Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

Google to AU Govt: Piracy is Down to Pricing, Availability (CNET)
In a submission to the Australian government, Google said that harsh regulation is not the solution to piracy, which it says is instead the result of poor “availability and pricing.”

Intellectual Property Rights Case Load Overwhelming Fledgling Court (The Moscow Times)
Overworked and understaffed, Russia’s fledgling Intellectual Property Rights Court is watching nervously as its case load continues to climb. Since it was founded six months ago, more than 2,000 cases have been filed with the court.

Software Piracy Crackdown Helps State Businesses (Shreveport Times)
Louisiana’s crackdown on a foreign manufacturer of charcoal and gas grills that was using pirated software to make products at reduced prices is expected to have national impact and improve competition for local manufacturers.

Getty Images Makes Much of its Photo Portfolio Free to Use (CNET)
Getty Images has launched an Embed tool that allows people to use more than 35 million of the service’s portfolio of images for free. Getty says its images have been widely pirated on the web for years, and the purpose of the program is to find new revenue streams for the photographers and the company.

U.S. Court Orders Seizure of DVD-Ripping Software Domains and Funds (Torrent Freak)
A New York federal court has granted the seizure of several domain names, bank funds and social media accounts belonging to DVD-ripping software company DVDFab.

Congress Gets Out Club for Patent ‘Trolls’ (The Hill)
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, as well as a wide swath of different industries have aligned behind the push for a crackdown on so-called patent trolls.

SIIA Announces New Intellectual Property Protection Division

SIIA is significantly expanding its enforcement efforts, and will now target a broad range of intellectual property violations, on behalf of both software and content publishers. The new program, now called the Intellectual Property Protection Division or IPP Division, will continue its anti-piracy efforts but will now investigate and resolve many more types of nefarious activities that can adversely affect a participating company’s brand, intellectual property or reputation, such as: counterfeiting, fraud, unauthorized access, fraudulent use of domain names, and more.

SIIA will also assist participating publishers with the protection of their intellectual property. These protection services will include such things as assisting publishers with registering their valuable IP with the U.S. Copyright Office and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, registering their brands with the new domain name Trademark Clearinghouse, and more. The IPP Division will also place a renewed emphasis on content piracy and offer a range of specialized services that address the varying needs of participating content publishers.

More information about the new SIIA IPP Division is available here.

Important Message About Protecting Your Brands

Late last year, ICANN began approving the first new gTLDs. Like all new domain names that are or will be approved by ICANN, these new gTLDs will not go live until after brand owners are given a brief window to register addresses using their own brands before anyone else can. For more information about this process see this SIIA alert and FAQs. 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. Those who sign up for the alert will receive a weekly email from SIIA notifying them what new gTLDs have been approved by ICANN, and other relevant information. If you are interested in receiving these alerts, please email me so that we can add your name to the list of alert recipients.

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.

7 Engagement Ideas Including Thank-you Notes and the Best Icebreaker

1. Break—no, smash—that ice. At a leadership dinner at the recent IIS 2014 Conference in New York, I saw one of the best icebreakers: People were asked to talk about their first job, one that isn’t on their resume. Many of these folks are CEOs and VPs. But what we heard were stories of clam-digging, newspaper-delivering, shop-keeping, furniture-moving and other tales of wow, really? It loosened everyone up, neatly evened the playing field, and led to good conversation the rest of the evening. I approached someone from The Economist who worked on the boardwalk in Seaside, N.J., near where I grew up. [Read more...]

Intellectual Property Roundup

Google Set to Face Intellectual Ventures in Landmark Patent Trial (Reuters)
Intellectual Ventures is going to trial over three patents it claims Google’s Motorola Mobility unit infringed, in the first trial it has undertaken since it was founded.

U.S. Justices Referee “Raging Bull” Copyright Fight (Reuters)
U.S. Supreme Court justices heard arguments over a copyright dispute concerning an early screenplay for what became the iconic boxing movie “Raging Bull.” The legal question is whether MGM can argue in its defense that Petrella, daughter of deceased screenwriter Frank Petrella, waited too long to assert her claim.

Cable Industry Sues Apple-Backed Patent Troll Over “Illegal Conspiracy” (GigaOM)
The patent wars have taken a new twist as five cable companies have filed a lawsuit against so-called patent troll Rockstar, claiming the consortium owned by Google competitors is engaging in an illegal conspiracy to move standards-essential patents through a series of shell companies in order to avoid obligations requiring Rockstar license the patents on fair and reasonable terms.

