IP News August 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: jeffjohnroberts AT gmail.com. Know someone who likes IP News? Tell them to sign up here!

Top 3 Stories

Who killed the promise doctrine? Prof Gold’s whodunnit exposes how Eli Lilly subverted Canadian patent law with phony legal doctrines and fake news—until it went too far (STAT News)

Trump’s nominee to lead the US Patent Office is Andrei Iancu—a patent attorney, UCLA grad and managing partner of big LA law firm Irell & Mansella (Ars Technica)

Can copyright counter hate memes? Cartoonist, tired of alt-right groups appropriating his “peaceful frog-dude” creation, sues to stop Pepe book aimed at children (Guardian)


United Airlines used copyright and trademark claims to shut down a McGill prof’s “Untied” blog that criticized the company; a judge rejected parody and fair dealing defenses (Untied.com)

Investors high on Canada’s prospects for the global marijuana industry say the country’s companies will thrive “based on intellectual property, technology and logistics” (Globe & Mail)

A Western b-school prof is tracking consumer response to counterfeit goods, and suggesting strategies for firms to protect their IP (Globe & Mail)

United States

The jury in a bitter IP fight over self-driving car technology will hear about Uber’s attempt to hide evidence; the court found Uber “misled the judge time and time again” (NYT)

An appeals court killed off an infamous podcasting patent once and for all (The Verge)

A judge ruled a video that used clips from another YouTube was critical commentary— an important fair use ruling for so-called “reaction videos” (Ars Technica)

“Digital robin hoods” punched a hole in boxing’s money-making plans; millions of people shunned $100 tickets to watch the big fight on social media livestreams  (Hollywood Reporter)

The Mayo Clinic won another big genetics case; a judge ruled a drug firm’s patent for a chronic disease test described a “patent-ineligible law of nature” (Law360)

Crocs suffered another blow to its ugly footwear empire as the USPTO rejected its bid for a design patent (Footwear News)

A shady outfit called World Patent Marketing bilked would-be IP owners out of more than $26 million; it is now subject to an injunction and an asset freeze (Law360)

The inimitable Prof Tushnet offers her usual round of rapidfire blog posts to chronicle the research presented at this year’s IP Scholars conference at Cardozo (Rebecca Tushnet’s 43(B)log)

An amateur musician won an upset trademark victory against POTUS, earning the right to keep the mark “iTrump” for his trumpet-playing app (Trademark Lawyer mag)

Costco must pay $11M of profits and $8 million in punitive damages to Tiffany—which sued it on Valentine’s Day—for using the luxury store’s name to sell its own brand of jewelry (NYT)

Is “google” generic? Two men who think so made a long-shot appeal to SCOTUS, asking it to strip the search giant of its trademark (Fortune)


The UK Supreme Court issued a stern ruling against “grey market” importers, finding they can be subject not just to civil liability but also criminal charges related to counterfeiting (IP Kat)

The Cour de cassation in Paris ruled intermediaries (aka Internet providers) must not only assist in blocking infringing content—but can be asked to pick up the full costs for doing so (IP Kat)


New Balance won a surprise $1.5 million Chinese trademark ruling after a court found shoemakers infringed on its ‘N’ logo; the ruling came three days after the US announced an investigation into China’s IP practices (NYT)

Meanwhile, the Chinese government ratcheted up its response of the IP probe, accusing the US of “sabotaging the international trading system” (Bloomberg)

South Africa introduced a bill to address non-payment of musicians royalties after deciding the issue was the most pressing among a series of findings by a copyright review Commission (All Africa)

This content has been updated on January 14, 2019 at 13:50.