Week’s news headlines – Mar. 3rd 2017

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Migraine supplement at centre of patent battle
Supplements company Akeso Health Sciences has filed a complaint against organic foods distributor United Natural Foods for patent infringement over a dietary supplement for patients suffering from migraines.

Indian tech industry desperately needs patent office clarity and support in the boardroom
The IP landscape in India has changed markedly over the past couple of years, with foreign litigators filing cases outside the traditional sphere of pharmaceutical disputes and courts showing a willingness to grant injunctions and award interim royalties that have had big business impacts on both Indian and Chinese companies. But in a panel during last Tuesday’s IPBC India on the topic of IP risk, speakers were vocal about a danger coming from another source: the Indian patent office and its failure to provide a reasonable degree of certainty around the thorny subject of patentable subject matter.

China relaxes rules on software patentability – and the United States loses more ground
Amended patent examination guidelines will come into force in China next month that look set to make it easier to obtain patent protection on certain software-related inventions in the country.

Can the Supreme Court’s erosion of patent rights be reversed?
The late Justice Scalia once said that he generally did “not like patent cases.” It is all but certain that his vacancy will soon be filled by the conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch. Empirical evidence on Supreme Court decisions show that the more conservative a Justice is, the more likely he or she is to vote in favor of recognizing and enforcing rights to intellectual property.[i] However, for the reasons explained below, I believe that on his own, Gorsuch’s joining the Court may at best have marginal effect on the Court’s trajectory in patent law doctrines. It is important to explore this in the context of the historical trends of Supreme Court jurisprudence in patent law.

Inside the IBM patent machine
Founded more than 100 years ago, IBM remains a resounding success in the technology arena. WIPR discovers the reasons behind IBM’s prolific patent filing and how it deals with the challenges encountered in managing a large portfolio.


Trade Secrets

Google’s Lawsuit Against Uber Revolves Around Frickin’ Lasers
In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Waymo claims former Google employee Anthony Levandowski downloaded 14,000 technical files from a company server, then used the information to launch the autonomous truck startup Otto. Uber acquired Otto a few months later and tapped Levandowski to lead its robo-car program.


Domain Name

Protecting rights in top-level domains
From its humble beginnings as the global system for interconnected computer networks that used a specific protocol—the internet protocol (IP)—the internet has become a symbol of how much the modern world is driven by technology.


Trade Dress

Dr Martens kicks out at Steve Madden in trade dress suit
AirWair, a subsidiary of footwear brand Dr Martens, has kicked out at a rival in a trade dress infringement lawsuit, filed yesterday. Steve Madden, which designs boots and shoes, was accused of selling infringing footwear that is confusingly similar to Dr Martens’, in a claim filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California.



Major Brand Owners Urge European Commission To Tackle Counterfeiting
On January 31, 2017, 81 of the world’s largest consumer goods manufacturers, including Adidas, Apple, BASF, Bayer, Chanel, LVMH, Nike, Philips, Servier and Coca-Cola, sent a joint letter to the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker calling for action against counterfeiting, with a focus on intermediaries.

Alibaba calls for heavier counterfeiting penalties
E-commerce website Alibaba Group has appealed for heavier penalties against counterfeiters. Alibaba’s news site Alizila released a statement on February 27, calling for the “stricter enforcement” and “stiffer penalties” to crack down on counterfeiters in China.

Fake smartphones cost €45.3bn worldwide in 2015, says report
Counterfeit smartphones cost €45.3 billion ($48 billion) in 2015 as nearly 13% of legitimate sales were lost worldwide. This is according to a report by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union.



Nintendo sues Mario Kart go-karting rental in Tokyo
Video games maker Nintendo has decided to clean up the streets of Tokyo by suing a Mario Kart-inspired go-karting rental company.

International report – Trademarks and Neil Gorsuch – a heated tale of chilli peppers and agency regulation
President Trump recently nominated Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch for the seat on the US Supreme Court that was vacated upon the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Previously we reviewed how Gorsuch’s somewhat expansive view of venue may affect patent owners (see “Patents and Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch”). Here we examine one of Gorsuch’s recent opinions, in which he disapproves of a party’s use of procedural rules to build superfluous roadblocks in proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

Hasbro files TM for Play-Doh ‘scent mark’
What’s in a name? What’s in a smell? US multinational toy company Hasbro has filed a trademark for a Play-Doh “scent mark”.



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


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