issues Special 301 report
The United States Trade
Representative (USTR) has released its annual review of the
state of intellectual property around the world in
its Special 301
It listed 37 countries on
its priority watch list or its watch list:
List: Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, Ecuador,
India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine,
Barbados, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia,
Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala,
Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, Tajikistan,
Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and
USTR noted the willingness
of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan to work with the United States
on improving their intellectual property rights protection and
enforcement regimes. It will conduct out-of cycle reviews
(OCRs) of each country to evaluate the steps taken to merit
removal from the watch list.
USTR will also conduct an
OCR of Honduras to determine whether to place it on the watch
It has also extended the
OCR of Paraguay to provide time for the conclusion of a
bilateral IPR Memorandum of Understanding.
In addition, Spain is not
listed in the 2015 report but USTR is continuing the OTR of the
country began in 2013.
The US Chamber of
Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center
President and CEO David Hirschmann said the report outlines how
the Trans-Pacific Partnership offers a unique opportunity for
many of the countries included in the report to build a
foundation to help move their economies from being
net-consumers of intellectual property to
attention to persistent IP challenges in India and China is
also welcome," he said. "With an enhanced commitment to IP,
China and India would enjoy earlier access to innovative
products from the US, and encourage the creativity of nearly
three billion citizens whose innovative potential remains
largely untapped. The Special 301 Report and the GIPC Index
have also both identified specific areas including
patentability requirements, use of compulsory licensing, forced
technology transfer and localization, and copyright protection,
among others, where reforms to strengthen IP would deliver
immediate benefits for the US, Indian and Chinese
Get out of the
Grooveshark has shut down.
The music streaming service agreed a deal with record companies
that sued it for hosting pirated music.
Warner Bros, Sony and
Universal Music sued the service in 2011. Grooveshark said it
had not managed to get licences for the copyrighted music
shared on the site. As part of a settlement agreement, it will
cease operations immediately, wipe all of the record
companies’ copyrighted works and hand over
ownership of the website, its mobile apps and IP including
patents and copyrights.
Grooveshark said in a statement on its
website: "We started out nearly 10 years ago
with the goal of helping fans share and discover music. But
despite best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes. We
failed to secure licences from rights holders for the vast
amount of music on the service.
"That was wrong. We
apologise. Without reservation."
Grooveshark had faced
potential damages of up to $736 million in its litigation with
the record companies.
The Recording Industry
Association of America said the deal was an important victory
for artists and the entire music industry. "For too long,
Grooveshark built its business without properly compensating
the artists, songwriters and everyone else who makes great
music possible. This settlement ends a major source of
Hollywood gets tough
The Motion Picture
Association of America has ordered piracy websites to shut down
immediately or face litigation. The association represents the
six largest movie studios.
Piracy news website
thatthe Association’s European
branch has sent letters warning torrent sites to remove
infringing material within 24 hours.
"This Notice requires you to
immediately (within 24 hours) take effective measures to end
and prevent further copyright infringement," TorrentFreak
quoted notice from the MPAA to the websites as saying. "All
opportunities provided by the Website to download, stream or
otherwise obtain access to the Entertainment Content should be
However, TorrentFreak noted that the
threats have not made much impact. Only one small link site has
shut down after receiving the email.
Vuitton’s checkered trademark history
The European Union Court
has declared that Louis Vuitton’s Damier
checkerboard pattern was "invalidly registered due to a lack of
according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Louis Vuitton obtained a
trademark for its brown checkerboard pattern in 1998 and
registered the black and white version in 2008. German retailor
Nanu-Nana filed to have it repealed in 2009. This request was
granted in 2011, with both of the trademarks being overturned.
Louis Vuitton appealed this decision.
On April 21, the European Union
Court upheld OHIM’s appeal board decision. The
First Board of Appeal had said the checkerboard pattern "
was a basic and banal feature composed of very simple elements
and that it was well-known that that feature had been commonly
used with a decorative purpose in relation to various
Eclipse IP wins
Stupid Patent of the Month
The Electronic Frontier
Foundation has awarded Eclipse IP its award for Stupid Patent
of the Month, and said the NPE "casts a shadow over
US Patent No. 9,013,334has the title: Notification systems
and methods that permit change of quantity for delivery and/or
pickup of goods and/or services. It issued on April 21 2015.
The patent claims a method of updating delivery
Eclipse IP owns a patent family
of more than 20 patents, and has filed more than 100 lawsuits.
EFF said these patents claim
various closely related notification systems. "Eclipse
interprets its patents very broadly and has asserted them
against a wide range of mundane business practices," said EFF
in a blog
For example, in January it sent
letterclaiming that Tiger Fitness infringes
one of these patents by sending emails to customers updating
them about the status of orders, and demanding a $45,000
"We think that all of
Eclipse’s patents deserve a stupid patent of the
month award. But the ’334 patent is especially
deserving," said Nazer. "This is because the Patent Office
issued this patent
after a federal court invalidated similar claims
from other patents in the same family. On September 4 2014,
Judge Wu of the Central District of California issued an
orderinvalidating claims from three of
Eclipse’s patents. The court explained that these
patents claim abstract ideas like checking to see if a task has
been completed. Judge Wu applied the Supreme
Court’s recent decision in
Alice v CLS Bank and held the claims invalid under
Section 101 of the Patent Act."
And in the past week the
USPTO issued another patent to Eclipse IP.
Patent No. 9,019,130is almost identical to the
’334 patent, except it deals with updating "time"
information instead of "quantity" information.
on the blog this week:
Download the new
Managing IP app!
Should the EU
courts have an IP tribunal?
Google’s patent purchase
experiment leaves unanswered questions
Managing IP at the
INTA Annual Meeting
In our news and analysis this week:
INTA and WIPO to
collaborate on dispute resolution
Looking to the
future of the profession
Europe’s new IP enforcement
commissioner Focarino to retire in July
introduced in US Senate with bipartisan
Locke Lord adds
partner in DC
orders Millennium Health to pay $8.6m for infringing on
How courts view
surveys in trade mark cases
Tension over EU
General Court reform
Study of PTAB final
decisions suggests death squad perception
applies Nautilus reasonable certainty
Europe Women in Business Law Awards 2015 – shortlist
Supreme Court rules
on TTAB preclusion
vacates Slants ruling
roundtable discussion: Arab trade marks