SIIA Applauds Move to Bring Permanent Leadership to PTO with Nomination of Michelle Lee

SIIA today welcomed the nomination of Michelle Lee to be the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). SIIA Vice President of Public Policy Mark MacCarthy issued the following statement:

“We are very thankful that the PTO is now likely to get permanent leadership, which is essential to meeting the multitude of challenges facing the business community.  Intellectual property issues are increasingly vital to the software and digital content industries, and critical to making certain America continues to be the world’s leading innovator. Lee is a well-regarded IP professional who will bring intelligence and needed leadership to this important role. We look forward to her successful confirmation by the Senate and to working closely with her in her new position.”


Sabrina Eyob is the Public Policy Coordinator at SIIA. Follow the Policy team on Twitter @SIIAPolicy.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Google Asks Supreme Court to Decide Oracle Copyright Fight (Reuters)
Google has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to wade into contentious litigation against Oracle Corp, arguing that the high court must act to protect innovation in high tech.

Anti-Piracy Group Plans to Block in Excess of 100 Sites (Torrent Freak)
An anti-piracy outfit ‘blockaded’ by the Pirate Party last week in Austria has revealed its expanded plans for website blocking. The Hollywood-affiliated group says it will strive for blocks of hundreds of sites while applying to the court for more effective blocking technical solutions.

YouTube’s Ads on Unauthorized Content Pay Off (Financial Times)
YouTube has hit $1 billion in payments to companies through Content ID, a program that scans user-generated content for copyright infringement and sells advertising on those clips as a way to monetize unauthorized use of the copyrighted material.

Patent Trolling Pays (GigaOM)
Since 2010, non-practicing entities (or patent trolls), have made three times as much money in court as real companies, according to recently published statistics.

Obama Urges Patent Reform (The Hill)
Obama stated that patent “trolls” are one of the “biggest problems” the administration is targeting, indicating the White House is still interested in moving forward with patent reform.

Sen. Cornyn: We Need to Limit the Business of ‘Frivolous’ Patent Litigation(VentureBeat)
Sen. John Cornyn says introducing new patent reform legislation is high on his agenda when a new body of Congress convenes in 2015.


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

Google Removes News Snippets From German Search Results (Computerworld)
In a move to minimize legal risks, Google has stopped showing news snippets and thumbnails for some well-known German news sites in search results.

Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? (Slate)
Hasbro’s recent crackdown on the dissemination and use of its Scrabble word lists raises an intriguing legal question: Can a list of words be copyrighted?

Warner Bros. Anti-Piracy Methods Revealed in Court Docs (Slash Gear)
Unsealed court documents have revealed how Warner Bros. goes about finding infringing content and issuing takedown notices.

Supreme Court Won’t Hear Superman Heirs’ Copyright Case (Ars Technica)
The Supreme Court declined to hear the petition filed by Superman heirs’ lawyers. That leaves standing a ruling form the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and the heirs won’t be allowed to wrest the copyright away.

Keith Kupferschmid


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

Adobe to Shut China R&D as Sour Business Climate Bites (Reuters)
Computer software maker Adobe Systems Inc. will shut its Chinese research and development arm, as U.S. technology firms face an increasingly hostile government in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Google Fires Back at News Corp; Defends Search, Piracy Practices (Reuters)
Google defended itself against News Corp’s statement calling Google a platform for piracy and an “unaccountable bureaucracy.”

Judge Rules Against Grooveshark in Copyright Infringement Case (The New York Times)
A federal judge in New York ruled that Grooveshark, an online music service long vilified by the major record companies, infringed on thousands of their copyrights by hosting music files without permission and making millions of songs available for streaming.

Pirate Bay Goes to College: Free Textbook Torrent Downloads Soar Amid Rising Costs (International Business Times)
American college students struggling to afford textbooks are sharing copies of their books illegally on TextbookNova, the Pirate Bay and some of the same torrent sites that crippled the music industry. Many of the most popular books are available for free, with a correlation between the number of downloaders and the price of the book.

Parody Copyright Laws in UK Set to Come Into Effect (BBC)
Changes to UK legislation are to come into force this week allowing the parody of copyrighted works, as long as it is fair and does not compete with the original version.


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

Online Piracy Thrives in Internet Cloud (MSN)
A recent study says online piracy of music, films and other content has moved to the Internet cloud, reaping big profits for digital thieves.

New Bill Would Protect the Market for Used High-Tech Goods (The Los Angeles Times)
U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold has introduced a bill named “You Own Devices Act,” a bill that aims to restore the first-sale rights for software-powered devices.

Anti-Piracy Police Begin Targeting Ebook Pirates (Torrent Freak)
PIPCU, the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit, has taken down their first ebook-related domain, OnRead.

Court Says SiriusXM Must Pay Turtles For Pre-1972 Recordings (GigaOM)
A federal judge in Los Angeles sided with sixties band The Turtles in a closely watched copyright case that has big economic implications for SiriusXM and other digital radio providers like Pandora.

Head of U.S. Copyright Office Will Tell Lawmakers Office is Understaffed (Roll Call)
The U.S. Copyright Office is understaffed and could face additional strains in the future, according to testimony by the head of the U.S. Copyright Office.


