Bite (noun): more meaty news to sink your teeth into.
Bark (noun): peripheral noise worth your attention.
This week in Other Barks & Bites: A federal jury awards $83.4 million in damages to the University of Washington for Guardant Health’s infringement of their duplex sequencing technology; Google files a lawsuit against a group that fraudulently filed DMCA claims against its competitors; the U.S. Supreme Court publishes its first-ever code of conduct after months of public pressure; and the Copyright Office pushes back its deadline for comments on its artificial intelligence (AI) Notice of Inquiry.
FTC Announces Plan to Promote Solution to Challenges Created by AI Voice Cloning
On Thursday, November 16, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the Voice Cloning Challenge, a plan to promote ideas that will protect consumers from the abuse of AI-enabled voice cloning. The FTC acknowledged the potential innovations and positive aspects of such technology, but the technology can also be deployed to impersonate family members or trusted sources. Stakeholders have also cited concerns that AI voice cloning can be used to infringe copyright and harm intellectual property holders. “We will use every tool to prevent harm to the public stemming from abuses of voice cloning technology,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We want to address harms before they hit the marketplace, and enforce the law when they do.”
Lenovo Sues Rival Asus Over PC Patent Infringement
On Wednesday, November 15, Lenovo filed a lawsuit against rival computer company Asus alleging the company infringed on four of its patents. The four patents are all related to features in the Asus Zenbook laptop. Lenovo demanded a jury trial and requested an unspecified amount of damages due to direct and indirect patent infringement.
Jury Awards University of Washington $83.4 Million in Patent Infringement Case
On Tuesday, November 14, a federal jury ruled that Guardant Health willfully infringed on two University of Washington patents and awarded the university $83.4 million in damages. The patents cover duplex sequencing technology and are exclusively licensed to Twinstrand Biosciences. The jury found Guardant Health’s 360 CDx product infringed on this patented technology after the Patent and Trial Appeal Board (PTAB) denied petitions from Guardant challenging the validity of several claims in the patent. “We are grateful that the jury has protected the foundational duplex sequencing invention… and the rights of those who own and license it, so we can continue to invest in research and development without being punished by unrestrained infringement,” stated Ron Andrews, Chief Executive Officer and Director of TwinStrand.
Supreme Court Publishes First Ethics Code of Conduct for Justices
On Monday, November 13, the U.S. Supreme Court published its first code of conduct that governs the ethical conduct of its justices amidst controversies surrounding luxury trips and other gifts received by Justice Clarence Thomas. In the document, the court wrote the code of conduct to clear up “the misunderstanding that the Justices of this Court, unlike all other jurists in this country, regard themselves as unrestricted by any ethics rules.” It includes restrictions on outside relationships influencing judgments as well as limits on gifts and fundraising. The code of conduct is non-binding and has thus drawn criticism for a lack of enforcement method.
USPTO Issues Supplemental Guidance on Computer-Generated Image Designs
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) notified the public Thursday that it will publish a Federal Register Notice today, November 17, providing supplemental guidance for Office staff to use in making determinations about whether a design claim that includes computer-generated electronic images is directed to statutory subject matter. According to the Notice, the guidance reflects current USPTO practice and does not constitute substantive rulemaking with the full force and effect of law. However, the guidance does trump any earlier guidance and the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP), which will be updated to reflect the new guidance in due time, said the Notice. The Office said that, based on comments received in response to its December 2020 request for information on “whether [the USPTO’s] interpretation of the article of manufacture requirement in the United States Code should be revised to protect digital designs that encompass new and emerging technologies,” it became clear that clarifications would be helpful. For instance, said the Notice, “The USPTO has determined that the public would benefit from additional clarity that the guidance in MPEP section 1504.01(a)(I) does not permit design patent protection for a mere image on a screen.” The full text of the notice is available at the Federal Register and on the Patent Related Notices webpage.
EU Regulation on GIs for Craft and Industrial Products Enters into Force
The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) announced on Thursday, November 16, that the Regulation on GI protection for craft and industrial products (CIGIR) entered into force. The Regulation protects products such as Limoges porcelain, Solingen knives, Carrara marble and Madeira embroidery, among others. The EUIPO will be the EU competent authority responsible for managing the registration process and application for registration will be available beginning December 1, 2025.
