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This week in Other Barks & Bites: the COVID-19 pandemic causes USPTO and Copyright Office to extend deadlines while the FCC embarks on a pair of telehealth and connected care initiatives to support health care providers; Europe’s highest court finds Amazon isn’t liable for trademark infringing by storing infringing goods from third-party sellers; Tesla forecasts 500,000 car deliveries in 2020 after beat analyst expectations on sales for the first quarter; a Stanford Law paper co-authored by Mark Lemley shows outsized negative impacts of Supreme Court’s Alice ruling on startups and individual inventors; Zoom announces massive increase in its daily meeting participant numbers; USPTO announces plans to expand its Law School Clinic Certification Program; and Canada passes emergency legislation for coronavirus response giving government the authority to compel manufacturing of any patented technology.
CJEU Finds Online Marketplace Storage Doesn’t Infringe Trademarks – On Thursday, April 2, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a ruling finding that e-commerce giant Amazon doesn’t commit trademark infringement by storing goods for third-party sellers without being aware that those goods are infringing as long as Amazon doesn’t pursue the aim of offering the goods for sale or putting them on the market.
USPTO Expands Law School Clinic Certification Program – On Wednesday, April 1, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it would be adding additional schools to the agency’s Law School Clinic Certification Program beyond the current number of 59 law school clinics. Applications from interested programs will be accepted through May 31, 2021.
USPTO, Copyright Office Extend Filing Deadlines Due to COVID-19 – On Wednesday, April 1, Bloomberg Lawreported that the U.S. Copyright Office has extended deadlines for creators to register works for seeking statutory damages in copyright infringement suits to 30 days after the Office returns to normal operations after the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous day, the USPTO announced an extension for filing certain patent- and trademark-related documents, exercising the agency’s temporary authority under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
FCC Launches $200M Telehealth Initiative to Respond to COVID-19 – On Tuesday, March 31, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a report and order announcing that the agency would be launching a COVID-19 telehealth initiative with $200 million of funding included in the CARES Act. The agency was also launching a separate $200 million initiative to help health care providers maximize connected care services during the pandemic.
Canada Coronavirus Legislation Includes Patent Circumvention Provisions – On Thursday, March 26, Reuters reported a statement from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada indicating that recent emergency coronavirus legislation passed by Canada giving the government the power to compel manufacturing of any patent-protected invention to ensure production of necessary medical supplies or vaccines.
Stanford Law Paper Shows Alice Harms Startups, Individual Inventors – On Thursday, March 26, Stanford Law School published a working paper co-authored by Mark Lemley and Samantha Zyotz which found that recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on patent eligibility, including Alice, have had outsized negative impacts on startups and individual inventors who have lost patent claims in court. See more coverage here.
Ninth Circuit Finds Jack Daniel’s-Style Dog Toy is Expressive Work – On Tuesday, March 31, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision in VIP Products LLC v. Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. in which the appellate court vacated a permanent injunction preventing sales of a “Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker” dog toy after finding that the toy styled to look like a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey is an expressive work entitled to First Amendment protections. See more coverage here.
Huawei Joins Linux Open Source Community OIN – On Thursday, April 2, the Open Invention Network (OIN) announced that Chinese telecom giant Huawei has joined the open source software community of OIN licensees who have pledged to observe patent non-aggression principles regarding Linux-related technologies.
Peloton Succeeds in Knocking Out Interactive Fitness Equipment Patent Claims – On Thursday, April 2, U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York issued a ruling granting summary judgment motions of noninfringement and invalidity to Peloton, finding that computerized fitness equipment patent claims asserted by VR Optics were invalid as anticipated by prior art.
Spotify Loses Bid to Transfer Eminem Copyright Suit – On Thursday, April 2, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger of the Middle District of Tennessee issued a ruling denying a motion to dismiss for improper venue filed by streaming music provider Spotify, preventing it from transferring a copyright lawsuit filed by rapper Eminem’s music publisher seeking mechanical royalties to New York federal court.
Victorinox Faces Patent Suit Over Laptop Bag Patent – On Thursday, April 2, mobile accessory firm Targus International filed a pair of patent infringement suits in U.S. district court, including one against Swiss Army knife maker Victorinox, targeting sales of laptop carrying bags designed for quicker airport security clearance.
Sony Loses Motion to Dismiss Class Action Suit Over Copyright Terminations – On Tuesday, March 31, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos of the Southern District of New York issued an order denying a motion to dismiss filed by Sony Music Entertainment, which had argued that copyright termination notices served on the music publisher were invalid.
Patent Lawsuit Targets Wearable Ventilators Made by Inogen – On Tuesday, March 31, wearable ventilator developer Breathe Technologies filed a lawsuit in the Central District of California asserting patent claims against medical tech firm Inogen over ventilator products marketed by Inogen after acquiring a startup founded by former Breathe employees.
Medtronic Open Sources Ventilator Design to Aid COVID-19 Response – On Monday, March 30, medical tech firm Medtronic announced that it would be open sourcing the design specifications for its Puritan Bennett 560 ventilator to enable widespread manufacturing of the system in support of enabling health care systems to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apple Faces Music Copyright Suit From Arlen, Henderson, Warren – On Monday, March 30, a collection of plaintiffs representing the heirs to copyright first owned by composers Harold Arlen, Ray Henderson and Harry Warren filed a copyright infringement suit against Apple and UK-based music distributor Adasam Limited in the Northern District of California over the sales of unlicensed works through iTunes.
This Week on Wall Street
Tesla Beats Expectations on Deliveries for Q1 2020 – On Thursday, April 2, car maker Tesla announced that it had beat analyst expectations on deliveries during the first quarter of 2020 by nearly 10,000 cars. Tesla executives forecast sales of 500,000 during 2020 even when taking into account the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has only slowed the company’s China-based production by two weeks.
Zoom Announces 200M Daily Meeting Participants in March – On Wednesday, April 1, a post on the official blog of video conferencing firm Zoom by its founder and CEO Eric Yuan announced that the company reached 200 million daily meeting participants during March, up from 10 million daily participants last December, and discussed security measures being implemented by Zoom to prevent against issues such as “Zoombombing” harassment.
China Manufacturing Activity Expands Slightly During March – On Tuesday, March 31, the most recent Caixin/Markit Purchasing Manager’s Index was released showing a slight uptick in Chinese manufacturing activityindicating some expansion of economic activity despite that nation’s struggles to control the COVID-19 outbreak.
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