IP Industry Roundup: Week of April 18, 2019

In the War Against Piracy, Who Wins and Who Loses?

Are internet pirates quaking in fear as new copyright laws and enforcement techniques are being implemented throughout the world? Europeans are still reeling over the passing of the Copyright Directive, but the protests and backlash are not slowing other nations down as they seek what some would call draconian measures to curb copyright infringement.

In India, the High Court of Delhi has judged that all Internet Service Providers must block several torrenting websites known for their use in copyright infringement. Included in the list of websites was perhaps the most popular of torrenting sites, the Pirate Bay. The courts will hold the ISPs responsible for any copyright infringement.

Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs is considering a proposal that could go too far. The proposal expands protection against downloading from videos and music to include a larger variety of media such as novels, lyrics, and photos. If one were to copy a line of a song they love for a social media post, or download a photo to use as their wallpaper, they would find themselves liable for copyright infringement.

Meanwhile, in North America, copyright holders are learning that they can get to pirates directly by filing reverse class action lawsuits. These lawsuits are allowing studios to gather together a list of offending IP addresses and suing them all together, rather than having to file an expensive suit for each one.

However, the battle between copyright holders and pirates is not over. Pirates are known for being savvy and finding ways around the wall. For example, in Russia, also known for its strict laws, pirates are now offering services in which they send pirated ebooks by email, circumventing legal barriers.

The Supreme Court Flustered by Trademark

Word is getting around about a Supreme Court hearing over a trademark that was denied for containing foul language.

The trademark in question is for a clothing brand called “Fuct”, which is claimed to stand for “Friend U Can Trust”. The USPTO has historically rejected trademarks that it considered to be indecent and/or contain foul language. Designer Erik Brunetti is challenging this and has brought it all the way up to the Supreme Court.

What makes this case so peculiar is that nobody in the courtroom is willing to use the clothing brand’s name. Instead, lawyers and judges have been referring to it as “the vulgar word at the heart of the case”, “the F-Word,” and our favorite, “the equivalent of the profane past participle form of a well-known word of profanity and perhaps the paradigmatic word of profanity in our language.”

Chinese Stock Photo Company Caught in a Black Hole

China’s largest stock image agency, Visual China Group (VCG), is in hot water after it attempted to copyright the already viral blackhole photos released last week.

When people discovered the images watermarked with the VCG logo, they were shocked. Upon further investigation, they not only learned that VCG was watermarking and claiming copyright over the blackhole photos, but was doing this for many other photos. Companies have found their own logos watermarked, and they even charged for photos of the national flag! The website has been temporarily brought offline, and the manager has been called in for questioning.

Theranos Still Receiving Patents!

In a moment of absurdity, Elizabeth Holmes’ Theranos has received 5 new patents this year. After the shocking discovery that Theranos was deceiving us with fake technology and an HBO documentary about the collapse of the health tech startup, one would think that the only news coming out of Theranos would be regarding the upcoming court cases against company founder Elizabeth Holmes. However, most likely due to bureaucratic processes, the company has somehow managed to receive 5 more patents to add to their portfolio. One must question, however, whether any of these patents would actually work!

By |2019-04-29T11:05:59+00:00April 18th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments