Bites (noun): more meaty news to sink your teeth into.
Barks (noun): peripheral noise worth your attention.
This week in Other Barks & Bites: the Supreme Court finds that Georgia’s annotated state code is ineligible for copyright protection; the Federal Circuit issues decisions reversing the PTAB on nonobviousness and Northern California on Section 101 validity; the USPTO extends filing deadlines to June 1; a complex patent trial between Cisco and Centripetal Networks will begin on May 6; the TTAB affirms refusal to register a trademark after the applicant refuses to disclaim the merely descriptive term “LABS”; the Copyright Office begins a pilot program for electronic recordation; InterDigital signs a global 5G patent license with Huawei; and Amazon reports an increase in net sales for the first quarter of 2020.
CAFC Vacates PTAB Nonobviousness Finding Over Newman Dissent – On Thursday, April 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Grit Energy Solutions v. Oren Technologies in which the appellate court vacated a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) which had upheld the validity of patent claims owned by Oren. Circuit Judge Pauline Newman penned a dissent in which she said the majority was wrong to enlarge the disclosure of the prior art reference at issue by removing explicit limitations.
CAFC Reverses California Court’s 101 Invalidation of Uniloc Patent Claims – On Thursday, April 28, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Uniloc USA v. LG Electronics in which the appellate court reversed a ruling from the Northern District of California which had invalidated Uniloc patent claims under Section 101 for being directed to the abstract idea of “additional polling in a wireless communication system.”
USPTO and EPO Issue Joint Statement on COVID-19 – On April 30, USPTO Director Andrei Iancu issued a joint statement from the European Patent Office (EPO) and USPTO on the agencies’ COVID-19 response, including relief for IP rights holders. That statement coincided with a similar statement on relief efforts from the EPO.
Second Circuit Hears Arguments in “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” Case – On Wednesday, April 29, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard oral arguments in an appeal of a copyright case filed by a writer who claims that he conceived and pitched the concept of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” to Jerry Seinfeld. Early analysis indicated that the appellate court appeared to be leaning in favor of affirming the lower court’s dismissal of the copyright claims.
USPTO Extends Patent and Trademark Filing Deadlines to June 1 – On Tuesday, April 28, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it would be extending deadlines for patent- and trademark-related filings, including fee payments, until June 1 under the agency’s authority granted by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
SCOTUS Nixes Copyright Protections for Georgia Annotated Code – On Monday, April 27, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org in which the nation’s highest court found that the annotated version of Georgia’s Official Code developed by a state code revision commission are ineligible for copyright protection, relying heavily on analysis of government edicts doctrine in so holding. The following day, Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) sent letters addressed to the U.S. Copyright Office and the USPTO asking those agencies to examine the extent of state infringement of intellectual property rights.
U.S. Copyright Office Launches Pilot Program for Electronic Recordation System – On Monday, April 27, the U.S. Copyright Office announced that it had launched a limited pilot program for an electronic recordation system that will eventually replace the agency’s current paper-based system. The pilot program will be limited to electronic processing of ownership and transfer information under 17 U.S.C. § 205.
USPTO Declares That U.S. Patents Can’t Be Issued to Artificial Intelligence – On Monday, April 27, the USPTO issued a decision on petition in a patent application listing the artificial intelligence platform DABUS as inventor, finding that U.S. patent law limits inventorship to natural persons.
CAFC Reaffirms That It’s Not Beholden to USPTO Eligibility Guidance – On Friday, April 24, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in In re: Christopher John Rudy in which the appellate court affirmed the rejection of patent claims covering a method of fishing involving the selection of hooks based on observed water conditions, citing precedent finding that the Federal Circuit is not bound by the USPTO’s subject matter eligibility guidance.
Complex Cisco Patent Trial to Begin Via Zoom Next Week – On Wednesday, May 6, a patent trial between Cisco Systems and Centripetal Networks in the Eastern District of Virginia is scheduled to begin via Zoom’s video conferencing platform. The trial is one of the most complex federal trials attempted during the COVID-19 shutdown with testimony from dozens of witnesses and thousands of pages of expert reports.
Spotify Faces Trade Secret Claims Over Ad Generation Technology – On Thursday, April 30, tech developer VoxTonePRO filed a lawsuit including trade secret misappropriation claims in the District of Delaware against Spotify, alleging that the streaming music provider took VoxTonePRO’s proprietary information related to its self-service online application for generating audio ads with voiceover narration.
TTAB Says “LABS” is Merely Descriptive, Must Be Disclaimed – On Wednesday, April 29, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) issued a precedential decision in In re UST Global (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. in which the TTAB affirmed a trademark examiner’s refusal to register a trademark for “INFINITY LABS” unless “LABS,” a term which was merely descriptive of all claimed services, was disclaimed from the trademark by the mark’s applicant.
Jay-Z Claims Copyright to Deepfake Videos for Takedown Notices – Recent news reports indicate that rap producer Jay-Z has issued takedown notices against videos hosted by YouTube, which include deepfakes of Jay-Z, claiming that the videos infringe copyright by unlawfully using artificial intelligence to impersonate the rapper’s voice.
InterDigital Signs 5G Patent License With Huawei – On Tuesday, April 28, mobile tech firm InterDigital filed a Form 8-K with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announcing that it had entered into a global multiyear patent licensing agreement with Chinese telecom giant Huawei which terminates patent litigation between the two companies related to Huawei’s 3G, 4G and 5G mobile devices.
Canon, Panasonic Prevail Against Cellspin Soft Patent Claims at PTAB – On Tuesday, April 28, the PTAB issued a pair of final written decisions terminating inter partes review (IPR) proceedings petitioned by Canon and Panasonic determining that those challengers had carried their burden in proving the invalidity of Cellspin Soft patent claims covering a media distribution technology and asserted against the challengers in U.S. district court.
USPTO Proposes Collecting Demographics Information in Pro Bono Survey – On Monday, April 27, the USPTO published in the Federal Register a proposed revision to the agency’s Pro Bono Survey, which is designed to determine the effectiveness of regional pro bono services for patent applicants, by collecting additional demographic information from participating applicants including gender, ethnicity, race and veteran status.
USPTO Renews Charter for National Medal of Technology and Innovation Committee – On Monday, April 27, the USPTO published a notice in the Federal Register indicating that the agency had renewed the charter for a committee providing nominee recommendations for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
This Week on Wall Street
Apple Won’t Give Quarterly Guidance During COVID-19 Shutdown – On Thursday, April 30, Apple reported revenues of $58.3 billion during its second quarter of fiscal year 2020. The company did not give its regular guidance for the upcoming quarter, citing business uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amazon Reports Increase in Net Sales for Q1 2020 – On Thursday, April 30, e-commerce giant Amazon reported earnings for the first quarter of 2020 during which the company saw net sales increase year-over-year by 26 percent up to $75.5 billion, although Amazon did report slight decreases in operating income and net income compared to the same period last year.
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: Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (119th); Skyworks Solutions, Inc. (t-156th)
- Tuesday: Infineon Technologies AG (62nd); Walt Disney Co. (t-136th)
- Wednesday: Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (t-165th); Borgwarner Inc. (176th); Fortinet, Inc. (t-258th); Paypal, Inc. (t-136th); Schaeffler AG (130th); T-Mobile, USA, Inc. (t-238th); Xperi Corp. (t-197th)
- Thursday: Continental AG (161st); HP Inc. (48th); InterDigital Wireless Inc. (122nd); Motorola Solutions, Inc. (t-297th); Nintendo Co., Ltd. (t-292nd); Raytheon Co. (120th)
- Friday: Mitsubishi Corp. (29th); Siemens AG (21st)