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This week in Other Barks & Bites: Stanford University suffers another Section 101 loss at the Federal Circuit for its haplotype phase determination patent claims; the EU’s highest court rules that the existence of a manufacturing process patent involving a pharmaceutical composition in the public domain is not an insurmountable barrier to competition; China’s IP administration announces a special enforcement campaign against entities engaging in malicious trademark squatting; the Fourth Circuit finds domain name claims filed against the Republic of France are barred by sovereign immunity; a jury verdict in Eastern Texas finds Apple liable for $308.5 million in reasonable royalties for infringing digital rights management patent claims; and the U.S. Copyright Office seeks public comment on implementing rules and procedures for the Copyright Claims Board established by the CASE Act.
Copyright Office Solicits Public Comment on CASE Act Implementation – On Friday, March 26, the U.S. Copyright Office published a notification of inquiry in the Federal Register seeking public comments related to the agency’s responsibilities to implement rules and procedures for the Copyright Claims Board recently established by Congressional passage of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act as a voluntary forum for resolving certain copyright claims.
Stanford Haplotype Phasing Patents Suffer Another 101 Loss at CAFC – On Thursday, March 25, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in In re: Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University in which the appellate court affirmed the invalidity under Section 101 of Stanford University patent claims covering computerized statistical methods for determining haplotype phase, following similar reasoning in another Stanford appeal decided by the Federal Circuit on March 11.
CJEU Affirms Pay-for-Delay Fines, Says Existence of Patent Not “Insurmountable Barrier” to Competition – On Thursday, March 25, the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) issued a ruling dismissing a series of appeals from Lundbeck, a Danish firm that developed the antidepressant citalopram, and generic drug manufacturers over agreements to delay the market entry of generic citalopram. In part, the CJEU ruled that the existence of a patent protecting a manufacturing process of an active ingredient that is in the public domain is not an insurmountable barrier to competition to generic drugmakers “who… show a readiness to challenge the validity of that patent.”
Fourth Circuit Says Domain Name Claims Against France Barred Under FSIA – On Thursday, March 25, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a decision in France.com, Inc. v. The French Republic in which the appellate court reversed a district court ruling denying a motion to dismiss domain name ownership claims filed against the country of France. The Fourth Circuit ruled that the claims were barred under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) despite the district court’s ruling that France’s entitlement to sovereign immunity would best be established after discovery.
Health Advocacy Groups Urge U.S. Government to Use NIH-Owned Patent to Improve Global Vaccine Access – Several public health organizations, doctors and research scientists sent a letter on Wednesday, March 24, to Dr. Anthony Fauci, as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and Xavier Becerra, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, urging them to use soon-to-issue U.S. Patent No. 10,960,070, owned by the U.S. government, to increase global access to the mRNA-127 vaccine for COVID-19. The letter claims Moderna has not contracted with enough manufacturing organizations to ensure “rapid, equitable, global access”; is charging too much and has failed to share its know-how with the World Health Organization.
China Launches Special Campaign Against Malicious Trademark Squatting – On Wednesday, March 24, China’s National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) announced that it was launching a special action plan to combat malicious trademark squatting to strengthen the governance of source identification under Chinese law especially relating to seven areas of malicious squatting including names of natural features like rivers and mountains, names of public figures of high reputation, and marks related to public emergencies and natural disasters.
CJEU Says EUIPO Improperly Invalidated Community Design Application for Lego Bricks – On Wednesday, March 24, the CJEU issued a ruling finding that the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) erroneously invalidated a community design application by toy maker Lego to register a design for building blocks from a toy building set. In the decision, the CJEU noted that, although community design protections were not available for designs solely dictated by their technical function, Lego’s design fit an exception for mechanical fittings of modular products that are both innovative and a major marketing asset.
IFPI Study Shows Global Music Recording Revenues Increase by 7.4% to $21.6B in 2020 – On Tuesday, March 23, the International Federation of the Phonograph Industry (IFPI) issued its Global Music Report 2021, which marked a 7.4 percent increase to global revenues for the music recording industry, buoyed in large part by a 18.5 percent increase to paid streaming subscription revenues over total revenues for that sector in 2019.
