Week’s news headlines – Mar. 10th 2017


Photographer takes on BuzzFeed in copyright suit
London-based Italian photojournalist has accused media website BuzzFeed of infringing his copyright in a photograph.

UKIPO responds to Open Rights Group criticism of copyright bill
The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has responded to a UK-based digital campaign organisation’s calls to change the Digital Economy Bill 2016-17.



Congress best suited to reform patent venue, says Kraft
US Congress is better suited to reform rules on patent venue than the US Supreme Court, according to Kraft Foods.

Federal Circuit remands patent claim against Huawei and Samsung
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has remanded a patent infringement claim against technology companies including Huawei and Samsung to a district court.

Xiaomi continues patent purchases with Casio acquisition, while earlier buys accelerate chip self-sufficiency
Xiaomi entered patent buying mode in earnest last year, striking acquisition deals with Broadcom, Intel and Microsoft within the space of just a few months. Now new US Patent and Trademark Office assignment data indicates that Casio can be added to the growing list of companies that the Chinese tech player has bought IP assets from.

The Trump administration’s USPTO silence tells us all we need to know about its patent priorities
There has been a lot of speculation since Donald Trump won the US presidential election last November about what his administration would mean for IP – and for beleaguered patent owners, in particular. After several very difficult years in which legislation, court decisions and the mood music coming from the executive have been largely hostile, some have been hoping that things would change with a new occupant at the White House. Speculation, though, is all it has been: during the election campaign and since it ended we have heard very little from the Trump team about its patent priorities.

What Petitioners and Patent Owners Need to Know About the Scope of IPR Estoppel
Judge Sue L. Robinson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware recently identified a logical fallacy in the “statutory estoppel” jurisprudence with respect to 35 U.S.C. § 315(e)(1).

U.S. Supreme Court Limits Liability for Patent Infringement Based on Extraterritorial Activity
In a near-unanimous opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Life Technologies v. Promega that supplying a single component of a multicomponent invention for manufacture abroad does not give rise to liability under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)(1).[1]

Google patent win affirmed by Federal Circuit
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has affirmed a decision holding that an invention asserted against Google is unpatentable.

USITC launches investigation into Ford’s hybrid electric cars
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has launched an investigation into Ford’s hybrid electric vehicles, following a patent complaint from a US-based hybrid technology company.

USPTO Patent Pro Bono Program Chicago Hub Now Available
In late 2014, IPWatchdog interviewed Jennifer McDowell, who was coordinator of the USPTO’s Pro Bono Patent Program. Jenny described the Pro Bono Program, which was set up under the America Invents Act and matches low-income inventors with pro bono patent attorneys. The PTO was tasked with setting up Patent Hubs to provide coverage for the program in all 50 states. The goal was to have that coverage by the end of 2015.

European Patent Office grants more patents to US companies than ever before
The number of patents granted to US companies by the European Patent Office (EPO) grew by 46.7% in 2016, the highest increase in ten years, and a new record high. Last year US companies were granted 21,939 patents by the EPO (2015: 14,955). (Fig. Growth of patents granted by the EPO to applicants from the US)

The Trump administration sees IP-driven profits as a top trade priority; but it should look closer to home too
After plenty of bluster, the Trump administration finally announced its trade policy agenda last week. As expected, China loomed large in the document, which continued to focus on the somewhat nebulous concept of IP theft. More interestingly, it made specific mention of the profits US companies earn from their patents and other IP in an agenda that, like much of Trump’s rhetoric, takes explicit aim at China. “Ensuring that US IP owners have a full and fair opportunity to use and profit from their IP” is one of 10 key principles laid out at the beginning of the document.

Trump opposes ‘Make America Great Again’ TM
US President Donald Trump has opposed a trademark filed by a textile manufacturer at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the term ‘Make America Great Again’.

Federal Circuit reverses fighter jet patent suit against US
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has reversed a decision in a patent suit against the US government centring on the helmet-mounted display system (HMDS) in a fighter jet.

Broadcom accuses LG of infringing five patents
Semiconductor company Broadcom has taken on Korean electronics company LG in a patent infringement lawsuit.

Silent Spring for Patents
“Corporations in their quest to eliminate all patent challenges by delegitimizing the entire patent system have created this crisis… inventors will be silenced and innovation will suffer.”



India implements new trademark rules
The Indian government implemented new trademark rules in the country yesterday.

Trade Community Seeking Further Modernization of CBP Revenue Collections
The Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee approved March 1 more than a dozen recommendations on how U.S. Customs and Border Protection can continue to develop and improve its revenue modernization initiative. CBP officials said the COAC recommendations are consistent with their efforts and objectives.



International report – Franchising in Brazil
A ‘franchise’ is defined as a system whereby a franchisor grants a franchisee rights to the exclusive or semi-exclusive distribution of products or services associated with a particular trademark or patent. It can also include the right to use technology and administer a business or operational system developed or owned by a franchisor against direct or indirect remuneration. Crucially, it is not characterised as an employment relationship.


Intellectual Property

How ‘The Donald’ Does Intellectual Property
Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States (POTUS), managed to get elected based at least in part on his real or perceived success as a businessman. In the last dozen years or so, he achieved this reputation in part by licensing his “Trump” brand name—a kind of intellectual property (IP)—to third parties.

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