IP News May 2019

Top 3 Stories

The Canadian government has just introduced a bill to replace NAFTA; the bill includes provisions to extend patent and copyright terms, and increase penalties for trademark counterfeiting 

Bitcoin inventor revealed? Two men have each obtained certificates from the Copyright Office in a bid to make the case they created Bitcoin; the Office saysregistration doesn’t establish the author of pseudonymous works

This year’s big rap/country hit “Old Town Road” sprung from a website where producers sell beats for as low as $20, and has given rise to a host of copyright clearance questions


An adjunct prof at UofT praised a government copyright report that favours rights holders, while railing about the “sterile and impractical theorizing of the copyright ‘elite’”

Critics described the report as “a ludicrous fantasy pretending to be copyright reform analysis”

United States

In an antitrust ruling that shook the smartphone industry, a federal judge found chip maker Qualcomm’s patent licensing practices to be an illegal monopoly

SCOTUS affirmed that a debtor can use bankruptcy law to reject a contract, but that this right doesn’t extend to rescinding IP licenses

YouTube creators say the balance between promoting fair use works and protecting copyright has been unfairly tilted by record labels in recent years

Congress is pushing what critics deride as a “bring back the patent trolls” bill, which would instruct the PTO to disregard Section 101 eligibility limits

Conan O’Brien settled a copyright case accusing him of stealing jokes from Twitter; the comedian denied seeing the tweets in question and noted “parallel creation” has become common in the Internet age

A certain hard rock bank sued a Colorado brewery for trademark infringement over a new beer called “Guns N’ Rosé”


The Rollings Stones returned royalties to the composer of “Bittersweet Sympathy” as a goodwill gesture; the Stones had been collecting all income from the song after winning a copyright case over a four-second sample

The EU has refused a UK brewer’s bid to trademark “Brexit beer,” first saying the term was “offensive” and, on appeal, finding it was not distinctive


Quinn Emanuel and a Chinese law firm staged a 3-hour mock patent trial before in a bid to demystify IP proceedings in China, where hearings are closed to the public

A WSJ review of Huawei’s history cites a corporate culture that has a “wide-ranging, brazen, and opportunistic appetite” for IP theft

Nike cancelled the launch of its ‘Puerto Rico’ sneaker after a Panamian indigenous community complained the shoe maker had stolen its traditional design

An Australian pub had to remove an unlicensed Harry Potter exhibit from its roof after a nasty note from Warner Bros studio

This content has been updated on June 18, 2019 at 8:05.