Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

U.S. Patent Office Rejects Apple Autocomplete Patent Used Against Samsung (CNET)
While the Apple v. Samsung patent battle may have ended overseas, it is still going strong in the U.S. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected several claims of one of the patents Apple wielded against Samsung in the most recent patent-infringement trial.

Suit Against Alibaba Opens Window on Issue of Counterfeiting (The Wall Street Journal)
A lawsuit filed and then withdrawn last month against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. by several of the world’s leading luxury brands provides extensive details about the issue of allegedly counterfeit goods on the Chinese Internet company’s shopping platforms.

Wasn’t Cloud supposed to End Shelfware? (GigaOM)
One of the supposed advantages of cloud computing over an on-premises deployment model was that you would only buy what you need and pay for what you use. But it turns out customers are still buying more cloud resources than they need and ending up with shelfware, only in someone else’s cloud.

Japanese Manga, Anime Firms Debut Latest Antipiracy Project (Publishers Weekly)
A consortium of Japanese government organizations, manga publishers and anime production and game companies announced that they have formed the Manga-Anime Guardians Project, a combined effort to crack down on online piracy.

Twitch to Mute Copyrighted Music in Video-On-Demand (CNET)
Video-game streaming service Twitch, which is the subject of rumors about a Google takeover, announced a new copyright protection policy that threatens to muffle audio on much of its users’ Video on Demand content.

Photographer Sues Textbook Company for Copyright Infringement (The Pennsylvania Record)
A New York City-based photographer claims Houghton Mifflin Harcourt infringed on his copyrights with photos reprinted in millions of copies of the company’s books.

Australia Eyes Copyright Act Amendment to Curb Downloading (Intellectual Property Watch)
The Australian government is seeking to amend its copyright act to address online copyright infringement.


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

Microsoft Sues Samsung Over Android Royalty Payments (The New York Times)
In the lawsuit, Microsoft said that Samsung stopped making royalty payments on time last fall and is refusing to pay interest for the delay, as required by their 2011 agreement, which related to Samsung’s use of Microsoft’s intellectual property in its Android smartphones and tablets.

Apple and Samsung Drop Patent Fights Outside the United States (The New York Times)
Apple and Samsung Electronics on Tuesday said they had agreed to drop patent litigation against each other in countries outside the United States, including Germany, Australia and Japan.

Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads on Illegal Sites (BBC News)
The City of London police have started placing banner advertisements on websites believed to be offering pirated content illegally.

UK Adopts Private Copying Exception As Some Rightholders Mull Legal Action (Intellectual Property Watch)
A new United Kingdom copyright exception for private copying cleared Parliament on 29 July and will become law in October.

Lawsuit Threatens to Break New Ground on the GPL and Software Licensing Issues (Opensource.com)
When Versata Software sued Ameriprise Financial Services for breaching its software license, it unwittingly unearthed a GPL violation of its own and touched off another lawsuit that could prove to be a leading case on free and open source software licensing.

Victoria’s Secret loses PINK Brand Battle (CNNMoney)
Victoria’s Secret could be barred from using its PINK branding across the region after a British judge ruled the company was infringing on the trademarks of up-scale shirt-maker, Thomas Pink.

Poll: Should Internet Providers Block Piracy Sites? (The Wall Street Journal)


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

Congress Oks Bill to Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking (PC Mag)
Congress approved the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, a bill that, if signed by President Obama, would reverse the Library of Congress’s decision two years ago that made cell phone unlocking illegal.

DOJ to Congress: Make Online Streaming a Felony (The Hill)
The Department of Justice is pushing Congress to increase the penalties for streaming copyright-infringing content online, so that online streaming of pirated content should receive the same consequences as illegal downloading.

House Returns to Patents (The HIll)
The House Judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property will hold a hearing this week on the state of the Patent and Trademark Office. The hearing comes after a concerted push from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte to reform the country’s patent system.

Infringement To Go: Pirate Bay Goes Mobile (Ars Technica)
The Pirate Bay has now debuted a new mobile service at http://www.themobilebay.org/, which will eventually have such features as personal RSS feeds so users can browse torrents on the go, and start the downloads at home.

UK Police Start Replacing Ads on Copyright Infringement Sites With Warnings(GigaOM)
Under a UK police initiative called Operation Creative, the police will now start replacing ads on copyright-infringing websites with official police banners that warn users that hte site is under investigation.


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

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.

Digital Policy Roundup

DOC Announces Creation of Chief Data Officer, Private Sector Advisory Council

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced that the Department of Commerce (DOC) is expanding its role as “America’s Data Agency” by hiring the first ever Chief Data Officer. The role of the new CDO will be to oversee improvements to data collection and dissemination, and to ensure that Commerce’s data programs are coordinated, comprehensive, and strategic. In coordination with the new CDO, the DOC will also soon create a data advisory council, comprised of private sector leaders, to advise the Department on how to best use and unleash more government data.

This announcement is a major step in the direction of meeting one of SIIA’s key policy priorities. As established in our 2013 paper on Data-Driven Innovation, , SIIA is a leading proponent of open data policies, to use public-private partnerships to provide access to critical public data, and to adopt enterprise architectures that enable sharing. Governments at all levels possess treasure troves of valuable data that have gone largely untapped for many years. More than ever before, citizens want access to government data, and they want it applied in innovative ways to which they are increasingly becoming accustomed.

Publication of European Commission “White Paper” on Copyright Delayed

The press report that a white paper on the future of copyright has been removed from the agenda of a meeting of European commissioners next week. The white paper, which is supposed to set out a roadmap for possible reform in the European Union, has elicited a great deal of interest among both pro-copyright and other stakeholders. Perhaps reflecting the current controversies surrounding copyright, Commissioner Barnier who is responsible for the Internal Market and Services, appears to have been outmaneuvered by the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Nellie Kroes.

Kroes delivered a widely discussed speech on July 2 called “Our single market is crying out for copyright reform.” Her speech has been widely viewed as an attempt to force the Commission’s hand to propose reforms that some observers would consider a weakening of copyright protections. Kroes, for instance, made it quite clear that she would favor a European Union-wide copyright exception for non-commercial text and data mining. And she noted that Japan has introduced a text and data mining exception that includes commercial use. There have been reports of leaked versions of the white paper which suggest that Barnier has taken a neutral approach to many of the issues that critics of copyright cite as ripe for reform. This is what observers believe prompted Kroes to deliver her July 2 speech calling for reform now.

As a practical matter, given that there will be a new Commission in October, copyright changes are not likely before 2015 at the earliest. Moreover, even if Kroes is considered the “winner” now in terms of stopping the white paper’s release, the white paper will likely still be the base document the next Commission uses to start considering possible copyright changes.


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

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.

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