10 of the best: intellectual property law blogs and news from the last month

by Tom Cox on August 6, 2013

Below are ten of the last month’s best intellectual property law blogs and news posts from around the web:-

The 1709 Blog offers a whistle-stop tour from around the world of copyright over the last month. From copyright reform in China to dentists suing patients in copyright over bad reviews in New York this blog has a little bit of everything IP.

A succinct analysis stateside of the litigation between Faulkner Literary Rights LLC and Sony Pictures Inc. The crux of the case concerned the close reproduction of a single line from the book Requiem for a Nun in Woody Allen’s movie Midnight in Paris. The case entails aspects of both copyright and trademark. Mirroring the genre Woody Allen is so well known for the judge, Chief Judge Mills (for the Northern District of   Mississippi), appears to employ an element of jocularity in his judgment. Nevertheless, a worthwhile fair use determination to bear in mind for the future.

The IPKat analyses the implications of using extra-statutory terminology across the spectrum of IP branches. The focus concerns the somewhat detrimental ability of a phrase to be the subject of multiple interpretations where the law demands precision. Specifically the use of the phrase “design around” employed in the context of patents and copyrights.

The House of Representative’s Judiciary Committee recently (25th July 2013) held hearings on the significance of the “copyright and technology sectors” to the U.S. economy. Corynne McSherry, Intellectual Property Director at EFF, raises the oft-mooted issue of the lack of representation before sub-committees. The point being, lawmakers need to hear from a wider spectrum of stakeholders. Unless independent creators, users (especially internet users) and the technology adept are genuinely involved in the debate committees and parliaments cannot fully understand the significance of copyright and the technology sectors.

Turning to the US again, a quick look at the issue of when an “actual controversy” exists between two trademarks and what can be done to prevent declaratory judgments. The backdrop to the article highlights the trademark dispute currently boiling between music heavyweights Pharrell Williams and will.i.am.

An excellent exposition on the litigation started by Eli Lilly and Company (American global pharmaceutical company) against the Canadian government. In 2010 and 2011 Eli Lilly lost patent cases in the Canadian courts on the grounds of invalidity. Eli Lilly has subsequently served a notice of intent to claim $500 million (Canadian dollars) in damages it claims to have sustained from the finding of invalidation of its patents. Eli Lilly are suing on the basis of the proposed protection embodied in North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The case will focus on the contrasting jurisdictional rules on patents between the US and Canada with regards to the perceived deficiencies of protection.

Alan Wexelblat of Corante takes a look at comments recently made by Joseph Stiglitz the Nobel-prize-winning economist. His comments stem from the US Supreme Court’s decision in Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. His focus is on the contentious issue concerning the ability of a patent to block, stop and prevent access to health features.

A brief case commentary on the recent dispute arising from the Patent County Court in England and Wales: SDL Hair Ltd v Next Row Ltd and others; Master Distributor Ltd v SDL Hair Ltd and others. Apart from the patent dispute the case provides a useful warning of the need to be aware about writing to a perceived patent infringer without incurring liability under Section 70 of the Patents Act 1977 for the making of groundless threats.

Robert Kriner of Trademarks and Brands offers a concise compendium on some of the major issues discussed at ICANN’s 47th meeting in Durban, South Africa. The issues include a look at the Trademark Clearinghouse and the new gTLD contract signatures.

James Nurton of Managing Intellectual Property provides an overview of three recent applications for generic top-level domain names. One of the applications involves the major-league online retailer Amazon. The applications provide invaluable guidance to prospective brand owners working within the virtual sphere of the internet.

If you have published or found a useful intellectual property law-related post that hasn’t been spotted, please do add a link to the comments section below.

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