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  • Tuesday, August 21, 2018 4:59 AM | Deleted user

    The Irish band say the former X Factor winner’s 2016 single Say You Won’t Let Go is too similar to their The Man Who Can’t Be Moved

    Irish band the Script are suing James Arthur for copyright infringement. The group claim that the X Factor winner’s 2016 comeback single Say You Won’t Let Go rips off their 2008 single The Man Who Can’t Be Moved. Arthur denies all of the claims.

    The Script are being represented by Richard Busch, the lawyer who represented Marvin Gaye’s estate in its successful lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the song Blurred Lines.

    Busch argues that Arthur has generated $20m from the song, which revived his career following criticism over writing derogatory lyrics about Rita Ora and the LGBTQ community in 2013. iTunes subsequently offered refunds on his album, and he was dropped by Simon Cowell’s label Syco. He has since gone back to the label.

    According to the lawsuit, Arthur approached members of the Script in 2014 to propose a collaboration, which they turned down. Busch alleges that Arthur then copied “the essence” of The Man Who Can’t Be Moved.

    Billboard reports that fans have previously remarked on the similarity between the songs: they share the same 4/4 meter, have a similar tempo, four-bar guitar introduction and employ similar vocal melodies and harmonic structures. The Script reportedly hired a musicologist to commission a report on the two songs in 2016.

    Busch has requested a jury trial to rule that Arthur infringed on the song and has called for an accounting of all streaming, distribution, publishing and touring revenue connected to the song. The group seek statutory damages.

    Speaking of the supposed similarities in the two songs last year, Arthur said that there was “no case” to answer. “It’s 2017, there’s only seven notes in music,” he said. “Every blues song sounds the fucking same. People get wound up about these things for no reason.”


  • Tuesday, August 21, 2018 4:51 AM | Deleted user

    Tencent Holdings, which owns China’s top social media app WeChat, has scrapped an investment of up to CNY 30 million ($4.7 million) in a content start-up that has been criticised online and by state media for its handling of copyright issues.News of Tencent’s investment in Chaping, a WeChat-based online media company whose name means “bad review”, had spurred questions about Tencent’s commitment to protecting intellectual property that is at the core of its own content business spanning publishing, entertainment and gaming.Representational image. Reuters.

    Representational image. Reuters.

    “We have reached consensus with the Chaping team to accept their decision to voluntarily return our investment,” Tencent’s public relations director Marsh Zhang said in a WeChat post.Tencent also said it would “continue to respect and protect original content” with enhanced measures.The investment in Chaping — the first by Tencent’s new content-focused TOPIC fund — is dwarfed by international mega deals done in recent months by the company.Tencent is Asia’s second-most valuable company and one of the region’s most active investors.Last week, in the wake of mounting criticism, Tencent had said it was conducting stricter due diligence on the Chaping deal and may “negotiate to return its stake” if it was found that it did not match Tencent’s values, reversing an earlier statement defending the investment.On 27 May, state-run People’s Daily ran a commentary on the deal, criticising the practice of “hidden plagiarism”.Attempts by Reuters to reach Chaping for a comment regarding allegations of plagiarism were unsuccessful.Earlier on 28 May, Chaping said in a statement that it believed it was “inappropriate to receive an investment from Tencent before a new round of copyright standardisation is completed”.“Chaping will endeavour to grow independently and learn from the mistake, take on greater responsibility in the field of copyright and original content protection,” it added.There are 20 million public accounts on WeChat, including 3.5 million monthly active ones such as Chaping, according to Tencent, making it China’s largest content publishing platform.With more than 1 billion users, WeChat is China’s most popular messenger-to-payment app. Popular public accounts with high traffic on WeChat make money through advertisements, reader tipping or e-commerce.


  • Tuesday, August 21, 2018 4:43 AM | Deleted user

    YouTube stars from Taylor Swift to Ed Sheeran, Beyonce and Jay-Z could be in line for big paydays after the video giant lost a crucial vote in Brussels over new copyright laws that will force it to pay billions of dollars in fees for users watching music videos.

    For years the music industry has argued that YouTube exploits the lack of legal protection around music videos being viewed on its service to pay minimal amounts to artists and labels when they are viewed. The music industry has lobbied that this “value gap” between the true worth of the music videos and what YouTube decides to pay needs to be addressed with legislation.

    On Wednesday, a crucial vote by the European parliament’s legal affairs committee went the way of the music industry with an agreement to adopt copyright laws that will force platforms such as YouTube to seek licences for music videos.

