IP News January 2016

Here’s the first 2016 edition of 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

Netflix tells viewers to chill on VPN use: streaming service announces crackdown on proxy services that let users circumvent copyright geo-restrictions. More »

Family history and IP: a Canadian appeals court will rule whether a woman can invoke copyright, including moral rights, against a popular book. The book is based on facts set out in the woman’s film about her mother’s escape from the Holocaust More »

Free speech fail? IP scholars blast the New York Times for suing a publisher over the use of unlicensed thumbnail images in a book that accuses the paper of record of glorifying war More »


Join scholars, including Profs Moyse and Gold of the CIPP, for a half-day symposium on “Understanding the TPP” on Friday, Jan 29 in Montreal More »

Millions of Canadians use VPNs to watch foreign Netflix; CBC looks at the copyright issues and the company’s latest avowal to crack down More »

The Writers’ Union of Canada wants the government to limit the scope of fair dealing on university campuses, and consider awarding IP for traditional knowledge More »

United States

State AGs and non-profits are taking legal action over the price of Gilead’s HIV and Hep C treatments, which can be as high as $1,000 a pill for a 12 week cycle More »

Hillary Clinton said she supports using “patents as leverage” to force US corporations to pay off-shore income tax, but didn’t explain what this would entail More »

Apple is squaring off with a patent troll before a Texas jury for a second time; the NPE claims Apple should pay $532 million More »

Non-profit groups and some in Congress want the NIH to exercise an extraordinary power called “march-in rights” to lower the price of a cancer drug; they note the drug was funded by the NIH and its patent awarded to UCLA, a state university More »

Profs Lemley, McKenna et al filed an amicus brief in Samsung’s cert petition to SCOTUS over design patents; five other amici also filed in a case patent folks are watching very closely More »

IBM acquired 7,355 new patents in 2015, by far the most of any firm; other top ten names include Samsung, Google and Microsoft More »

A patent case between MIT and Berkeley over a gene editing technique called Crispr, hailed as the biggest biotech discovery in years, is the backdrop to a bitter fight among scientists over who deserves credit More »

Google is seeking a contempt order against an IP lawyer for Oracle who disclosed confidential information, including that it pays Apple $1 billion a year to keep its search bar on the iPhone More »

Original patent documents issued to the Wright brothers for their “flying machine” are up for auction, starting at $25,000 More »

Push-up bras are at the center of another patent controversy; a designer claims Victoria Secret ripped off her idea for a bra that offers “lift and cleavage while maintaining a natural appearance underneath clothing” More »

Even as Netflix cracks down on VPNs, a new website is offering a catalogue of the global availability of all of its titles – and suggested VPNs to access them More »

David Bowie’s passing led to articles about his prescient decision to secure future royalty streams with Bowie Bonds, and his prediction that copyright was doomed in the digital era More »

Meanwhile, radio stations could not mark Bowie’s passing by playing blocks of his song; a recent and esoteric copyright law stops them from doing so More »

SCOTUS will hear a case about the discretion of the IPR board, which offers rapid means to challenge patents validity; critics have likened it to a “death squad” More »

Legal analytics firm Lex Machina, however, published empirical findings rebutting the IPR’s “death squad” characterization More »


Just when you thought we hit peak smartphone patent wars: European phone makers have formed a giant consortium called IP Europe to flex their patent weight around the world More »

The interminable copyright saga over the “monkey selfie” took another turn when a court threw out PETA’s request to grant the monkey IP rights to the photo More »

A French academic and an MP are distributing Anne Frank’s 70-year-old diary in defiance of a foundation’s claim that co-ownership rules means the work is still under copyright, and that those who share it are “egoistic vagabonds” More »

A British court refused Nestle’s bid to trademark the shape of a Kit Kat bar; the case is just the latest in a series of European IP fights over chocolate More »


The USPTO granted Cuba a trademark for “Havana Club,” possibly ending a legal dispute with Bacardi that began in 1959 More »

Tech companies told Australia that “excessive IP protection” is hurting creativity, and urged it to adopt a fair use policy; the country’s large media firms disagree More »

This month’s Twitter star is ARL Public Policy, an account that shares the IP views of research librarians. Follow at: More »


Tips or comments? Send them to jeffrobertslegal at gmail.com

This content has been updated on March 28, 2016 at 10:33.