This Week in Intellectual Property, June 18

This Week in Intellectual Property, June 18


Delaware becomes leading state for patent litigation. The Supreme Court held in the 2017 TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods case that patent infringement cases could only be brought in the state in which the defendant was incorporated. This created an impediment to “venue shopping,” where plaintiffs (often patent trolls) would file suit in venues more favorable to their claims, most famously in Texas, where approximately one-third of patent cases were filed. Research from Lex Machina found that after the TC Heartland decision, Texas hosted only 13% of filings, compared to the new leader, Delaware’s, 23%. Following the decision there was a decline in the total number of suits filed, from 4,487 to 3,986. This indicates that policies which limit venue shopping also reduce the propensity to sue in general.



Uber applies for a patent on technology to detect drunk passengers. The patent would grant Uber exclusive rights to technology that uses user data like “location, data input accuracy, data input speed, interface interaction behavior, the angle at which the user is holding their device, or even the speed at which they’re walking” to determine a passenger’s “state” relative to their normal behavior.


European Parliament to vote on Article 13 this week. The European Parliament will vote on the measure on June 20th. The controversial Article 13 would impose serious burdens on sites that allow users to upload content by requiring them to screen for copyright protection. The problems with this policy are numerous. These requirements impose an outsized cost on smaller websites, in addition to non-profits like Wikipedia. But the compliance costs are substantial even for larger firms; YouTube’s Content ID system cost $60 million in 2016. These screening methods also often flag parody content like memes or flag original content that was featured by another user, such as a TV station.


Apple is granted 45 new patents. Among these were patents on the backside camera for the iPhone X, the layering process used to make the iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard, and a process related to bulk-solidifying metal alloy.


USPTO Director Andrei Iancu on our current patent system. In a speech made in San Francisco last week, the PTO Director bemoaned the uncertainty inherent in the current patent system and called for a clear list of what should be excluded from patent eligibility.


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By |2018-06-20T06:29:34-07:00June 18th, 2018|Blog, Intellectual Property|