Below is a selection of intellectual property stories
attracting interest on the internet in the past week that were
not covered on www.managingip.com (see
the bottom of this blog post for the top stories published by
Managing IP this week).
Sticking the boot
The English Premier League is to clamp down on fans posting
videos of goals online, according to the BBC. The
2014/15 soccer season starts this weekend.
Websites such as Vine, which hosts six-second videos, have
made it easier for fans to share videos recorded from
television. The Premier League has said that tweeting
copyrighted material is illegal, however.
In an interview with
Newsbeat, Dan Johnson, director of communications at the
Premier League, said: "It's a breach of copyright and we would
discourage fans from doing it, we're developing technologies
like gif crawlers, Vine crawlers, working with Twitter to look
to curtail this kind of activity."
He added: "I know it sounds
as if we're killjoys but we have to protect our intellectual
Sky Sports and BT Sport paid £3 billion for the television
rights for Premier League football. Newspaper titles The Sun
and The Times have the online rights.
The issue is thorny,
however, as noted in a post by Eleonora Rosati
on the IPKat blog.
She said the 2011 decision of the Court of Justice of the
European Union held that the Premier League cannot claim
copyright in Premier League matches themselves because they
cannot be classified as works. She said the question becomes
whether a video extract is protected by copyright and whether
unauthorised use may be permitted under the UK copyright
exception for news reporting.
"Overall, despite being
arguable that copyright subsists in goal videos, it would seem
equally arguable that those uploading them onto social media
might be able to invoke the news reporting exception
successfully, of course provided that their dealing is fair,
ie limited to reporting the newsworthy
moment, which is the scoring of the goal, and not
other moments," said Rosati.
Federal Circuit victory
The Federal Circuit
has overturned a $30.5 million
patent infringement verdict against Google and
others, a verdict that sent the share price of patent licensing
firm Vringo down more than 70%. Vringo’s share
price closed yesterday at $3.15, but was trading at $0.88 by
3.35pm today after the verdict was announced.
The Federal Circuit found that the two patents in the case
were invalid. They related to a method for filtering internet
search results that Vringo claims was being infringed by
Google’s AdWords, AdSense for Search and AdSense
for Mobile Search systems.
In November 2012, a jury found that the Google defendants
had infringed all asserted claims and awarded damages of $30.5
million. The Federal Circuit today overturned this in a 2-1
In the decision, the Federal Circuit said: "The Google
Defendants argue that I/P Engine’s claimed
invention is obvious as a matter of law because it simply
combines content-based and collaborative filtering, two
information filtering methods that were well-known in the art.
They assert, moreover, that the prior art contained explicit
statements describing the advantages of combining these two
filtering techniques, and that it would have been obvious to
include a user’s query in the filtering process.
See Br. of Defendants-Appellants at 35-38.
"We agree and hold that no reasonable jury could conclude
said in a statement
it was "evaluating its options with respect to the case." The
New York-based company can ask the Federal Circuit panel to
reconsider its decision, have the case heard before all active
judges, or appeal to the Supreme Court.
Redskins call challenged
US NFL team the Washington Redskins
filed a lawsuit in a district
court this week in a bid to overturn the USPTO
cancelling six of its trade marks that include the term
The Redskins is suing five Native Americans that in June
won a case to have the trade
marks cancelled because they are disparaging.
"We believe that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board
ignored both federal case law and the weight of the evidence,
and we look forward to having a federal court review this
obviously flawed decision," said Bob Raskopf, trade mark
attorney for the Washington Redskins,
in a statement.
complaint was filed in the District Court for the Eastern
District of Virginia. It also asks the federal court to
consider Constitutional issues such as whether the Trademark
Trial and Appeal Board improperly penalised the Washington
Redskins based on the content of the team’s speech
in violation of the First Amendment. The complaint also alleges
that the team has been unfairly deprived of its valuable and
long-held intellectual property rights in violation of the
Washington Redskins look forward to all of the issues in the
case being heard in federal court under the federal rules of
evidence. The team is optimistic that the court will correctly
and carefully evaluate the proofs, listen to the arguments, and
confirm the validity of the Washington Redskins’
federal trademark registrations, just as another federal court
has already found in a virtually identical case," Raskopf
Working from home?
The USPTO has been receiving
some bad press recently. This trend continued this week
a report in the Washington
Post on an internal investigation began two years
ago of the USPTO’s award-winning telework
According to the Post, some patent examiners "repeatedly
lied about the hours they were putting in, and many were
receiving bonuses for work they didn’t do".
Further, supervisors with evidence of fraud requesting to have
the employee’s computer records pulled "were
rebuffed by top agency officials, ensuring that few cheaters
were disciplined", according to the Post.
The investigators concluded that oversight of the telework
programme was "completely ineffective".
The Post alleges that the USPTO left out the most damaging
revelations when it gave its findings to Commerce Department
Inspector General Todd Zinser last summer.
"What we hoped to see was an unfiltered response," said
Zinser. "That’s not what this was.
It’s a lot less sensational. The true extent of
the problem was not being conveyed to us."
The Post obtained a copy of the original report, which was
twice as long as the 16 page document submitted. The Post
quotes USPTO chief communications officer Todd Elmer calling
the original report a "rough draft for discussion purposes"
that was an "initial attempt to describe the full investigation
About 3,800 patent examiners work full time from home, with
an addition 2,700 teleworking on a part time.
Carolina tackles trolls
North Carolina governor Pat McCrory (right)
has signed patent troll
legislation into law. SB 648
is described by
McCrory’s office as "a bill creating
transparency in contracts between the Attorney General and
private attorneys, to prevent the abuse of patents and
The NC Commerce Protection Act of 2014
makes it unlawful to make a
patent infringement claim in bad faith. It gives
jurisdiction to a state court over a person or business that
sends a demand letter to a state-based company.
It also provides courts specific factors to consider when
evaluating a potentially abusive claim such as whether a
claimant has filed similar claims against multiple targets or
demanded payment by unreasonable deadlines.
Lastly, it allows patent abuse victims to recover some cost
by seeking equitable relief, damages and
attorneys’ fees. If a patent troll is unable to
pay the court may join an interested party such a shell
company’s parent and order it to pay instead.
blog posts published this week:
in-house counsel think about the Unitary Patent &
Also on Managing IP this week (subscription or trial needed for full
innumerable lives of a patent in Italy
explains how it will fight UK plain packaging
Brian Hinman, chief IP officer, Royal
hires IP trial lawyer in New York
adds four litigators
proceedings catching on with pharma
setback against ZTE in India tussle
acquires Landon IP
expands in Munich
up for Women’s Leadership Forum in Silicon
private investigators receive prison