Feds seize cash, Web sites of alleged film pirates - June 30, 2010

The government on Wednesday also took control of at least seven of the sites: movies-links.tv, now-movies.com, tvshack.net, filespump.com, planetmoviez.com, zml.com, thepiratecity.org, ninjavideo.net, and ninjathis.net. More than a dozen bank, investment, and advertising accounts were seized, and authorities served search warrants on residences in several different states. Authorities are searching for operators of the sites as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, according to Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The crimes that the operators are accused of committing weren't clear, but some of the sites are accused of distributing film copies prior to their theatrical release.

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US Supreme Court Leaves Door Open for Software Patents - Jun 29, 2010

Waiting until the last day of the 2009-2010 term, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down its ruling on Bilski v. Kappos, a case that narrowly focuses on the patentability of a method to hedge weather risks for consumer energy prices, but more broadly represents the patentability of software. Unfortunately, while upholding the lower courts' decision to not allow the specific patent in this case, it did not agree with the reasoning the lower courts came to their decision, and has left open the door for continued software patents for the time being. In its ruling, the SCOTUS shied away from any broad definition of a process that should be excluded from patents. In fact, it even seems to touch on software patents a bit in the majority opinion.

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US university sues TSMC, Samsung over patent - 25 June 2010

The technology-transfer arm of the University of New Mexico (UNM), is charging Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Samsung Electronics with patent infringement of a UNM invention that significantly improves the capability of semiconductor manufacturers to fabricate next generation chips. STC, a non-profit corporation that is wholly-owned by the University of New Mexico Regents, filed a complaint on June 23 requesting that the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington commence an investigation into TSMC's and Samsung's importation of infringing products that constitute unfair methods of competition and unfair acts under the patent laws. STC is asking the ITC to issue an exclusion order which will prevent TSMC and Samsung from importing the infringing products into the US.

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India foils Chinese bid to patent 'pudina' - Jun 24, 2010

India has foiled a major Chinese bio-piracy bid to patent the use of medicinal plants 'pudina' (mint) and 'kalamegha' (andrographis) for the treatment of H5N1 avian influenza or bird flu. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), with the help of India's Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), dug out formulations from ancient Ayurveda and Unani texts, dating back to the 9th century, to show that both 'pudina' and 'kalamegha' have been widely used in India since ages for influenza and epidemic fevers. After receiving exhaustive evidence from CSIR that confirmed India's stand, the European Patent Office (EPO) on June 10 cancelled the decision to grant patent to Livzon, a major Chinese pharmaceutical company, on the medicinal properties of pudina and kalamegha for treating bird flu.

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Viacom loses copyright suit against Google,YouTube - June 24, 2010

A Manhattan federal judge on Wednesday threw out Viacom Inc's USD 1 billion lawsuit accusing Google Inc of posting copyrighted videos on its YouTube service without permission. In a 30-page ruling, US District Judge Louis Stanton said the defendants were entitled to safe harbor protection "against all of plaintiffs' claims for direct and secondary copyright infringement." He directed the parties to submit a report by July 14 to address any remaining issues in the case.

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White House Battles Trademark, Copyright Infringement - June 23, 2010

The Obama administration has launched an effort to protect intellectual property by working across agencies and nations to fight civil and criminal violations of trademark and copyright infringement. The Joint Strategic Plan for Intellectual Property Enforcement hopes to ease some of these violations by calling for better communication between law enforcement agencies and those affected by copyright and trademark infringement. It also aims to enhance the collaboration between international organizations and law-enforcement officials and the United States to crack down on IP violations, as well as to dedicate agency resources to improving data collection to enforce infringement laws.

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Snag In Early End To Viagra Patent In Brazil - 17 June 2010

20 June will mark the authorised end of Viagra’s patent in Brazil, following a 28 April decision of the Superior Court of Justice. Since the decision, five laboratories have requested registration for drugs that are generic versions of Viagra or similar to it, according to press reports. EMS, the largest generic pharmaceutical company in Brazil, was the first to receive it and announced it would produce Viagra generic on the first day after the end of the patent and pharmacies could sell it a week later.

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LimeWire faces new copyright suit - June 16, 2010

Eight members of the National Music Publishers' Association, including publishing arms of the four largest recording companies, were named as plaintiffs in the suit accusing Lime Group, parent of software maker Lime Wire, and Gorton with "copyright infringement on a massive scale." The suit comes as LimeWire, the nation's largest file-sharing service, is trying to convince U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood not to shut down the service. The Recording Industry Association of America last month won a major legal victory against Lime Wire when Wood granted it summary judgment and found Lime Wire and Gorton liable for copyright infringement and inducing copyright infringement.

