Week’s news headlines – dec. 19th 2014

We need to develop a balance between protecting intellectual property and allowing free speech

Was 2014 the year of the hacker? Or 2013? Or maybe 2011? The answer, of course, is that they all were, and that there are going to be lots more coming. But events in 2014 have helped frame a profound question that we’re going to have to answer about the right balance among property, privacy and free speech – and a glance through the year’s prominent hacks sheds some light on how we should answer it.

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Sony, Stem Cells, Lehman Brothers: Intellectual Property

The Obama administration is considering how to respond to the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment computers, while remaining wary that the intrusion may have been designed to provoke a U.S. reaction, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

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Top patent court shoots down Myriad gene testing patents

The US Patent and Trademark Office handed out patents on human genes for about 30 years, but genomic patents were blocked after a landmark Supreme Court ruling last year.

The patent holder in that case, Myriad Genetics, had patented a test on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The test shows mutations that reveal which women are more susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer. The BRCA test is substantially cheaper in countries where it wasn’t patented, such as Canada.

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Apple Files for “Apple Pay” Trademark in Europe while USPTO Grants Apple Registered Trademarks for iPad Air and True Tone

While Apple has already filed for trademarks regarding their new Apple Pay logo and updated Passbook icon reflecting Apple Pay, it was only today that they filed for “Apple Pay” the actual brand name. Apple’s first filing for this trademark was made in Europe. In other Intellectual Property news today, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple two new Registered Trademarks covering “iPad Air” and “True Tone.”

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A new weapon in combating employee trade secret theft?: the discoverability of personal emails in trade secret litigation

Trade secret theft is an ongoing concern for employers given the high rate of employee mobility in today’s workforce. Employee turnover can be rapid – the average employee stays at his or her job for 4.6 years according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 With the rate of employee separations continuing to grow, the threat of an employer losing highly valuable trade secrets is real and not a matter of if, but when.

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China Has Four Times As Many Trademarks In Force As Any Other Country

According to a recent report by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), China has almost four times as many trademarks in force as any other country, including the US and Japan: 7.2 million trademarks in force in China, compared with less than 2 million trademarks in any other country.

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“Crumbs” of Hope for Trademark Licensees

You are a trademark licensee, and your licensor suddenly declares bankruptcy.  Then, to make matters worse, the bankruptcy trustee rejects your licensing agreement.   What does this mean for you?  Although intellectual property rights are protected under Section 365(n) of the Bankruptcy Code, trademarks are not covered under this provision, calling into question the trademark licensee’s right to continue to use the mark where the licensor has gone into bankruptcy and the license has been rejected by the bankruptcy trustee.

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High Court gives new guidance on registrability of foreign language trade marks

In the final chapter of the Italian coffee saga, the majority of the High Court has ruled that the Italian words ORO (meaning “gold”) and CINQUE STELLE (meaning “five stars”) are distinctive of, and therefore registrable for, coffee and related goods.

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Can Patents (or the Lack Thereof) Derail Xiaomi?

A Delhi court’s decision to temporarily lift the ban on Xiaomi in India was the “best birthday gift” he could get, said Lei Jun, CEO and founder of China’s largest smartphone maker (and the world’s fourth-largest smartphone seller). Lei, who turned 45 on Tuesday, posted the comment on his Weibo account, where he also thanked his fans and reaffirmed Xiaomi’s goal to make smartphones of “low price-performance ratio” for global users.

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UPDATE 2-EU’s top court opens door to some stem cell patents

Europe’s top court has opened the door to certain stem cell patents in the European Union by ruling that an organism incapable of developing into a human being is not a human embryo and may be patented.

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Are Courts the New Death Squads for Software Patents? Not So Fast.

In 2013, the former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit famously proclaimed that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board was becoming a “death squad” for issued patents. Today, patent owners continue to face an uphill battle in the PTAB. That said, few can argue that owners of software patents have fared any better in district courts following the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on patent eligible subject matter which have culminated in the Court’s opinion in Alice v. CLS Bank.1

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Photographers, Don’t Think You Need to Register Your Copyrights? Think Again

So many people get caught up in the fact that “you don’t have to register the copyrights to your work because it’s copyrighted the moment you create it.” True. Anything you create is protected by copyright the moment you create it. HOWEVER, if you want real protection and legal hold when it comes to your work being stolen (copyright infringement), it’s worth the few minutes and few dollars to register it.

