IP News January 2017

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. Tips or comments? Send them direct to jeffjohnroberts AT gmail.com. Thanks for reading! – Jeff

Top 3 Stories

Yarrr, it failed! Hollywood gives up on “6-strike” experiment to stamp out peer-to-peer piracy by working with ISPs. Industry reps blamed “persistent infringers,” while the rise of streaming also made it harder to enforce (Variety)

Too soon? Donald Trump’s campaign team filed to register a trademark for “Keep America Great” following a request by the president (Politico)

I believe in yesterday: Sir Paul sues Sony in fight to exercises termination rights and reclaim a trove of Beatles songs; Sony thinks the terms of a UK copyright contract trump U.S. statutory law (Hollywood Reporter)


Works by Walt Disney and others who died in 1966 entered the public domain in Canada; Howard Knopf warns a Trump push to revisit NAFTA will mean renewed pressure to extend copyright (Excess Copyright)

DC Comics sent a cease-and-desist to a Vancouver realtor whose schtick included a costumer and the monicker “Real Estate Superhero” (CTV)

Prof Moyse talked of non-compete clauses and innovation at “Smart Regulation for Smart Cities” event (@cippmcgill)

United States

What does Donald Trump mean for the US Patent system? A law firm report makes some guesses by looking at who will advise him on IP (Shearman & Sterling)

SCOTUS suggested a rule that barred an Asian-American band from obtaining a trademark for “The Slants” is vague and violates free speech. The case has implications for other disputed trademark terms like “Heeb” and “Redskins” (NYT)

As the US marked Martin Luther King day, copyright lawyers took note his “I Have a Dream” speech — now property of EMI — won’t enter the public domain till 2058 (JD Supra)

Paramount resolved a copyright case over an unauthorized “prelude” movie to Star Trek; the studio, which says it supports fan fiction, signaled a tough line versus professional-quality derivative works (NYT)

Speaking of derivative works, the author who published an unauthorized sequel to Catcher in the Rye is now selling kids’ versions of other classic books like On the Road — and getting sued all over again (NYT)

Exciting discoveries about the gene-modifying proteins known as CRISPR keep emerging — as does a swelling patent fight between Harvard, MIT, Berkeley et al (UC Berkeley)

The Patent Office is for now shielded from the larger chaos of the Trump Administration as Michelle Lee, the well-respected current director, is set to stay on (Fortune)

Buckle-up if you love FRAND fights — Apple has started a global $1 billion patent fight with Qualcomm, accusing the chip maker of abusing its patent monopolies (Fortune)

In an IP trial, Mark Zuckerberg said “all sorts of people just come out of the woodwork,” adding he never heard of the plaintiff who says Facebook stole its VR technology for Oculus (NYT)

Discovering their lyrics in the fortune cookies of Panda Express, The Killers told the fast-food chain “Orange chicken for life and we’ll let you off the hook for using our stuff” (Independent)


Lawyers in the US had fun with a Paris attorney who threatened a libel suit, based on French law, against those who described copyright demands by Getty Images as “extortionate” (Washington Post)

German Industry is pushing back against a plan by Chancellor Merkel to scale back “patent boxes” and other accounting gimmicks that involve IP (Reuters)


The head of the WTO said a provision for poor countries to import patent-protected drugs is now permanently in place, following ratification by two-thirds of member states (Reuters)

An Indian province is expanding GI protection for things likes carpets and tea, which some see as an important step for branding in hand-craft and agricultural industries (Times of India)

President Trump’s decision to abandon the TPP trade deal means (among other things) the end of a push to increase IP coordination between countries (NYT)

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

This content has been updated on March 28, 2017 at 10:41.