Eastern Texas Jury Verdict Against Apple Tops $300 Million – On Friday, March 19, a jury verdict entered in the Eastern District of Texas ordered consumer tech giant Apple to pay nearly $308.5 million in reasonable royalties to Personalized Media Communications for infringing patent claims covering a unified system of programming communication controlled by digital rights management.
Lenovo Antitrust Claims Against InterDigital SEP Claims Survive Motion to Dismiss – On Wednesday, March 24, U.S. District Judge Leonard P. Stark of the District of Delaware denied in part a motion to dismiss filed by mobile tech firm InterDigital, allowing some antitrust claims filed by technology implementers Lenovo and Motorola over InterDigital’s alleged practice of misleading standards setting organizations (SSOs) to incorporate its patents in their 3G and 4G wireless standards to proceed toward trial.
Spotify, Sosa Entertainment Settle Dispute Over Streaming Practices – On Wednesday, March 24, a joint notice of settlement was entered in the Middle District of Florida by streaming music provider Spotify and music company Sosa Entertainment indicating that the parties intend to formalize a settlement by May 7, bringing an end to a year-and-a-half legal battle involving claims of copyright and trademark infringement as well as unfair and deceptive practices related to the removal of Sosa’s music catalog from Spotify.
Taylor Swift, Evermore Park Settle Trademark, Copyright Infringement Claims – On Wednesday, March 24, a Salt Lake City local news outlet reported that a spokesperson for singer/songwriter Taylor Swift acknowledged that all trademark and copyright infringement claims filed between Swift and Evermore Park, a theme park in Utah, will be dismissed by both parties without any monetary settlement.
Judge Bencivengo Rules Finjan’s Expert Testimony Led to Lack of Enablement for Five Patents – On Tuesday, March 23, U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo of the Southern District of California issued a ruling finding that claims from five patents asserted by Finjan were invalid for lack of enablement based on expert testimony provided by Finjan which conflicted with arguments pushed by Finjan at trial regarding the size of software downloadables claimed by its patents.
WIPO Report Shows Growth in Emerging Environment, Mobility Assistive Technologies – On Tuesday, March 23, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) issued the findings of a technology trend report in the field of assistive technologies which showed that patent filings for emerging assistive technologies, including environment tech for public space navigation and mobility tech like autonomous wheelchairs, have increased by 17 percent between 2013 and 2017, a rate three times faster than filings for technologies in conventional assistive technologies.
Copyright Office Announces Openings for Copyright Small Claims Officers – On Tuesday, March 23, the U.S. Copyright Office announced that it has posted job openings seeking three copyright claims officers to serve on the Copyright Claims Board that was recently established by Congressional passage of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act.
EPO Admin Council Approves New Rules of Procedure on Videoconference Proceedings – On Tuesday, March 23, the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (EPO) approved new Article 15a of the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal, formalizing the agency’s practice for conducting oral proceedings by videoconference to ensure access during the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions.
Anheuser-Busch, Patagonia Settle Trademark Case Over Beer Brand – On Monday, March 22, a joint notice of settlement was filed in the Central District of California by beer company Anheuser-Busch and outdoor apparel maker Patagonia indicating that those two companies had reached an agreement to settle claims related to a trademark lawsuit filed by Patagonia against Anheuser-Busch over its marketing of a Patagonia-branded beer.
This Week on Wall Street
China Proposes Rules for Interoperability of Central Bank Digital Currencies – On Thursday, March 25, Mu Changchun, director of the digital currency institute of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), proposed a set of global rules at an international banking seminar for the interoperability of central bank digital currencies among banking institutions situated in different jurisdictions for monitoring and information sharing related to exchanges.
Intel CEO Gelsinger Wants to Restore Business Relationship With Apple – On Wednesday, March 24, the BBC published an interview with Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger in which he discussed the company’s plans to expand its chip foundry business and restore its chip supplier relationship with Apple despite recent criticisms of that company and Intel’s plans to “compete aggressively” with Apple and other major firms in the PC market.
Quarterly Earnings – The following firms identified among the IPO’s Top 300 Patent Recipients for 2020 are announcing quarterly earnings next week (2020 rank in parentheses):
- Monday: None
- Tuesday: BlackBerry Ltd. (t-183rd)
- Wednesday: TCL Technology Group (51st)
- Thursday: None
- Friday: None
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