Intellectual Property Roundup

Enforcement News

Apple’s War on Samsung Has Google in Crossfire (The New York Times)
Officially, it’s Apple versus Samsung Electronics in another tech patent face-off in a San Jose courtroom this week, but Google also has a lot at stake in the case.

Hollywood’s Antipiracy Efforts Add New Voice (The New York Times)
Ruth Vitale, executive director of CreativeFuture, is aiming to steer Hollywood’s digital future.

Top EU Court Backs Internet Bootlegging Ruling (The Wall Street Journal)
The European Union’s highest court said that Internet service providers may have to block access to websites that infringe copyrights.

Aereo to Supreme Court: We Have Broken No Law (CNET)
In a brief to the Supreme Court, Aereo says that it has stayed within the realm of U.S. copyright law and that TV broadcasters have no right to royalties from its television streaming.

Policy News

House Republicans Move to Block Internet Management Switch (The Hill)
A group of House Republicans introduced a bill that would prohibit the Obama administration from moving forward with its announced plans to relinquish oversight of the technical side of the Internet’s Web address system.

Pat Leahy’s Patent Reform Bill To Be Taken Up Again This Week (Washington Examiner)
The Senate Judiciary Committee took up the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act, or Senate Bill 1720, but was tabled until the April 3rd meeting.

U.S. Top Court Wary of Major Change to Software Patent Law (Reuters)
U.S. Supreme Court justices stepped gingerly into a raging debate over computer software on Monday, voicing concerns about vaguely defined patents but signaling they would avoid any radical change to existing law.
[Read more...]

SIIA Welcomes DHS Secretary Jeh Johson, Urges Continued Leadership in Protecting America’s IP

SIIA is proud to join the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy in welcoming the appointment of Secretary Jeh Johnson as the Secretary of Homeland Security. We look forward to working with Secretary Johnson and his department, and urge him to continue the Department’s strong position of leadership in protecting America’s intellectual property against online theft.

More than 40 million American jobs depend on intellectual property, and those jobs are threatened by websites offering fake goods under U.S. companies’ brand names. Pirate sites sell copyrighted work, including software, and take advantage of consumers by exposing them to identity theft and financial fraud.

The Department has been effective in its enforcement program administered by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the National IPR Center: Operation in our Sites (OiOS). These efforts have shut down over 2,713 websites, and protected consumers and industries from the threats posed by online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods.

The problem of IP theft continues to plague our country. Secretary Johnson should continue and expand upon the good work that has been done to date, and use all the resources possible to combat this serious issue. SIIA looks forward to working with the Secretary and his department in support of these efforts.

Join the conversation using #SafeSites.


Laura Greenback is communications director at SIIA. Keep up with the SIIA policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy.

Drastic Expansion of Domain Names Pose Risks for Brand Owners; SIIA Launches Alert System to Protect Brands

The domain name world is facing an unprecedented expansion that requires significant attention by virtually all businesses, especially those that are susceptible to copyright and trademark infringement. SIIA has launched a new alert system to help software and content companies navigate the changes to the Internet namespace and protect their brands from cybersquatters and trademark infringers.

Late last year, the international body that oversees the Internet domain name system, called ICANN, began approving the introduction of many new Top Level Domain Names (“TLDs”). Hundreds of TLDs with names like .software, .inc., .app, and .cloud could be added to the 20 original TLDs (like .com, .net, .edu and .org). The registries that operate these domains can accept registrations for second-level domain names. A second-level domain name is the text to the right of the “www” and to the left of the TLD and can be anything — including your company’s valuable trademarks. (For example, in www.siia.net, “siia” is the second-level domain name.)

The expansion of new domain names will likely lead to trademark infringement and cybersquatting, or registering a trademark as a domain name with the bad faith intent of selling it to its rightful owner. These new [gTLDs]  TLDs will not go live until after brand owners are given a brief window to register addresses using their own brands before anyone else can.   To help companies navigate this process, SIIA has created a new domain name alert system for those companies that are interested in knowing what new domain names are approved, when they will go live and how to protect themselves.

The alert system is available at no charge to SIIA members.  Software and digital content non-member companies may also sign up for the alerts, for a fee.  Those who sign up for the alert will receive a weekly email from SIIA notifying them what new TLDs  have been approved by ICANN, and other relevant information.

If you are interested in receiving these alerts please email me.


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.

SIPAlert Daily: Study says be careful of small patterns for big decisions

The opening scene of the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by the great English playwright Tom Stoppard (who also won an Oscar for writing Shakespeare in Love) shows Rosencrantz flipping a coin in the air 104 times—the first 103 come up heads. I hadn’t thought of this scene in a while until a report on NPR this morning by Shankar Vedantam about new research connecting the idea of the gambler’s fallacy—that after, say, a streak of five heads we expect the sixth to be tails—with interviewing job candidates.

“People are averse to judging too many applicants high or low on a single day, which creates a bias against people who happen to show up on days with especially strong applicants,” Uri Simonsohn, of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Francesca Gino, of Harvard Business School, said. “We were able to document this error with experts who have been doing the job for years, day in and day out.”

