1. Samsung, Ericsson Enter Cross-License Agreement Ending All Cellular Tech Patent Litigation

On Friday, May 7, Swedish telecom firm Ericsson announced that it had entered into a cross-license agreement with South Korean electronics giant Samsung ending all global litigation between the two companies regarding patent claims to cellular technologies, including network infrastructure and handsets. Ericsson expects the multi-year agreement to improve IP licensing revenues for 2021’s second quarter up to as much as 2.5 billion Swedish krona ($299.4 million USD).

2. Federal Circuit overturns L’Oreal’s $66m haircare patent loss

L’Oreal has convinced the Federal Circuit to partially reverse a district court ruling ordering it to pay $66 million for infringing two patents and stealing trade secrets from cosmetics startup Olaplex. The Federal Circuit found that the trade secrets that the beauty giant was accused to have stolen from Olaplex were “not secret” and called for a retrial for the infringement of one of the patents in a non-precedential decision.

3. Pope Francis Backs Waivers on Intellectual Property Rights for Vaccines

Pope Francis on Saturday supported waiving intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines, backing a proposal by US President Joe Biden that has been rebuffed by some European nations, including Germany. In a speech to a global fundraising concert to promote fair access to vaccines, the pope said the world was infected with the “virus of individualism”. “A variant of this virus is closed nationalism, which prevents, for example, an internationalism of vaccines,” he said in the pre-recorded video message. “Another variant is when we put the laws of the market or of intellectual market or intellectual property over the laws of love and the health of humanity,” he added, recalling the heavy death toll the coronavirus had inflicted on the world. His comments came in the middle of a debate over whether pharmaceutical companies should waive patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines. Biden backed such a move on Wednesday, heeding calls from India, South Africa and more than 100 other countries.

4. EU asks Biden to Export Covid – 19 Vaccines Now and Worry About Patent Later

European Union leaders urged U.S. President Joe Biden to lift restrictions on exports of Covid-19 vaccines to address the desperate needs of developing countries before embarking on complex discussions about whether patent waivers might also boost supply in the longer term. Gathering in Porto, Portugal on Friday and Saturday shortly after the U.S. suggested suspending intellectual property rights to boost the supply of Covid shots, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Mario Draghi appealed in unison to the U.S. president to follow the EU example and start shipping significant numbers of vaccines. They argued that any patent waiver will only increase supply in the long term and the world needs a faster solution. “I hope that now that large parts of the American society have been vaccinated we will come to a free exchange of components and opening of the market for vaccines,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin after dialing in remotely to the summit talks. “Europe has always exported a big part of its production to the world and that should now become the regular case.”

5. Jay-Z to start his production company, files for trademark

American rapper and music producer Jay-Z has reportedly filed a trademark application for his production company ‘2/J’. The application that was filed by his company, S. Carter Enterprises on May 3rd under “entertainment services in the nature of creation, development, and production” of television programming, TV series, movies and similar projects indicates that Jay has laid the groundwork to start a production company with the business mogul after making his fortune in the streaming service `Tidal` and entertainment firm, ‘Roc Nation”. The rapper is now the newest addition to the list of celebrities from the entertainment industry who have started their own production houses.

6. Australian Company Loses Ugg Trademark Battle

In its latest development in the five years, the high-stakes legal battle between the companies Australian Leather and Deckers Outdoor Corporation, mockingly known as the “David vs. Goliath” battle by the media, an American court threw out the case on appeal. The Australian company that has been wrangling over the ownership of the term “ugg” could have far-reaching consequences at this move of the court. The dispute started in 2016 when Deckers took Australian Leather to court for trademark infringement when the latter’s owner Eddie Oygur sold 13 pairs of ugg boots in the U.S through his website. The term that is used as a catchall term for sheepskin boots lined with fleece was registered as a brand in the United States in the 1980s by the Australian entrepreneur Brian Smith.

7. ‘Drishyam 2’ Hindi remake shooting stopped till copyright case pending in Bombay HC

The Bombay High court was given assurance that the shooting for the Hindi remake of the Malayalam movie Drishyam would not commence while the suit is pending in court. This was said by Production house Panorama Studios International who acquired the rights of the Hindi remake. Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd. had produced the first Drishyam (Hindi remake) in 2015,  approached the Bombay High Court seeking a restraining order against Panorama Studios in an attempt to stop them from producing the Hindi Sequel. They filed a suit against them citing that Panorama studios was infringing on their copyright and seeking recognition and adjudication of the copyright and other rights in the production of the sequel to the film in the ‘Drishyam franchise’.

8. Copyright reform in Singapore continues release of draft Bill for public consultation

The Ministry of Law and Intellectual Property Office of Singapore released a draft Copyright Bill for public consultation in February 2021. The significance of the Bill is that this is the first time the existing copyright Act is being restructured and rewritten as a whole. Several partial legislative amendments have kept the Act updated with the relevant technological developments, for example with the dawn of computers and the internet. These amendments have made the Act bulky and complex. Hence an overhaul was required to make the law more understandable and accessible to the public. It also aims to implement wide ranging changes proposed by the Copyright review report as published by the Ministry of Law and Intellectual Property Office of Singapore in 2019.

Image Sources:

  1. Samsung on Wikimedia
  2. L’Oréal on Wikimedia
  3. Tris T7 on Wikimedia
  4. Europa.eu on Wikimedia.
  5. Joella Marano on Wikimedia.
  6. Thibault Penin on Unsplash.
  7. Sureshsharmaptv63 on Wikimedia.
  8. Basile Morin On Wikimedia.