IP News May 2015

Welcome to CIPP’s IP News This Month, your guide to the most important news and trends in intellectual property culled from news reports around the world.

Top 3 Stories

“A weak copyright claim cannot justify censorship in the guise of authorship,” ruled an appeals court. The court rejected, to the relief of everyone, an unusual IP claim that let an actress who had appeared in the controversial “Innocence of Muslims” take down YouTube videos More »

The White House enraged the tech community by siding with Oracle in a closely-watched SCOTUS petition over whether companies can copyright API’s More »

Well, this sucks: ICANN asks US and Canadian regulators to look into $2499 “blackmail fee” trademark mark owners must pay to stop others from registering “.sucks” domain More »


BlackBerry’s founder penned a should-read in the Globe that suggests how Canada can create a domestic IPR strategy, rather than copy laws and policies that favour the U.S. More »

Controversial royalty collection outfit Access Copyright suffered a big blow as a board ruled its tariffs should amount to pennies, not dollars, per government user More »

United States

SCOTUS ruled that, in inducement cases, patent defendants can plead lack of awareness as to infringement but not to validity; also, SCOTUS used “patent troll” for the first time More »

BigLaw is taking more IP work away from boutiques as the 50 largest firms had 61 percent of the work vs 36 percent in 2011; also, more of the work is shifting to junior lawyers More »

The Library of Congress is reviewing copyright exemption rules for education, tinkering and more; Prof Tushnet is summarized the hearings More »

The $26M sale of bankrupt RadioShack’s IP assets, including its trademarks and data on 67 million customers, is now final More »

The latest twist in the Apple-Samsung trial saw the Federal Circuit elevate the strategic importance of design patents and diminish trade dress More »

A PWC survey showed new patent lawsuits dropped in 2014, prompting some to say reform measures are less pressing; troll opponents warn abuse is still rampant More »

Appropriation artist Richard Prince of Cariou fame/infamy is at it again, selling blown up pictures of others’ Instagram shots (with small modifications) and selling them for high prices More »

The mysterious case of the neverending Sherlock Holmes lawsuits goes on; the Doyle Estate, which lost a major ruling last year, is now using copyright and trademark to sue a playwright over a 1926 Holmes story More »


Officials fret that a new Europe-wide patent system could be undermined by high fees; governments may treat the project as a cash-grab rather than a tool to help start-ups More »

The Guardian suggests copyright fights over live-streaming apps will come to center on live sports and the use of YouTube-like ContentID systems More »

Tobacco companies are suing the UK government over plain packaging rules, claiming harm to their trademarks and violation of European IP rules More »

An EU plan to create a single online market is facing a major snag from film and TV copyright holders, who claim that a proposed end to geo-blocking would devastate their pricing power More »

A Dutch museum is not only digitizing its collection of 1M works, but is making the high resolution images available under Creative Commons licenses More »


Republican Presidential hopeful Carla Fioni told a reporter “the Chinese can take a test [but can’t] innovate .. That is why they are stealing our intellectual property” More »

Police and Intellectual Property officials destroyed 100 cartons of counterfeit razor blades at a political event in Tanzania More »

A report on the Nigerian film industry claims “piracy to Nollywood is what Ebola is to the medical field: dreadful” More »

The Tokyo-based rights owner to Godzilla sued Voltage Pictures – maker of films like Hurt Locker and aggressive IP enforcer – over an upcoming monster movie More »

NGO’s and patient advocates are challenging patents related to a key hepatitis C drug, expanding the campaign from the US to Brazil, Russia, Argentina, China and Ukraine More »

This month’s Twitter star is Tim Lee, an editor at Vox who writes frequently about IP, and who has studied patent policy at Princeton. Follow him @binarybits More »


Tips or comments? Send them to jeff.roberts@mcgill.ca

This content has been updated on March 26, 2016 at 17:14.