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

Groundbreaking Study of U.S. Software Industry Shows Wide-Ranging Impact on GDP, Productivity, Exports and Jobs

At a lunch time event Wednesday – featuring an armchair discussion with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews – SIIA released the results of a comprehensivestudy of the economic impact of the U.S. software industry. The software industry has had a substantial, transformative impact on the American economy. Regarded as an enabling technology in use by virtually all sectors, software has become a critical driver of productivity, growth and employment. Disputing claims that automation hurts jobs, the SIIA analysis found that software contributes to job growth in three critical ways.

To produceThe U.S. Software Industry: An Engine for Economic Growth and Employment, SIIA worked with independent economic analysis firm Sonecon and its chairman and co-founder Robert Shapiro, former undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs under President Bill Clinton. The study represents a rigorous empirical analysis of the economic effects arising from the diffusion of software across U.S. businesses and households.

To read the executive summary, click here. To access a brief power point presentation of Shapiro’s findings, click here.

SIIA Applauds Passage of H.R. 5233, the Trade Secrets Protection Act

Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 5233, the “Trade Secrets Protection Act of 2014,” and voted to favorably report it to the House of Representatives. SIIA released a press statement in favor of the bill’s passage. . H.R. 5233 would establish a cause of action in federal court by an owner of a trade secret who is injured by the misappropriation of a trade secret that is related to a product or service used in or intended for use in the interstate or foreign commerce. During the markup, a few members questioned whether legislation was needed since almost all states provide protection for trade secrets under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, but otherwise there was broad bipartisan support for the measure. At the conclusion of Wednesday’s markup Chairman Goodlatte noted that the bill will not be taken up in the House until sometime during the post-elections “lame duck” session. The bill and an amendment adopted during the markup will eventually be found here.

SIIA Participates in FTC Big Data Workshop

On Sept. 15, SIIA VP of Public Policy, Mark MacCarthy, participated in the Federal Trade Commission’s workshop: Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion? Speeches by FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and FTC Commissioner Julie Brill provided an overview of the key objectives of the FTC in this area. Particularly they are assessing current laws and potential gaps in the law that could allow “big data” or analytics to lead to discrimination or “digital redlining.” To that end, Commissioner Brill reiterated her challenge to “the data broker industry,” urging them to “take stronger, proactive steps right now to address the potential impact of their products that profile consumers by race, ethnicity or other sensitive classifications, or that are proxies for such sensitive classifications.” In particular she urged data providers to investigate how their clients are using data and stop doing business with those whose use is “inappropriate.” In addition to seeking to prevent discrimination, the FTC is encouraging industry to take affirmative steps to utilize data and technology to empower the underserved.

Data is increasingly a strategic, core component of SIIA members’ business models, and many of these companies are leaders in providing data analytics and data-driven innovation. Therefore, SIIA has been a strong proponent policies that data-driven innovation. Prior to the FTC workshop, SIIA hosted a workshop on Capitol Hill highlighting the uses of data and data analytics for empowerment and risk mitigation.

In conjunction with the workshop, the FTC is accepting additional comments. SIIA will work with members to submit comments on this important issue on behalf of members and the industry.

Outgoing European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes Delivers Swansong Speech at Georgetown University

Kroes spoke of her hope for a transatlantic digital single market. The Vice-President delivered a mostly positive upbeat talk, although she did mention the surveillance revelations. Kroes emphasized that for a transatlantic digital market to flourish, online transactions must be secure, and that networks and systems must be protected from attack. She supported the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The Commission official added that within the EU alone, a digital single market could be worth 4% of GDP, i.e. $1500 per EU citizen. She emphasized the importance of an open Internet. A recurring theme in her speech was that ICT was not a purely American invention. Kroes said: “25 years ago, a network first devised for the U.S. military, benefited from protocols developed by a British scientist working in Switzerland. Today, the Internet is now used by 3 billion people across the world, the platform for billions of dollars of trade.”


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

Software Patents Are Crumbling, Thanks to the Supreme Court (Vox)
The practical consequences of the Supreme Court’s June ruling on the patentability of software is now coming to light as a series of decisions from lower courts show the pendulum of patent law is now swinging in an anti-patent direction.

HarperCollins Now Uses Invisible Watermarks to Combat Ebook Piracy (Slash Gear)
HarperCollins’ new tool to battle piracy involves using Digimark technology to tag their ebooks with an invisible and traceable watermark.

Alibaba Has a Major Counterfeit Problem (CNN)
Alibaba has been on a mission to rid its virtual shopping malls of counterfeit goods as it cleans house before a massive initial public offering, but industry experts and company executives say that fades skill flourish on Alibaba’s popular platforms.

Jury Finds CBS Infringes Podcasting Patent, Awards $1.3 Million (Ars Technica)
A jury in Texas found the infamous “podcasting patent” was infringed by CBS’s website and said the TV network should pay $1.3 million to patent holder Personal Audio LLC. The verdict form shows the jury found all four claims of the patent infringed, but awarded substantially less than what Personal Audio was seeking.

UK Copyright Cops Crush 34 Pirates and 3,000 Sites in First Year (Recombu)
The City of London Police’s anti-piracy squad PIPCU has arrested 34 people and shut down nearly 3,000 illegal file-sharing sites in its first year.


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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