IP News February 2019

Welcome to IP News This Month, your monthly round-up of intellectual property developments, culled from news reports around the globe. Please send any comments toJeff—and tell your friends to subscribe here

Top 3 Stories

Endgame for EU copyright rules: Europe’s controversial Article 11 (“link tax”) and Article 13 (platform liability) have cleared key procedural hurdles, setting up a final vote for next month

To mark Black History Month, Smithsonian mag recounts the story of the first African American to receive a patent for his dry cleaning technique in 1821

Dance like there’s no IP: Amid a flurry of requests to register Fortnite dances, the U.S. Copyright Office stated that brief routines like the “Carlton Dance” are akin to short words and phrases and not protectable


A pair of patent lawyers warn Google will gobble all the IP for Waterfront Toronto, and claim a public ownership model is needed lest other smart city projects have to pay royalties in the future

Prof Gold and others weigh in on an unpopular NAFTA 2.0 provision that proposes to extend data exclusivity for biologic drugs, making them more expensive

Huawei claims it has reworked controversial research deals with Canadian universities that gave it 100% of IP rights; the new arrangement purports to let the schools own any patents—though skeptics wonder if Huawei will get an exclusive license

United States

Lobbyists from ASCAP and BMI are close to persuading the Justice Department to scrap a long-time consent decree that requires the rights organizations to license their song catalogues to all

SCOTUS wrestled with what becomes of a licensee’s rights when a trademark owner goes bankrupt; Congress has stated the right is forfeit in the case of patents and copyright, but trademark is still an open question

BlackBerry, the one-time mobile phone innovator turned patent plaintiff, sued Twitterover allegations the social network’s messaging infringe its IP

A tech writer worries the growing number of copyright claims for Fortnite dances could threaten online culture and free expression

Profs Samuelson and Nimmer are among those adding to a growing stack of amicus briefs in support of Google’s petition for SCOTUS to review a controversial decision to grant copyright over APIs

The Federal Circuit affirmed that the State of Florida can’t raise sovereign immunityto defeat a defense of patent invalidity— “the Eleventh Amendment applies to suits ‘against’ a state, not suits by a state.”

The Kardashian industrial complex has filed to trademark the names of their kids, including Saint, North, Chicago and True

Politicians and the patent bar once touted “scientific property” for those who discovered laws of nature; the proposal failed after objections from the likes of Einstein and Marie Curie but now, a century later, Senators are pushing a similar measure


The heirs of artists in Cyprus are excited to invoke a droit-de-suite law; the statute has been on the books since 2006 but has been overlooked until an art lawyer rediscovered it

The British Library warns that digital archives of an iconic feminist magazine, many of which are orphan works, will disappear in the event of a hard Brexit; the UK currently relies on EU provisions to display orphan works


A WIPO study founds a surge in AI-related patents; there have been 340,000 such applications since 1956, with more than half of them filed since 2013.

Startups in IP-crazed Australia are complaining that a proposed take-down regime without safe harbours is “all stick and no carrot

This content has been updated on May 3, 2019 at 16:36.