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1. WWE Ditches the Brock Lesnar Trademark

Brock Lesnar is the latest trademark the WWE has given up on. Recently, superstar Cody Rhodes got back the trademark rights to his name because the WWE didn’t renew the same. Brock Lesnar’s contract with the WWE has expired and he hasn’t signed a new deal. The trademark of  Brock Lesnar was canceled by the United States Patent and Trademark Office last month. WWE filed for Brock Lesnar on 1/9. It was booked under entertainment services by a professional wrestler. On 3/12, the USPTO denied their request and Brock Lesnar had to give written consent for the application to move forward. There were also issues with certain verbiage used by WWE while filing. A period of six months was provided to the company to provide the written consent by Brock Lesnar which the company did not. The filing was hence canceled on 9/15 and correspondence was sent to WWE to confirm.

2. Joe Biden to reverse course from his predecessor: Suggests buying out COVID vaccine IPRs

American President Joe Biden during his conversation with the leaders of Europe made it clear that he would steer clear of his predecessor’s ‘America-first isolationism’. He suggested that the US government should buy out the IPRs to the up-and-coming coronavirus vaccines and waive any license fee for developers around the world, as a gesture to demonstrate the country’s commitment to the world at large.  He was also of the view that freeing the vaccines of the cost of IP would lower the cost of achieving mass vaccination. The situation is such that while rich countries have bought up large volumes of the initial batches of promising vaccines for their citizens, they can stay secure from the virus only when the rest of the world is vaccinated. Currently, vaccinating at least 60% of the world’s population calls for very large numbers of vaccine doses. India and South Africa have called for waiver of the IP rights on vaccines for COVID, as have other individuals and leaders.

3. Tattoo Feud: Artist’s Copyright case (Alexander v. Take-Two Interactive) sent to Trial

In the recent Illinois case, tattoo artist Catherine Alexander filed a lawsuit against Take-Two, who develops the WWE 2K video game series and sought to recreate Orton’s tattoos in a digital format. While Take-Two had obtained permission to use Orton’s likeness in the video game, Alexander claimed copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C., § 501 with respect to Orton’s tattoos, and argued that her consent to include Orton’s tattoos was required, but was not provided. Alexander had also registered copyrights for each of the tattoos at issue.

In its decision, the Court first considered Alexander’s motion for summary judgment and was of the opinion that she satisfied the elements of copyright infringement. As per the prescribed law, if a plaintiff can demonstrate that a defendant has used the plaintiff’s works, the burden of proving that the use was authorized falls on the defendant. The defenses submitted were however denied by the Court, conflicting its ruling in a previous lawsuit where Take-Two obtained a clear-cut summary judgment ruling in their favor on similar facts.

4. Spotify and predicting the personality of the user

The massive increase in consumption of media, including music and video content, has caused many transformations in the industry. Spotify, for one, secured a patent which discloses techniques for personalizing the content in accordance with the personality traits of a user. The disclosed technique determines personality traits for a user by analysing when, how, where, and who is listening to what. Further, the determined personality traits are used to provide personalized content for improving user experience. In continuation of a series of applications, the patent application was filed as an attempt to aid media content-providers in improving the convenience with which users consume and experience their personalized content. According to Priggya Arora, Founder and IP Attorney, PA Legal, though the patent application has been filed only in the US, this technique might be in use in other jurisdictions as well where Spotify operates.

5. Dell Faces Caltech Suit Asserting Same Patents From $1.1B Apple/Broadcom Suit

On Wednesday, November 11, the California Institute of Technology, commonly known as Caltech, filed a lawsuit in the Western District of Texas alleging claims of patent infringement against personal computing firm Dell Technologies based on patent claims which led earlier this year to a jury verdict awarding a $1.1 billion reasonable royalty award to Caltech for Apple and Broadcom’s sale of infringing Wi-Fi devices.

6. Coolpad Withdraws Patent Infringement Lawsuits against Xiaomi

On the 10th of November, on a Chinese microblogging website, Coolpad released an official statement which stated that it would withdraw the series of patent infringement lawsuits that it had filed against Xiaomi. Coolpad had previously filed a series of patent infringement  lawsuits against Xiaomi back in 2018. At that point in time, the company’s CEO had alleged that Xiaomi had infringed over 200 of its patents. Hence, an attempt was made by Coolpad to ban the latter from selling any device, which infringed on its patents. Coolpad’s official statement read, “We deeply feel that the country’s development is still in a period of important strategic opportunities, and the domestic and international environment is undergoing profound and complex changes. Breaking through technological bottlenecks and promoting the industry’s better and faster development is the top priority for industry Coolpad and Xiaomi.”

7. Twitch Apologises to Streamers For its Mishandling of Music Copyright

In a blog post titled ‘Music – Related Copyright Claims and Twitch’, twitch explained why streamers received a strange email notifying them that Twitch had deleted some of their clips and VODs, and it gave creators an update on what tools they can expect to see from the company in the future. Further, Twitch stated “We could have developed more sophisticated, user-friendly tools awhile ago. That we didn’t is on us,” it wrote. “And we could have provided creators with a longer time period to address their VOD and Clip libraries – that was a miss as well. We’re truly sorry for these mistakes, and we’ll do better.” Twitch also stated that it was working on new tools to help streamers who have been hit with a copyright infringement notification. These include expanding the use of their technology that detects copyrighted audio and “more granular ways to manage your archive.” The company also promised more control over what audio ends up in VODs — and it pointed to its new tool, Soundtrack, which allows streamers to play licensed music in streams without that music appearing in recorded content. 

8. Katy Perry faces a lawsuit from Australian designer Katie Perry for alleged trademark infringement

Katie Jane Taylor, an Australian designer who sells clothing under her maiden name ‘Katie Perry’ is suing Katy Perry, the 36-year-old Smile singer, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The proceedings were launched against Katy in October of 2019. It was claimed that the singer and a related company, Killer Queen LLC, was infringing the trademark which was registered in Australia in 2008. Even though Katy Perry’s lawyers admit that the Katy perry brand is “deceptively similar” to the Australian designer’s trademark, they deny infringement, stating that the performer has used the name in good faith which is a defense under the Trade Marks Act, and the defense covering the company Killer. Filing a cross claim, they asserted that the trademark Katie Perry is liable to be canceled because Katy Perry had already acquired a reputation in Australia before registration of Katie Perry’s trademark. It was alleged by them that the designer’s use of the trademark is contrary to law and amounts to misleading or deceptive conduct and unlawful passing off because consumers tend to believe that Katy is associated with the Australian designer.

Image Sources:

  1. Miguel Discart on Wikimedia
  2. L N on Unsplash 
  3. Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash 
  4. Markus Spiske on Unsplash 
  5. XPS on Unsplash 
  6. Xiaomi on Wikimedia 
  7. Twitch on Wikimedia  
  8. Toglenn on Wikimedia

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