SAP Rejected By Supreme Court Over $391 Million Loss (Bloomberg)
The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a $391 million judgment against computer software maker SAP in a patent-infringement dispute over database management tools.

China Seized 60,000 Piracy Suspects Last Year (The Washington Post)
China says police seized almost 60,000 suspects involved in intellectual property infringement cases with a total estimated value of $28 billion in 2013.

Can Former “Pirates” Fix a Broken Movie Market? (Ars Technica)
Ecuadorean citizens have gotten creative and experimented with licensing models that have street vendors, local rights holders, and the government working together to address the problems of affordable, legal access to media.

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.

Public Sector Innovation Roundup

IT Acquisition Reform Update:
Last week, I reported that there was expected to be some progress on IT acquisition reform when the Senate returned from its recess, with at least three pending amendments seeking to address the issue. This week, it looks like that has been put on hold as the Senate now looks to consider a “compromise” defense authorization bill that was negotiated between the House and Senate which they will try to move through the House this week and the Senate next week, without amendment. The base text, according to the House Armed Services Committee Summary does not include any language addressing IT acquisition reform. FITARA or parts of it could potentially move as stand-alone legislation next year, according to Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). FCW has a story with the latest.

Ryan, Murray Reach Budget Framework Agreement:
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled a bipartisan budget agreement on Tuesday that would roll back $63 billion of the sequester cuts (split between defense and non-defense programs), reduce the deficit by approximately $23 billion and fund the government for the next two fiscal years at slightly over $1 trillion each year. The bill, if approved by the House and Senate, would eliminate the possibility of a government shutdown when the current continuing resolution expires in January and provides a level of funding certainty that hasn’t been seen in Washington for a number of years. The deal does not raise the debt ceiling, which Congress will have to address by early February. Politico has a report.

Interior Shifts CIO Responsibilities, Consolidates IT:
Three years ago, the Department of Interior, began the transformation of their CIO operations, including a structural change establishing a single Chief Information Officer for the entire Department, while retitling bureau level CIOs as Assistant Directors for Information Resources (ADIRs). Since that process began, Interior has consolidated 55 data centers, combined 14 email systems into one and moved a host of other applications and systems to the cloud.FedNewsRadio reports on the progress Interior has made.

White House Unveils New Open Government Framework:
On December 5th the White House released the second and latest U.S. Open Government National Action Plan. The new policy aims to build upon prior efforts to create a more open, efficient and effective government, leveraging technology to achieve this goal. Among the highlights of the latest policy is a plan to consolidate FOIA requests across government and making government spending data available in machine-readable formats, leveraging The FOIA plans are interesting in that they will only be consolidated at the front end, and the requests themselves will still be routed to the relevant agency for review and approval. FCW covers it here.

DOE to Move 6,000 More to Google Apps:
The Department of Energy announced last week that they plan to move 6,000 more employees to Google Apps for Government cloud email and collaboration. The move comes after 5,000 DOE employees at the Idaho National Lab moved to Google last year with the expectation of consolidation, efficiency and cost-reduction. Unisys has the contract for the transition, which includes integration of the department’s mobile users. GCN has more.

Michael Hettinger is VP for the Public Sector Innovation Group (PSIG) at SIIA. Follow his PSIG tweets at @SIIAPSIG. Sign up for the Public Sector Innovation Roundup email newsletter for weekly updates.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Enforcement News

U.S. Supreme Court To Decide Whether Software Can Be Patented (Reuters)
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide a question of key importance to the software industry by considering what kind of computer-related processes are eligible for patent protection.

U.S. Court Questions Google Defense Against Oracle Over Android (Reuters)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington closely questioned Google’s claim that Oracle does not enjoy copyright protection over certain parts of the Java programming language.

Once Piracy Havens, China’s Internet Video Websites Turn Police (Reuters)
China’s biggest Internet video company, Youku Tudou, once a haven for illicit content, now employs a dozen piracy investigators, highlighting how China’s online video industry is courting higher advertising revenues and better relations with foreign media firms by cracking down on illegal content.

European Commission Launches Consultation On EU Copyright Modernization(Intellectual Property Watch)
The European Commission announced the launch of a public consultation on modernization of European Union copyright rules as part of a larger process to review and update the region’s copyright laws.

Michelle Lee Named USPTO Deputy Director (Intellectual Property Watch)
Michelle Lee has been named the new deputy director of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, and in the absence of a director at USPTO, she will also serve as acting director. Lee is currently director of the USPTO Silicon Valley satellite office.

