IP News January 2019

Welcome to IP News This Month, your monthly round-up of intellectual property developments, culled from news reports around the globe. Please send any comments toJeff—and tell your friends to subscribe here

Top 3 Stories

U.S. Justice Department indictment accuses Huawei of stealing trade secrets from phone carrier, placing Canada in the middle of a superpower showdown

Getting FUCT: In a reprise of a “scandalous marks” decision, SCOTUS will decide if the Trademark Office is obliged under the First Amendment to grant protection to the “phonetic twin” of a vulgar wordBig Mac under attack: EU Intellectual Property Office strips McDonald’s of trademark to famous burger


A security expert warned that Canadian universities’ research tie-ups with Huawei could lead to the “weaponization of patents” if these deals end up transferring IP to a “foreign actor”

The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board demanded an Irish pharma firm slash the price of a rare disease drug, which is priced 65 times higher than an earlier version

United States

IP profs weighed in on pornographic “deep fake” videos, which depict women without their consent and raise hard questions about IP law and free expression

Pfizer warned of weak revenue in light of its blockbuster drugs Viagra and Lyrica losing patent protection

In a case that tested the bounds of fair use, a media service that excerpted cable TV clips agreed to settle with Fox News after SCOTUS refused to hear an appeal

Chip maker Qualcomm’s controversial IP licensing practices went before a judge in a case that has big implications for FRAND patents and antitrust rules

The band Nirvana is suing designer Marc Jacobs for allegedly infringing on its smiley face logo

Allergan asked SCOTUS to reconsider a ruling that barred its attempts to block patent challenges by transferring patents to an Indian band and invoking sovereign immunity

Google is asking SCOTUS to review what the tech industry sees as a disastrous decision to grant copyright over APIs

IBM once again received the most U.S. patents last year, including ones for AI and quantum computing; nonetheless, the firm is lagging behind many tech competitors

SCOTUS heard a case on whether “registration,” which is necessary to file suit, takes place when the Copyright Office grants a registration or when an applicant applies for it

Lawyers for a scooter startup sent a bogus infringement threat to noted fair use advocate Cory Doctorow; predictable humiliation ensued


UK writers are threatening to sue the Internet Archive over its digital library program, which they claim is circulating their work without compensation or permission

Google is threatening to remove its News service from all of Europe if the EU goes ahead with controversial changes for copyright liability


The new head of Nigeria’s Copyright Commission is vowing to “change the copyright narrative” in the country

Australian law profs are calling Italy’s GI claim to prosecco a “legal fiction”, claiming the word is associated with a grape varietal not a region

This content has been updated on May 3, 2019 at 16:36.