The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the state of coronavirus vaccine research and deployment. Significant focus was placed on selling the drug at nonprofit prices, but purchase guarantees from the U.S. government can help satisfy the need for both affordability and access.
News and Commentary
Katharine Trendacosta and Corynne McSherry provide a summary of the most recent round of DMCA hearings discussing fair use. On the Section 512 front (specifically 512(g) which handles counternotices and 512(f) which gives a stick to address bad-faith takedown notices), while these theoretically could work well, in practice the act of sending a counternotice is a hassle for many fair users. Section 512(f) is also underutilized. With respect to section 1201, fair use is essentially a joke as it prevents the breaking of locks that would be necessary to use a work fairly in the first place.
EFF’s Kit Walsh has a deep dive into Mexico’s new DMCA-style copyright law. While modeled after the DMCA, the anti-circumvention measures are extremely broad, severely limiting what users could do to protect their privacy or fix their devices. They also come with steep criminal penalties.
In Cheeta Omni v. AT&T, Cheeta Omni is petitioning for Writ of Certiorari for the Supreme Court to review whether or not the application of a federal common law rule on implied patent licensing overriding state contract law was improperly used.
For the Atlantic Council, Marc L. Busch writes that the Trump administration should incorporate complaints about technology transfer and other forms of intellectual property theft in its WTO case against China, which was paused shortly after an arbitration panel was formed.
Gerald Bartlett goes through the failure of internal university metrics to examine how technology is transferred in the context of university patented innovations and how that distorts research behavior. Patents and licenses are tracked, but this creates perverse incentives to collect on royalties and further develop patents for licensing rather than invest in technologies that can be transferred and put to good use.
EFF writes about the letter to the House and Senate judiciary committees they joined discussing the importance of the PTAB and the harm done by the recent wave of discretionary denials. You can read Niskanen’s statement about joining the letter here.
At Techdirt, Mike Masnick discusses how the patent troll Voice Tech sued Mycroft AI claiming patent infringement. Mycroft put out a public appeal, which received some traction online and generated some hate mail for Voice Tech. Now, a judge ordering Mycroft to remove some of the more inflammatory language in the blog post, and ask Techdirt to do the same in their coverage of it, in response to some of the negative response direct at Voice Tech.
Gerald Barnett goes through and debunks a number of errors made in a guide to Bayh-Dole compliance from the law firm Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox.
Alex Parker writes in Law360 about a proposed bill to address the on-shoring of intellectual property held overseas. It would remove some of the tax costs associated with re-shoring intellectual property held abroad, though critics maintain that it’s “paper shuffling” that would have little effect on a COVID recovery.
The Internet Archive has filed its response to the publishers’ lawsuit against the practice of controlled digital lending (CDL). Their response and accompanying blog post highlights the benefits to not only ordinary readers, but also the print-disabled who rely on the transformation of works in the Open Library.
A paper from IEEE analyzes the shortcomings of current intellectual property policy in a pandemic and how exclusive rights can hinder effective response both in terms of access to treatments and technologies and in future innovations. They provide a framework for analyzing issues related to intellectual property during a pandemic and policies that will improve access to existing technologies and facilitate the development of new ones.
A paper from Ana Rutschman looks at the global vaccine race in the COVID-19 pandemic, and looks at how the patent-centric focus can be improved to one that focuses on global collaboration and open access to treatments and vaccines.