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, 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

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.

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

States Revise Laws to Curb ‘Patent Trolls’ (The Wall Street Journal)
States are rewriting their laws to make it more difficult for so-called “patent trolls” to pursue small businesses over questionable patent claims. Oklahoma last week became the 12th state to enact such legislation.

Patent Reform Bill Dealt Fatal Blow in Senate (The Hill)
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said weeks of negotiations on his patent reform bill had reached a dead end and announced he was yanking the bill from the panel’s legislative agenda.

A New Front in the War on ‘Patent Trolls’ (The Hill)
After hopes for a comprehensive reform bill expired in the Senate, advocates are scrambling for new ways to crack down on “patent trolls,” and one idea gaining traction in both chambers is to go after “demand letters.”

Feds Turn a ‘Blind Eye’ as Millions Wasted on Software (The Fiscal Times)
According to the Government Accountability Office, two dozen major government agencies have failed to put in place the kind of systems needed to manage the hundreds of millions of dollars in software that they purchase and license each year.

CCI Provides First Copyright Alert System Progress Report (Center for Copyright Information)
The Center for Copyright Information released a progress report for the first time, showing that 1.3 million alerts were sent out in the initial 10 months of the program, with only 265 challenges and no findings of false positives.

UK Anti-Piracy Police Take Down Largest Torrent Search Engine (The Independent)
Torrentz, the Internet’s largest torrent search engine, has been taken down in the latest attempt by UK police to curb illegal file-sharing.

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SIIA Calls for Continued Action on Patent Reform

 In response to Chairman Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) announcement about patent reform efforts in the Senate, we urge members of Congress to not give up the fight on patent reform legislation.  Between the good work done in the House and the efforts by Senator Leahy and others in the Senate, much progress has been made.

At a time when Americans believe our political parties are badly divided, patent reform is one issue that has clear, bipartisan support in Washington.  SIIA is committed to continuing to work with our member companies, with both sides of the aisle, and with the White House to get reform legislation done this year. There is simply too much at stake for American innovation and jobs to kick the can further down the road.

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

U.S. Resists Pressure to Give India Worst Offender Rating in IP Review (Reuters)
The U.S. has resisted lobbying by U.S. drug and pharmaceutical companies to take tougher trade action against India for its intellectual property policies, deciding against risking ties with a likely new government, and instead keeping India on its Priority Watch List.

U.S. High Court Conflicted Over Limelight Networks Patent Fight (Reuters)
The U.S. Supreme Court appeared unsure how to proceed in a dispute over whether Limelight Networks Inc. infringed upon patented technology for managing Web images and video held by Akamai Technologies Inc.

Tech Frets as Clock Ticks on Patent Reform (The Hill)
Anxiety is rising in the tech industry about the fate of patent reform as the Senate Judiciary Committee once again delayed work on legislation that would crack down on “patent trolls.”

Apple-Samsung Jury Sticks With Original Total for Damages (The New York Times)
The federal jury in the latest patent trial involving Apple and Samsung returned to court this week to recalculate some of the damages Samsung owed to Apple. After making the changes, the jury came to the same overall figure of $119.6 million.

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 at 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.

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

Court Rules on Standard for Fees in Patent Cases (The Washington Post)
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in two companion cases this week, finding that trial judges have discretion to award fees in patent cases that are particularly frivolous or unreasonable. The rulings could deter lawsuits from so-called patent trolls.

Akamai Patent Case Before Supreme Court (The Boston Globe)
The Supreme Court is hearing a long-running patent infringement case between Akamai Technologies and Limelight Networks. What’s unusual about the case is that it will test an expanded version of a legal theory called “divided infringement” that has the technology and life sciences communities flocking to weigh in.

Knockoffs Thrive on Alibaba’s Taobao (The Wall Street Journal)
The large number of counterfeit goods on Taobao, the online marketplace run by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, could raise awkward questions as Alibaba prepares to list in the U.S. in what’s expected to be one of the world’s largest public offerings ever.

UK Copyright Law Change Will Let You Rip CDs Starting June 1 (CNET)
The UK is making changes and updating its copyright law so that starting June 1, UK consumers will be allowed to make personal copies of media they own.

