IP News December 2016

Happy holidays from all of us at CIPP! We hope you are set for a merry and IP-filled 2017. In the meantime, here’s your 5-minute guide to all things intellectual property, culled from news reports from around the world. Tips or comments? Send them direct to jeffjohnroberts AT gmail.com. Thanks for reading! – Jeff

Top 3 Stories

SCOTUS messes with Texas over patent trolls: The Eastern District of Texas has for years been the favourite destination for patent plaintiffs thanks to generous juries and sympathetic judges. Now, a venue case at the country’s top court is set to change all that. (Fortune)

Copyright clash down under: Australia is known for expansive IP protections but now, in a sweeping report, a commission makes a “rigorous, evidence-based case” for major copyright reform, including the introduction of fair use law. (The Conversation)

Rogue IP lawyers arrested: the US Justice Department filed fraud and conspiracy charges against attorneys who ran a notorious $6 million racket that involved filing John Doe copyright cases against porn watchers, and then threatening to expose them unless they paid up. (Ars Technica)


A Montreal hospital began a bold experiment in “open science” research, eschewing the patent-first model that is now endemic in academic research; the CIPP’s Prof Gold is part of it (Globe & Mail)

The Supreme Court heard a closely-watched IP case that will decide whether Canadian courts can issue worldwide injunctions on Google search results (The Star)

Prof Scassa says a painter who discovered her designs on t-shirts at department stores may have a hard time obtaining a remedy due to Canada’s rules on secondary infringement (CBC)

United States

The music industry published an open letter urging Donald Trump to strengthen IP protections (Rolling Stone)

Hollywood studios are set to crush a company that streamed unlicensed “family friendly” versions of their movies under the guise of a DVD resale right (Variety)

Prof Ouellette, who goes by @Patentscholar on Twitter, has the latest on cases that are part of SCOTUS’s “blockbuster IP term” (Written Description)

SCOTUS overturned a $399M ruling that gave Apple damages based on the total royalties of an infringing Samsung cell phone — but did not provide further guidance on design damages (SCOTUSBlog)

A New York appeals court found no common law copyright in sound recordings; the ruling is the latest twist in a fight over whether to create new royalties in pre-1972 songs (Fortune)

SCOTUS agreed to hear an important patent exhaustion case involving a printer maker that has used patent law to limit the resale of its toner cartridges (NYT)

After getting all but wiped out by the Alice decision, software patents are set for a comeback in 2017 (Ars Technica)

YouTube disclosed it paid the music industry over $1 billion last year in copyright royalties (Fortune)

An essay about US fascism observes that Silicon Valley’s failure to respect IP is partly to blame for the rise of Trump (New Yorker)


The EU published details of a ruling that found Apple’s IP royalty accounting led it to shortchange Ireland of $13 billion; Apple shot back that the EU’s evaluation of IP is flawed (WSJ)

Nokia just reignited the smartphone wars by suing Apple in courts around the world over patent royalties; Apple responded in part by calling the Finnish company a patent troll (Bloomberg)


To no one’s surprise, IP squabbles between China and the US are heating up; the U.S. this month placed the e-commerce giant Alibaba back on its blacklist of notorious IP marketplaces (NYT)

Meanwhile, President-elect Trump used one of his thank-you rallies to rail about China and its “massive theft of intellectual property” (Reuters)

In the first use of a new copyright enforcement law in Australia, the Federal Court gave ISPs 15 days to block a variety of torrent sites (ABC)

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

This content has been updated on February 27, 2017 at 11:00.