Google this week filed a petition for a rehearing en banc of the
controversial Garcia v Google copyright case. A Ninth
Circuit decision on February 27 shocked copyright practitioners
by ruling the film The Innocence of Muslims violated actor
Cindy Garcia’s copyright and that Google must
remove it from YouTube. (For more details of the case, read our
"Innocence of Muslims" Copyright Decision
In the petition, Google
said the Copyright Office has subsequently held that Garcia has
no separable claim to copyright authorship in her performance
because dramatic performances in motion pictures are part of
the integrated work. The Copyright Office rejected
Garcia’s copyright application on March 6. Google
noted Garcia appeared in Innocence of Muslims for five seconds,
did not produce or write the film and did not direct her
The New York Times, LA
Times and Washington Post have filed an amicus brief in support of
Google, while Facebook, Twitter, IAC and Pinterest have
requested permission to d so.
The Ninth Circuit has given Garcia 21 days to respond to
Google’s petition for a rehearing. In response to
the high-level of interest in the case, the Ninth Circuit has
created a site to notify the public of
procedures and rules for admission to proceedings.
A district court in
Virginia on Wednesday invalidated a
patent for Pfizer’s painkiller
Celebrex. The USPTO granted the firm a reissue patent last year
covering methods of treating osteoarthritis and other approved
condition with celecoxib. This reissued patent was intended to
extend US patent protection for Celebrex to December 2015 from
its original expiration of May this year.
"Pfizer disagrees with the
ruling and will pursue all available remedies, including an
immediate appeal of the court’s decision," the
firm responded in a
A trial was schedule for
next week for infringement of the reissue patent in an action
brought by Pfizer against generic drug companies Teva
Pharmaceuticals, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Watson Laboratories,
Lupin Pharmaceuticals and Apotex. Each of these firms had filed
to market a generic form of celecoxib in the US from May
Sales of Celebrex, the
firm’s fourth-biggest seller, were $2.9 billion
worldwide last year.
Pfizer’s stock was briefly halted
on Wednesday before the announcement. Pfizer is
still adjusting to the loss of about $7 billion in annual sales
of cholesterol-lowering medication Lipitor after generic
competition started in December 2011.
EU cheesed off with US
The EU is looking to clamp down on
the use of names such as Parmesan, feta and
Gorgonzola on cheese made in the US. As part of EU-US free
trade talks in Brussels, the EU has indicated that US-made
cheeses reduce the sales and identity of the European
The EU says Parmesan should only be made in Parma, the place
that gave the cheese its name. Likewise, it says feta should
only be made in Greece because despite not sharing a name with
an actual place
it "is so closely connected to Greece as to be identified as an
inherently Greek product", argues the EU.
US cheese makers say a clamp down would hurt the $4 billion US
domestic cheese industry.
litigation’s slow start to year
The number of patent
litigation case filings so far this year has plummeted 25% in
the first two months for the year, noted the IPWatchdog blog.
January saw 322 new patent
complaints filed, down 34% from 490 in January 2013.
IPWatchdog’s Gene Quinn noted that a source had
indicated that new patent lawsuits in February were also "quite
lower’ than the same period in the previous year.
He said 456 cases were filed in February this year, down 17% on
February 2013’s 548 new cases.
"It is a little early to tell
whether this is a sustainable trend, but at the very least this
has to raise significant questions about whether the current
patent legislation pending in the United States Senate is truly
necessary," noted Quinn.
Gawker hits back at
Tarantino’s furious anger
Gawker has asked a
district court to dismiss Quentin Tarantino’s
lawsuit against it for linking to a leaked copy of his Hateful
Eight script, writes Alli Pyrah.
In a 28-page motion for
dismissal filed this week, the gossip site said
merely linking to a work protected by copyright is not
infringement. It said that contributory infringement is not
possible when the accused has not directly
Gawker also argued that
even if it had infringed, linking to the script was fair use
for the statutorily favoured purpose of reporting
"Gawker made minimal use of the
script—it reproduced no part of it but merely linked
to another publication," said the motion.
"Gawker’s use was, at most, incidentally
commercial and did not usurp the primary market for and purpose
of the script: to make a movie."
Tarantino filed the
complaint with the Los Angeles court in
January, claiming Gawker "crossed the journalistic line by
promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the
entire screenplay illegally".
He said Gawker asked its readers to provide it with a copy of
the work by stating, "If anyone would like to... leak the
script to us, please do so at [email address]."
Last month, the court granted Gawker’s motion
to dismiss the suit against one of its entities, Gawker Media
Group, because it is based in the Cayman Islands.