    “The importance of today’s vote cannot be overstated; this proposal is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new balance in the online world,” said Helen Smith, the executive chair of the European music body Impala, which represents labels behind acts including Adele, Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand. “It is about copyright and making sure creators and their partners get a fair share of the value they create.”

    YouTube has an estimated 1.3 billion users who regularly watch music videos and it paid $856m (£650m) in royalties to music companies last year – an estimated 67 cents per user annually. In the UK, record labels and artists earn more than double the royalties from the sale of 4.1m vinyl records than they did from the 25bn music videos watched on YouTube last year.

    By contrast, income from the 272 million music fans who paid for ad-supported services such as Spotify, generated $5.6bn in royalties, or about $20 per user annually.

    While the legal affairs committee vote marks a landmark moment – it is the lead committee on the legislation that has been the subject of vociferous lobbying by tech companies and the music industry for 18 months – it will face a further challenge before becoming law. The committee voted 15 to 10 to adopt the controversial article 13.

    It is expected that a challenge will be lodged by members of the European parliament opposed to it, which will result in the entire parliament voting in July to decide whether to approve or reject Wednesday’s result. A final vote on the adoption of the overall legislation will be made later in the year.


  • Monday, August 20, 2018 12:53 AM | Deleted user

    A lawsuit against the creator of hit online game Fortnite has been quietly dropped, according to Bloomberg.

    In May, it was reported that PUBG Corp, the company behind successful PC title PlayerUnknown’s Battleground had filed a lawsuit in South Korea against Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite. The suit alleged that Epic had copied ideas from PUBG Corp’s game, notably its “Battle Royale” structure, in which 100 players descend on an island and then fight until only one remains.

    On Monday, however, PUBG Corp sent a letter of withdrawal to Epic’s attorneys.

    At the time of the action, legal experts questioned the merit of the suit, which sought to protect ideas rather than specific source code or assets – a difficult case to make in creative industries.

    The situation was made more complex by the fact that PUBG Corp and Epic Games share a major investor, the Chinese technology firm Tencent Holdings, and that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds uses the Unreal Engine, a game development technology created and licensed by Epic Games.

    PUGB Corp has not released a statement regarding its decision, and it is not yet clear whether a settlement has been reached out of court. The move has surprised lawyers with knowledge of the gaming sector.

    “Normally, if you are prepared to submit a claim, you would be expected to stand by it at least until the defendant has submitted their defence,” said Alex Tutty of entertainment law firm Sheridans.

    Having speculated over the reasons behind the lawsuit, games industry watchers are now asking why it has been abandoned. One possibility is that the action drew derision within an industry that relies heavily on the exploitation of genres. Fortnite does not use similar graphics or audio assets to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, its cartoon look contrasting with the latter’s realistic, militarised visuals, so the suit appeared to be an attempt to ringfence and monopolise the Battle Royale play style.

    “Given the potential weaknesses of the claim – at least under English law – and the amount of publicity the claim received, either PUBG thought that they had made their point, been put off by the negative press they garnered, or the realities of how potentially weak the claim was became apparent,” said Tutty.

    One element that’s unlikely to have ended the suit is money. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has sold more than 50m units since its launch last March and made over $100m in its first six months on sale. Fortnite is earning $200m a month on downloadable content sales.

    “While normally the potentially large costs of litigation put off most parties or induce them to settle, in the case of PUBG Corp and Epic money is not going to be the issue,” said Tutty.

    “In any case it seems unlikely the full facts will become public knowledge, especially if there had been a settlement, as that would most likely have contained an obligation of confidentiality on both parties.

    “But it is good that this matter has now been closed – at least in court. Any claim that looked to give one party a monopoly on a gameplay mode, especially one that had been used before, may have led to more speculative claims being made. Which is counterproductive to creativity – except perhaps the creativity of lawyers trying to construct unrealistic claims.”


  • Saturday, August 18, 2018 5:38 AM | Deleted user

    India’s Minister of Commerce & Industry, Suresh Prabhu, recently remarked that the Indian pharmaceutical industry should focus on future opportunities in healthcare, both within and outside the country. He also stated that India has become the pharma hub of the world, helping many countries with affordable medicines and vaccines.

    It is time for us to progress from manufacturing to innovation and an important requirement is a robust intellectual property rights (IPR) system, India has improved its ranking in the U.S. Chamber’s international IP Index, to 44 out of 50 countries this year, which represents a significant positive change.

    However, if we are to continue this upward trajectory, much more work will be required to strengthen India’s evolving IPR regime. A great deal needs to be done to ensure that global innovations reach, and benefit, Indian patients. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to position India as an investment destination, with the help of flagship initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Startup India’, but we also have the potential to become an innovation hub and a robust IPR system can help us realise that potential.

