IP News April 2018

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

In setback for patent trolls, SCOTUS upholds USPTO’s power to cancel bad patents

In major “revenge porn” ruling, court orders creep to pay $6.4M to ex-girlfriend; the damages were based in part on copyright

Blame Canada (again): US elevates Canada to “priority watch list” in annual IP shaming ritual as countries dig in on NAFTA renegotiation


Canada rolled out specific measures for its national innovation strategy; they include patent pools, funding for IP legal clinics, more judges and IP capacity building

Prof Geist is pleased the innovation plan takes aim at IP abuses like patent trolling and trademark squatting

United States

In a final chapter to the never-ending monkey selfie case, the 9th Circuit confirms affirmed animals can’t claim copyright, and scolded PETA for trying to game “next friend” rules

Jerry Seinfeld rebuffed a producer’s claim he stole the concept for “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” in part by saying the concept is too generic for IP protection

SCOTUS ruled the USPTO must review all claims of a patent in a reconsideration request; the ruling is part of a larger debate over deference to administrative agencies

States suffered a setback in their push to lower off-patent drug prices when the 4th Circuit ruled a Maryland law violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution

BlackBerry has expanded its litigation campaign to include Snapchat, claiming the app’s “display count of unread messages” infringes its patents

Taylor Swift shook off a claim that her lyric about players and haters infringed a 2001 song called “Plays Gon’ Play,” while the judge chided her request for attorneys fees

A man famous for helping reduce e-waste in developing countries is going to prison over a scheme to sells discs of Windows software for used PCs; the court called it a “difficult sentencing”

A spate of works will enter the public domain in the US for the first time in 20 years in January; they include books by Agatha Christie and Sigmund Freud, and films by Charlie Chaplin


A Guardian columnist warns two planned EU copyright measures—IP rights for news snippets and making platforms liable for third party content—are overzealous and will hurt free expression

The ongoing European Digital Single Market copyright negotiations are also raising concerns that IP rights will block researchers ability to mine data


New UN data shows women listed on 31% of global patent filings, which is up from 23% a decade ago; women were especially prominent in South Korea and in the field of biotech

In a blow to Monsanto, the Delhi High Court ruled the company can’t claim patent rights on cotton seeds

China’s Supreme People’s Court says it is expediting plans for a national IP appeals court to better harmonize the outcomes of regional disputes

In a new “prehistory” of intellectual property, a Stanford education prof and leader of the Open Access movement looks at ideas of IP from St. Augustine to John Locke

How should civil law conceptions of abandoned property inform liability for obsolete Apple software and connected objects? The CIPP’s Prof Moyse will explore this May 9 at Hebrew University

This content has been updated on June 29, 2018 at 7:31.