednesday, December 18, computer memory and data storage developer Micron announced that it had received a special license from the U.S. government to resume sales of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) and NAND flash memory products to Chinese telecom firm Huawei.
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