1) USPTO Analysis of Patent Filing Finds No Single Company is Leading 5G Technology Development

In an attempt to identify the competition and vulnerabilities that companies in the U.S might be exposed to, the United States Patent and Trademark Office released a report addressing the development and current status of 5G technology. The report concluded that while there appear to be several firms competing for market dominance, there is no single company that is winning the 5G technology race. This analysis incentives leading Telecom Firms to strategize their way forward as well as create assurance in their current tactics. It also leaves space for further research to be done about patenting technicalities in 5G Technologies.

The study has used the data set of global patent families as opposed to individual patent applications to avoid misinterpretation in counting. This has however created its own limitation in the form of not being able to count for applications made outside the home country.

2) US Copyright Agency Rejects Registration for AI Created Image

Affirming its earlier decision, the U.S Copyright Agency has once again rejected the application for copyright protection of an art piece created by Artificial Intelligence. The application in question was filed by Steven Thaler on behalf of “The Creativity Machine” and is titled A Recent Entrance to Paradise.

In the initial application made in November 2019, Thaler had submitted that the work was autonomously created by artificial intelligence and the registration was made under a work-for-hire provision of copyright claims. This was rejected by the agency on the grounds that there was no human authorship, a necessity required for the copyright claim. Upon the second application, the agency re-evaluated Thaler’s claims of these grounds being unconstitutional and affirmed its earlier decision.

3) CVS files to trademark its pharmacy and health clinics in the metaverse

Unprecedented in the industry,  the pharmacy, CVS Health has invested in the metaverse. The American pharma giant has made a filing in the US Patent Trade Office with a logo claiming to host an online store of downloadable virtual goods. The company has filed for a trademark of virtual goods (prescription drugs, healthcare, wellness, beauty, and personal care products), NFTs, and aims at providing health services partnering with retailing giants like Walmart and Nike. 

Their plans also include ideas surrounding in-store clinics and a telehealth platform to the virtual setting. The company also suggests provisions for nutrition and wellness coaching, as well as “non-emergency medical treatments services, wellness programs, advisory services related to nutrition, providing health lifestyle and nutrition services, and counseling.”

4) Sony Music Files Copyright Infringement Suit In Bombay High Court Against Ilaiyaraja’s Music Company

Sony Music Entertainment India Pvt Ltd has recently filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the music maestro Ilayaraja’s “Ilayaraja Music N Management Pvt Ltd (IMM)”. Filed in the Bombay High Court, Sony claims that IMM has infringed at least 228 out of 536 title albums that belonged to them by streaming music. The damages sought for the same are estimated to be around 1.5 crores. An interim relief of injunction was sought on the matter for the restraint of such streaming, or any relief asserting their exclusive royalty over the 536 disputed albums. 

IMM responded to the matter claiming that the latter was planting a false sense of urgency within the courts and that Ilayaraja’s music has been streaming in Trend Loud Digital since 2015. While IMM agreed that negotiations with Sony have happened for distribution rights, never had there been an actual deal made on the matter. 

5) H&M Unicolors’ copyright dispute: U.S. Supreme Court protects good-faith mistakes in copyright filing

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled against the fast-fashion retailer – H&M in a copyright dispute as it reversed the Ninth Circuit’s previous ruling. In a 6-3 decision, the court noted that Unicolors’ copyright registration for its fabric design can survive as it was unaware of the inaccuracies in the application as a result of good-faith misreading of the law.

During its first bout in 2017, a jury found that H&M infringed on Unicolors’ copyrights in numerous textile designs. H&M challenged this verdict by questioning the validity of the copyright registration. As the matter reached the Ninth Circuit, the court found that Unicolors’ had provided inaccurate information with the knowledge that it was inaccurate and was not protected under Section 411(b)(1). However, the Supreme Court has finally observed that since Unicolors’ was unaware of the legal requirement that rendered the information in its application inaccurate, it didn’t have the knowledge that it was inaccurate.

