IP News November 2016

Welcome to IP News This Month. Here’s your 5-minute guide to all things intellectual property, culled from news reports from around the world. Thanks for reading! – Jeff

Top 3 Stories

What is Trump-style IP? The President elect has filed over 300 trademark applications but published no platform, so his policy plans can best be discerned by looking at his trade rantings and the circle of people who will advise him (Law360)

Cuba Libre (™)! Trademark registrations in Cuba surged as brands like Disney and GM moved to take advantage of the Obama rapprochement. No word yet on how the post-Castro/Trump era will affect this (Miami Herald)

“One Fish Two Fish, We Will Sue Fish” is how one headline describes an IP lawsuit by the Dr. Seuss estate that seeks to stamp out a parody book called “Oh the Places You’ll Boldly Go” (Techdirt)


Canada’s public broadcaster is raising eyebrows for issuing a cease-and-desist to an app maker that used a public RSS feed to repackage some shows as podcasts (National Post)

An IP enforcement outfit sprayed over 300,000 copyright demand letters to universities last year; schools complain some notices contain wrongful threats about enormous fines or deportation (Macleans)

In a Canadian copyright law first, a Quebec court held music publishers liable for issuing false copyright takedown notices (Lexology)

The CIPP gang helped host a gathering of international IP scholars to discuss the “Social Cost of Innovation” (CIPP)

United States

“We Shall Overcome” may soon follow “Happy Birthday” into the public domain after a judge rejected a publisher’s copyright claims about the 19th century song (NYT)

A Kickstarter-funded $1.5M “Mockumentary” based on Star Trek is on shaky fair use ground, in part because studio lawyers discovered the producer held talks with Netflix (Ars Technica)

In the long-grinding campaign over pre-1972 sound recordings, members of the 60’s band The Turtles extracted a settlement from Sirius XM on the eve of trial (Ars Technica)

After SCOTUS invalidated its patent for identifying a breast cancer gene, Myriad Genetics has sought to discredit competitors’ lab results; now, a new fight is emerging over access to Myriad data (Stat News)

In another low point for US political culture, a company filed an IP suit against a rival firm over a prison figurine called “Hillary Clinton Striped Pantsuit Bobblehead” (NY Post)

CNN is considering IP action against Facebook and an online video company over an unlicensed viral clip of host Van Jones discussing Trump and “whitelash” on election night (WSJ)

Are GIFs – a favourite form of expression for millennials — legal under fair use? A copyright cloud remains even as startups raise millions to offer them (Fortune)


The ECJ nixed a trademark for the shape of a Rubik’s cube, agreeing with a German toy maker the shape reflected functional elements better suited for patent protection (Reuters)

In a surprise move, the UK will ratify plans to create a pan-European patent court with a branch in London — some say this foretells “the softest .. of Brexits” for IP and other things (Telegraph)

Germans will finally get to watch music videos on YouTube after the company and a royalty society settled a long-running court battle (NYT)

L’Oreal created a home version of a popular beauty treatment but Olaplex, which offers the salon version, promptly sued for patent infringement and false advertising (Cosmo)


The WHO reportedly dropped the word “counterfeit” from a working group on drug quality; the move came as part of a larger turn away from IP enforcement by the health body (Times of India)

The Chinese patent office receipt of over 1 million patent applications in 2015 was hailed by WIPO as a surge in innovation — but the number may also reflect state-driven filing targets and easier-to-obtain patents (FT)

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

This content has been updated on February 27, 2017 at 11:06.