Policy News

House Bill Raises Bar For Suits Over Patents (The New York Times)
The House overwhelmingly passed a patent reform bill, known as the Innovation Act, that would force companies bringing patent-infringement lawsuits to disclose information about who ultimately owns a patent and would benefit from a settlement, and to specify how a patent is being violated.

Russia Amends Anti-Piracy Law To Specify Procedure For Blocking Illegal Content(The Hollywood Reporter)
New amendments to the Russian anti-piracy law clearly stipulate a procedure for blocking websites carrying illegitimate content, making hosting providers and website owners equally responsible for restricting access to disputed materials.

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.

Leading IT Companies Call for Global Gov. Surveillance Reform

On Monday, several of the largest and most popular IT service providers called for Global Government Surveillance Reform.  In a joint letter, AoL, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo called on the world’s governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information.

The letter underscored the goals of ensuring that government law enforcement and intelligence efforts are rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight, and it highlighted a new set of principles on which to enact reforms.  The principles include the following:

  1. Limiting Governments’ Authority to Collect Users’ Information
  2. Oversight and Accountability
  3. Transparency About Government Demands
  4. Respecting the Free Flow of Information
  5. Avoiding Conflicts Among Government

As the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon holds an oversight hearing regarding U.S. Government Surveillance Authorities, this letter provides a timely and useful call for the discussion to be cast more broadly.

Given the opportunity for laws of various jurisdiction to conflict with the laws of others, it is incumbent upon governments to work together to resolve the conflict, it is critical for governments around the world to work to establish a robust, principled, and transparent framework to govern lawful requests for data across jurisdictions, such as improved mutual legal assistance treaty — or “MLAT” — processes.  In recent comments to the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberty Oversight Board and the Presidential Review Group, SIIA called on the U.S. Government to take a leading role in achieving this objective.

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 @SIIAPubPolicy.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Enforcement News

Google Defeats Authors in U.S. Book-Scanning Lawsuit (Reuters)
Google won dismissal of a long-running lawsuit by authors accusing the Internet search company of digitally copying millions of books for an online library without permission. U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin accepted Google’s argument that its scanning of more than 20 million books, and making “snippets” of text available online, constituted “fair use” under U.S. copyright law.

Copyright Violation: Software Giant Adobe Lodges Police Complaint (Daily Bhaskar)
Adobe filed a police complaint alleging copyright violations by a photo studio in Pardeshipura, India. Local police, along with several Adobe officials, raided a studio and seized four CPUs later confirmed to have pirated Adobe software.

China’s Baidu Faces Suits Over Video Piracy (The Wall Street Journal)
A group of Chinese media companies accused Baidu of piracy, filing litigation that signals the maturation of an online-video industry where illegal copying once was rampant.

Microsoft’s New Cybercrime Center Combines Tactics Against Hacking Groups(Reuters)
Microsoft is launching a new strategy against criminal hackers by bringing together security engineers, digital forensics experts and lawyers trained in fighting software pirates under one roof at its new Cybercrime Center.

Man Ordered to Pay Back Profit From Counterfeit Software Business (Wakefield Express)
Steven Chase was ordered to pay back profit after pleading guilty to selling counterfeit disks including Nintendo, Adobe and Rosetta Stone language software.

U.S. Copyright Industries Add $1 Trillion to GDP (The Los Angeles Times)
A new study by the International Intellectual Property Alliance reports that economic contributions of U.S. copyright industries reached new heights last year, contributing more than $1 trillion to the gross domestic product and accounting for 6.5% of the nation’s economy.

Court Orders ISPs to Police the Internet for Pirate Bay Proxies (Torrent Freak)
The Supreme Court of Belgium has ordered local Internet providers to proactively search for Pirate Bay proxies, and block subscribers’ access to these sites.

Russia to Form New Copyright Watchdog Amid Anti-Piracy Push (The Hollywood Reporter)
The Russian government plans to form an agency in charge of copyright observance amid a series of moves aimed at cracking down on piracy. The agency will be formed on the basis of the existing patent agency, but will have much broader authority and would report directly to the government.

Policy News

Goodlatte Drops Controversial Patent Review Provision (The Hill)
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte introduced an amendment to his patent reform bill that would do away with a controversial provision that would have allowed companies being sued for infringing certain software patents to challenge the validity of those patents.

U.S. Senate Gets Bill Clamping Down on ‘Patent Trolls’ (Reuters)
Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Mike Lee introduced a bill aimed at making it harder for “patent trolls” to file frivolous lawsuits. The bill would require patent holders to disclose ownership and allow manufacturers to step into lawsuits to protect customers accused of using an infringing device.

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.