Bite (noun): more meaty news to sink your teeth into.
Bark (noun): peripheral noise worth your attention.
This week in Other Barks & Bites: Nike sues BAPE for copying its shoe design; the five largest patent offices announce an increase of 10% in patent grants for 2022; and Hershey settles a trademark dispute with a California cookie company; and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) condemns the Indian government’s takedown request of a BBC documentary.
ITIF Rebukes Indian Government’s Copyright Takedown Request
On Wednesday, January 25, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a statement condemning the Indian government’s takedown request of the BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question.” India’s government asked YouTube and Twitter to take down the documentary that covers the 2002 Gujarat Riots, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been of condoning the ethnic violence which resulted in 1,044 dead. ITIF Senior Policy Analyst Jaci McDole said, “copyright does not give governments censorship rights. Copyright exists to enable expression. It provides rightsholders with assurances and controls over their works, and rightsholders alone can enforce their copyrights.”
Nike Sues BAPE Over Iconic Shoe Design
On Wednesday, January 25, Nike filed a lawsuit against fashion brand BAPE accusing the company of copying some of Nike’s most famous designs. “BAPE’s current footwear business revolves around copying Nike’s iconic designs,” wrote the firm in the lawsuit. Nike included five of BAPE’s designs that it alleges infringe on Nike’s trade dresses registered with the USPTO.
Meta Launches Website to Help Protect IP
On Tuesday, January 24, Meta announced the launch of a new website to help IP holders navigate its Rights Manager and protect their IP. According to the company’s statement, “we provide unprecedented transparency into the tools and policies we use to help copyright holders better control when, how and where their content is shared on our services.” Meta and other social media companies have come under fire in recent years for their lackluster IP protection.
Five Largest Patent Offices Saw 10% Increase in Patent Grants in 2021
On Tuesday, January 24, the five largest patent offices released a report showing that patent grants increased by 10% in 2021 in these offices. The so-called “IP5” includes the USPTO, Japan Patent Office, Korean Intellectual Property Office, European Patent Office, and the China National Intellectual Property Administration. The five offices granted 1.5 million patents in 2021 and received 2.9 million patent applications, a 3.7% increase.
Senate Judiciary Chair Announces Democratic Members for 118th Congress
On Thursday, January 26, U.S. Senate Majority Whip and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Durbin announced the ten Democratic members for the Judiciary Committee. The ten Senators are Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), and Peter Welch (D-VT). The Republican members and the makeup of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property for the 118th Congress have yet to be announced.
DOJ Sentences Chinese National to Eight Years of Prison for Attempting to Recruit Engineers, Scientists
On Wednesday, January 25, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Ji Chaoqun had been sentenced to eight years in prison for acting illegally in the United States as a foreign agent of the People’s Republic of China. Chaoqun allegedly attempted to recruit engineers and scientists working in aerospace and satellite technology fields in order to gain access to advanced technology.
Video Game Pulled Due to Trademark Dispute
On Wednesday, January 25, a much-anticipated video game was pulled from the biggest digital gaming store Steam after a private individual lodged a trademark complaint. The video game company Fntastic released a statement apologizing for its game “The Day Before” being pulled from Steam. According to the company, a private individual registered a trademark for the game after the company announced the game in 2021 and levied a trademark complaint ahead of its launch date.
Hershey Settles Lawsuit with Cookie Competitor
On Tuesday, January 24 Hershey and The Cookie Department settled their lawsuit over the use of the trademark “Tough Cookie”. The Cookie Department launched the lawsuit against Hershey in 2020 over the company’s use of its trademarked phrase on a line of protein bars. The two companies agreed to dismiss the case and settle the matter without any money exchanging hands.
This Week on Wall Street
Chevron Announces $75 Billion Buyback Program
On Wednesday, January 25, Chevron announced the oil company would repurchase shares worth $75 billion from investors, tripling its budget for buybacks. The company also reported record profits this Friday, which has led to calls from politicians for oil companies to reduce prices at the gas pump for consumers.
IBM Lays Off 3,900 Workers, Expanding Tech Sector Firing
On Wednesday, January 25, IBM announced it is firing 3,900 employees, or about 1.5% of its workforce after it missed its cashflow projections for 2022 by $700 million. The layoffs are part of a broader firing spree in the tech sector over the past several months. SAP also announced that it was laying off 3,000 people or 2.5% of its employees this week.
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: Canon (5), Koninklijke Philips (49), NXP Semiconductors (91)
- Tuesday: Caterpillar (90), Exxon (156)
- Wednesday: Sony (11), Meta (42), Thermo Fisher Scientific (190), Novo Nordisk (277)
- Thursday: Apple (14), Alphabet (15), Amazon (16), Bristol Myers Squibb (252)
- Friday: Sanofi (210)