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This week in Other Barks & Bites: Fears over coronavirus tank stocks on Wall Street and trigger changes at the Federal Circuit, the closure of the Library of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office, as well as move the location of oral arguments in the Ninth Circuit; Apple pays VirnetX after decade-long battle; INTA has had to reschedule its Annual Meeting for November and combine it with the Association’s Leadership Meeting due to the coronavirus; the Senate IP Subcommittee looks at the applicability of the European Union Copyright Directive for the U.S. copyright regime; the University of Texas files a petition for writ with the Supreme Court arguing that TC Heartland destroys state sovereign immunity; Huawei tops the list of EPO patent applicants for 2019; IBM takes Airbnb to court over e-commerce patents; the Trademark Modernization Act is introduced into Congress to expedite the cancellation of fraudulent trademarks; and the Department of Defense asks the Court of Federal Claims for time to reconsider its cloud computing contract with Microsoft.
Apple Pays VirnetX – VirnetX announced today it has received payment of $454,033,859.87 from Apple after a 10-year battle culminating recently with the denial of Apple’s petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court.
Federal Circuit Removes Some Oral Arguments From Calendar, Moves Forward With Others By Phone – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a public advisory on March 12 announcing that it will remove certain arguments from the calendar to be submitted on the briefs; for those that remain on the calendar, “if counsel for either party is located outside the National Capital area, the argument will be conducted by telephonic conference at the date and time previously scheduled.” Where both parties’ counsel are local, arguments will proceed as planned “as of now.”
Library of Congress, U.S. Copyright Office Closed to Public Until April – On Thursday, March 12, the Library of Congress announced that it, along with the U.S. Copyright Office, would be shutting its doors to the public as of 5 PM Thursday as a precaution owing to the global spread of the coronavirus. Both the Library and the Copyright Office will reportedly continue operations.
Ninth Circuit Moves Hearing in Dr. Seuss/Star Trek Copyright Case – On Thursday, March 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit announced that it would be moving oral arguments in a copyright case about a Dr. Seuss/Star Trek mash up from Seattle, which is dealing with a coronavirus outbreak, to Los Angeles.
Huawei, Digital Technologies Take Top Spots in EPO Patent Applications – On Thursday, March 12, the European Patent Office (EPO) published statistics showing that Huawei was the top patent applicant at the EPO, with 3,524 patent applications in 2019. The EPO’s statistics also showed that the tech sectors with the greatest growth in patent applications include digital communication and computer technology.
Bipartisan Trademark Modernization Act Introduced Into Congress – On Wednesday, March 11, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE), along with Representatives Hank Johnson (D-GA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-GA), introduced the Trademark Modernization Act into both houses of Congress. The bill would create new ex parte cancellation proceedings and trademark examination procedures designed to eliminate fraudulent trademark filings.
Senate IP Subcommittee Examines Foreign Copyright Laws – On Tuesday, March 10, the Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee held a hearing to examine foreign copyright laws and how well those regimes respond to digital piracy issues. The committee heard testimony from law professors and members of the copyright industry who mainly discussed whether the European Union’s recent Copyright Directive goes too far in addressing copyright theft by increasing liability on smaller Internet platforms.
Ninth Circuit Sides With Led Zeppelin, Strikes Down Inverse Ratio Rule – On Monday, March 9, the Ninth Circuit issued a decision in Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin in which the appeals court affirmed a jury verdict from the Central District of California. The Ninth Circuit struck down the inverse ratio rule in affirming the finding in favor of Led Zeppelin, which allegedly had infringed upon Skidmore’s copyright when composing the classic rock hit “Stairway to Heaven.”
Secretary Ross, Director Iancu Optimistic About Tang’s Election to WIPO Director – On Monday, March 9, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu released statements to the public indicating that both officials were pleased with the election of Singapore’s Daren Tang to take the role of Director of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
University of Texas Petition for Writ Says TC Heartland Destroys State Sovereign Immunity – On Friday, March 6, the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System and TissueGen, Inc. filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal a patent case out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The University of Texas is asking whether the application of the patent venue statute in 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) is rendered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC by a state sovereign’s right to try its causes within its borders when there is personal jurisdiction over the defendant.