This decision comes as a win for those applicants who unintentionally submit an application with inaccurate information to the U.S. Copyright Office as part of an honest mistake while still acknowledging the risks associated with such inaccuracies in copyright filings in the U.S.

6) Nike x John Geiger intensifies as John Geiger files countersuit

John Geiger has countersued Nike in response to Nike’s claims of trademark infringement over the former’s lookalike version of its immensely popular Air Force 1 Low. In August 2021, Nike had filed a lawsuit against John Geiger complaining that it was knowingly and intentionally creating confusion in the marketplace by marketing and selling its GF1s using Nike’s registered Air Force 1 trade dress. It was alleged that John Geiger was capitalising on the popularity of Nike’s iconic shoes.

In its countersuit, John Geiger argues that Nike’s claims shall not be allowed as there’s no likelihood of confusion between their footwear products. It is argued that Nike’s trade dress is generic and its alleged use of Nike’s marks is within the limits of fair use and descriptive use. Geiger has argued that Nike’s trademark protections are too vague since it has introduced modified versions of the Air Force 1s. And has pointed out the absence of Nike branding while claiming that it uses more premium material.

Geiger has also called for the court to invalidate Nike’s trademarks which allegedly “unlawfully stifle the competitive and free markets” to intimidate designers and manufacturers afraid of Nike’s litigiousness.

This countersuit faces public criticism as John Geiger tries to win a losing battle. 

7) Ed Sheeran accused of being a ‘magpie’ – Shape of You Copyright Trial 

Musicians Sami Chokri and Ross O’ Donoghue have accused Ed Sheeran of copying “particular lines and phrases” of their composition – Oh Why, released in 2015 in his 2017 song Shape of You. Sheeran and his co-writers, Steven McCutcheon and John McDaid initiated legal proceedings in May 2018, asking the high court to declare they had not infringed Sami Chokri and Ross O’ Donoghue’s copyright. Two months later, Chokri and Donoghue issued their claim for copyright damage. On Friday – the first day of this three-week copyright trial, Sheeran has been accused of being a “magpie” who allegedly “borrows” ideas from other artists for his songs. The lawyer for Sheeran and his two co-writers questioned the difference between allegedly subconsciously or consciously copying the hook of the song Oh Why. He argued that a case of “conscious copying” against Sheeran and his co-authors would need “all three to have known at the time of writing that they were copying Oh Why”. Both parties have anticipated costs of about £3m between them.

8) CRISPR patent goes to MIT, Harvard group over UC Berkeley

The US Patent and Trademark Office ruled that CRISPR – the gene-editing tool is the intellectual property of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. This decision comes as a drawback to the University of California Berkley, which has been trying for years to obtain lucrative patent rights to the technology. CRISPR was first described by Jennifer Doudna of UC Berkeley and Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute in a 2012 paper, and they won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for this work in 2020. Their initial article focused on the use of CRISPR to edit genes in a test tube—not eukaryotic cells, i.e., in an animal or human. Then, in 2013, researchers at the Broad Institute published a paper on using CRISPR in the types of cells found in animals and people. That is the basis upon which the Patent Office’s appeals board determined that the Broad Institute has ownership. 

UC Berkeley had earlier contested the USPTO’s decision from 2014, which awarded CRISPR patent to the Broad Institute. The result was the USPTO determining that the patents from the two institutions were different enough that they could both stand — and that the Broad Institute retained patents for the use of CRISPR in complex human and animal cells. UC Berkeley appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit for this decision and lost that appeal too. 


Image Sources:

  1. Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash
  2. Image via U.S Copyright Office
  3. Marcus Urbenz on Unsplash
  4. Elliot Collins on  Unsplash
  5. Marcus Urbenz on Unsplash
  6. Elliott Collins on Unsplash
  7. Henry Nicholls on Reuters
  8. Sangharsh Lohakare on Unsplash