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IP News Update: April 2023

Updated: May 17, 2023

  • Ed Sheeran Wins Another Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

The British singer-songwriter has been dragged to court again over copyright infringement claims. This time around his hit single, “Thinking Out Loud” was claimed to have infringed Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On.’ The challenge rests on the alleged similarity in a 4-chord sequence. The singer had expressed his disbelief in the accusations and had even announced that he would quit the industry if proven guilty. The claim was bought forth by the successors of the former song’s co-writer, Ed Townsend in the Manhattan Federal Court. The Court decided in favour of Ed Sheeran.

  • South Korea Set to Put Down Laws Over AI-Generated Works

The South Korean government is preparing to release a body of regulations and rules governing AI-generated content to suit future digital needs. The said rules are expected to address social, economic, cultural, and technological overlaps that naturally occur while discussing ownership and exploitation of works authored by AI. The government also plans on seeking ideas and solutions from the general public through various events that are to be organized in the coming months.

  • Spotify Acquires a “cover licensing” Firm to Avoid Unnecessary Copyright Lawsuits

Spotify acquired Loudr, a firm that assists musicians in obtaining licenses for public performances. The latter has a process set in motion for identifying and paying royalties according to mechanical licenses held by music producers. Spotify was hit by a $1.6 Billion lawsuit last year for copyright infringement, proceeding which the company has been investing in technical acquisitions to strengthen its model and provide better services.

  • London Police Crack Down on Club Penguin Pirates

The famous multiplayer game, Club Penguin was shut down in 2018 after successfully running an online community for 13 years. The game was created by New Horizon Interactive in 2005 and was bought out by Disney two years later. Earlier in 2020, a domain called “Club Penguin Rewritten” surfaced on the internet and gained traction due to the original game’s fame. Disney had filed takedown requests with Google over the same and the incident was also reported to the police. After issuing multiple notices and providing options for shutting the website down voluntarily, the creators were arrested and later released as they agreed to co-operate during the investigation.

  • Katy Perry loses trademark lawsuit over the mark “Katie Perry”

The American Singer, Katy Perry was sued in Australia for the infringement of the trademark “Katie Perry”, a designer clothing brand. The Australian entrepreneur claimed that her mark was being infringed by Katy Perry who sold merchandise under her stage name in 2014 during her world tour. The Court opined that the singer had adopted the name in good faith, however, her company Kitty Purry must pay damages to the trademark owner. The trademark owner appreciated the judgment and expressed that this is a win for all small business owners who go up against financially strong overseas entities.

  • European Commission Lays down Rules over Standard Essential Patents

The European Commission has crafted a body of rules over Standard Essential Patents (SEPs). These were formulated to ensure that patents obtained over technology that is required to meet industry standards should be affordable to all market players. The rules cover a plethora of topics such as the establishment of an SEP database, a specialised dispute resolution body within EUIPO, and identifies methods of determining license fees through FRAND. EUIPO is set to issue essentiality checks for determining SEPs, however, the same will not be administered to patents held by small entities. The rules also cover compulsory licensing and royalty collection.

  • Cumbum Grapes from Tamil Nadu Secures GI Tag

Cumbum Grapes, also called Cumbum Paneer Thirachai or Muscat Hamburgare cultivated in the “Grape City of South India”, Cumbum Valley of Tamil Nadu. The application identifies that this breed of grapes is known for their quick growth and early cultivation and having high content of Vitamin C. The examination report shows concern over the lack of a “watchdog” mechanism, however, the applicants have ensured that a mechanism will be set up for maintaining the qualities mentioned in the application.

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