    An uncomfortable reality is that India’s patent productivity is considerably low compared to that of countries such as Japan, USA, South Korea, and China. At present, the number of patents being filed in India is 17 to a million people. This is partly the result of a relatively weak IPR regime. Things are further complicated due to an under-staffed office of the Controller General of Patents, Design and Trademarks (CGPDT), resulting in long delays in approving or rejecting applications for registration of patents and other intellectual property. That runs counter to the objective of promoting innovation in the country.

    Following the passage of India’s Patents Act 2005, patent applications have certainly increased, but the necessary infrastructure to process them remains inadequate. According to the latest Economic Survey, this has led to a backlog of over 200,000 pending applications. To deal with the backlog, CGPDT recently hired an additional 459 patent examiners, after amending rules on 16 May, 2016, to get rid of procedural inconsistencies in the processing of patent applications. While this is an improvement move, more is needed to streamline the process of patent registration.

    Given the speed with which a technology can become obsolete, the inordinate delay in processing patent applications deters investment in R&D and in turn, impedes innovation in the country. No surprise then that R&D spending in India, as a percentage of GDP, is 0.7 percent, compared to the US (2.8 percent), China (2.1 percent) Israel (4.3 percent) and South Korea (4.2 percent), and that spending by India’s private sector is a meagre 0.3 percent of GDP.

    Indian patients deserve access to the best in medical treatment, medical devices, and medicines – this can only become possible when we are allowed access to global innovation, alongside encouraging homegrown innovation. At present, pharmaceutical companies are making persistent efforts to develop life-saving and life-improving drugs and we need this research to continue.

    Cutting edge research is likely to bring about substantial improvement in people’s lives, by giving precedence to health and longevity. For instance, currently, over 170 medicines are being developed by American bio-pharmaceutical researchers, for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and related disorders. Considering India is increasingly being termed as the diabetes hub of the world – the country can’t remain indifferent if it wants to bring down the threat of diabetes. Such innovations require huge upfront capital investment, and a commensurate risk-weighted reward programme for risk takers. Regulators need to keep this in mind. A feeble IPR regime in India meant that from 2010 to 2014, only seven drugs out of 50 new drugs to treat cancer were made available to Indian patients. Along with a lax IPR regime, we have also resorted to other short-sighted regulations such as excessive price-caps on medicines and medical devices. These actions, though well-intentioned, dis-incentivise investment in risky R&D.

    Bridging the gap in innovation is the need of the hour for the Indian healthcare ecosystem and for the government to ultimately achieve its long-term goal of Universal Healthcare Access. In this regard, the announcement of the new IPR policy in 2016 was certainly a step in the right direction and we have already seen an increased focus on expanding awareness, imparting training and strengthening enforcement.

    However, as a country we need to adopt more meaningful reforms to incentivise domestic innovation and improve access to global innovation. This will also go a long way toward bolstering India’s global competitiveness, by bringing in increased foreign direct investment (FDI). There is a direct linkage between strong IPR and increased FDI inflows, particularly in countries that have ‘technical absorptive capacities in place but where the risk of imitation is high’. Thus, India while retaining the flexibility provided by WTO’s TRIPS to make healthcare affordable, must strike a balance between the need for innovation, and affordability in healthcare.

    (The writer is the Group Chief Economist at ‎Raymond Limited, specialising in policy research & advocacy/consumer rights)


  • Saturday, August 18, 2018 4:50 AM | Deleted user

    After three years of debate, one of the most controversial pieces of legislation to come before the European parliament is going to the vote on Thursday (Brussels vote may force YouTube to pay billions extra in fees, 2 July).

    It is about copyright, and specifically about the rights of creators versus those of the internet giants, and whether or not the internet functions as a fair and efficient marketplace. If we cave to the pressure of these giants, the future of our creative industry is at serious risk.

    This is not about censorship of the internet, as the likes of Google and Facebook would have you believe. The primary focus of this legislation is concerned with whether or not the internet functions as a fair and efficient marketplace – and currently it doesn’t. Rightsholders want their content to be enjoyed; they simply want to know what is being enjoyed, by how many, and that they might be paid a fair price for it.

    It is important to recognise that article 13 of the proposed EU copyright directive imposes no obligation on users. The obligations relate only to platforms and rightsholders. Contrary to some sensationalist headlines, internet memes will not be affected, as they are already covered by exceptions to copyright, and nothing in the proposed article will allow rightsholders to block the use of them. Online encyclopedias, such as Wikipedia, and open source software services are also specifically excluded.