“Rogue” Video Site Gets Raided By Police (Torrent Freak)
A site listed as a notorious pirate market by the USTR decided to distance itself from infringement by blocking pirate videos and shifting to licensed content, but the move came too late for Chinese authorities who carried out raids on the company just days later.

Senators Seek Breakthrough on Patent Reform (The Hill)
The Senate Judiciary Committee next week is once again scheduled to mark up a patent reform bill from Chairman Patrick Leahy. Leahy has already delayed action on the bill multiple times as he sought a compromise with support from members on both sides of the aisle.
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Digital Policy Roundup

Administration Readies Big Data and Privacy Report

The Administration signaled that it would release its long-awaited report on privacy and big data this week. In an interview with AP over the weekend, White House Counselor John Podesta, who has been tasked by President Obama to lead the review effort, indicated that the report will highlight the extraordinary common good benefits of increasingly accurate analytical predictions. It is also likely that the report will focus some attention on big data and discrimination. In anticipation, SIIA posted this blog, noting that current law works to control possible discriminatory uses of data.

Patent Reform, Manager’s Amendment Delayed

The anticipated Monday release of a manager’s amendment for Thursday’s markup has been delayed with the earliest release cited as this evening. Some attribute the delay to a coalition of large patent holders who are contesting crucial provisions. Negotiations will continue – and hopefully be finalized – later today. Any further delay would most certainly mean the Thursday markup will be pushed to next week. As these developments are in a state of flux and liable to change, stay tuned.

Netmundial Internet Governance Conference a Success

The conference, hosted by the Brazilian government in Sao Paulo April 23-24, concluded with an outcome statement on principles to guide Internet governance and a “roadmap” for future Internet governance reform. SIIA welcomed the outcome because the participants supported continued multistakeholder Internet governance, encouraged ICANN to reach out beyond its normal range of stakeholders for advice on the IANA transition, and highlighted the importance of qualified stakeholder participation in meetings. The outcome is non-binding but will feed into other meetings this year such as the ICANN 50 meeting in London June 22-26 (the meeting is open to all who wish to attend, but the registration deadline is May 2), WSIS +10 High Level Event in Geneva June 10-13, and the IGF meeting in Istanbul September 2-5. For the next year or so, Internet governance discussions will be dominated by the question of who will succeed NTIA and Verisign in managing the domain name server system, but there are many other Internet governance issues such as cybersecurity, ISO standards, IVP6, spam, to name just a few, that also require international consideration. Currently, ICANN is requesting input by May 8 on its suggested process for developing a proposal for the IANA transition.

Brazilian President Internet Bill of Rights at Netmundial

In a symbolic gesture, the President of Brazil, Dilma Roussef, signed the bill shortly before delivering opening remarks at the Netmundial conference. The impetus for the bill came as a result of the Snowden revelations, prompting calls to include data localization requirements in the law. However, partly as a result of successful advocacy and partly because of the implementation challenges, data localization was not included. The bill does include a network neutrality mandate, limits on metadata collection, requirements that companies collecting data in Brazil comply with Brazilian law (even if the data is transferred overseas), fines for non-complying companies of up to 10% of revenues of the company in Brazil, and many other features generally designed to enhance individuals’ protection. There is also a provision saying that Internet intermediaries are not liable for content that users post online.

SIIA Comments to FTC on Consumer Score Regulation

In comments to the FTC in response to their workshop on Alternative Scoring Products, SIIA urged the agency to focus consumer score regulation on prevention of actual harm. It is SIIA’s view that the workshop did not reveal evidence of significant unregulated harmful acts or practices that could result from the use of consumer scores. If the need for additional consumer protections is substantiated by compelling evidence, these protections should be undertaken at the stage of usage or implementation, rather than at the stages of data collection or analysis. As an alternative to increased government regulation, companies need to take on a greater role in consumer protection. Such an accountability framework would shift the burden of responsibility for protecting consumers from harm, from the data subject to those entities that engage in collection, analysis and use of such data.

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.

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