IP News August 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 to Jeff—and tell your friends to subscribe here!  PS Into running? Join the CIPP gang—see them here—every Thursday at 4:30pm.

Top 3 Stories

A new meaning to “patent war”: the Pentagon announces an “intellectual property cadre” to secure military IP and data  

Celebrities Usher, Judd Apatow, and Julia Roberts fell for a perennial social media hoax, warning followers that Instagram was taking total IP rights to users’ content

That’s my copyright doo-doo-doo-doo… A musician says Pinkfong infringed his IP for “Baby Shark.”  But he faces an uphill battle as the song originated as a campfire chant and has no identifiable author


Drug companies are suing the Canadian government over new powers it granted to a board that sets patented drug prices; the firms claim the changes are an unconstitutional intrusion on provincial powers

A new non-profit will run a new patent collective aimed at helping Canadian small and medium businesses navigate IP issues; CIPP founder Prof Gold is a director

An Ottawa patent lawyer says concern over trolls is overblown, and that Canada’s innovation efforts should be directed at helping SMEs obtain patents abroad

United States

The USPTO is seeking comments on who should own AI inventions

Publishers sued Amazon over a new speech-to-text feature for audiobooks, claiming the display of subtitles is not within scope of an audio copyright

A jury ordered L’Oreal to pay a startup $91 million for infringing patents and trade secrets related to a three-step system to protect hair during bleaching 

Ohio State University has raised eyebrows by filing to trademark the word “The” 

The drug company Gilead is asking the USPTO to invalidate government patents for HIV prevention; the U.S. has asserted the patents but hasn’t gone to court to enforce them

In an essay getting buzz in tech circles, journalist Mike Masnick says new computer protocols could reduce reliance on monopoly platforms like Google and Facebook and better protect consumer data 

The 9th Circuit stayed an injunction that requires Qualcomm to change its licensing practices for standards essential chip patents; the case has big implications for antitrust law

Eminem’s publisher kicked off yet more litigation over music streaming with a claim that Spotify failed to pay royalties, and that recent U.S. copyright legislation is an unconstitutional taking


Irish fast-food chain Supermac’s persuaded the EUIPO to strip McDonald’s “Mc” trademark for burgers; now the companies are battling over the right to use Mc for chicken nuggets

Australians are grousing after the EU told the country to stop labeling local products as “gruyere” and “gorgonzola”

An Irish IP agency has granted 78 organizations permission to use harp and shamrock symbols after concluding they had a “real and substantive link to Ireland”


At the G7 meetings, France and the U.S. made the case for updating WTO rules in order to declare that China is not a developing country for IP purposes

The Australian government announced a task force to protect universities from IP theft and cyber-attacks launched by “foreign forces” aka China

This content has been updated on September 12, 2019 at 13:42.