    Actually, article 13 makes it easier for users to create, post and share content online, as it requires platforms to get licences, and rightsholders to ensure these licences cover the acts of all individual users acting in a non–commercial capacity.

    Right now it is practically impossible for rightsholders to stop their content appearing if they don’t agree to the commercial terms on offer from these internet giants. Current legislation shields the platforms from liability for copyright infringement.

    These consequences are the characteristics of a deeply dysfunctional market and this legislation aims to address them.

    This is not censorship; on the contrary, it represents freedom: freedom to invest, freedom to create, freedom for creators to earn a living and to choose how to commercialise the fruits of their labour.

    Robert Ashcroft CEO, PRS for Music

    Paul Pacifico CEO, The Association of Independent Music

    Andy Heath Chair, Beggars Music

    Michael Dugher CEO, UK Music

    Crispin Hunt Chair, British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (Basca)

    Geoff Taylor CEO, BPI & BRIT Awards


  • Saturday, August 18, 2018 4:44 AM | Deleted user

    Google, YouTube and Facebook could escape having to make billions in payouts to press publishers, record labels and artists after EU lawmakers voted to reject proposed changes to copyright rules that aimed to make the tech companies share more of their revenues.

    The proposed new rules, which have been going through the European parliament for almost two years, have sparked an increasingly bitter battle between the internet giants and owners and creators of content, with both sides ferociously lobbying their cause.

    YouTube to launch new music streaming service

    Press publishers, record labels and artists, including Paul McCartney, believe the new rules will “right a wrong” and ensure the Silicon Valley giants are made to pay what they feel would be a fairer amount – to close a so-called “value gap” – for exploiting their content to build their own businesses.

    More than 1.3 billion users of Google-owned YouTube regularly watch music videos, making it the biggest music service in the world. However, artists receive only 67 cents per user annually in royalties.

    Campaigners against the proposals, including high-profile names such as the Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, the world wide web inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, the net neutrality expert Tim Wu and the internet pioneer Vint Cerf, claim they would start to transform an “open platform for sharing and innovation into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users”.

    One of the most contentious components of the copyright directive is article 11, dubbed a “link tax” by critics such as the Green MEP Julia Reda, who is leading opposition to the proposals. This would force news aggregation and search sites such as Google to pay publishers for showing news snippets or linking to news stories on other sites.

    Another is article 13, which would make platforms such as YouTube seek direct licences for content such as music videos, which artists say would allow them to properly negotiate better royalties.

    A total of 318 lawmakers voted against opening talks with EU countries based on the proposal, while 278 voted in favour and 31 abstained.

    The full European parliament will debate amendments to the copyright directive in September.

    Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

    Axel Voss MEP, who is championing the copyright changes, attacked the “massive scale of false arguments” made by lobbyists against the proposals.

    “Whether they have been intentional or just a result of the lack of information, they managed to create an atmosphere that the internet is about to collapse,” he said.

    “Nobody in the European parliament wants to establish censorship, filters, a link tax or the restriction of the freedom of speech. Those who imply differently are consciously spreading fake news and are acting solely in the interest of big online platforms.”


  • Friday, August 10, 2018 7:08 AM | Deleted user

    The Global Innovation Index reflects innovation activity in more than 120 economies around the world. It is a helpful guide to decision makers in the process of patent application and investment.

    The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), together with the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) and Cornell University published the 2018 Global Innovation Index also known as GII (Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO (2018): The Global Innovation Index 2018: Energizing the World with Innovation. Ithaca, Fontainebleau, and Geneva). This is the 11th edition of the index which is to serve as a tool to assist decision makers with understanding innovative activity that propels economic and human development. The study ranks 126 economies, and the results are based on 80 indicators which include Intellectual Property filing rates, mobile application creation, education spending and scientific and technical publications.

    As in 2017, Switzerland is again top of the list as the most innovative economy and other countries to make the GII 2018 top ten include Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, Singapore, United States of America, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Ireland. China entered the world’s top twenty most innovative economies by moving from a 22nd position to number 17. Australia also joined the top 20 by moving from number 23 to number 20. The United States dropped two places from number four to number six.

    An expanded look was taken at economies that are regarded to innovate efficiently, translating investments in education, research and R&D expenditure into high quality innovation results. The leaders are Switzerland, Luxembourg, China, Netherlands, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Malta, Hungary Germany and Sweden.

    global innovation index

    Economies who innovate efficiently also see more significant investments in education, research and R&D expenditure into high quality innovation results.

