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This week in Other Barks & Bites: U.K. politicians warn of widespread copyright infringement on NFT marketplaces; Google announces it will assume legal responsibility to offer customers protection from copyright disputes caused by the tech firm’s generative AI; Caltech and Apple jointly file a request to dismiss the patent infringement lawsuit between the two.
Google to Assume Responsibility for Legal Risks Caused by Generative AI
On Thursday, October 12, Google announced that if customers who use Google’s generative AI face copyright litigation then the tech giant will assume responsibility. The company made the statement in a blog post detailing the tech company’s “responsible approach to building guardrails for generative AI.” Google believes that its indemnification protections are so strong that customers will seldom be at risk of infringing copyright. “You can expect Google Cloud to cover claims, like copyright infringement, made against your company, regardless of whether they stem from the generated output or Google’s use of training data to create our generative AI models,” wrote the company.
Senators Release Draft of NO FAKES Bill to Curb AI Copying of Individuals
On Thursday, October 12, a bipartisan group of senators released a discussion draft of the “Nurture Originals, Foster Art, and Keep Entertainment Safe Act of 2023” or the “NO FAKES Act of 2023”. The goal of the bill is to “protect the voice and visual likenesses of individuals from unfair use through generative artificial intelligence (AI).” The co-sponsors of the bill are U.S. Senator and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property Chris Coons (D-DE) and Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Thom Tillis (R-NC). Read a one-pager on the bill here and the text of the discussion draft here.
Caltech Reaches Agreement with Apple to End Patent Lawsuit
On Wednesday, October 11, the California Institute of Technology ended its patent lawsuit against Apple and Broadcom as the companies filed a joint request to dismiss the case with prejudice. In the original complaint, Caltech alleged that millions of Apple devices that used Broadcom chips infringed on Caltech’s wireless communication patents. As part of the agreement, Apple also dismissed all its counterclaims against Caltech and each party will pay its own attorney fees.
Fifth Circuit Finds Sanctions Were Appropriate in Source Code Theft Case
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Wednesday affirmed a district court decision sanctioning Ashish Dabral for stealing the source code of Calsep A/S and then destroying evidence in the course of litigation. The appellate court ruled that the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Dabral destroyed evidence and disobeyed court orders, thereby committing sanctionable offenses, that it did not err in finding that Dabral acted in bad faith by blatantly ignoring court orders or that Calsep was prejudiced, and that “a detailed consideration of lesser sanctions isn’t required where, as here, a court appropriately concludes that that a party’s act was particularly egregious, part of a pattern of repeated violations, and—as evidenced by the wrongdoer’s conduct—there’s some indication that lesser sanctions would be futile or ignored.”
UK MPs Warn of Widespread Copyright Infringement on NFT Marketplaces
On Wednesday, October 11, the United Kingdom Culture, Media and Sport Committee asked the U.K. government to work with NFT marketplaces to address widespread copyright infringement. The Committee warned that the artists who are having their copyright infringed upon currently have a difficult time removing the work from these marketplaces. “Traditional regulatory regimes have failed to protect both creatives and consumers caught up in the volatile new crypto world,” said Dame Caroline Dinenage MP and Chair of the Committee.
USPTO Releases Virtual Assistant for Patent Customers
On Tuesday, October 10, the USPTO announced the availability of the new USPTO Virtual Assistant to improve access to patent-related resources. The new feature answers commonly asked questions and streamlines the process of finding the status of a patent application. “The USPTO is continuously working to create a more productive and efficient customer experience,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.
USCO Extends Deadline for Comments on Proposed Music Modernization Act Rules
On Wednesday, October 11, the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) announced the extension of the deadline to submit comments for the proposed rulemaking on termination rights related to the Music Modernization Act. Initial written comments are now due on November 8 with reply comments due on November 28. Full details on the proposed rulemaking are available here.
Adobe Releases Range of New Generative AI Models
On Tuesday, October 10, software company Adobe released three new generative AI models covering images, vectors, and design. The new models will allow users to have generative AI produce images, vectors, and designs through text prompts. “Firefly continues to offer the world’s best combination of visual capabilities, designed to be commercially safe, enables transformative new creative workflows across Adobe apps,” said Ely Greenfield, chief technology officer, Digital Media at Adobe. Adobe is so confident that its products are commercially safe and won’t infringe on IP that Alexandru Costin, head of generative AI at Adobe, told MarketWatch that Adobe would cover the legal fees of those being sued for infringement.
European Council Expands Scope of Geographical Indicators to Craft Products
On Monday, October 9, the European Council adopted a regulation that expands geographical indicators to craft and industrial products. Previously only food products were allowed to be protected under a geographical indicator, but the new regulation will now allow EU member countries to safeguard products unique to a geographic region. The European Union Intellectual Property Office said it “will play an important role in implementing the new system, particularly regarding the management of the registration procedure. The new rules will enable a simple and cost-efficient registration of GIs for craft and industrial products.”
WIPO Announces Saudi Arabia as Host of 2024 Diplomatic Conference on Industrial Design Protection
On Monday, October 9, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) member states selected Saudi Arabia as the host of a 2024 diplomatic conference that will finalize negotiations on a proposed Design Law Treaty (DLT). The goal of the treaty is to streamline the global system protecting industrial designs. “Many designers have limited or no legal support, and any time spent on registering their designs is time spent away from creating. We must make the process of registering designs as effortless as possible, said WIPO Director General Darren Tang. The conference will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from November 11-22 2024
This Week on Wall Street
IRS Asks Microsoft for $28.9 Billion in Back Taxes and Penalties After Audit
On Wednesday, October 11, Microsoft announced the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) asked the tech company to pay $28.9 million in back taxes, penalties, and interest after an audit of the company’s finances from 2004 to 2013. In its press release, Microsoft said the figure was not final and claimed the bill could decrease by up to $10 billion due to taxes paid by the tech firm that were not originally considered. The IRS began the investigation by looking into the firm’s practice of using shell companies in tax havens to avoid U.S. corporate tax. Microsoft said it disagrees with the figure and plans to appeal.
OPEC Increases Estimate for Long-Term Global Oil Consumption
On Monday, October 9, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) increased its estimate for future oil demand in the medium and long-term future. The cartel of oil-producing countries raised its estimate for global oil demand in 2045 to 116 million barrels per day. Current global oil consumption is about 97 million barrels per day. “The upshot is there is no credible way to address all the challenges before us without utilizing all available energy sources, all relevant technologies, and with energy market stability as a cornerstone for the huge investments required,” said OPEC Secretary General, HE Haitham Al Ghais.
Quarterly Earnings – The following firms identified among the IPO’s Top 300 Patent Recipients for 2022 are announcing quarterly earnings next week (2022 rank in parentheses):
- Monday: None
- Tuesday: Johnson & Johnson (23), Bank of America (75),
- Wednesday: IBM (2), SAP SE (65), Procter & Gamble (100), Abbott Laboratories (147), ASML (186)
- Thursday: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (6), AT&T (47), Intuitive Surgical (227)
- Friday: None