Intellectual Property Roundup

Copyright Office Says Aereo Doesn’t Qualify for Compulsory License (Los Angeles Times)
The U.S. Copyright Office said in its opinion that Aereo does not qualify for a compulsory license that would allow it to continue to stream content from local television stations.

UK ISPs to Alert Suspected Pirates (GigaOM)
Major British Internet service providers will start sending out alerts to subscribers they believe to be unlawfully downloading copyrighted material, but there won’t be any consequences beyond that.

Secondhand eBookstore Tom Kabinet Can Stay Online, Dutch Court Rules (GigaOM)
In a significant upset for the European publishing industry, the Amsterdam district court has refused to order the closure of secondhand ebook store Tom Kabinet, saying EU law isn’t clear enough on digital media resale rights to take that step.


Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

Google, Canon, Dropbox and Others Pool Parents to Ward Off Trolls (Re/code)
A coalition of technology companies have agreed to join the License on Transfer network, promising to grant licenses to one another whenever one of those patents is sold, in an attempt to defang patents before they get into the hands of patent trolls.

Copyright Office Ponders Aereo Fallout (The Hill)
The U.S. Copyright Office is asking the public to weigh in on what the Supreme Court’s ruling on streaming TV service Aereo means for the future of copyright law.

Aereo’s Plan C for Cable (ZDNet)
Aereo’s new plan after the Supreme Court ruled its service was illegal is to argue that it is a cable company and as such Section 111 of the Copyright Act grants it the “compulsory licenses” it needs to re-transmit over-the-air television content.

White House Pulls Plug on Controversial Patent Office Nominee (GigaOM)
The Obama Administration has backed away from an unpopular plan to name a Johnson & Johnson executive and patent reform opponent as head of the U.S. Patent Office.

House Panel Approves Bill to Curb Patent Threats (The Hill)
The House Commerce subcommittee approved Chairman Lee Terry’s bill, the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act, a bill aimed at increasing transparency and accuracy in the letters companies send to threaten patent infringement lawsuits.

File-Sharing Lawsuits Are a Waste of Mondy, Says the American Bar Association(VentureBeat)
The American Bar Association is recommending to its members that they stop filing file-sharing lawsuits since they “do not yield significant financial returns.”


Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

Digital Policy Roundup

Data Analytics Event This Thursday

Join SIIA for lunch and exciting technology presentations on how big data is being employed to empower and protect citizens. The lunch workshop, “Big Data at Work for Citizens: Applying Data Analytics for Empowerment and Fraud Prevention,” will take place Thursday, July 17 from 12-1:30pm in Room G11 of the Dirksen Senate office building.RSVP HERE

Executive Director Marjory Blumenthal of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) will open the event with discussion of the Administration and PCAST reports on Big Data and Privacy released in May. In addition, the SIIA workshop will provide for Q&A and discussion about key policy considerations to maximize data-driven innovation. For more information, or to register, click here!

Patent Troll Demand Letter Bill Passes House Subcommittee

Last Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade passed the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act (TROL Act) by a vote of 13-6. The bill attempts to crack down on demand letters sent by patent trolls by giving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to seek penalties when patent licensing demand letters make false or misleading statements. The bill has been widely criticized and even its sponsor, Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska, has conceded that the bill needs to be further amended to address these concerns. The real question seems to be whether amendments can fix the bill or whether it is fatally flawed. Contentious provisions in the bill include provisions that would: (i) create an affirmative defense that applies if the sender can show that the statements made in the letter were made in good faith or that the sender usually sends letters that are not misleading; (ii) preempt state laws dealing with demand letters; (iii) compromise the FTC’s ability to get an injunction under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which allows it to police deceptive business practices.