    A new indicator has been added, namely in mobile application creation and the leaders were Cyprus, Finland and Lithuania with the most mobile applications relative to GDP. Companies striving for digitalization, for example, new business models based more on data than on hardware, are invited to have a closer look at the recent IP landscape developments in these countries.

    Another feature is the “ICP Green Inventory” which reflects a declining growth rate in environmentally friendly energy related patenting with green patent publishing rates peaking in 2012. “Energizing the World with Innovation” was the theme for the 2018 GII edition. The study particularly considered “the need for expanded innovative work in climate friendly green technology amid rising energy demands worldwide”.

    The GII findings indicate that technological advancements need to be made across the whole energy value chain and that public policy will pay an important role in securing cleaner energy. An analysis performed by Dennemeyer consultants focused on how changes in the energy utilities business environment lead to challenges for companies’ Intellectual Property management. It was shown that energy companies have to focus on IP intelligence to support innovation and strategic decisions as they will be more involved in “fights with gloves off” due to market consolidation and intensified competition.

    Dennemeyer is active in many of the countries that are covered by the survey. Our clients hail from many different industries, including the energy utilities business environment. Dennemeyer is enabling companies to bridge innovation gaps, for example by applying sophisticated IP insights to nourish innovating thinking and creativity.


  • Friday, August 10, 2018 6:55 AM | Deleted user

    On June 27, 2018, the Government of Canada published the finalised version of the revised Regulations on Industrial Designs. The amended Regulations have not only become the embodiment of the modernised law but have also paved the way towards Canada’s accession to the Hague Agreement. The most noteworthy changes in the Regulations are described below. 

    The filing requirements have been facilitated. There are now no prescribed forms to be filled in. A brief design description is now optional, whilst the design representation requirements are much more flexible. Consequently, in order to establish the filing date for a design application, it is now enough to file a request for registration, indicating the applicant’s name and contact details, as well as the design representation. 

    Besides these changes, the requirements for representatives have been slightly simplified. An applicant may appoint a patent agent or file an application, pay any fee or file a request for transfer by himself or authorise a third party for such an action. Moreover, now the applicant may communicate with the CIPO regarding the whole design portfolio, unlike the previous requirement of communicating about each design separately. 

    The Regulations also clearly stipulate and broaden the concept of divisional application. The applicant will now have up to two years from filing the earliest parent application to file a divisional one or to have the latter further divided.

    In addition, the term for responding to Office Actions has been reduced. Namely, the applicant has now three months instead of six to file a corresponding response with the possibility of further extension of this term for six months. 

    Under the updated Regulations, a design application is published upon its registration or 30 months from the earliest priority date, whichever expires earlier; before amendments, it was published only upon registration. 

    Furthermore, the maximal term of design protection has been extended from 10 years after the design registration date to 15 years after its filing date. 

    Amongst other things, the Regulations now clarify the procedures for an advanced examination, delayed registration, amendments, claiming priority, refunding the fees, and recordals. Accordingly, the recordal of a transfer of rights has been simplified, so that documents evidencing the assignment, are no longer required anymore. It is only necessary to indicate the name and address of the assignee and pay a corresponding fee. 

    The amended Regulations also include a whole chapter related to the filing, prosecuting and granting of the international applications under the Hague Agreement, for which Canada will be selected amongst the designated countries. The applicants will be able to use the benefits of the Hague system from November 5, 2018, when the corresponding provisions will finally become effective in Canada. 

    It is noteworthy that despite the substantial legal changes, the CIPO’s fee schedule remains unchanged. 

    With the modification of the design regime, Canada strives to reduce difficulties experienced by applicants, to provide them with the possibility of filing international applications under the Hague Agreement, to encourage businesses and to align its design registration framework with international practices.


  • Friday, August 10, 2018 6:31 AM | Deleted user

    Andrew McWhirter (Brodies LLP ) published an article for Lexology regarding an opposition lost by the fashion brand Mango.

    The case concerns an application for a UK trademark YANGO for identical and similar goods to those under Mango brand.

    Against this application, an opposition was filed based on a series of earlier Mango trademarks. On top of that, a reputation for Mango mark was stated before the Patent Office.

    The UKIPO ruled that there are no grounds for consumer confusion. The arguments for this conclusion were that although there are some visual and phonetic similarities between the signs in general, there are not similar enough because of the lack of conceptual similarity ( Mango is a fruit, whereas Yango has no meaning) and the fact that the beginning of the marks are different – M and Y.

    Most likely this decision will be appealed. Nevertheless, however, it is indicative of how difficult the protection of such marks could be.


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