The biggest news this week was the White House confirming
the nomination of Michelle Lee as director of the USPTO and
oral arguments in Teva v Sandoz at the Supreme Court. Below
is a selection of other IP stories making the news.
Alice puts business
method patents in chains
The impact that the Supreme Court’s Alice v
CLS decision is having on patent applications
was revealed this week by Vox, which said the USPTO is now
rejecting a lot more business method patents.
Vox cited a study of the number of decisions that rejected
applications based on Section 101. It said that the rejection
rate for business method art unit (AU) patents had risen to 78%
in July, up from only 24% in January. In contrast AUs that
focused on other kinds of technologies saw little change in
Business method patents are more than 12 times more likely
to lead to lawsuits than other types of patents, said Vox.
It is not only patent prosecution that is feeling big
effects from Alice. Lex Machina recently reported that patent
were down 40% in September compared with the same period
last year. Mark Lemley, law professor at Stanford, believes
this is because Alice is deterring lawsuit filing.
From the basketball
court to district court
Converse this week
sued 31 companies for trade mark infringement of elements
of its distinctive shoe with a rubber-toe front and star.
It filed litigation against Wal-Mart, Ralph Lauren, Ed Hardy
and others in the Eastern District of New York. It has also
an International Trade Commission complaint to try to ban
imports and sales of the shoes.
The footwear maker introduced the All Star in 1917. The
shoes are known as Chucks because they were promoted by
basketball player Chuck Taylor in the 1920s. Converse says it
has sold a billion pairs of the shoes worldwide.
Nike bought Converse in 2003, after it had had filed for
bankruptcy. Converse accounted for $1.7 billion of
Nike’s roughly $28 billion in sales in the 2014
Professor Polk Wagner, from the University of Pennsylvania Law
School, told the BBC
"it is notoriously difficult to win a trademark case in the
fashion context". He added: "It's certainly not a slam-dunk on
the part of the plaintiffs."
Patent reform back on
The Washington Post
ran a piece this
week assessing how technology policy would be
affected if Republicans won the Senate in the midterm elections
next month. For IP, the short answer is: it is extremely likely
that patent reform will come back on the agenda, but copyright
reform has no chance.
"A Republican majority, say many observers, could mean
near-instant movement on legislation aimed at so-called patent
trolls who hold patents solely so they can sue potential
infringers," said the Post.
Despite many Congressional hearing on copyright, the Post
did not rate the chance of any legislation. "Those who track
the issue says that nothing much is likely to happen on
copyright law in the next Congress – no matter who
controls the Senate," said the Post, pointing to the pushback
against the 2011 Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the
Protect Intellectual Property Act in the Senate.
The article noted, however, that a Republican-led Senate
could make it easier to pass free-trade agreements.
Mmm, one million donuts
Domain registry Donuts this week revealed it had
registered its one millionth internet address, making it
the first new gTLD provider to reach that landmark.
Heavenly.COFFEE became the one millionth address registered
across all Donuts’ gTLDs. The registration comes
less than 10 months after Donuts opened its first new gTLDs for
general registration in January.
The new gTLD programme now tallies almost 2.7 million
registrations globally. A recent forecast by the investment
banking firm B Riley & Co projected that new gTLD
registrations could top 20 million by 2016, accounting for 15%
of the worldwide market.
Not glad to see the back of him
The New Yorker this week reported on a dispute over an image
of singer Rod Stewart in
a lengthy piece on copyright.
Bonnie Schiffman took a picture of the back of
Stewart’s head in 1981, which was later used on
the cover the Storyteller album in 1989. A different picture of
the back of Stewart’s head is now being used to
promote his Las Vegas dates and world tour. Schiffman is suing,
claiming that the resemblance between the new photo and hers is
substantially similar. She is asking for $2.5 million in
The article also included a novel, but unconvincing,
argument about copyright issues related to websites. Author
Louis Menand said that if someone had reprinted his article in
a book without permission almost all people would agree that it
is copyright infringement. But he points out that if someone
linked to his story from another website no one has a problem
with that. In addition, Menand says a common practice for some
websites is to import content from another website without
changing the URL. This, he says, is just like reprinting an
article in a book without permission.
have questioned the use of links that import content from
another Web site without changing the URL, a practice known as
'framing’. But it’s hard to see much
difference. Either way, when you’re reading a
linked page, you may still be 'at’
awesomestuff.com, as clicking the back button on your browser
can instantly confirm. Effectively, awesomestuff.com has stolen
content from newyorker.com, just as the compiler of 'Most
Thoughtful Essays’ stole content from me. The
folks at awesomestuff.com and their VC backers are attracting
traffic to their Web site, with its many banner ads for awesome
stuff, using material created by other people."
Also on the blog this week:
The value of an
open source dividend
Managing IP Survey
Two pharma patent
questions that warrant further discussion
world too black and white?
in our news and analysis:
Last-minute submissions push PTAB comment
total to 37
How to encourage privacy compliance
Lee nomination as
USPTO director confirmed
Initiative formed to file amicus briefs, petition for IPRs,
Brad Newberg joins
McGuireWoods from Reed Smith
arguments in Myriad may worry biotech
three-partner team in California
Kramer Levin hires
pharma patent litigator
further patent litigators
Rouse returns to IP
The seven reasons
why the UK needs a new Copyright Act
adviser sets out recommendations for IP
They tried to make
me go to PTAB…