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This week in Other Barks & Bites: A Delaware jury rules Amazon must pay $46.7 million to a company that accused the tech giant’s Alexa of infringing on several patents; G7 Members publish communique on digital competition; and Diego Maradona’s heirs win a trademark battle against his former lawyer.
G7 Members Publish Communique on Digital Competition
On Wednesday, November 8, G7 competition authorities and policymakers released a communique on digital competition at the conclusion of the G7 Competition Authorities and Policymakers’ Summit. As a result of the meetings, the G7 countries released several commitments to address concerns around emerging technologies including AI. The policymakers wrote, “AI raises possible competition concerns, alongside a variety of other issues such as transparency, disinformation, intellectual property rights, privacy and protection of personal data.” The U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission participated in the summit.
Jury Rules Amazon Must Pay $46.7 Million for Alexa Patent Infringement
On Wednesday, November 8, a Delaware jury ruled that Amazon must pay $46.7 million in damages for infringing on several patents covering speech recognition and language processing technology. VB Assets accused the tech giant’s Alexa virtual assistant of infringing on its voice-control software in 2021. The jury found that Amazon willfully infringed on four of VB Assets’s patents and awarded damages based on a running royalties calculation
FTC Challenges Over 100 Patents as Improperly Listed in FDA’s Orange Book
On Tuesday, November 7, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a press release detailing the more than 100 challenges it has filed against drug products improperly listed in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) “Orange Book.” The patents include brand-name asthma inhalers, epinephrine autoinjectors, and other drug products. The FTC has also sent notice letters to ten companies including, AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Impax Laboratories, Kaleo, Mylan Specialty, and subsidiaries of Glaxo-Smith Kline, and Teva. These letters announce to the companies that the FTC is disputing the listing of certain patents. “Wrongfully listed patents can significantly drive up the prices Americans must pay for medicines and drug products while undermining fair and honest competition,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. For full IPWatchdog coverage, click here.
OpenAI Says it Will Pay for Costs Associated with Copyright Lawsuits
On Monday, November 6, OpenAI, the company behind the generative AI platform ChatGPT, announced that it would offer to pay for the costs customers incur from copyright lawsuits. The company made the announcement during its first showcase. OpenAI said that ChatGPT already has as a system of built-in copyright safeguards, but now the company is extending Copyright Shield, a program to step in and defend users as well as cover associated costs.
USPTO Issues Reminder on Upcoming Changes to Assignment Systems
On Thursday, November 9, the USPTO published a reminder of its planned changes to combine the Electronic Trademark Assignment System (ETAS) and the Electronic Patent Assignment System (EPAS) into one system the Intellectual Property Assignment System (IPAS). The change will be available on January 15, 2024. The new system will process all patent and trademark requests and enhance customer service, according to the USPTO>
Diego Maradona’s Heirs Win Trademark Case in EU Court
On Tuesday, November 7, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that football star Diego Maradona’s former lawyer failed to establish that a trademark in the football icon’s name should be transferred to his company. After the Argentine’s death in 2020, his former lawyer filed paperwork with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to transfer the trademark to his company. However, in 2022 Maradona’s heirs successfully invalidated the transfer of the trademark. The CJEU sided with the EUIPO in this case ruling that the lawyer failed to produce the necessary documents to legitimate the transfer of the trademark.
Nike Sues Competitors for Patent Infringement
On Monday, November 6, Nike filed a lawsuit against New Balance and Skechers accusing its competitors of infringing patented shoe technology. The lawsuit is focused on Flyknit, a patented Nike technology that Nike describes as “a novel method of designing and manufacturing shoe uppers, which enables Nike to create footwear with excellent performance, design, and aesthetics—all while reducing materials and waste.” The lawsuit concerns nine patents that Nike has filed over the last decade. Nike has filed similar lawsuits regarding its FLyknit technology, including against Adidas, Puma, and Lululemon.
Value of Music Copyright Tops $40 Billion
On Sunday, November 5, economist Will Page released his yearly report on the music business which calculated a $41.5 billion value for music copyright in 2022. The value is a 14% annual increase, and it is the first time that the music copyright value has topped $40 billion. Page, the former chief economist for Spotify, wrote, “Annual revenue growth shows that the value of copyright swelled $5bn in 2022 – an incredible feat. More striking still is that the spoils of growth are shared evenly between labels and artists on one side, and songwriters, publishers and their CMOs on the other.”
This Week on Wall Street
Chairman Powell Says Fed is Not Confident it Has Done Enough to Reduce Inflation
On Thursday, November 9, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome spoke at an International Monetary Fund conference and told the audience that the Fed is “not confident” that it has implemented monetary policy that will reach its goal of reducing inflation to 2%. The current inflation rate is 3.7% and interest rates sit at a 20-year-high of 5.25-5.5%. Powell said, “if it becomes appropriate to tighten policy further, we will not hesitate to do so. We will continue to move carefully, however, allowing us to address both the risk of being misled by a few good months of data, and the risk of overtightening.
WeWork Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection
On Monday, November 6, co-working space company WeWork filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The announcement from the company valued just four years ago at $47 billion is another milestone in its rapid fall from grace. WeWork promised to change how offices functioned but faltered quickly due to erratic behavior from founder and former CEO Adam Neumann, aggressive expansion, and the coronavirus pandemic. “Now is the time for us to pull the future forward by aggressively addressing our legacy leases and dramatically improving our balance sheet,” said David Tolley, WeWork CEO.
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: None
- Wednesday: Cisco Systems (46)
- Thursday: Applied Materials (52), Alibaba (103)
- Friday: None