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This week in Other Barks & Bites: a California jury awards Caltech $1.1 billion in patent damages against Apple and Broadcom; the Federal Circuit affirms a PTAB obviousness finding based on combination of prior art and general knowledge; Democratic candidate Bloomberg supports limitations to patent protections for brand-name drugs; climate activist Greta Thunberg seeks trademark protection; the EU Court of Justice determines that computer software trademarks aren’t contrary to public policy; the UKIPO discusses agency operations during post-Brexit transition period; IBM announces Arvind Krishna as replacement for outgoing CEO Ginni Rometty; USPTO announces partnership to fast-track Mexican patent applications for U.S. patent owners; and the UK decides to shelve EU Copyright Directive on eve of Brexit.
CAFC Upholds PTAB Obviousness Finding Based on General Knowledge – On Thursday, January 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Koninklijke Philips N.V. v. Google LLC in which the appellate court upheld a finding by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) invalidating patent claims owned by Philips as unpatentable over Philips’ argument on appeal that the PTAB improperly relied upon the general knowledge of skilled artisans to supply limitations missing from the prior art asserted by Google.
Caltech Lands $1.1B Jury Verdict in Infringement Case Against Apple, Broadcom – On Wednesday, January 29, a jury verdict entered in the Central District of California awarded $1.1 billion in damages to the California Institute of Technology, including $837.8 million against Apple and $270.2 million against Broadcom, for the infringement of patent claims covering wireless data transmission technologies.
USPTO Proposes Rule on Facilitating WIPO ePCT Application System – On Thursday, January 30, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register to amend the Code of Federal Regulations so that patent applicants with a foreign filing license from the USPTO can use the World Intellectual Property Organization’s electronic Patent Cooperation Treaty (ePCT) system to prepare applications for filing with the USPTO as a receiving office.
CJEU Avoids Nixing Trademarks for Computer Software in Sky v. SkyKick – On Wednesday, January 29, the Court of Justice for the European Union issued a highly anticipated decision in Sky v. SkyKick in which the CJEU ruled that Sky’s trademark registration covering computer software couldn’t be invalidated for being overly broad, stepping away from a recommendation by an EU advocate general that trademark registrations for computer software are contrary to public policy.
UKIPO Pledges No Disruption to Service on Eve of Brexit – On Wednesday, January 29, the UK Intellectual Property Office issued a news release indicating that the official departure of the UK from the European Union on January 31 will not disrupt services at the UKIPO. Further, the office pledged that 1.4 million EU trademarks and 700,000 EU designs will be converted to comparable UK rights at the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020.
USPTO Partners With IMPI on Mexican Patent Application Acceleration Program – On Tuesday, January 28, the USPTO announced that it had entered into an agreement with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) to implement a parallel patent grant framework that accelerates the patent application process in Mexico for both businesses and individuals that own a U.S. patent corresponding to the Mexican application.
DC Circuit Says Vehicle Hard Drives Not Subject to AHRA Copyright Claims – On Tuesday, January 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a decision finding that General Motors, Ford and other car manufacturers and parts makers did not violate the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 by providing vehicle owners with a dashboard device that rips song files from CDs to the vehicle’s hard drive.
Democratic Candidate Bloomberg Floats Plan to Limit Patent Protections on Drugs – On Monday, January 27, Bloomberg reported that Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is supporting a drug price reduction plan that would limit the period of exclusivity on brand-name drugs to a single patent in an attempt to discourage “evergreening.”
UK Won’t Follow EU Copyright Directive Post-Brexit – On Friday, January 24, the BBC reported confirmation from UK Universities and Science Minister Chris Skidmore that the UK will not implement legal reforms established by the recently approved EU Copyright Directive despite the fact that the UK was one of the first European countries to support the directive.
Greta Thunberg Seeks Trademark Protection – Teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg said she has applied for trademark protection in response to her name and the name of her movement being used for commercial purposes. According to CBS News, “the application covers her name, the name of the Fridays for Future movement, and ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet’ (Swedish for ‘School strike for climate’), which was the slogan on a sign she held during the weekly solo protests outside Sweden’s parliament that inspired similar actions by other young people.”
