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This week in Other Barks & Bites: The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) bans Peloton and other companies from importing streaming fitness devices that infringe on a Dish patent; the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) launches a program to expedite patent applications for first-time filers; and a district court awards Gilead Sciences $175 million in damages for HIV medication fraud.
Jury Says TikTok Did Not Infringe Stitch Editing Trademark
A jury in California on Thursday cleared social media platform TikTok in a lawsuit brought against it last year by UK company, Stitch Editing, Inc., alleging that TikTok’s video editing tool, Stitch, infringes its trademark. TikTok introduced the tool in 2020 and Stitch Editing sought $116 million in damages for trademark infringement of its U.S. registration for STITCH EDITING and common law rights in STITCH.
Inventor Loses Patent Appeal After Arguing Invention Was Directed at NFT Technology
On Thursday, March 9, the CAFC ruled patent owner James Driessen’s U.S. Patent No. 10,304,052 is unpatentable after the inventor argued his patent claims should have been construed as directed to NFTs. Previously, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) sided with retailers Best Buy, Target, and Walmart after the companies filed an inter partes review arguing Driessen’s patent claims were unpatentable. During his oral argument before the PTAB, the inventor introduced the idea for the first time that his patent covered NFT technology, which was not disclosed by the prior art. However, the CAFC said, “The Board is not required to consider new, untimely arguments that a patent owner presents for the first time during oral argument.” Ultimately, the appeals court found the inventor’s arguments unpersuasive and affirmed the PTAB decision.
USPTO Announces Initiative to Expedite First-Time Filer’s Patent Applications
On Wednesday, March 8, the USPTO launched the Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2) First-Time Filer Expedited Examination Pilot Program. The initiative is designed to expedite patent applications for first-time filers and stimulate innovation from all communities in the United States. The program will benefit individuals or small businesses that qualify as micro entities by providing quicker initial feedback on their first office action. “This new initiative is another way we are…lift[ing] independent inventors and small business owners—including those from underrepresented communities—who are new to the patent process and provide them with resources and assistance they need to protect patentable innovations,” said Kathi Vidal, Director of the USPTO.
ITC Bans Peloton from Importing Certain Streaming Fitness Devices
On Wednesday, March 8, the ITC announced a limited exclusion order (LEO) banning some imports of streaming fitness devices by Peloton and other fitness companies after a judge ruled that the devices infringed on Dish Network’s patents. Dish filed the patent complaint with the ITC in 2021, and in September 2022 an ITC judge sided with Dish in the dispute. Two other fitness companies, Lululemon and Mirror, settled the case with Dish before the ITC reached this judgment.
District Judge Awards Gilead Sciences $175 Million in Damages
On Tuesday, March 7, a Florida district court ruled in favor of Gilead Sciences in its case against Baikal Marketing Group for its HIV medication scam. The district judge awarded $131,400,000 in damages to Gilead for Baikal Marketing’s role in the scam and another $43,800,000 in damages from Priority Health Medical Center. Gilead has a program to offer its HIV drug treatment at no cost to patients that lack insurance. The defendants in this case were found to fraudulently enroll people in the program and buy back the medication from them to be resold at a higher price. The defendants were found to have violated the Lanham Act among other charges.
USPTO and USDA Outline Plans for Increasing Agricultural Competition
On Tuesday, March 7, the USPTO and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a joint blog detailing the agencies’ continuing collaboration on increasing competition in the agricultural industry and seed space. As part of the collaboration, the USDA released a report listing key recommendations on how to promote competition and innovation in agriculture. The report detailed the newly established working group between the USDA and USPTO that will further strengthen the relationship between the two agencies. In the joint blog, the agencies wrote, “the USPTO and the USDA will further collaborate to develop policies aimed at protecting and promoting U.S. innovation in the seed and agriculture space while advancing competition that will support farmers and supply chain resilience.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Five Nominations
On Thursday, March 9, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced five judicial nominations by voice vote for consideration by the full Senate. The Committee advanced Matthew P. Brookman to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Indiana and Damien M. Diggs, to be United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, the three other nominations were for United States Marshall positions. All other nominations have been held back for further consideration.
IP Offices Around the World Celebrate International Women’s Day
On Wednesday, March 8, the USPTO released a statement joining 35 other IP offices around the world in celebrating International Women’s Day by recognizing the key contributions made by women to innovation and economic progress. The IP theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.” Kathi Vidal, Director of the USPTO said, “we must continue to provide our support, though action, beyond the month of March—empowering women remains a consistent goal that benefits our global economy.”
EFF Files Amicus Brief in Jack Daniel’s Trademark Case
On Tuesday, March 7, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) posted about its February 23 amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court in Jack Daniel’s Properties v. VIP Products asking the Court to uphold the Rogers test. The brief was filed in support of VIP Products, a novelty dog toy company that Jack Daniel’s accused of infringing on its trademark. The EFF wrote, “discarding the Rogers test would be a mistake… Trademarks are ubiquitous in the modern world, and the same attributes that make them useful for identifying the source of goods or services also make them a powerful expressive tool for commenting on their owners and society.”
USPTO Announces Special Patent Category for Green Inventions
On Monday, March 6, the USPTO announced a new award category as part of its Patents for Humanity Program for green energy inventions. The special category is designed to provide incentives to patent applicants whose inventions address climate change through green energy innovation. “Innovation in this field is critical to how we will live and prosper in the future. This new Patents for Humanity Green Energy category allows us to provide special recognition to innovators tackling this unprecedented challenge,” said USPTO Director Kathi Vidal.
USCO Appoints Emily Chapuis as Deputy General Counsel
On Monday, March 6, the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) announced the appointment of Emily Chapuis as Deputy General Counsel. Chapuis will assist the General Counsel in providing legal guidance and implementing copyright regulations. Before working at the USCO, Chapuis worked as a commercial litigator and a partner at Jenner & Block LLP.
This Week on Wall Street
The Netherlands to Impose Export Controls on Chip Technology to China
On Wednesday, March 8, the Dutch government announced new export controls on China for manufacturing equipment for microchips. The announcement is part of a joint agreement with the United States and Japan to hamper China’s microchip industry. While the Dutch government has not outlined what exact equipment will be restricted, in a press statement, the largest Dutch semiconductor company ASML said that the export restrictions focus on the most advanced deposition and immersion lithography tools.
Fed Chairman Powell Says Interests Rates to Be Higher Than Expected
On Tuesday, March 7, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified in front of Congress and said interest rates are likely to increase more than previously expected. The cautious testimony indicated that the Federal Reserve plans to continue its strategy of tight monetary policy. “We have covered a lot of ground, and the full effects of our tightening so far are yet to be felt. Even so, we have more work to do,” Powell said.
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