Week’s news headlines – jun. 13th 2014

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Pharma Patents

A November rule announced by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission mandating the reporting of drug industry patent transfers followed proper procedures, a federal judge in Washington said.

Under the rule, several kinds of pharmaceutical patent transfers must be reported to both the FTC and the U.S. Justice Department.

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Self-filing patents can cause missed opportunities

A review of the numbers of local patent filings made in New Zealand and who was making those applications revealed the rather startling statistic that a large proportion of local patent filings were not made through specialist IP firms, instead they appeared to be self filed.

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Apple Can Use IPhone Mark in Mexico, Carriers Can’t, Court Says

While a May 5 trademark ruling will permit Apple Inc. (AAPL) to sell and market its phones in Mexico, telecom companies won’t be allowed to use the term “iPhone,” the International Business Times reported.

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Access To Vaccines, Patents Growing Concerns, Panellists Say

At the Biovision life science forum looking into translating innovation into health-related solutions last week, a panel of speakers shared their experience about the global access to vaccines. Although vaccination coverage is on the rise and intellectual property has not been a major concern in the past decade for vaccines, patents may well become a barrier in the future, panellists said.

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How Amazon got a patent on white-background photography

Ars covered the grant of Amazon’s controversial patent last month. This guest post is by Charles Duan, director of the Patent Reform Project at Public Knowledge. It’s an essay meant to answer a question frequently asked on Ars: how do bad patents get issued in the first place?

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Allergan’s Patents on Eyelash Growth Drug Invalid: Court

Allergan Inc. (AGN), maker of the Botox wrinkle treatment, lost an appeals court ruling that will let generic versions of its Latisse eyelash drug enter the market.

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Pepsico India wins trademark battle over packaged water

Court restrained Aqua Mineral (India) from using ‘deceptively similar’ trademark ‘Aquafine’ for causing infringement of rights.

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China’s new trademark law: one month in, five things we know

China’s newly amended trademark law has been in effect for about a month now. Has the new law made things better? Here are some of our early observations.

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How Trademark Worries Block “World Cup” Ads On Google

The World Cup is one of the most popular events in the world, far surpassing the popularity of the Super Bowl, with millions of fans tuning in throughout the month-long tournament.

Soccer (football, to most) fans have already begun turning to Google for World Cup information, and search volume will continue to surge once play gets underway on June 12. Ironically, in what would seem to be a boon for the ad-driven search engine, the large percentage of “World Cup” results on will show no ads at all.

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Not much like fair play – FIFA’s catenaccio on World Cup intellectual property

With less than 36 hours to go before the FIFA World Cup’s kick-off, a focus on the intellectual property (IP) related aspects of the event is in order. To help businesses and common people to deal with the issue, the Federation Internationale of Football Association (FIFA) has published an IP manual, of which the latest version is downloadable here.

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Allergan loses Latisse patent fight, jeopardizing up to $200M in sales
As Allergan tries to fend off Valeant’s hostile advances, it’s been touting its sales prospects as a standalone company. But with a Tuesday court ruling invalidating patents on its eyelash growth drug Latisse, its top-line potential could shrink a little down the line.
Read more: Allergan loses Latisse patent fight, jeopardizing up to $200M in sales


Google climbs to top of US patent system

Google, the Internet company that has been a critic of abusive patent litigation, has entered the inner circle of top US patent recipients as it expands into wearable computers, health care and driverless cars.

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Joint inventorship in patents can present problems

Once an invention has been developed and a corresponding patent application is written, determining an inventorship list for the application might seem like a formality. Particularly in cases where a company, rather than the inventors, applies for or own the application, inventorship may appear especially unimportant. However, an incorrect list of inventors could have a major effect on the ownership or validity of a patent.

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Mister Softee in trademark fight

Mister Softee is playing hardball against a New York City foe.

