mark like it’s 1989
Taylor Swift has moved to trade
mark a number of the phrases related to her hit album 1989,
released in October last year,
as reported by Vox. The phrases, which were applied for in
October, include "Party Like It’s 1989", "This
Sick Beat", and "Nice to Meet You. Where You Been?"
If approved by the USPTO, the
trade marks would stop others from using the phrases on items
such as clothing, stickers and bags.
Swift has previously
trade marked her name, initials and signature.
The move caused the internet to
explode with more interest,
cattiness, than is usual for an IP story. It also led to
much coverage confusing the different forms of IP, perhaps best
displayed by UK newspaper The Independent’s
Taylor Swift trademarks 1989 song lyrics including 'this sick
beat' in copyright spree".
Patent reform being readied
Patent reform is
expected to be introduced in the US House of Representatives
reports the IP Watchdog blog. House Judiciary Chairman Bob
Goodlatte (left) is expected to introduce a bill nearly
identical to the Innovation Act, which passed in December 2013
before the Senate failed to pass patent reform.
IP Watchdog reports that a
surprise is that the patent legislation is expected to bypass
the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the
Internet, and proceed directly to the Committee level.
Those with a vested interest in
patent reform passing or now are jostling to be heard.
Last week a "broad coalition
whose members represent the majority of the
nation’s patent holders and inventors" sent a
letter to Representative Goodlatte urging caution. The letter
noted recent developments such as five Supreme Court patent
decisions, the effect of the AIA such as inter partes review
proceedings, the Judicial Conference of the United States
adopting changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to
make patent cases meet the heightened pleading standards
required of all other federal cases, and the FTC and state
attorneys general clamping down on patent demand letters.
"Taken together, these judicial
and administrative developments, and the plunge in the patent
litigation rate, have fundamentally changed the landscape under
which patent legislation should be considered. As Congress
considers potential changes to the patent system that threaten
the constitutionally-guaranteed property rights of innovators,
it must assess the full effects of the AIA, changes to the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the case law developments,
and these administrative developments,"
said the letter.
Additionally, the presidents and
chancellors of the members of the Big Ten conference of
universities have written a letter to Representative Sean
"We urge Congress to take a
cautious approach in this endeavor," the
letter said. "While we support the goal of targeting abuse
of the patent system and especially abusive patent litigation,
we respectfully ask that you preserve the ability of small
businesses and universities to license and enforce their patent
The letter said the Innovation
Act would have made using the courts to enforcing any patent
much more difficult.
"The provisions, especially
those involving 'loser pays’ (automatically
awarding attorney fees to a prevailing party) and
'joinder’, (requiring joinder of any party with a
financial interest in the litigation, such as a university
inventor) as written, would have the effect of making patent
licensing negotiations more complex and likely discourage at
least some of our members from licensing their inventions at
all," it said. "In addition, these provisions would make
litigation so potentially risky that few legitimate patent
holders without deep pockets would dare risk doing so."
In news that has appalled
British ex-pats all over the United States (this author
included), Let’s Buy British Imports has settled
with Hershey’s Company and agreed to stop
importing all Cadbury’s chocolate made overseas,
reports the New York Times.
"It is important for Hershey to
protect its trade mark rights and to prevent consumers from
being confused or misled when they see a product name or
product package that is confusingly similar to a Hershey name
or trade dress," Jeff Beckman, a representative for
Hershey’s, said in an email to the New York
Hersey’s has a
licensing deal to manufacture Cadbury’s chocolate
in the United States, with similar packaging to that in the
The British firmly believe their
chocolate is superior. It has higher fat content. In
Cadbury’s plain chocolate in the UK the first
ingredient listed is milk, whereas in the United States it is
Let’s Buy British
Imports has also agreed to stop importing
non-Cadbury’s products including KitKat bars,
Toffee Crisps, Yorkie bars and Maltesers.
Hershey’s said the Toffee Crisp’s
orange packaging, for example, too closely resembles
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Smith will back down
Singer Sam Smith has settled a
copyright claim with Tom Petty over the similarities between
Smith’s hit Stay With
Me and Petty’s 1989 song I
Won’t Back Down.
The publishers for I
Won’t Back Down, written by Petty and Jeff Lynne,
contacted the publishers for Stay With Me about similarities
heard in the melodies of the choruses of the two
"Not previously familiar with
the 1989 Petty/Lynne song, the writers of Stay With Me listened
to 'I Won’t Back Down’ and
acknowledged the similarity," Smith’s
representatives said in a statement.
"Although the likeness was a
complete coincidence, all involved came to an immediate and
amicable agreement in which Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne are now
credited as co-writers of Stay With Me along with Sam Smith,
James Napier and William Phillips."
It has been reported that Petty
and Lynne will receive 12.5% of royalties from the song.
Petty seemed calm about the
"Let me say I have never had any
hard feelings toward Sam," he
said in a statement. "All my years of songwriting have
shown me these things can happen. Most times you catch it
before it gets out the studio door but in this case it got by.
Sam's people were very understanding of our predicament and we
easily came to an agreement. The word lawsuit was never even
said and was never my intention. And no more was to be said
stupid patent of the month
The Electronic Frontier
Foundation has revealed
its Stupid Patent of the Month – US Patent
8,529,350. The patent is titled "Method and System for
Increased Realism in Video Games" and is owned by White
EFF commented: "Like most
trolls, White Knuckle doesn’t seem to sell or
manufacture anything, but does happen to have this patent on
remotely updating a sports video game based on real-world
events – a player injury or a change in a stadium,
such as new grass. And they used it this month to go after
Electronic Arts, the largest sports video game manufacturer,
for infringement. Specifically, White Knuckle calls out the
last five years of NCAA Football games and the last five years
of Tiger Woods PGA Tour games."
The patent covers a computer
configured to provide a sports video game with "parameters"
that can be updated over the internet.
Also on the blog this week:
Bifurcation and the UPC – comments
Alibaba's counterfeits spat may signal
Meet the new model patent litigator
An insight into IP in Turkey
In our news and analysis this week:
Rules that reflect different
Trade mark guidance from the CJEU in
MCM asks Federal Circuit to find IPR statute
Pillsbury adds four partners in Texas
Petrella may help photographer’s
Air Jordan copyright claim
Myriad settles BRCA litigation following
Federal Circuit ruling
What you need to know about evidence on both
sides of the Atlantic
How to survive multinational patent
A spotlight on parliamentary lobbying
Is China’s utility model system
getting a bad rap?
KIPO looks to reduce examiner workload
USPTO appoints law professor as Detroit
satellite office director
New lawyer for Gorodissky
Valideus launches in US with Neuman
Vietnam: Preliminary injunctions in IP
Considerations on big data licensing
IP Clinic: Should I set up my own IP
Shifting attitudes to injunctions in patent
The Unitary Patent for non-litigators
A mixed year for EU design cases