News and Commentary
An article in IAM discusses the global landscape for patent litigation. The rules and challenges associated with patent litigation vary from country to country (in this case, the author focused on the U.S., Germany, and China), but one statistic highlighted stands out: the costs of litigation and the time to trial are vastly higher in the U.S. compared to the other two nations.
The U.S. Copyright Office announced that the times to process registration have declined dramatically in the past year. In 2018, they were able to cut registration processing times from an average of seven months to four, an undoubtedly positive development for those who wish to make formalities a requirement to receive copyright protection.
Virginia Vallejo, Pablo Escobar’s former mistress, won a small victory in her lawsuit against Netflix and Gaumont Television for infringing on her memoir about her time with the drug kingpin. While the scope of her suit was narrowed in May, Netflix and Gaumont failed to have the suit dismissed based on their argument that she had previously made a broad divestment of her rights when she sold them to One Lane Highway and Pinguin films to produce the movie Loving Pablo.
This article from JDSupra asks an important question: considering the fact that patents and copyrights, by definition, grant a time-limited monopoly, how should we view anticompetitive practices centered around restricting patent licensing? There are serious harms on the context of Qualcomm’s monopoly on chip licensing, but current antitrust precedent may protect them in this specific instance thanks to their intellectual monopoly.
Here’s a fun one: a piracy case about an actual pirate ship. After the state of North Carolina granted Intersal, a pirate salvage company, the rights to take photos and videos of the wreckage of Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the infamous pirate Blackbeard. The state of North Carolina later passed a law saying that the content would be part of the state’s records. The case was recently argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Supporters of the current copyright regime like to argue that it protects small creators, but this is often not the case. YouTuber and film critic Lindsay Ellis was recently hit with a copyright suit for using Disney songs in her critiques of them. She’s also critiqued YouTube for the way that it handles infringement claims.
Katy Perry just can’t catch a break: she’s been sued for copyright infringement after posting a photo of herself dressed as Hillary Clinton by BackGrid, a Hollywood photography agency that took the photo.
Say what you will about President Trump, but one thing is clear: by using a DMCA takedown request to remove Trump’s “look at this photograph meme,” Nickelback was engaging in censorship based on the President’s political views.
In New Hampshire, one legislator tried to block a pending right to repair law by saying that “in the near future, cellphones are throwaways” and that “[e]veryone will just get a new one.”
In a strange twist in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Taylor Swift, a judge on the 9th Circuit remanded a case bast to district court by ruling that, even if a short phrase can’t be covered by copyright (it can’t), the uncopyrightability of the content isn’t sufficient grounds for dismissal.
A new paper by Arash Dayani examined the adoption of various anti-patent troll laws adopted by 35 states, and found that anti-troll laws increase the value of small, innovative firms and that larger firms increase R&D expenditures. Patent trolling is anticompetitive, and can often strangle young startups in the cradle.
Fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms for patent licensing are an essential part of the current patent system. A paper by Roya Ghafele examines FRAND in an economic context, specifically examining calculations based on “present value added.”
The nature of real versus intellectual property infringement has many angles, including the role of criminal sanctions in violating the latter versus the former, as explored by Irina D. Manta.