The Camden County-based ice cream icon has sued a former franchisee, alleging Dimitrios Tsirkos violated trademark protections by dubbing his business Master Softee.

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Hershey Hits Marijuana Distributor With Trademark Suit

With the recent legalization of marijuana in both Washington and Colorado, the sale of cannabis is a budding, but promising, industry. Seeing a pot of gold at the end of the legalization rainbow, a wide range of businesses have rushed to market marijuana and marijuana-laced products.

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An American Attorney in Canada (Part 1: Copyright)

Okay, so maybe it’s neither as romantic as Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”, nor as historical as Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” but many US lawyers do find themselves facing legal issues in Canada. US practitioners who deal with Canadian legal matters must take note of a few common pitfalls. In this series, we review some of the most common misconceptions and flag a number of important tips in the area of cross-border intellectual property law:

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Hershey v. Hershey: Chocolate company sues state senator over campaign signs

The Hershey Company is accusing a state senator from Queen Anne’s County of using chocolate-colored campaign signs to draw on its sugary “fame and equity” in a bid to drum up votes.

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Tobacco firms likely to challenge on grounds of intellectual property

Despite yesterday’s landmark Cabinet decision, it is likely to be some years before plain packaging on tobacco products becomes a reality.

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Small Farmers’ Rights Sidelined In Uganda’s Plant Breeding Regulation

In a country with over 35 million people, Uganda’s economy is based on agriculture. Over 80 percent of the country’s workforce is employed in the sector, contributing up to 23 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

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The Intellectual Property Act receives Royal Assent

The main purpose of the Intellectual Property Act 2014, which has now received Royal Assent, is to modernise certain aspects of intellectual property law “in order to ensure that the IP system operates more efficiently and is clearer and more accessible, thus increasing legal certainty” (taken from the Explanatory Note).

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Canadian Government Proposes Major Changes To “Trade-Marks Act”

The Federal government of Canada recently proposed major new changes to the Trade-marks Act—including changing the name of the Act to the Trademarks Act. The amendments, if passed, will be the biggest changes to the Act since 1953.

The amendments were quietly included in an omnibus budget implementation act dubbed the “Economic Action Plan 2014”. This means that the amendments will likely sail through Parliament with little debate or public consultation.

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Icelandic mulls legal action as Malaysia owned-firm trademarks ‘Saucy Fish’ in Australia

Icelandic Group’s UK division is mulling legal action over the trademarking of its “The Saucy Fish Co.” brand in Australia by a Malaysian-owned firm.

As a result of the trademark on Saucy Fish in Australia by Pacific West Foods Australia, a division of Malaysian processor Golden Fresh, Icelandic Seachill and Australian processor Kailis Bros have launched the brand under the name “The Speedy Fish Co.”.

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Copycat? Hershey’s says marijuana edibles violate trademark

Reese’s cup or Reefer’s cup? Almond Joy or Ganja Joy?

Hershey’s has filed two trademark infringement complaints over marijuana edibles the candy company says look like their products.

The Pennsylvania-based chocolate maker is suing Tincturebelle, a pot-infused candy manufacturer in Colorado, and Conscious Care Cooperative, a medical marijuana dispensary in Washington state.

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IFPI chairman Domingo: ‘Protecting copyright is one of society’s most important missions’

IFPI chairman and world-renowned artist Plácido Domingo urged Governments not to allow copyright to be eroded in the digital age at the International IP Enforcement Summit in London yesterday.

Domingo highlighted the importance of intellectual property enforcement for protection of creators and culture.

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Our intellectual property needs protection

In addition to eliminating tariff barriers, free trade pacts attempt to harmonize legislative and regulatory policies among nations in order to promote trade and open up markets. One of these legal issues is the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), specifically, patents, trademarks, copyrights, geographical indicators, trade secret data and the approval of regulated products. Free trade disagreements no longer focus mostly on agricultural subsidies and anti-dumping fines but increasingly on IPR.

