Recent Intellectual Property Law News: From iPhones and Flight Simulators To Cheerleader Uniforms

Recent News on Intellectual Property Rights,NY IP Law

Intellectual property rights remain a significant issue throughout the world, as outlined in the variety of claims brought around the world over a wide variety of IP issues.

    • In June, the Beijing Intellectual Property Bureau ordered Apple to stop sale of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus for violating a Chinese company’s patent on exterior design.Chinese regulators claimed that Apple violated a patent held by a Chinese company, Shenzhen Baili, for the exterior design of the 100C smartphone. According to Jurist, Apple plans on ending production of the restricted models while planning to appeal the decision. This ruling could create a harmful precedent for Apple throughout the entire country, which has seen its business negatively affected by obstacles of a growing Chinese technology field.
    • In May, a US jury concluded that Google had not violated copyright laws where it used Oracle’s Java programming language to develop its own operating system, Android.  Jurors determined that Google’s use of the Java language was considered “fair-use” under copyright law. The victory for Google eliminates Oracle’s claim for $9 billion of Google’s Android phone business. The verdict should also provide reassurance to software companies that their method of creating common, inter-operable software doesn’t put them in legal jeopardy. Instead, it will promote the practice of writing re-implementations of the systems used to pass information between widely-used software. 
    • This week, software developer Bitmanagement Software GmbH has filed a lawsuit against the United States Navy claiming it infringed copyrights through copying and installing the company’s three-dimensional virtual reality software – BS Contact Geo – onto “hundreds of thousands of computers for which the Navy does not have a license,” to aid in flight simulator training. Bitmanagement claims that between 2013 and 2015 while it was negotiating licenses, the U.S. Navy distributed and reinstalled the software on over 550,000 machines, but only paid for 38 licenses.
    • In May, the United States Supreme Court decided that it will hear a copyright case which would further clarify when the feature of a useful article is protectable under a section of the Copyright Act. The Supreme Court will hear the case of Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc.and rule on the appropriate test to determine when a feature of a useful article is protectable under section 101 of the Copyright Act. Specifically, the case deals with designs on cheerleader uniforms, but the case is expected to have a broader impact. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Varsity Brand’s designs were copyrightable.

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