Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Congratulations Jeremy Phillips!

Jeremy Phillips, the founder of the IP Finance Blog among many other blogs, was awarded the David Goldring Volunteer Award from Marques.  The Marques website describes the award:

David Goldring was instrumental in the launch of MARQUES, having been involved from the very start and participating in the steering committee that discussed the setting up of an association of trade mark owners in 1984.

A UK and European trade mark attorney, he held a law degree from University College, London and originally worked in-house for Allied Lyons, an FMCG company.

In 1991, he became head of UK operations for the Novagraaf Group (J.E. Evans-Jackson & Co) and in 2010, he set up his own firm, Oakleigh IP Services.

David joined the MARQUES Council in 1996 and in June 2003 was appointed Treasurer. He played a pivotal role not just in managing the Association’s finances and budget, but also in planning and researching the Annual Conferences. David was instrumental in almost all aspects of the development of MARQUES and the recognition which MARQUES enjoys today is traceable to his guidance.

David’s attendance and participation at MARQUES was exceptional, only missing one Annual Conference in thirty years. A very down-to-earth man, David particularly enjoyed engaging in debates with established friends and was always keen to welcome new delegates.

David sadly passed away on 28th June 2016. In honour of his dedication to MARQUES and huge contribution to the organisation over the years, the David Goldring Volunteer award was inaugurated and was presented to his wife Delia (Dee) Goldring at the Annual meeting in September 2016 in Villaitana.

Congratulations Jeremy!  We miss you and hope you are enjoying your retirement!  The Marques Class 46 blog has more information as does the JIPLP blog. 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Gaming Amazon Using Fake IP Claims for Competitive Advantage

CNBC has published an interesting article about fake IP claims on Amazon titled, "Amazon was Tricked by Fake Law Firm Into Removing a Hot Product, Costing This Seller $200,000."  The article alleges that competitors of sellers on Amazon are filing fake intellectual property complaints against sellers resulting in Amazon's immediate take-down of their product or service.  These claims appear to be timed before big sales days and at very profitable products.  Interestingly, part of the problem is that Amazon is overwhelmed with complaints and apparently doesn't have the time to review the claims carefully.  My guess is that the software Amazon uses to police and handle claims is not able to discern fake and legitimate complaints well.  Perhaps better software is the answer.  I am hopeful that some Internet companies that rely on software will hire more people instead to handle these complaints.  Because Amazon controls the platform and sellers make so much money using it, I doubt many sellers will push Amazon too hard.  Although continued complaints and lost sales may open the door for a competitor to Amazon, which may be a good thing.  

U.S. Copyright Office Releases Database Concerning Its Views

The U.S. Copyright Office has released a new publicly accessible database of information concerning copyright matters.  The database contains amicus briefs filed by the U.S. Department of Justice with Copyright Office assistance, Register of Copyright Review and Questions concerning Royalty Board decisions, filings by the Copyright Office in civil actions in which they have an interest, and Copyright Office Review Board decisions since April 2016.  The Copyright Office notice concerning the database states:

Under the Copyright Act, the Copyright Office is responsible for advising the courts on issues of copyright law. This advice manifests itself in many forms. For instance, based on advice received from the Office, the Department of Justice files briefs in federal court on behalf of the federal government on issues of copyright law. In addition, the Copyright Office issues binding opinions on questions of copyright law to the Copyright Royalty Board.

These briefs and legal opinions are valuable resources for those seeking to understand the Copyright Office’s view of copyright law. Today, for the first time, the Copyright Office has published at one place on its website an archive of these briefs and legal opinions. The Office plans to periodically update this archive with new documents and any older documents it discovers.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Gaming IP: Smart or Damaging the Entire System

Here is an interesting case of gaming the IP system.  I believe this type of tactic hurts the IP system as whole even if we may disagree about the need for reforms. 

The New York Times has an informative article titled, “How to Protect a Drug Patent?  Give It to a Native American Tribe.”  The article describes how Allergen, the pharmaceutical company:

will pay the [Native American] tribe $13.75 million. In exchange, the tribe will claim sovereign immunity as grounds to dismiss a patent challenge through a unit of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The tribe will lease the patents back to Allergan, and will receive $15 million in annual royalties as long as the patents remain valid.

As discussed in the article, this is apparently a strategy to protect the patents from Inter Partes Review Proceedings at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  As discussed in other posts, public universities have successfully claimed sovereign immunity under the 11th amendment of the U.S. Constitution from IPR Proceedings.  I doubt this strategy will last long.  I can understand how Allergen may think this may play well with the public because Native American tribes will receive much needed funding, but really?  This looks very bad.  Of course, folks are going to start asking what that funding is being used for.  

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

China's Move Toward More Enforcement of IP

As China continues to work toward a services/innovation based economy, China has made several efforts to improve intellectual property enforcement.  Professor V.K. Unni of the Indian Institute of Management of Calcutta has authored a short, concise and interesting paper concerning intellectual property courts and enforcement in China, titled, Specialized Intellectual Property Enforcement in China: Implications for Indian Companies” in  Professor V.K. Unni notes that, in addition to the IP specialized courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, China is creating “four new specialized IP Tribunals in Nanjing, Suzhou, Chengdu and Wuhan.”  He states that these tribunals will have jurisdiction that is regional and will extend beyond city limits.  Notably, he speculates that China may create a “national” appeals court similar to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  Professor V.K. Unni also states that: “It has been reported that during 2015 in the 63 IP disputes filed with the Beijing IP Court where foreigners were complainants, all the cases were won by foreigners.”  Notably, this progress is followed by the recent decisions concerning New Balance and Michael Jordan.
As reported by Bloomberg, China's Ministry of Commerce responded to Trump's action recently by stating that the U.S. should "cherish" its relationship with China and not harm the "business interests" of both countries' companies.