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1. Federal Circuit Sheds Light on the Test for ‘Analogous Art’ in an IPR

Recently, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in the case of Donner Technology, LLC vs. Pro Stage Gear, took up an appeal from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to address the issue of “analogous art” in an inter partes review (IPR). Specifically, the CAFC’s holding clarifies the “reasonably pertinent” standard used to define the scope of prior art in an IPR. In the underlying PTAB proceeding, Donner challenged the validity of the “’023 Patent” related to electronic devices that affect the amplified sound of a guitar, also known as ‘guitar effects pedals.’ Donner’s obviousness theories relied on another patent, “Mullen”, related to electrical relays. The PTAB had rejected Donner’s arguments on the grounds that Donner had not proven that Mullen is “analogous art.” The CAFC however remanded for reconsideration rather than offering a complete reversal in this case and was of the view that the PTAB applied the wrong standard and might have failed to analyze certain arguments and evidence. It was also stated by the court that no reasonable fact-finder could conclude, under the proper standard, that Mullen is not analogous art.

2. Amazon Expands Its IP Accelerator to Europe After US SMBs Register 6000 Trademarks

Amazon, the e-commerce giant has announced that its IP Accelerator feature is now live in Europe. Specifically in countries like France, Germany, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. This step comes in the backdrop of helping SMBs selling their products on Amazon to obtain trademarks on their intellectual property, tackle the sale of counterfeits and protect their brands. Amazon has clarified that joining the accelerator is free of cost and that legal aid is provided as a low-cost assistance. The European launch of the intellectual property accelerator comes just over a year after the launch of the intellectual property accelerator in the United States. This is considered to be a prudent move as the markets in Europe account for more than half the products sold on Amazon.

3. Apple Patents New MacBook Touch Bar with Force Touch Technology 

A new patent was recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office revealed that Apple has patented its new MacBook Touch Bar with Force Touch Technology. The patent offers a visual example of how the force-sensing technology of Apple may be implemented in the future. An abstract of the patent application reads, “The secondary display and force sensing circuitry may be encapsulated between two glass layers that are bonded to one another by a frit. In some embodiments, the force-sensing circuitry is formed from or constitutes part of, the frit.” Force touch sensors itself were introduced first with the first-generation Apple Watch. It was later introduced into the iPhone XR when Apple decided to replace the 3D touch model with Haptic Touch for a better experience. 

4. Burberry is Suing Rapper “Burberry Jesus” for Trademark Infringement

A Chicago-based rapper has landed on the receiving end of a lawsuit from Burberry over his stage name and various elements of his branding. According to the complaint that it filed in an Illinois federal court last week, Burberry asserts that Marvel Yarbrough – a musical artist using the name “Burberry Jesus”, which he often shortens to ‘Burberry’, is engaging in “willful trademark infringement and dilution of the famous BURBERRY trademarks, as well as copyright infringement of Burberry’s copyright-protected design.” Burberry alleges that Yarbrough “uses the fame and renown of the BURBERRY trademark for his own personal gain,” the fashion brand claims, as well as “to promote his music, garner media attention, grow a fan base, and unfairly trade off of Burberry’s goodwill, all to Burberry’s detriment.” 

5. Netflix settles ‘Black Mirror’ lawsuit over interactive ‘Bandersnatch’ episode

Netflix has settled the trademark lawsuit that ChooseCo, the children’s book publisher that owns the “Choose Your Own Adventure” trademark, filed against the streaming service over the Black Mirror film, Bandersnatch. Chooseco has been using the Choose Your Own Adventure trademark since the 1980s and has sold more than 265 million books branded with the tagline. When announcing the lawsuit in January 2019, Chooseco said that 20th Century Fox had an exclusive options contract to develop a TV series based on the books and that Netflix had tried – and failed – to receive a licence. Netflix defended its use on First Amendment grounds, arguing that the description was merely an accurate description of the book in the film and thus its usage in the movie (and in descriptions of the film) was “artistically relevant” and therefore protected by the First Amendment.

6. Rice wars: The India-Pak dispute over Basmati GI 

India and Pakistan have a new ingredient in their long-simmering rivalry: basmati rice. This new-found rivalry is said to have originated when India asked the European Union to grant “geographical indication” status to its rice variant, which would tag it as a product inextricably connected to its place of origin. The designation has a potential to boost Indian basmati exports, which have plunged in Europe due to failure to meet the continent’s tough restrictions on pesticides. However, Pakistan rejected India’s claim, arguing that its farmers also grow basmati rice, and is expected to file a formal objection with the EU by its December 10 deadline. At stake is not only a major export industry but also bragging rights over a mainstay of the South Asian cooking.  

7. PewDiePie says he’s losing all revenue from a 30-minute video because he played an unrecognizable Celine Dion cover

In his channel, Youtuber Pewdiepie played a butchered version of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”, on an alpine horn and a recorder in a segment “Meme Review”. Even though the song is barely recognizable, a company has claimed copyright over the video. Pewdiepie, in an instagram post has stated that the company is claiming the revenue  for the whole video because he and KSI played a cover version of the song. His appeal to youtube was rejected on the ground that it was infringing on copyright according to the company. Hence, as of now, the unmanned company was receiving all the money made from the 30 minute video.

8. WWE Files Three New Trademarks 

This past week, a trio of new trademarks which described the nicknames of three of their biggest stars was filed by the WWE. The names “The Big Dog”, “The Goddess” and “The Queen” which are associated with Roman Reigns, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair respectively, have been petitioned to be trademarked by the Company for “use in entertainment services, namely, wrestling exhibitions and performances”. The trademark falls under the classification of  International Class 041.

Image Sources:

  1. Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash
  2. Christian Wiediger on Unsplash
  3. Iabzs on Unsplash
  4. Dosdldyhai on Wikimedia Commons
  5. Freestocks on Unsplash
  6. Rodolphe HERAUD on Unsplash
  7. Cold Ones Clips on Wikimedia Commons
  8. Shared Account on Wikimedia Commons