Bites (noun): more meaty news to sink your teeth into.
Barks (noun): peripheral noise worth your attention.
This week in Other Barks & Bites: the USPTO closes to the public amid the coronavirus pandemic while waiving various patent and trademark applicant requirements during “extraordinary situation;” former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski pleads guilty to trade secret theft; Israel approves a generic version of a viral treatment that could help coronavirus patients despite AbbVie’s patents; the Federal Circuit strikes down Facebook’s attempt to use joinder to increase the number of patent claims challenged in an IPR; the Ninth Circuit affirms a lower court ruling that nixes copyright infringement claims against Disney over the 2015 film “Inside Out;” the CNIPA issues new IP work system guidelines for Chinese state-owned entities; YouTube and CNN will reportedly cut streaming video quality in response to massive growth in European bandwidth usage; the ITC opens a Section 337 investigation into touchscreen devices made by Apple, Samsung and LG Electronics; and Judge Snyder awards JMOL to Katy Perry nixing copyright damages in “Dark Horse” case.
USPTO Closes, Waives Requirements During “Extraordinary” Coronavirus Situation – Over the past week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it would be closing its facility to the public over concerns about the spread of coronavirus, although agency operations were expected to continue for the foreseeable future. The USPTO also announced that the pandemic, which qualifies as an “extraordinary situation” within the meaning of the Code of Federal Regulations, is leading the agency to waive certain petition fees and original handwritten signature requirements on certain correspondence.
China Sets New IP Work System Guidelines for SOEs – On Friday, March 20, Chinese state-owned media reported that the China National Intellectual Property Association (CNIPA), in conjunction with the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), had released new guidelines for Chinese state-owned entities ordering them to establish intellectual property work systems in line with national goals on innovation by 2025.
Israel Approves Viral Generic Treatment Despite AbbVie Patents – On Thursday, March 19, Israel’s Justice Ministry approved the use of a generic version of AbbVie’s Kaletra HIV treatment, which could be used to treat patients infected with coronavirus, despite the fact that AbbVie’s Israeli patents don’t expire until 2024.
CAFC Strikes Down Facebook’s Attempt to Increase PTAB Challenge Through Joinder – On Wednesday, March 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Facebook v. Windy City Innovations in which the appellate court reversed a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) allowing Facebook to increase the number of claims challenged in an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding through joinder of multiple proceedings in which Facebook was a party.
Sixth Circuit Says Georgia Ruling Doesn’t Preclude Merial Patent Suit – On Wednesday, March 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a decision in Merial v. Sergeant’s Pet Care Products in which the appellate court overturned a decision from the Western District of Michigan to dismiss a patent suit brought by Merial as precluded by an earlier ruling in Georgia federal court.
CAFC Overturns Invalidation of DNA Distinguishing Method Patent Claims – On Tuesday, March 17, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Illumina v. Ariosa Diagnostics in which the appellate court’s majority overturned a ruling from the Northern District of California invalidating patent claims owned by Illumina and covering methods of distinguishing maternal and fetal DNA from a pregnant mother’s bloodstream. The majority panel held that the method of preparation claims are not directed to a natural phenomenon but rather a patent-eligible method that utilizes the phenomenon.
Ninth Circuit Affirms Ruling Nixing Copyright Claims Against Disney – On Monday, March 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision in Daniels v. The Walt Disney Company in which the appellate court affirmed a ruling from the Central District of California dismissing copyright infringement claims filed against The Walt Disney Company by child development expert Denise Daniels, who claimed that Disney’s 2015 film “Inside Out” was based on her idea for a television show featuring anthropomorphized characters representing human emotions.
CAFC Affirms Denial of New Infringement Trial Over Jury Instructions – On Monday, March 16, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Hafco Foundry and Machine v. GMS Mine Repair in which the appellate court upheld a design patent infringement ruling against GMS Mine Repair over GMS’ arguments that the court’s jury instruction on infringement prejudicially abridged the Gorham test.
Levandowski Pleads Guilty to Trade Secret Charges – On Thursday, March 19, former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski pled guilty to charges of trade secret theft filed in the Northern District of California related to autonomous driving technical documents that Levandowski stole from Google while working in the company’s Waymo division.
Artist’s Copyright Suit Over Tattoo on WWE Video Game Survives Motion to Dismiss – On Wednesday, March 18, U.S. District Judge Staci Yandle of the Southern District of Illinois issued a memorandum and order denying a motion to dismiss filed by World Wrestling Entertainment, finding that tattoo artist Catherine Alexander had sufficiently met the pleading requirements to support her claim of copyright infringement caused by tattoos displayed on wrestler Randy Orton in multiple video games.
NJ Magistrate Orders Rockwell to Settle Trademark Suit – On Wednesday, March 18, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider of the District of New Jersey ordered gray-market seller Radwell International to send a settlement offer to Rockwell Automation to end a five-year trademark battle and put the parties’ resources to better use “especially in these difficult times.”
Surf Documentary Producer Sues Nike Over “Endless Summer” Marketing Campaign – On Tuesday, March 17, Bruce Brown Films LLC filed a trademark infringement suit in the Central District of California against Nike, accusing the athletic apparel giant of misappropriating elements of the 1966 surf culture documentary “The Endless Summer” for a marketing campaign.
USPTO Seeks Public Comments on Tribal Insignia Database – On Monday, March 16, the USPTO published a request for comments in the Federal Register regarding the collection of information for the Native American Tribal Insignia Database, which tracks official insignia representing federal- and state-recognized Native American tribes to prevent the registration of marks that falsely suggest a connection with those tribes.
ITC Opens Major Section 337 Investigation Into Touchscreen Devices – On Monday, March 16, the U.S. International Trade Commission announced that it was launching a Section 337 investigation into certain capacitive touch-controlled mobile devices sold by major tech firms including Apple, LG Electronics, Amazon, Samsung and Sony based on patent infringement allegations filed by Ireland based Neodron, Ltd.
Katy Perry Wins JMOL Nixing “Dark Horse” Copyright Infringement Verdict – On Monday, March 16, U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder of the Central District of California granted a motion for judgment as a matter of law to Katy Perry, finding that the musical phrase asserted by plaintiff Marcus Gray as basis for copyright infringement claims related to Perry’s 2013 single “Dark Horse” weren’t protectable under U.S. copyright law.
Florida Legislature Fails to Pass Trade Secret Clarification Bills – On Friday, March 13, the 2020 regular session for the Florida Legislature came to an end before state lawmakers could pass measures designed to clarify the meaning of “trade secrets” in response to backlash over varying definitions of the term employed by state agencies.
This Week on Wall Street
YouTube, Netflix to Reduce Video Quality in Europe Through April – On Friday, March 20, CNN reported that the streaming video platforms YouTube and Netflix would both be reducing streaming video quality for many European consumers by 25 percent in response to incredible growth in bandwidth usage on European networks during the coronavirus crisis.
Boeing Mulls Layoffs, Dividend Cuts in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic – On Thursday, March 19, The Wall Street Journal reported on information from sources at aircraft maker Boeing who indicated that the company was considering cutting shareholder dividends and laying off workers in response to major industry disruptions caused by the spread of coronavirus. Also on Thursday, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley resigned from Boeing’s board of directors over her opposition to government aid in response to coronavirus.
Quarterly Earnings – The following firms identified among the IPO’s Top 300 Patent Recipients for 2018 are announcing quarterly earnings next week (2018 rank in parentheses):
- Monday: None
- Tuesday: Nike Inc. (96th)
- Wednesday: Micron Technology, Inc. (37th)
- Thursday: None
- Friday: None
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Image Source: Deposit Photos
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