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This week in Other Barks & Bites: Music publishers launch a copyright infringement lawsuit against Twitter; Korean authorities arrest a former executive for attempting to replicate a copy of a semiconductor manufacturing facility; three Republican senators introduce a bill attempting to tie President Biden’s hands on TRIPS waivers; and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vindicates Synopsys in a trade secret case.
Appeals Court Affirms Synopsys Trade Secrets Victory
On Thursday, June 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a district court ruling that software giant Synopsys did not steal trade secrets from Risk Based Security. The two companies are competitors that identify vulnerabilities in software code, and RBS accused Synopsys of engaging in unlawful conduct related to RBS’s database. The district court and appeals court ruled that RBS had not brought sufficient evidence proving any of its allegations.
House Science Committee Passes Three Bills to Improve Federal R&D
On Thursday, June 15, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology passed three bipartisan bills which “strengthen critical research partnerships and advance American aviation.” Two of the bills will strengthen the Department of Energy’s relationship with the National Science Foundation and NASA. “All three bipartisan bills passed out of Committee today advance our legislative agenda and contribute to a larger effort to improve federal R&D,” Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) said.
Music Publishers Sue Twitter for Copyright Infringement
On Wednesday, June 14, the National Music Publishers’ Association filed a lawsuit accusing Twitter of violating copyright law by allowing its users to publish music to the platform without permission. “Twitter fuels its business with countless infringing copies of musical compositions, violating Publishers’ and others’ exclusive rights under copyright law,” wrote the group. The music publishers are asking for $150,000 in damages for every infringed work. The civil suit was filed in Tennessee, and the association claims to have won its member nearly $500 million in judgments.
PTAB Rules VLSI Patent Unpatentable in $2.2 Billion Case with Intel
On Tuesday, June 13, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruled that another VLSI patent was unpatentable, dealing a blow to the tech company. The patent was responsible for $1.5 billion of a $2.2 billion verdict against Intel. VLSI and Intel have been locked in multiple patent lawsuits that have achieved mixed results, with wins for both sides. USPTO Director Kathi Vidal took VLSI to task earlier this year for publicly citing an anonymous report in a proceeding with Intel, and also sanctioned OpenSky in a related case.
Former Samsung Executive Arrested for Trying to Build Copycat Semiconductor Facility
On Monday, June 12, a Korean court charged a former Samsung Electronics senior executive with stealing trade secrets in order to build a complete copy of a Samsung semiconductor facility. Allegedly, the executive planned to build the factory about a mile away from a Samsung facility in China. Last week, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol declared that competition in the chip industry between China and South Korea was an “all-out war.”
Republican Senators Introduce No Free TRIPS Bill
On Thursday, June 15, three Republican Senators, Marsha Blackburn (TN), Cynthia Lummis (WY), and Tommy Tuberville (AL) introduced legislation aimed at protecting U.S. life sciences innovation and IP “from falling into the hands of foreign adversaries.” The bill is called the No Free TRIPS Act, and it would bar President Biden from negotiating or affirming anything related to the TRIPS Agreement. “During the COVID pandemic, the private sector answered the call and moved swiftly to develop world-class, life-saving vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics,” said Blackburn.
USPTO Issues Reminder of June 20 Deadline to Submit Comments on Potential Rulemaking Changes
On Wednesday, June 14, the USPTO issued a reminder that the deadline to submit public comments on its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for potential PTAB reforms is June 20. The potential changes include changes to discretionary institution practices, petition word limits, and settlement practices for America Invents Act (AIA) proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The USPTO wrote it “has been actively engaging with stakeholders to ensure that practices in inter partes review (IPR) and post-grant review (PGR) proceedings before the PTAB align with the USPTO’s mission to promote and protect innovation.”
USPTO Announces Final Rule on Patent Term Adjustment Statement
On Wednesday, June 14, the USPTO announced a final rule requiring that the patent term adjustment statement regarding information disclosure statements must be submitted on the USPTO form using the appropriate document code. The USPTO said this decision will streamline aspects of prosecution and eliminate unnecessary communication between the USPTO and patent applicants.
This Week on Wall Street
iPhone Manufacturer Foxconn Exploring Switch to Cars
On Thursday, June 15, Foxconn CEO Young Liu told the BBC in an interview that his Chinese firm is looking at switching some supply chains from iPhones to electric vehicles. Liu said the world’s largest iPhone manufacturer is weighing up its options and preparing for the worst regarding increasing U.S.-China tensions. Foxconn does significant business in Taiwan, a particular area of tension in U.S.-China relations as of late.
Fed Leaves Interest Rate Unchanged After 15 Months of Hikes
On Wednesday, June 14, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell held a press conference where he announced that the Fed would leave the interest rate unchanged at 5%. However, due to the Fed’s commitment to reduce inflation to 2% by the end of the year, Powell clarified that the interest rate will likely be hiked before the end of the year. Based on different indicators, the U.S. inflation rate is hovering around 4-5%. “We understand the hardship that high inflation is causing, and we remain strongly committed to bringing inflation back down to our 2 percent goal,” said Powell.
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: None
- Thursday: Accenture (177)
- Friday: None
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