IP Deadlines Extended around the World Due to COVID-19

Patent offices all around the world have been finding ways to adjust to the COVID-19 situation by extending deadlines. In Australia, the IP office gave free extensions to customers until July 31. In China, the CNIPA has not extended any deadlines but has instead allowed applications abandoned due to the pandemic to be restored for free. Similarly, in Japan, the JPO did not extend any deadlines but does allow you to request an extension, but the JPO is generally strict in granting extensions. In Europe, the EPO extended their deadlines to June 2, but didn’t extend it further than that. They did, though, reduce the renewal fee by 50% until August 31. In South Korea, the KIPO extended their deadlines to June 1, but hasn’t extended it past that. Furthermore, only trademark opposition briefs, Office Action responses, and responses to notices for correction by KIPO has been extended, while other deadlines have not.

Australia (IP Australia):

  • Extended deadlines until July 31

Europe (EPO):

  • Extended deadlines until June 2

  • Renewal fee reduced by 50% until August 31

China (CNIPA):

  • No extended deadlines

  • Abandoned applications can be restored for free

Japan (JPO):                    

  • No extended deadlines

  • You can request an extension, but not many are given out

South Korea (KIPO):

  • Extended deadlines until June 1, but only for:

    • Trademark opposition briefs

    • Office Action responses

    • Responses to notices for correction by KIPO

Jennifer Lopez is Sued for Copyright Infringement… again

Jennifer Lopez posted a picture on Instagram taken by photographer Steve Sands, and was sued for over $150,000 because Sands was the author (i.e., the one who took the picture) and Lopez used it without his permission. This isn’t the first time she’s made this mistake.  She was sued for the same thing back in 2017 and 2019. 

Can you infringe street art?

LMNPOPI, a nationally known street artist, sued XYZ Films for copyright infringement for using LMNPOPI’s street art in their movie, Bushwick, without her permission. The District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that this was not copyright infringement, though, because the use of the art was so minimal that its use was considered “fair use”.  If this art had been used in a less public area, however, the artist might well have prevailed.

Can Artificial Intelligence have its inventions patented?

With recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), it has become possible for an AI system to create inventions, but the question is whether or not those inventions could be protected under US patent law.  So far, the answer is “no”.  The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) says that AI systems aren’t classified as “inventors” because only people can be inventors, and for this reason, AI generated inventions cannot be protected by a patent.

USPTO Helps Battle COVID-19

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) now has an “IP Marketplace” web platform where they publish patents that claim technologies that could help fight COVID-19. That platform goes further to identify whether licensing is available.  The listed patents span numerous fields, including prevention, treatment, helpful equipment, and even include inventions created for other diseases that might help battle COVID-19. 

Willfulness Not Needed for Trademark Infringement Action

In Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc., fka Fossil, Inc., No. 18-1233 (Argued Jan. 14, 2020, Decided April 23, 2020), the Supreme Court ruled that in a trademark infringement action, the heightened standard of “willfulness” is not needed to obtain damages against a defendant. This makes it much easier for manufacturers to secure profits for infringement from unauthorized online resellers, which is especially significant as ever greater numbers of sales are conducted online.

Billy Joel Sued for Copyright Infringement

Billy Joel was sued for copyright infringement, and it had nothing to do with his music. He hired a contractor to renovate his Oyster Bay mansion in Long Island, but when he fired that contractor and hired a new one to do the same job, he was sued for copyright infringement, on the grounds that the new architectural plans infringed the plans of the previous contractor.