IP News December 2018

Happy New Year, readers! Here’s this year’s final installment of IP News This Month. Thanks as always for reading, and here’s wishing you a great 2019 from everyone at CIPP.  We’ll be back in January. Please tell your friends to subscribe here!

Top 3 Stories

The year 2019 brings a book bonanza to the U.S. as works enter the public domainfor the first time in 20 years; the copyright-free goodies include works by Agatha Christie, Khalil Gibran and Joseph Conrad

Dancing up an IP storm: Fortnite craze triggers a wave of novel copyright and right-of-publicity lawsuits, which allege the video game maker stole dance moves

Petition calls on Disney to surrender its trademark to “Hakuna Matata,” which the studio popularized with the Lion King—Swahilis describe the mark as “colonialism” and “robbery”


Concerns over data privacy and IP ownership are making citizens in Toronto uneasy over plans for Google’s Sidewalk Labs to develop a waterfront neighborhood

The University of Waterloo settled a messy patent lawsuit with a startup over a battery invention developed on its campus

CIPP alum Elisa Henry provides a welcome dose of IP commonsense to a rambling National Post article about Canada’s alleged patent failings

United States

Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren has called for the government to produce off-patent drugs when the market falls short; skeptics doubt this would work

Media outlets’ use of a social media photo of Donald Trump crashing a wedding did not amount to fair use said a judge

A lawyer for open source software firm Red Hat describes how more tech companies are contributing their patents to a cross-licensing network to neutralize trolls

Athlete tattoos have become a copyright headache in video games where, unlike TV or magazine covers, it’s unclear there’s an implied license to reproduce them


Google says there is a “very real possibility” it will discontinue Google News in EU countries if lawmakers implement Article 11 to create neighbouring rights—aka a link tax— for news snippets

Meanwhile, the spring of 2019 will bring the finale of the EU Article 13 battle between YouTube and copyright owners over a proposed upload filter


China’s highest court will begin hearing IP cases in 2019; until now, disputes have been handled by provincial courts

Apple lost a key patent ruling to chip maker Qualcomm that threatens to halt iPhone sales in China; the stakes may be enormous for phone makers around the world

Australia denounced an “audacious” Chinese campaign to steal IP on an industrial scale

UNESCO awarded grants to Rwanda, Haiti and others that aim to professionalize IP management in their countries’ culture sectors

A New Zealand politician employed a Facebook-like thumbs down image on a billboard; rivals say this amounts to a copyright and trademark violation

Australia may introduce a trademark to designate bona fide aboriginal art after a review found that 80% of First Nations art sold in the country is fake

This content has been updated on February 28, 2019 at 18:31.