ITC Bans Imports of AB InBev’s Nova Beer Dispenser After Section 337 Investigation – On Thursday, March 12, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued an order barring Belgian beer maker AB InBev from importing Nova beer dispensers which were found by the ITC to infringe patents owned by Dutch beer company Heineken.
INTA Postpones Largest Annual IP Meeting to November- The International Trademark Association (INTA), which originally canceled its April 2020 Annual Meeting in Singapore in anticipation of rescheduling in the United States for May or June, has now announced that it will combine the meeting with its smaller Leadership Meeting, set to take place in November in the United States. “We believe that delaying the Meeting until November is the most viable and most judicious decision at this time,” said INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo. “Health and safety is our number one priority.”
IBM Asserts E-Commerce Patents Against Airbnb – On Wednesday, March 11, information technology giant IBM filed a patent infringement suit in the District of Delaware alleging that online accommodation rental company Airbnb has continued to practice e-commerce technologies covered by IBM patents after six years of failed licensing negotiations between the two firms.
USF Files Patent Infringement Suit Against Hologic Over Mammography System – On Wednesday, March 11, the University of South Florida Research Foundation filed a patent suit in the District of Delaware against medical tech firm Hologic over that firm’s SecurView DX Mammography System used to diagnose breast cancer.
Wikimedia, Internet Archive File Noninfringement DJ Action in Northern California – On Wednesday, March 11, both Wikimedia Foundation and the Internet Archive filed complaints for declaratory judgment in the Northern District of California asking the court to rule that predictive text technologies employed by either entity do not infringe upon patent claims owned by WordLogic.
Sharp Files U.S., German, Japanese Patent Infringement Cases – On Tuesday, March 10, Sharp Corporation filed a patent infringement case in the Central District of California against Vizio for their use of liquid crystal display (LCD) technology patented by Sharp. Also this week, Sharp filed patent suits in German and Japanese courts targeting the infringement of 4G/LTE communications patents
PTAB Rejects Bentley Motors Patent Challenge Due to Overlapping District Court Proceedings – On Tuesday, March 10, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) declined to institute an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding petitioned by Bentley Motors after the PTAB determined that the validity questions at issue in the IPR petition overlapped with similar issues raised in an Eastern District of Virginia case involving the Jaguar Land Rover vehicle control system patents challenged by Bentley Motors.
PTAB Invalidates Mobile Gaming Patent Challenged by Nintendo – On Tuesday, March 10, the PTAB issued final written decisions invalidating a total of 19 patent claims challenged in two IPR petitions filed by Japanese gaming giant Nintendo. The patent claims, owned by Gamevice, covered an electronic game controller involving traditional video gaming controls that could be attached to a smartphone or tablet computer.
GE, Ericsson Join Membership of Video Coding Patent Pool – On Tuesday, March 10, intellectual property firm Sisvel International SA announced that Dolby Laboratories, ETRI, InterDigital, General Electric and Ericsson joined a patent pool for companies owning patents related to the VP9 and AV1 video coding technology.
This Week on Wall Street
Pentagon Asks CFC for Time to Reconsider Microsoft Cloud Computing Contract – On Thursday, March 12, the Pentagon filed a request with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims for 120 days to reconsider the military agency’s cloud computing contract with Microsoft, which tech giant Amazon claims was awarded to Microsoft in a bid process that was heavily influenced by President Donald Trump.
Oracle Posts Third Quarter Revenue Beat Amid Coronavirus Plunge on Wall Street – On Thursday, March 12, although stocks continued to be hammered by coronavirus fears and oil market disruptions, computer software company Oracle posted a slight beat on its third quarter earnings for 2019 thanks to growth in the company’s cloud services and license support divisions.
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: Japan Display Inc. (64th)
- Tuesday: Volkswagen AG (t-247th)
- Wednesday: Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (t-165th); Tencent Holdings Ltd. (110th)
- Thursday: Accenture PLC (t-258th)
- Friday: None
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