IP Roundup for the Week of June 13, 2019

IP5 Preparing for ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’

The recent IP5, a gathering between the world’s largest intellectual property offices, convened this past week in Korea. Leaders of the five offices (United States, China, Japan, European Union, and Korea) discussed cooperation on an international scale and the important topic of handling rising technologies. At the end of the gathering, the heads of each office delivered a joint statement of commitment to respond to changing technology and its needs.

As part of the joint statement, the members of the IP5 vow to put together a task force and work together to systemize the patenting of new technologies.

US Government Agencies Dealt Major Blow from SCOTUS

Government agencies cannot be considered a person when it comes to post-issuance challenges of patents, according to a recent Supreme Court decision in the case of Return Mail Inc vs. USPS.

Almost twenty years ago the United States Postal Service was in talks with the company Return Mail over the licensing of Return Mail’s software. In the end, the USPS was able to develop and patent their own software, thus ending the negotiations. This led to a patent war between USPS and Return Mail, first with Return Mail failing to have the USPS patent invalidated, followed by the USPS using the Leahy-Smith Act to have Ready Mail’s patent thrown out.

Ready Mail appealed the decision all the way up to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor, determining that government agencies do not count as people in regards to having the right to challenge a patent once it has been granted.

Patent Holder Goes After Retailers

Seoul Semiconductor is suing a major retailer, Factory Depot Advantages, over the sale of Philips LCD TVs that they claim infringe on their patents. Seoul Semiconductor claims that the televisions in question infringe upon 10 of their LED backlighting patents. An interesting aspect of this case is that they are not going after Philips or the TV components manufacturers, but the actual distributors. This is not the first time the company has gone after a distributor, having sued Fry’s Electronics in 2018.

‘Stairway to Heaven’ Originality Questioned

A 2016 case accusing Led Zeppelin of copyright infringement has bubbled up to the surface again as the plaintiff has appealed the earlier ruling. According to the plaintiff, the iconic opening riff of the song was not written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, rather it was written by the guitarist of the lesser known rock group Taurus who they stole it from.

The 2016 case was found in favor of Led Zeppelin, but there is strong evidence that the judge for the earlier case mishandled it and misinformed the jury regarding copyright law.

Quick Bits:

  • Infowars’ Alex Jones has settled in a copyright infringement case against him for the use of the internet meme Pepe the Frog.
  • A recent study of law students at Harvard shows that the majority of Harvard lawyers do not consider piracy for personal use to be unethical.
  • The leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia met recently and affirmed their dedication to cooperation in protecting intellectual property rights.
  • Tesla has patented a new fabric for car seats that will both feel comfortable and be durable.
  • The Crips street gang is facing opposition in their trademarking of deceased rapper Nipsy Hussle’s slogan “The Marathon Continues” in the form of Hussle’s brother.
  • Rumors that Huawei’s upcoming operating system will be called Ark may be false as the company has trademarked Hongmeng across the world.
  • Meanwhile, Facebook, in response to the US government’s ban, has refused to allow Huawei to provide phones with the Facebook application already installed.
By |2019-06-13T14:17:08+00:00June 13th, 2019|Intellectual Property Roundup|0 Comments