IP Industry Roundup: Week of April 4, 2019

Ongoing Battle Oracle vs. Google

Imagine a world in which the iPhone’s strongest competitor wasn’t Android, but the JavaPhone. According to the copyright owner of the Java platform, Oracle, this could have been a reality if Google had not infringed upon their copyright.

The two tech giants have been embroiled in an IP War going back to 2010. Oracle claims that Google did not have the right to use their Java APIs while developing the Android platform, and that Google not only undermined them by essentially stealing their copyright, but also cut them out of deals, eventually freezing the company out of the smartphone market. Google’s arguments are that the material used was under fair-use and that copyright law should not apply to software interfaces.

While Google won the first court case in the IP War, Oracle was able to have the decision reversed by a higher court. Now, Google is turning to the Supreme Court with the hopes of a new ruling. The decision made by the Supreme Court could have a major impact on intellectual property in software development.

Car Industry Has Big Week

We saw a lot of innovation this past week in the automotive industry. While we aren’t quite at the often dreamed of sci-fi level of self-driving vehicles, we seem to be getting closer. When that time comes, GM might make it easier for us to bring our old cars into the future with a patented system that can retrofit even the most “dumb” of vehicles.

Apple has a new patent out there for that takes a different approach to self-driving vehicles. The new Apple patent uses a radar system beneath the vehicle, which helps the car assess road conditions. This new system could inform a self driving vehicle if the roads are wet or oily so that they can retain vehicle stability.

Perhaps more exciting even than self-driving vehicles is the announcement that Ford is bringing back the beloved Bronco. The automotive world is all abuzz with the news of two Ford patents believed to go with the Bronco. One is for a removable canvas roof, and the other is for removable doors that can fit in the trunk. From the art, unlike other vehicles with removable doors, the Bronco’s mirrors will be attached to the frame, meaning there will still be mirrors even without the doors.

Trademark Licensees Dont Lose on Bankruptcy

The Supreme Court of the United States is reviewing a fascinating case with potential consequences for intellectual property. The case, Mission Product Holdings Inc. v. Tempnology LLC, asks the question of whether a licensee can lose their license if the licensor declares bankruptcy and the estate trustee chooses to reject the licensing agreement.

According to bankruptcy law, property is forfeited to a trustee when someone declares bankruptcy and this does indeed include intellectual property. As the code is written now, the trustee, now responsible for the property, has the right to reject an agreement and revoke the license. The question that arises isn’t whether the contract can be discontinued, rather whether the licensee should lose the right to continue to use a trademark. This is an issue due to the fact that trademarks are strangely enough not considered intellectual property by the bankruptcy code!

Many IP groups are taking a stand regarding the case, and it seems that most, including the United States government, are siding with Mission Product Holdings that the licensee should not lose the right to the trademark.

Amazon’s New Patent Protection

Amazon, in its ongoing mission to cut down on counterfeit goods and IP infringement within their online marketplace, has instituted a new system for patent disputes.

The Neutral Patent Evaluation Program, a pilot program, allows those who believe their patents to be infringed to submit their case to a neutral evaluator who will decide which party, if any, has a claim. When a case is submitted the accused will be given an opportunity to respond and defend their case. If they do not respond and agree to be evaluated, or fail to fully defend their listing it will be removed. Cutting down on false claims, in order to submit a claim the party must pay a $4,000 fee, but the fee is returned after the evaluation is completed.

Don’t Make MISTAKES!

Actress Lori Loughlin has been in trouble lately after accusations that she bribed school officials to help her daughter get into college, and now it seems her daughter, Olivia Jade, is facing more misfortune as her trademark application was rejected. The case is important to know about because the reason it is being rejected is a warning sign for IP professionals: the filing was filled with punctuation errors!

This case is a clear reminder to IP professionals that you must be careful with your filing. Something as simple as missing commas and periods can be enough to throw out a trademark application. Of course, in all likelihood Olivia Jade will still be able to trademark her brand, but the process is going to be longer and more stressful now. Of course, this may be the least of her concerns considering she also lost her sponsorships and her mother may be going to prison!

By |2019-04-29T11:09:01+00:00April 4th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments