IP News October 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

The U.S. is on the cusp of creating a “small claims court” overseen by the Copyright Office with maximum damages of $30,000; critics fret it will lead to trolling and a lack of due process

Journalists filed for a trademark on “fake news” with the aim of asserting the mark against the President; legal scholars have pointed out this is ill-conceived

In a setback to Taylor Swift, the 9th Circuit reversed a lower court’s finding that the phrase “playas gonna play” lacks the originality to be copyrighted


The CBC is suing the Conservative party for using footage of its debate hosts in political ads; the Tories claim the ads are fair dealing

The Canadian founders of the White Ribbon movement to halt gender violence are warning their bankrupt counterpart in Australia not to sell IP for White Ribbon in liquidation

United States

Model Emily Ratajkowski joins a growing list of celebrities facing copyright suits for posting photos of themselves to Instagram

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk declared that NASA can use any of the company’s IP as it wishes; a NASA exec thanked him but said IP is tied to national security concerns  

A FOIA request reveals ICE lied when it claimed to have seized 1 million web domains for copyright infringement

SCOTUS will hear arguments next week over when state governments can abrogate copyright; the case turns on a state law that makes film of ocean salvage public property

President Trump reneged on a promise not to use Prince songs without permission; at the same rally, Trump railed against Beyonce and Springstreen, who have likewise refused to let him perform their works

Meanwhile, Nickelback used a dubious copyright claim to remove a meme posted by Trump to Twitter; Prof Samuelson and others say the meme was fair use


Convicted UK pedophile Gary Glitter will receive a large royalty cheque for the use of his “Hey” song in the hit film the Joker, raising ethical issues for studios

French publishers are raging at Google after the search giant refused to pay a new “neighboring right” for showing news snippets

The ECJ cancelled a trademark for Rubik’s Cube on grounds that no one can register a mark for the “shape of goods which is necessary to obtain a technical result”


The designers of an AI system have filed patent applications in the US, UK and EU as part of a major test case on whether an inventor must be human  

Chinese state media blasted Australia’s Home Affairs Minister for voicing “tired old clichés about the so-called theft of intellectual property” and warned he must take up “a more objective view”

This content has been updated on November 8, 2019 at 16:20.