Potential PTO Director Nominee Withdrawn

Back in late June rumors swirled that the Obama Administration had planned to name Phil Johnson, a pharmaceutical executive for Johnson & Johnson, as head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Given Johnson’s very public stance against patent troll litigation reform legislation, the potential appointment was met with significant criticism. In response, last week, the Administration apparently backtracked on the appointment and has withdrawn Johnson’s name from consideration. It is unclear who or when the Administration will name someone to head the PTO in lieu of Johnson.

European Parliament’s International Trade Committee (INTA) Chairman Pushes for Less Ambitious TTIP

Inside U.S. Trade reports that the new Chair, Bernd Lange (member of the Socialists & Democrats group) would like to conclude TTIP by the end of 2015, not the end of 2014 which was the original plan. He would like a more “classic” agreement focused on tariffs, some non-tariff barriers, and government procurement. Regulatory cooperation and Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) would be left out under this scenario. Lange’s comments illustrate how unpopular trade agreements are on the other side of the Atlantic, as well as in the United States. Regulatory cooperation is arguably the most important component of the TTIP given the ambition, often stated in both the United States and the European Union, for the TTIP to serve as a model for the rest of the world. The role of parliament is significant on trade. In 2012 the parliament rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which the European Commission (the European Union’s executive branch) had invested significant political capital to conclude. As a result, the Commission has to take parliament’s views seriously.


David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy. Follow the SIIA public policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy.

Intellectual Property Roundup

House Commerce Marking Up Rogue Patent Letters Bill (Broadcasting & Cable)
The House Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee has scheduled a July 10 markup for the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act, a bill that would crack down on “illegitimate” patent demand letters.

Singapore Passes Law to Block Illegal Sites (CNET)
The Singapore government has passed an amendment to the country’s Copyright Act that will let content owners compel service providers to block infringing sites.

30,000 ‘Pirates’ Receive Fake ‘Fines’ With Trojans Attached (Torrent Freak)
An estimated 30,000 Internet users have recently received emails containing copyright warnings and demands for cash settlements. These fake emails detail alleged infringements, and contain Trojans waiting to be installed.

China’s ‘Little I Robot’ Prevails Over Apple in Patent Case (The Wall Street Journal)
Apple has suffered a legal setback in China, after a court rejected its claim against a Chinese company related to its voice-controlled assistant, Siri.

Why Apple Losing a Siri Patent Case in China is Great News for IP Holders Everywhere (Forbes)
A look at why Apple’s loss may be good for intellectual property holders everywhere- Chinese courts and Chinese companies are only going to start taking IP protection seriously when they have some of their own to protect.


Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

The Right to Resell eBooks- Major Case Looms in the Netherlands (GigaOM)
A startup called Tom Kabinet opened the virtual doors on its secondhand ebook bookstore, pointing to a 2012 ruling by Europe’s top court regarding reselling licenses for downloadable software. A deadline the publishers set for the site to stop operations has passed, and the case looks set to go to court.

Fox Moves to Use Aereo Ruling Against Dish Streaming Service (The Guardian)
A day after the U.S. Supreme Court decision to outlaw streaming TV service Aereo, U.S. broadcaster Fox has moved to use the ruling to clamp down on another Internet TV service offered by Dish.

‘Failed’ Piracy Letters Should Escalate to Fines & Jail, MP Says (TorrentFreak)
The UK Prime Minister’s IP advisor says VCAP- the Voluntary Copyright Alerts Program- needs to be followed by something more enforceable, including disconnections, fines and jail sentences.

Staunch Opponent of Report Tapped to Head US Patent Office (Ars Technica)
The Obama administration intends to nominate Philip Johnson, the head of intellectual property at Johnson & Johnson, to be the next director of the US Patent and Trademark Office. The selection is a setback for the tech sector and a seeming 180-degree turn on the patent issue from the Obama administration.

Aereo Looks to Congress for a Lifeline (The Washington Post)
Days after Aereo suspended its service in response to a Supreme Court ruling against the company, the service is now calling on consumers to protest the disruption and pressure Congress to consider rewriting the Copyright Act.


Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

Digital Policy Roundup

SIIA Testifies at Joint Congressional Subcommittee Hearing on Student Privacy

SIIA’s Mark MacCarthy delivered testimony on the issue of student data privacy in a joint hearing Wednesday before subcommittees of the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Homeland Security. The hearing titled “How Data Mining Threatens Student Privacy” featured three witnesses in addition to SIIA: Fordham University’s Professor Joel R. Reidenberg, Idaho Department of Education CIO Joyce Popp, and Alliance for Excellent Education’s Digital Learning Director Thomas Murray. SIIA advised committee members that “no new federal legislation is necessary at this time,” citing a three part system of protection – federal law (FERPA, COPPA), contracts, and industry best practices.

Alice Corp v. CLS Bank Ruling

On June 19th, the Supreme Court decided the business method patent case of Alice Corp v. CLS Bank Corp, unanimously holding that implementing an abstract idea through a general purpose computer is Ineligible for patent protection under section 101 if the Patent Act. The case involved a method for reducing the risk that the parties to a transaction will not pay what they owe. The Court has long held that abstract ideas are not patentable subject matter. Writing for the Court, Justice Thomas said that “merely requiring generic computer implementation… fails to transform the abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.” The decision would seem to have limited applicability to software patents as the term “software” does not appear in the decision and Justice Thomas acknowledges in the decision that “many computer-implemented claims are formally addressed to patent-eligible subject matter.”

OECD Committee for Digital Economy Policy (CDEP) Meets June 16-20 in Paris

CDEP is of interest because its work on digital economy issues is influential. For instance, the OECD’s 2011 Internet Policymaking Principles (IPP) and the revised 2013 OECD Privacy Guidelines are documents that are often consulted in other fora and are considered generally helpful by industry, including SIIA. The CDEP also works on Internet governance, big data, measuring the digital economy, the relationship between technology and jobs, and intellectual property. The work on intellectual property is often considered more controversial, and SIIA works to make it balanced.

Last week’s meeting focused particularly on the 2016 OECD Ministerial which will be held in April or May of 2016 in Cancun, Mexico. The Ministerial is important to the head of the organization, Angel Gurria, who is Mexican and reportedly interested in seeking a third term as Secretary-General of the OECD. The CDEP is currently considering “Digital Innovation Transforming our Societies” as the title for the Ministerial. The OECD has ambitious plans for the Ministerial and hopes to attract ministers responsible for labor and education, as well as ministers responsible for the ICT sector. The OECD has five themes for the Ministerial:

  1. Fostering new sources of growth spurred by converging networks, services and data analytics.
  2. Analyzing the effects of the digital economy on growth, jobs and skills.
  3. Developing recommendations and building evidence for Internet policy and governance.
  4. Managing the digital risks and enabling trust for continued prosperity.
  5. Looking to the future.

SIIA will be engaged in advocacy with a view to influencing work documents and the 2016 Ministerial, especially in the areas of growth, jobs and skills: Internet governance; privacy; and data analytics.


David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy. Follow the SIIA public policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy.

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

Lawmakers Blast China, Russia for Piracy (The Hill)
In a report released by the International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus (formerly the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus), the U.S. pointed to policies and enforcement practices in China, Russia, India and Switzerland that they said allow for the theft of U.S. intellectual property.

Justices Deny Patent to Business Methods (The New York Times)
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that basic business methods may not be patented, even if computers are used to apply them. The ruling appeared to be modest and in line with earlier decisions of the court that were wary of stifling innovation.

U.S. Supreme Court Pulls the Plug on Aereo’s Streaming TV Service (NBC)
The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a potentially fatal blow to Aereo, finding that Aereo violates federal copyright law by retransmitting copyrighted programs without paying a copyright fee.

Government Control Emerges as Central Issue at ICANN Meeting (PC World)
More than 3,300 representatives from around the world met in London to discuss what will happen after the U.S. turns over control of ICANN, and government control over the Internet emerged as a central issue.


Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

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