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Rules On Genetic Resources Tightened

China’s Patent Law, which was revised in 2008, introduces a new stipulation that “no patent right shall be granted for any invention-creation which is completed on the basis of genetic resources of which the acquisition or use breaches the stipulations of related laws and regulations” (Article 5 paragraph 2). The purpose of the new stipulation is to regulate the act of acquiring and using genetic resources by way of violating the Convention on Biological Diversity and the related stipulations of China’s laws, making inventions by employing genetic resources and filing applications for patent rights on those inventions. That is, no patent right shall be granted for such inventions.

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With Patent Giveaway, Tesla Shows Silicon Valley What Ingenuity Means

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that by openly sharing its patent portfolio with the rest of the world, his company will help expand the market for electric cars.

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Yahoo Loses Bid To Toss Trademark Lawsuit

In a blow to Yahoo, a federal judge in California has again rejected the company’s bid to dismiss a trademark infringement lawsuit by

The online retailer, which sells car parts, alleges that its trademark in the name “” is infringed when rival replacement-part sellers use the term to trigger search ads on Yahoo.

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News Corp faces uphill battle to win copyright action against Mail Online

Will News Corp’s Australian newspapers win a legal battle with Mail Online over its lifting of articles?

Not according to three media law experts canvassed by the Crikey website. Their overall opinion suggests it is hard to claim that online copy is covered by copyright.

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UK Copyright Law: Back to the Future, or Stuck in the Past?

Copyright law began in England in 1710. At that time, copyright only limited you from copying—it didn’t limit you from making a derivative work, such as a translation or a fan homage (such as the many spin-offs of Gulliver’s Travels that flourished after its 1726 publication). It didn’t attempt to control your personal use of the products in which copyright works were embodied (books had no DRM!). If you wanted to comment on a work, or parody it, copyright owners had no say in how much of the original work you could use, or how widely you could share or perform your commentary.

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Copyright Expiration on Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ Causes Controversy in Germany

The copyright on Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf will expire at the end of 2015, and German legal scholars are debating whether the book should be studied or suppressed.

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Copyrights and wrongs

THE public domain is a state in which creative works fall into or are placed. It is defined as outside the reach of ownership and licensing. Work under copyright may reach the end of its effective protection and enter this new country—it is “not a place,” says the US Copyright Office—from whence no traveler returns. Or creators may consign a work to the common good and foreswear ownership rights.

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Novel Copyright Action Involving Webcasting and Geofencing to be Decided in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Radio stations that stream over the Internet typically have to pay performance royalties to the copyright owners of the songs that are being broadcast over the Internet.  Last month, a group of radio broadcasters in Virginia brought a copyright lawsuit challenging whether they had to pay royalties for streaming Internet if their audience was restricted to a 150-mile radius from the station’s transmitter.

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Informing the masses about the activities of settlement-seeking copyright trolls is what does best, so no surprise that its rivals are now hitting back. In a motion revealed this week, the world’s most prolific filer of lawsuits against BitTorrent users accuses the site of running an Internet hate group that is both “criminal and scary”.

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MPAA’s Dodd: Copyright most effective enabler for creative works

Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), has praised the efforts of the UK in its work on strengthening copyright protection while expressing his hope that governments around the globe will respond positively to the ongoing representations being raised by the creative industries on the matter.

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Hong Kong Government to Introduce Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014

The Government will introduce the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 into the Legislative Council (LegCo) on June 18 to update Hong Kong’s copyright regime and ensure that it keeps pace with technological and overseas developments.

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Nestle fined by French court for unfair competition

Court rules Nespresso competed unfairly against maker of knock-off capsules that work in its machines

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Intel loses court challenge against $1.4 billion EU fine

U.S. chipmaker Intel lost on Thursday its challenge against a record 1.06 billion euro ($1.44 billion) European Union fine handed down five years ago, as Europe’s second highest court said regulators did not act too harshly.

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