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17 January 2012

Wikipedia to shut up shop in protest against online piracy legislation (updated)

Last week WTR reported on the three pieces of legislation currently under consideration for tackling online piracy – the OPEN Act, the PROTECT IP Act and SOPA. The debate’s profile has now moved to a new level, with a number of popular websites shutting up shop for a day in protest at the latter two proposals.

13 January 2012

US scores piracy victory in Spain, domestic picture gets ever more complex

While the United States have reportedly played an active role in the passage of Spain’s new anti-piracy legislation, the picture on the domestic front has got even more complicated, with the OPEN Act joining PROTECT-IP and SOPA on the legislative agenda.

17 November 2011

Google and MPAA lock horns in combative SOPA hearing

The House Judiciary Committee held a lively legislative hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act yesterday, with testimony from Google and the Motion Picture Association of America illustrating the wide gap in opinions towards the legislation.

27 October 2011

Alternative to PROTECT IP Act proposed, arguments commence

As a number of venture capitalists descend on Washington to lobby against the stalled PROTECT IP Act, the US House of Representatives has introduced alternative legislation in the form of the Stop Online Piracy Act. And like PROTECT IP, it has already sparked off fierce debate.

25 October 2011

Paving the way for a trademark bullying clearinghouse

The USPTO’s study into trademark litigation tactics failed to shed any new light on the issue of bullying, but a public meeting has been set to discuss the potential role industry associations can play in providing legal education programs on trademark policing. At the same time, a new initiative aims to establish a trademark bullying clearinghouse. The first challenge will be defining when enforcement becomes bullying.

13 September 2011

US government targets supply chain counterfeiters

The successful prosecution of a man described as “a veritable poster boy for the world counterfeiting network” demonstrates both the US government’s determination to prevent counterfeit goods from entering its supply chain and the need to ensure effective systems are in place to counter this threat. The deadline for public comments on this problem closes on Friday.

12 July 2011

Could the US PROTECT-IP Act really stifle online business and innovation?

A group of law professors has urged the US Congress to reject the PROTECT-IP Act, which was broadly welcomed by trademark owners in May. The act “may represent the biggest threat to the Internet in its history”, write the opponents, who include Creative Commons co-founder Lawrence Lessig, and trademark bloggers Eric Goldman and Rebecca Tushnet. Meanwhile, INTA has issued a statement in support of the proposed law.

08 July 2011

Further Notice of Inquiry on IANA’s future contract published

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has published a Further Notice of Inquiry that includes a Draft Statement of Work intended to "detail the work requirements" for the functions of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and, effectively, to form the basis for the authority’s future contract.

29 June 2011

USPTO’s new commissioner of trademarks sets out clear objectives

When Lynne Beresford retired from her post as US commissioner of trademarks at the end of last year, she left behind a well-oiled trademark office that was the envy of the patent profession. So how does Debbie Cohn, the new commissioner, feel about filling Beresford’s shoes? “I’m very lucky,” she told WTR recently. “Our customers seem to be very happy with our work, both in timeliness and quality. So in terms of operations, our job is to keep on going.”

09 June 2011

FOIA trumps government interest in non-disclosure of information

In Watkins v US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has considered an appeal seeking access to notices issued by the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection of that agency’s seizure of goods bearing possibly counterfeit imitations of marks owned by the recipients of the notices.

09 May 2011

USPTO silent as attorneys pour scorn on trademark bullies study

While many trademark attorneys and academics across the United States continue to brand the study into trademark litigation tactics as “worthless”, the USPTO has said it “will not comment” on the criticism.

04 April 2011

Kappos wants full control of USPTO income

As the US Congress negotiates a deal which will avoid a federal government shutdown, USPTO director David Kappos has used the discussions to highlight the need to end fee diversion. With the agency in control of its own funding, he told WTR, more finance could also be directed at information technology systems. But even with funding an issue, Kappos was keen to outline the IT improvements set to benefit trademark filers.

07 March 2011

Former USPTO trademarks commissioner honoured in IP Hall of Fame

The former commissioner for trademarks at the USPTO has told WTR of her “absolute amazement” at her induction into the IP Hall of Fame. Lynne Beresford said: “Patents is the glamour queen of the IP world, so I was really bowled over!”

18 February 2011

US government tightens grip on counterfeiters, but not without controversy

Earlier this week the US government seized 18 more domain names from websites selling counterfeit goods. The action was part of the ongoing Operation In Our Sites campaign, waged by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Popular with brand owners, the programme provokes high-level controversy – this week the US Senate reopened the debate over the bill that could make domain name seizures more commonplace.

09 February 2011

Espinel’s first-year success should win her more help from brand owners

Last week in Paris at the Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy, the mantra of enforcement authorities charged with protecting intellectual property appeared to be “we need more money, we need more help”. And this week along comes US IP Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel to show just how much can be done, with a little money and a little help – especially from the private sector.