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  • Writer's pictureDavid Baker

IP Update - April 2021 Edition

“I’m sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It’s just been too intelligent to come here.”

― Arthur C. Clarke

April has been a very busy month for everyone especially when you consider the extraordinary, worldwide effort to get us all vaccinated (or “jabbed” as the Brits like to say) and to regain a semblance of normality in our daily lives (I’m especially looking forward to finally leaving my mask at home), but also because Ingenuity finally flew on Mars, March Madness crowned the Baylor Bears top of the heap, and we got through that trial in Minnesota.

IP Update - April 2021 Edition
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But things have also been extraordinarily busy in the world of intellectual property, so much so that we didn’t have room for everything in this month’s IP Update. For example, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling holding that Andy Warhol’s series of prints depicting the musical artist Prince are not transformative fair use under copyright law; it was copyright infringement.

Additionally, the City of Placerville voted to retire the hangman’s noose depicted on its city logo despite having spent the last 40 years billing itself as “Old Hangtown” stirring a bit of controversy amongst the local citizenry. And, China, yet again, declared itself the world leader in technology while vowing to bury the U.S. with its intellectual property prowess and computer chip making abilities.

Nevertheless, we were able to report on the recent trial of a photographer who claimed copyright infringement for misuse of one of his photographs and won, just not what he’d hoped to win. And, we reported on what will probably be trend in new taxes on digital advertising.

And, of course, there was the biggest IP news of the month, the Supreme Court’s long-awaited decision in the decade long battle between Google and Oracle over rights to computer software coding, a decision that certainly didn’t “split the baby” but did split academicians, IP attorneys, Big Tech, and creators hoping to protect their creations.

Even well-respected patent attorney and IP blogger Gene Quinn opinioned that “Perhaps patent attorneys should start citing Google v. Oracle for the proposition that performing tasks on a smartphone is highly transformative and, therefore, nonobvious compared to the same exact task on a desktop computer or other device. That is, after all, literally what the Supreme Court held.”

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