The research—which you can get to through an HBR blog post—came from analyzing 9,000 interviews involving MBA candidates over the course of a decade. What’s interesting is that it can be helpful to both those hiring and those interviewing—and even applied to other areas like choosing email copy, speakers and freelance employees. The basic idea involves not getting fooled by small patterns.

The researchers discovered that employers who have just interviewed several strong candidates are more likely to view the next applicant negatively—they call this “narrow bracketing.” Having too many poor candidates on the same day can also skew the results. Simonsohn and Gino estimate that interviewers add the equivalent of two years of job experience to the last candidates of a poor group, believing that—like the coin—the next one must be different.

Simonsohn and Gino give three possible reasons for this:
1. People’s belief in the law of the small numbers first put forth by Tversky & Kahneman in 1971; basically, they can’t all be heads.
2. Mental accounting. Simplifying the task of maintaining a given long-term target of positive evaluations by applying [targets] to each “daily account.”
3. We worry about those evaluating us. “How could Ronn not like all these candidates?”

The solution? They recommend having a spreadsheet where you can see all the candidates that you interviewed, giving clarity to your search over time. This would help good candidates who appear earlier and may be forgotten. People debate whether it’s good to interview first or last. (I would have said last.) But this study puts that question more on the quality of those interviewing around you.

I have always wondered about this with film critics, not understanding how they could like a particular film. This research would explain that; attend six or seven films like Identity Thief or 21 and Over, and the next couple you might like no matter what they are. It would seem that publishers would also have to be careful, perhaps in judging email copy or possible speakers. At least there’s testing to validate what you think.

Steve Inskeep, the NPR host, said that this ideology also has broader implications. “Don’t get too focused on the last few things that happened and assume or get caught up on small patterns.”

“And don’t assume that the smaller pattern has to necessarily affect the larger pattern,” Vedantam added. “So if you tossed the coin a million times in a row and it comes down a million times heads, something’s wrong. But if you tossed it and it comes down five times in a row heads, it’s actually not such a big deal.”

Subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily for more specialized publishers industry news.


Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 as managing editor. Follow Ronn on Twitter at @RonnatSIPA

SIIA Welcomes New Commerce Department Report Hailing Intellectual Property’s Contributions to the U.S. Economy

SIIA welcomes the Commerce Department’s groundbreaking report, which shows, from an independent and authoritative body, that Intellectual Property protection is essential to the creation of American jobs and growth of the U.S. economy.

The new report found that 40 million jobs, or 27.7 percent of all jobs, were attributable to the most IP-intensive industries in 2010, while software publishers led the way among IP-intensive service-providers with $22.3 billion in exports in 2007. The Commerce Department’s report underscores the critical importance of adequately and effectively protecting the software and digital content industries, which are key drivers of economic growth and recovery.


Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA.

Copyright protected through ISPs, media, and law this week

Internet Providers to Help Thwart Online Piracy (New York Times)
Internet providers have reached a deal with major entertainment media companies that creates a uniform procedure for notifying customers about repeated instances of digital copyright infringement on their accounts. The system provides for a graduated response of six warnings that start at simple emails and escalate to slowed connections or a block from web surfing.

Judge Rules “Locker” Site is Not Direct Copyright Infringer (Ars Technica)
A federal judge in Miami has dismissed direct copyright infringement charges against online locker service Hotfile, but is allowing the case to proceed over the secondary liability charge to determine whether Hotfile is guilty of inducing its users to infringe copyrights.

Entertainment Companies Create New Website to Promote Anti-Piracy Effort (Los Angeles Times)
A coalition of major media companies and entertainment labor unions has launched a new website called Creative America to educate the public about content theft and promote anti-piracy legislation.

SAP to Argue for New Trial in Oracle Lawsuit (Computerworld)
SAP is seeking a new trial and a reduction of the $1.3 billion jury award it was ordered to pay.

Top IP Headlines

1.) U.S. Anti-Piracy Body Targets Foreign Website Owners for Extradition (The Guardian)
The U.S.’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency says foreign website owners may face extradition to the U.S. on piracy charges, even if the operation has no direct connection to the U.S. A site may be the target of prosecution as long as it ends in .com or .net, or is implicated in the spread of U.S. copyrighted material.

2.) Another Judge Threatens to Dismiss Righthaven Copyright Suits (Vegas Inc)
U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks in Reno is the fifth judge dismissing or threatening to dismiss Righthaven copyright suits, giving Righthaven ten days to show cause why ten lawsuits he is handling should not be dismissed for lack of standing.

3.) New Attacks Launched on Righthaven Litigation Campaign (Vegas Inc)
Three more defendants are fighting back against Righthaven’s litigation campaign, each filing new or updated motions to dismiss.

4.) Alki David Drops CNET Lawsuit; Vows to Bring ‘Expanded’ Action (paidcontent.org)
FilmOn founder Alki David dropped his copyright infringement lawsuit against CBS and its CNET division after it could only produce six works it says was infringed by CNET, but David says other artists and copyright owners will be joining him in an expanded lawsuit.

5.) Apple Receives Mised Ruling on S3 Patent Violation (San Francisco Chronicle)
U.S. International Trade Commission Judge James Gildea said Apple violates two S3 patents, and was found to not have violated two others. The judge’s ruling is subject to review by the ITC, which will decide within 60 days whether or not to review the decision.