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Apple facing ads patent investigation - 15th June 2010

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is set to look into the iAd service that Apple has proposed in order to determine whether or not it is anti-competitive. iAd will effectively kick Apple's major rivals out of the iPhone market altogether and, as a result, the FTC and the US Justice Department have been attempting to decide which of them should head up an in-depth analysis as to the potential ramifications of this move. Google and its subsidiary AdMob are set to be the biggest losers as a result of Apple's actions and both firms have said that their platforms would effectively be inaccessible from Apple's major devices, including the iPhone and iPod Touch. iAd will become active from July and it will facilitate in-app advertisements of which any developer can take advantage. So far Apple has not responded to the criticisms or questions over a potential investigation and the FTC has been equally quiet.

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Lime Wire Copyright Case Gets January Damages Trial - June 08, 2010

File-sharing website Lime Wire LLC received a January trial date for damages in a copyright infringement case brought by record companies. U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in New York yesterday also gave Lime Wire two weeks to file legal papers supporting its argument that it shouldn’t be shut down. The labels sued in 2006, in the face of declining sales of CDs, their largest source of revenue. They include Arista Records, owned by Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment; Atlantic Recording Corp., part of Warner Music; Capitol Records, a unit of Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd.’s EMI Group; and Vivendi SA’s Motown Record Co., a unit of Universal Music Group.

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Curtis Sues Pizza Chain for Infringing Norman Rockwell Copyright - June 08, 2010

Curtis Publishing Co., which produces a magazine with origins dating back to 1728, sued a Michigan-based chain of pizza restaurants for copyright infringement. The suit, filed June 3 in federal court in Indianapolis, accused Hungry Howie’s Pizza & Subs Inc. of Madison Heights, Michigan, of infringing the copyright to a Saturday Evening Post cover first published in 1943. The cover, “Freedom from Want,” is by the late Norman Rockwell, and features the image of a family at a Thanksgiving dinner as a large roast turkey is being brought to the table. The ads, which began in November 2009, featured a “precise mimicry of the various nuances” of the Rockwell painting,” with the alteration of replacing the turkey with a pizza, Curtis said in its complaint.

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World Chess Federation Sues Website for Copyright Violations - June 08, 2010

Organizers of the World Chess Federation’s World Chess Championship series of matches between India’s Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria filed a copyright-infringement suit against operators of a website that transmitted the moves of the three-week series of games live, the Chess Vibes website reported. The competition’s official website transmitted the 12 games live together with a warning that others were barred from doing so without explicit permission, Chess Vibes reported. Tournament organizers sued in Berlin, claiming the unauthorized transmission by Chessbase through its Playchess of the server violates Germany copyright law with relation to databases, Rainer Polzin, the organizer’s Berlin-based lawyer, told Chess Vibes.

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China, India To Raise Concerns At WTO About “TRIPS-Plus” Measures, ACTA - 3 June 2010

China and India plan to voice concerns at the World Trade Organization about efforts by developed countries to push poorer trading partners beyond their WTO commitments on trade and intellectual property rights, or TRIPS-plus measures. To China and India, the official said, TRIPS-plus issues “constrain flexibilities and undermine the balance of rights in the TRIPS Agreement.” 

The issue has been placed on the agenda of the 8-9 June Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

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WIPO to open its doors to public for first time ever - 2 June 2010

The World Intellectual Property Organization is opening its doors to the public on Saturday for a glimpse at the organisation’s activities, during its first-ever “open day.” Visitors will be given the opportunity to ask WIPO staff, including the director general, questions during the day. The event is part of a larger Geneva weekend event to coincide with World Environment Day on 5 June. Visitors will be allowed to access the top floor of the WIPO building. To enter the building they will be requested to show photo identification upon entrance.

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Double-Barrelled Databases: WIPO GOLD And USPTO-Google - 2 June 2010

Two separate search engines for intellectual property rights were announced in Geneva and Washington, DC, both of which have the potential to significantly ease searches for patents, trademarks and other IP. The World Intellectual Property Organization on 1 June launched WIPO GOLD, a free online global resource for accessing its databases; and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it has entered into a “no-cost, two-year agreement with Google to make bulk electronic patent and trademark public data available to the public in bulk form.” Under the agreement, it will provide Google with “existing bulk, electronic files, which Google will host without modification for the public free of charge.

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