USPTO Fee Changes, Chili Crunch, and Deepfakes: This Week in Other Barks and Bites

Judge Newman and Federal Circuit Update

On Friday, April 7, Judge Newman's counsel filed a brief with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia telling the court to deny the Judicial Council of the Federal Circuit's March bid to dismiss Judge Newman's remaining challenges to the Council's decision to suspend her indefinitely from the U.S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The New Civil Liberties Alliance, Judge Newman's counsel, argued that the Council misunderstood the nature of facial challenges in Fourth Amendment cases and that its other arguments for dismissal lack merit. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit also issued an opinion on Friday vacating and remanding a Patent Trial and Appeal Board order holding all 75 claims of a Sumitomo patent to be unpatentable for obviousness. The patent expired prior to oral argument, and the Court of Appeals deemed it appropriate to vacate and remand with direction to dismiss the inter partes review.

Celebrity Chef Litigation

On Thursday, April 4, celebrity chef David Chang's Momofuku sent multiple cease-and-desist letters demanding smaller food companies to stop infringing on its "chili crunch" trademark. Michelle Tew, founder of the food brand Homiah, received one of the letters and described it as "a punch in the gut" on her Instagram. Momofuku registered the trademark with the USPTO on March 29, 2023. Homiah's lawyer described Momofuku as a "trademark bully" in the dispute over the popular spicy condiment.

Artists and AI

On Tuesday, April 2, the Artist Rights Alliance, an interest group representing musical artists, published a letter asking tech companies and music platforms to stop using artificial intelligence to devalue artists' rights. The letter was signed by over 200 artists, including stars Billie Eilish, Stevie Wonder, and the estates of Bob Marley and Frank Sinatra. The artists acknowledged the potential of AI, but they stated that when misused, it can undermine artists. The Artists Rights Alliance wrote, "Unchecked, AI will set in motion a race to the bottom that will degrade the value of our work and prevent us from being fairly compensated for it."

Chat Beer and Patent Litigation

On Wednesday, April 3, a Delaware district court issued a memorandum in which it mostly adopted the claim constructions of Arbutus Biopharma in its patent infringement lawsuit against Moderna. The claim construction relates to six vaccine-delivery patents that Arbutus accused Moderna of infringing in a 2022 lawsuit. The lawsuit was the first significant patent lawsuit relating to mRNA technology.

USPTO Proposes Patent Fee Changes for 2025

On Tuesday, April 2, the USPTO proposed new patent fee changes for the 2025 fiscal year. The notice of proposed rulemaking for the changes includes extensive detail on the proposed changes. The USPTO said, "these fees provide our agency with the ability to implement programs and initiatives driving our 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, including enhancing our work to drive down pendency, issuing robust and reliable patent rights, and supporting employees and stakeholders with reliable IT infrastructure."

Deepfakes and Copyright Infringement

On Tuesday, April 2, comedian George Carlin's estate and a podcast that used AI to replicate Carlin settled their copyright infringement lawsuit before a California district court. Carlin's estate filed the lawsuit against actor Will Sasso and comedian Chad Kultgen after the pair released a podcast using AI to replicate George Carlin's voice and comedic style. As part of the settlement agreement, the podcast has to delete the episode with Carlin's AI replication and is barred from using his image or likeness in the future.

Samsung Projects 931% Profit Increase in Q1 Due to Increased Chip Demand

On Friday, April 5, Samsung released a Q1 earnings report that expects a 931% boost in profits in large thanks to the growth in chips sales. The Korean electronics firm is expecting to turn a profit of around $4.89 billion in the first quarter of 2024. "We expect the strong AI-driven memory upturn cycle will drive earnings in 2024-25E," said SK Kim, executive director and analyst at Daiwa Securities.

Department of Homeland Security Releases Report Detailing Microsoft Email Hack

On Tuesday, April 2, the Department of Homeland Security released a report on the 2023 hacking of Microsoft Exchange Online that stated the tech giant could have prevented the breach of government emails. The DHS's Cyber Safety Review Board compiled the report and characterized the breach as a "cascade of security failures" that allowed hackers allegedly sponsored by China to access the email inboxes of more than 500 U.S. government employees. "I am confident that the findings and recommendations from the Board's report will catalyze action to reduce risk to the critical infrastructure Americans rely on every day," said Jen Easterly, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Quarterly Earnings

Next week, the following firms identified among the IPO's Top 300 Patent Recipients for 2023 are announcing quarterly earnings (2023 rank in parentheses): Monday: None Tuesday: None Wednesday: None Thursday: None Friday: Wells Fargo (76), JP Morgan Chase (189)

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