Copyright Office Extends Deadline for Comments on AI Notice of Inquiry
The U.S. Copyright Office announced on Thursday that is extending the deadline to submit reply comments in response to the Office’s August 30, 2023, notice of inquiry regarding artificial intelligence and copyright. According to the Notice, “the deadline will ensure that members of the public have sufficient time to prepare responses to the Office’s questions and submitted comments and that the Office can proceed on a timely basis with its inquiry of the issues identified in its notice with the benefit of a complete record.” Comments are now due by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, and can be submitted via the Federal Register. See the Artificial Intelligence Study webpage for info.
USPTO Replaces Private PAIR System with the Patent Center
On Wednesday, November 15, the USPTO officially replaced the decades-old EFS-Web and Private Patent Application Information Retrieval (Private PAIR) with the Patent Center system. According to the USPTO, the Patent Center is a one-stop shop for customers to file and manage their patent applications. “We appreciate that change can be difficult for those accustomed to and with internal systems built around Private PAIR, but we are ready to make this leap with our customers into a new era of technology that will lead to better processing and more efficiencies,” said USPTO Director Kathi Vidal.
AI Executive Resigns Over Copyright Concerns
On Wednesday, November 15, Ed Newton-Rex, VP of Audio at Stability AI, announced his resignation over objections to the company’s policy of training its AI using copyrighted material without permission. Newton-Rex said that his opposition to the company’s policy became clear in a public comment the company submitted to the USPTO in which Stability AI argued that AI training falls under fair use. In a statement, Newton-Rex said, “today’s generative AI models can clearly be used to create works that compete with the copyrighted works they are trained on. So I don’t see how using copyrighted works to train generative AI models of this nature can be considered fair use.”
USPTO Publishes Summary of Public Responses to Potential New Offices
On Monday, November 13, the USPTO published a summary of the response it received to a June 2023 request for public comments on the establishment of a Southeast Regional Office (SERO) and Northern New England Community Outreach Office (NNECOO). In total, the Office received 208 responses that commented on the potential location of the office and the services that they should provide. “Thank you to everyone who provided valuable feedback as we seek to meet people where they are in order to foster a more inclusive innovation ecosystem,” said USPTO Director Kathi Vidal.
Google Files Lawsuit Against AI Scammers and Fraudulent Copyright Claim Filers
On Monday, November 13, Google filed a lawsuit against a group of scammers whom the tech company accused of using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to harm competitors by submitting fraudulent copyright claims. As part of the lawsuit, Google also sued another group that sought to spread malware through a fake AI program. “Just as AI fraudsters and copyright scammers hope to fly under the radar — we believe that appropriate legal action and working with government officials puts scammers squarely in the crosshairs of justice, promoting a safer internet for everyone,” wrote Halimah DeLaine Prado, general counsel for Google.
This Week on Wall Street
Spotify and Google Expand AI Partnership
On Thursday, November 16, Spotify announced plans to expand its partnership with Google to expand the music streaming platform’s AI expertise. Spotify plans to use language learning models and AI to improve personalized recommendations and better identify harmful content. Spotify will expand its use of and partnership with Google Cloud, which the company has used in the past. “The evolution of our technology has been matched by Google Cloud’s commitment to building the best possible platform for our products to run on and driving further innovation with the emerging capabilities of generative AI,” said Gustav Söderström, Co-President, CPO & CTO at Spotify.
Inflation Continues Downward Trend to 3.2%
On Tuesday, November 14, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly Consumer Price Index Summary which found a 3.2% inflation rate for commonly used goods and services. The report shows that the U.S. inflation rate is continuing its downward trend after reaching a 9% peak last year. Stock markets reacted positively to the news including a quick 1.8% jump in the S&P 500.
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: Medtronic PLC (29), Baidu (73), NVIDIA Corporation (159), Analog Devices Inc. (187)
- Wednesday: Deere & Company (96)
- Thursday: None
- Friday: None