The two biggest stories this week were the Supreme Court oral arguments in the closely-watched ABC v Aereo copyright case and the Federal Circuit’s opinion in Apple v Motorola released yesterday. You can read our analysis of the Aereo hearing and see our Storify post rounding up the best reactions from the internet here. Watch out on www.managingip.com for analysis of the Apple opinion next week.
Below is a selection of intellectual property stories attracting attention 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).
This week saw an unusual amount of US patent infringement lawsuits filed. There were almost 180 on April 23 alone, more than five times the daily average, according to the Patently O blog.
The reason? It appears to be a proposed amendment to Senate patent reform circulated last weekend that included a clause for retroactive application that named April 24 as the effective date of the fee shifting provisions.
The lighter way to enjoy IP disputes
Mars is suing Hershey’s for trade mark infringement over the US confectionary maker’s Malteser product. Mars says the brand is too close to its Maltesers brand.
Mars contends in its complaint that Hershey has “tricked customers in the United States into buying fake Malteser candy instead of real Mars’ Maltesers candy. Hershey’s conduct is irreparably injuring and hampering Mars’ ability to sell Maltesers candy in the United States.”
Hersey’s acquired the trade mark in 1998 from a Dutch company that had bought it from the original registrant Leaf Corp. Leaf was given the mark more than 30 years after Mars started selling Maltesers. Mars settled with Leaf over the mark in 1994.
Mars said Hersey’s has maintained the Malteser mark for the sole purpose of pushing Maltesers out of the market in favour of the Hershey’s brand Whoppers, which are also chocolate covered malt balls.
Google buys Foxconn patents
Taiwan-based Foxconn, which puts together gadgets for companies including Apple, has sold some of its communication technology patents to Google, according to the Wall Street Journal. No details of the number of patents or the price paid for them were given.
The Journal said Foxconn has been quietly growing its patent portfolio. It has applied for 128,400 patents and has been granted more than 64,300 patents world-wide.Foxconn sold head-mounted display technology patents to Google for an unspecified amount last year, and was one of the top 20 US patent owners in 2013, said the Journal.
Tarantino lawsuit dismissed
Movie director Quentin Tarantino’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker Media for linking to a story that published the screenplay for unmade movie The Hateful Eight has been dismissed by a federal judge.
Gawker’s motion to dismiss the suit was granted by US District Court Judge John Walter. However, he gave Tarantino’s legal team until May 1 to amend and re-file the contributory copyright complaint.
Tarantino sued the media company in January after it posted links to third-party websites hosting the script.
Tarantino initially said he would no longer make the movie because it had been leaked. However, he held a public reading of it last weekend and has said he is still working on the script.
Pfizer slams India’s “destructive IP policy”
US pharmaceutical company Pfizer has written a letter to the Indian ambassador to the US complaining about the country’s intellectual property rights regime, according to The Economic Times.
In a letter to S Jaishankar, the firm urged India to “shift from using destructive IP policy as an access strategy”. Pfizer said a number of regulatory and legal challenges have “frayed relations between the India government and global pharmaceutical firms”.
Dogfight over “Leg Humper”
Two US brewers are squaring up over the rights to the “Leg Humper” name. Ohio-based Thirsty Dog Brewing Company sells its "Old Leghumper," in bottles with a label depicting a dog looking up at legs of three women. The firm has had a trade mark on the beer name for more than 15 years.
Arizona-based Sleepy Dog Brewery, established in 2009, started selling a beer called “Leg Humper” also featuring a label depicting a dog between a woman’s legs.
In a trade mark lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday, Thirsty Dog's lawyers said Sleepy Dog willfully and intentionally copied Thirsty Dog’s “Old Leghumper”.
Managing IP published the following stories this week, available to subscribers and trialists:
From the blog:
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