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The Need for Homebuilder Vigilance About Copyrights

Are homebuilders as vigilant as they should be in protecting their intellectual property rights — including the copyrights that qualifying architectural drawings and structures receive automatically as a matter of law, even if a person or company does not formally register for a copyright? Conversely, are builders as careful as they should be to avoid infringing on the copyrighted drawings and structures of others?

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Finding Oompa- Loompas to protect your trade secrets

The famous novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahal and its eccentric owner Willy Wonka, tiny men-Oompa- Loompas and the honest child Charlie are well known. What is interesting is that the owner of the chocolate factory (Willy Wonka) fired all his employees due to fear of industrial espionage and instead hired tiny men, Oompa- Loompas. Willy Wonka had no fear of his trade secrets being leaked by Oompa- Loompas as they were happy to work so long as they get their favourite food cacao beans.

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Va IMPI por aumento en solicitudes de marcas, patentes, diseños y más combate a la piratería

Uno de los principales retos a los que se enfrentó la dependencia fue que más emprendedores y empresas mexicanas se acercaran a registrar su marca. Se trabajó en mejorar los procesos y tiempos, lo que llevó a reportar más de 90 mil marcas nuevas durante el presente año.

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Inventors will pay less to apply for trademarks online

The Department of Commerce will issue a final rule Tuesday that gives inventors an incentive to apply for trademarks online.

Starting Jan. 17, the agency’s Patent and Trademark Office is dropping its fee for applications submitted through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) by $50.

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En 2013 se presentaron 2,6 millones de solicitudes de patentes en el mundo

Ginebra, 16 dic (EFE).- Los innovadores presentaron 2,6 millones de solicitudes de patente en el mundo en 2013, un aumento del 9% en relación con 2012, según el informe Indicadores Mundiales de Propiedad Intelectual, un estudio que recoge datos sobre derechos de propiedad intelectual de más de 100 países.

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Google and Verizon cross-license patents to ‘reduce the risk’ of future litigation

“This cross license allows both companies to focus on delivering great products and services to consumers around the world,” Kirk Dailey, Head of Patent Transactions at Google, said in a statement. “We’re pleased to enter into this agreement with an industry leader like Verizon, and we welcome discussions with any company interested in a similar arrangement.”

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Beyoncé slammed with copyright claim

Pop star Beyoncé has been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit over vocals used in her song Drunk in Love.

Hungarian musician Mónika Juhász-Miczura, who goes by the name Mitsou, has claimed that Beyoncé used her vocals from her Bajba, Bajba Pélem song, which was recorded in 1995.

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PirateBay: quem tem medo dos piratas?

A queda do site gera muita repercussão por que ele foi responsável por moldar parte da cultura da internet na última década. Indiscutivelmente, baixar séries, filmes e música deixou de ser uma atividade underground de adolescentes, com cara de infração criminal (apesar de legalmente ainda ser). Hoje o torrent é a principal forma de acesso a produtos culturais para milhões de pessoas. Segundo dados da pesquisa sobre pirataria digital da netnames, na Europa, Ásia e Estados Unidos, um em cada quatro usuários da internet faz download de conteúdos protegidos por direitos autorais sem pagar.

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India escapes US rap on intellectual property rights issues

India has averted the threat of any immediate downgrade by the US under its intellectual property rights regime.

There were pressures in the US, specially by some pharmaceutical companies, to get India downgraded from the “watch list” to “priority foreign country”.

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Disney’s Spider Man, HSBC, Voga: Intellectual Property

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to use a dispute over a Spider-Man toy to consider overturning a 50-year-old patent decision.

The justices said Dec. 12 that they will hear an appeal from a man who patented a toy that uses foam string to mimic the comic-book character’s web-shooting ability. The inventor, Stephen Kimble, is suingWalt Disney Co. (DIS)’s Marvel unit, which owns the Spider-Man franchise. He said the company reneged on a contract to pay him royalties on sales of Marvel’s Web Blaster toys.

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Name of tomato variety can be registered as trademark

In Mastronardi Produce Ltd v Registrar of Trademarks ([2014] FCA 1021, September 19 2014), Mastronardi Produce Limited has succeeded in an appeal against a decision of the Registrar of Trademarks that refused registration of the trademark ZIMA for tomatoes.

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Trade secrets need federal protection

Each year, an estimated 1 to 3 percent of U.S. GDP is lost as a result of stolen intellectual property, which has a severe impact on job creation in America. Congress is considering legislation to help address this problem by giving trade secrets protection under federal law.

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