IP News November 2015

Top 3 Stories

Who owns Anne Frank? The celebrated diary of the young woman, who died in a concentration camp in 1945, is set to enter the public domain next year but a foundation has concocted a co-authorship claim to keep it under copyright for years to come More »

Supreme Court of Canada steps back from “technological neutrality” for copyright; key decision creates new layer of IP for digital broadcasting, draws sharp dissent over royalty stacking and threat to innovation More »

Je suis tired of trademark opportunists: France’s TM office issued a statement that it will reject “Pray for Paris” and “Je Suis Paris” applications on public order grounds More »


Prof Katz suggests a Charter challenge, based on a threat to free expression, might stop Canada’s plans to extend copyright terms More »

Prof Haggart notes “IP law is notoriously complex, [but] its underlying principles are relatively straightforward” in an op-ed that seeks to help Canadians understand the TPP More »

In a test for fair dealing, a news service is suing companies and government departments that email articles protected by paywalls; critics say the service is a copyright troll More »

The CIPP’s intervention in the Supreme Court CBC case produced good news in regards to limits on mandatory licenses, notes counsel Howard Knopf More »

United States

YouTube will push back against unjustified copyright takedowns with a new legal fund that backs video creators whose work appears to be fair use More »

An ISP faces major copyright liability after a federal judge knocked down the safe harbor that shielded it from customers’ infringement, and its insurer said it wouldn’t pay because the ISP’s behavior was intentional, not negligent More »

The NYT has a should-read on exactly how a “coalition” of a patent troll and a hedge fund manager are challenging drug patents while shorting the stock of firms that own them More »

Meanwhile, a former pharma CEO blasts the shorting strategy as “predatory” and a “financial scam” and urges Congress to reaffirm Hatch-Waxman as the sole forum for drug patent challenges More »

Profs Chien and Risch, who normally disagree on patent positions, team up to urge courts or Congress to shut down venue shopping in East Texas More »

A survey of patent troll targets suggests the best defense can be to do nothing, and that “pleading poverty” or using insurance are other options More »

Campaign season is underway and so are copyright suits; a band is suing GOP candidate Mike Huckabee for using its “Eye of the Tiger” song at an anti same-sex marriage event More »

A judge told a copyright plaintiff suing Taylor Swift that the singer had “shaken off the lawsuit” but that this didn’t mean he would “never, ever, ever get his case back in court” More »

The copyright saga over “Happy Birthday” won’t die – now a charity has come out of the woodwork to reclaim the song from orphan work status More »


Software companies agreed to drop copyright claims against a Czech man if he made a video called “The Story of my Piracy” and racked up at least 200K views on YouTube More »

A patent troll that claims to own “essential” IP related to 4G networks is finding success by suing in London More »

Academic journal kingpin Elsevier is richer than ever despite rebellions by professors and universities, and longtime calls for an open source replacement More »

The UK Intellectual Property office obtained a judgment against “IP scammers” who conned hundreds of trademark and patent owners into paying fake renewal fees More »

The EU’s latest stab at more unified IP laws will be a December strategy paper aimed at reforming copyright in a “gradual, balanced and targeted” way More »

The EU has quietly made it easier to obtain patents on embryonic stem cells by changing the application date of a “morally acceptable method” restriction More »

Jeremy Phillips, the heart of the popular blog the IP Kat, is packing it in after 12 years of wonderful work More »


A New Zealand paper profiles the key witness in a major copyright conspiracy case in which the U.S. is seeking to extradite Kim Dotcom, who made millions running a “Mega Upload” site More »

China and the US met for trade talks, prompting the usual pledges of more cooperation on IP rights More »

The ongoing detente between Cuba and the US is giving rise to more interesting IP issues, including the challenge of explaining why existing restaurants can’t keep use brand names like “McDonalds” More »

This month’s Twitter star is Daniel Nazer, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who offers acerbic IP and tech observations. Follow him at @danielnazer More »


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

This content has been updated on March 26, 2016 at 17:23.