IP News September 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

Pharma firm and tribe cut a deal to protect IP: Allergan will pay the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe at least $14M to invoke its sovereign immunity in order to defeat validity challenges to a lucrative dry-eye drug (NYT)

Never-ending monkey selfie case ends (for now): settlement by PETA and nature photographer dismisses appeal of Naruto the macaque’s claim to copyright, underlying legal issues may remain unresolved (Washington Post)

Netflix has cool IP lawyers: An unlicensed bar based on the hit show Stranger Things appeared, and the company’s counsel replied with a hilarious, PR-savvy cease-and-desist letter  (Fortune)


Toronto’s famous Sick Kids hospital warned a black-tie charity gala to stop using its trademarked name; an actor tied to the gala said the complaint is a slap in the face (The Star)

Royalty collection society Copybec filed a class action suit against Université Laval for alleged infringement of its members moral and economic rights (Publishing Perspectives)

Prof. Geist cites a memo to suggest the Canadian government is aware of improper settlement letters and other abuse of copyright’s notice-and-notice regime, but has failed to act (Michael Geist blog)

United States

Pharma firms are turning to “patent thicket” strategies, which can result in over 100 patents for a single drug, in order to extend monopolies for so-called biologic medicines (Bloomberg)

Medical prof. Jeremy Greene decries a spate of price gouging for off-patent drugs; he blames consolidation in the generics industry, and calls for state laws to stop it (Washington Post)

Native American bands in North Dakota are, like the Mowawk band in New York, invoking sovereignty in a bid to help companies shield patents from review (Ars Technica)

Facebook plans to pay the music industry hundreds of dollars in a bid to smooth over copyright concerns (Facebook)

A jury awarded $13M to the step-daughter of John Steinbeck as part of an interminable fight over who can claim the copyright to the works of the novelist, who passed in 1968 (NYT)

The Pepe cartoonist is ramping up a copyright campaign against alt-right figures who use the frog in hate campaigns; one figure retorted he has a fair use right to depict Pepe (Ars Technica)

Internet company Cloudflare paid out $15K in “bounties” for prior art as part of a quest to crush a new breed of patent troll (Fortune)

We Shall Overcome excessive copyright: judge rules civil rights anthem is in public domain, says small lyric change “lacks originality” to justify extending term (NYT)

An appeals court slapped down the latest effort by a notorious judge to preserve East Texas as a popular venue for patent trolls (Ars Technica)

A veteran IP reporter looks closely at the PTAB, a specialized USPTO tribunal for challenging bad patents that is the subject of an upcoming SCOTUS challenge (Bloomberg)

A girl band who sang “Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate” filed a copyright suit against Taylor Swift; no word if the star will Shake It Off (Hollywood Reporter)


Yoko Ono forced a European drinks company to stop using the name “John Lemon,” claiming the firm violated trademarks related to her late husband (Billboard)

Germany has become a prime target for IP theft by China, in part due to poor cyber-defenses (WSJ)

The EU wants the UK to write post-Brexit laws for geographic indicators such as parmesan and champage; currently there is no British statutes to protect food and wine names (FTBusiness Insider)


Australian industry figures are bashing universities “steeped in tradition” over policies that let schools keep students’ IP (Australian Financial Review)

A Chinese scholar responded to a Trump Administration inquiry into IP theft by China by claiming the US overlooks the scale of the country’s domestic innovation (China Daily)

The pharma industry is using blockchain technology in a bid to keep counterfeit medicines out of its supply chain (Fortune)


This content has been updated on March 30, 2018 at 12:41.