USPTO Proposes Information Collections on Patent Law Treaty, Biological Materials – On Friday, January 31, the USPTO published notices in the Federal Register announcing that the agency will submit proposals for information collections to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding patent application priority under the Patent Law Treaty, post allowance and refiling issues, patent term extension for prosecution delays and deposit requirements for biological material patent applications.
McDonald’s Misses Deadline to Appeal “Mc” Trademark Case in EU – On Thursday, January 30, multiple news reports indicated that McDonald’s declined to file an appeal by a statutory deadline of a ruling by a European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) tribunal that narrowed the amount of goods covered by the fast food chain’s “Mc” trademark.
Peloton Counterclaim Dismissed From Music Publisher Copyright Suit – On Wednesday, January 29, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York dismissed counterclaims filed by Peloton alleging that a group of music publishing companies were engaging in supracompetitive conduct in violation of federal antitrust laws in a case filed by music publishers alleging that Peloton’s unlicensed use of music during streaming cycling classes violates copyright.
CRB Extends Comment Period on Cable, Satellite Royalty Fund Claims – On Wednesday, January 29, the Copyright Royalty Board published a notice in the Federal Register announcing an extension to the comment period for an agency inquiry regarding the categorization of claims for cable and satellite royalty funds and the treatment of royalties associated with invalid claims.
Hershey Files Trade Secret Claims Against Former Company Executive – On Monday, January 27, The Hershey Company filed a lawsuit alleging claims of trade secret theft against Doug Behrens, former president of Hershey’s Amplify healthy snack brand, accusing Behrens of emailing more than 100 company documents to a personal address before leaving his post to join snack competitor KIND.
Artist Sues Disney, Pixar Alleging Copyright Infringement of Her “Vanicorn” – On Monday, January 27, artist Sweet Cecily Danaher filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California alleging claims of copyright infringement against defendants including Pixar and Disney over the use of a van including a unicorn emblem in the animated movie Onward which resembles the artist’s 1972 Chevrolet G10 van which has been dubbed the “Vanicorn.”
Delaware Jury Enters $236.8M Damages Award Against VMware – On Friday, January 24, a jury verdict entered in the District of Delaware awarded $236.8 million to cloud resource management software provider Densify after finding that cloud infrastructure provider VMware infringed upon claims of two patents covering virtualization technology for multiple computer systems operating on the same server.
This Week on Wall Street
Amazon Returns to $1T Valuation After Quarterly Earnings Beat – On Thursday, January 30, e-commerce titan Amazon.com posted its earnings report for 2019’s fourth quarter in which it beat analyst estimates on earnings per share by $2.43. Shares of Amazon rose about 8.5 percent in early morning trading on Friday on the news, sending Amazon’s market capitalization past $1 trillion.
IBM CEO Rometty Will Be Replaced This April by Arvind Krishna – On Thursday, January 30, information technology giant IBM issued a press release indicating that the company’s board of directors had elected Arvind Krishna, currently IBM’s Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software, as the person to replace Ginni Rometty in the role of IBM’s CEO when she steps down from that post this April.
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: Alphabet Inc. (6th); Konica Minolta, Inc. (t-67th); LG Chemical, Ltd. (61st); NXP Semiconductor N.V. (88th); Panasonic Corp. (27th)
- Tuesday: Eaton Corp. (169th); Ford Motor Co. (14th); KLA Corp. (t-178th); Seagate Technology PLC (92nd); Sharp Corp. (58th); Sony Corp. (18th); Walt Disney Co. (t-136th)
- Wednesday: Boston Scientific Corp. (t-126th); Infineon Technologies AG (62nd); Mazda Motor Corp. (212th); Merck & Co., Inc. (t-178th); Qualcomm, Inc. (10th); Siemens AG (21st); Sonos, Inc. (t-163rd); Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. (160th); T-Mobile, USA, Inc. (t-238th); Toyota Motor Corp. (13th); United Microelectronics Corp. (104th)
- Thursday: Becton, Dickinson and Co. (t-225th); Fortinet, Inc. (t-258th); Fujifilm Corp. (55th); Motorola Solutions, Inc. (t-297th); Nikon Corp. (141st); Nokia Corp. (41st); Olympus Corp. (66th); Sanofi SA (t-186th); Shimadzu Corp. (t-251st); Synaptics, Inc. (183rd)
- Friday: Honda Motor Corp. (43rd); Mediatek Inc. (85th); Ricoh Co., Ltd. (32nd)
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