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Brexit whitepaper hints at unitary patent future

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Latest News Qualcomm’s stock price dropped from $68 on 30 November to $54 on 23 January when Shah’s class-action lawsuit was filed. Shares in Qualcomm currently sit at $55 (as of 25 January). All four legal challenges, including the KFTC fine, claim that Qualcomm abused its ownership of standard-essential patents for mobile communications, refusing to license them on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms. The KFTC said Qualcomm had coerced mobile phone makers into signing “unfair licence agreements by linking the chipset supply with patent licence contracts, using its market position as a leveraging tool in its negotiations and circumventing FRAND commitments”. Similarly, the US FTC alleged that Qualcomm “withholds its baseband processors unless a customer accepts a licence to standardessential patents on terms preferred by Qualcomm, including elevated royalties that the customer must pay when using competitors’ processors”. Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel at Qualcomm, said Apple’s claims were “baseless”, while the FTC’s complaint “lacked basic information about the industry” and instead relied “on inaccurate information and presumptions”. Qualcomm has not responded publicly to the class-action complaint. Goodlatte commits to IP reform US House judiciary committee chair Bob Goodlatte has said the committee will commit to copyright and patent reform in 2017. Goodlatte outlined reforms of the US’s litigation system, discourage abusive patent litigation and review its copyright laws as part of its agenda for the 115th US Congress. He said that these reforms will “help alleviate the wasteful burden of unnecessarily expensive litigation costs, thereby freeing small business to flourish, unleash innovation, and create new jobs for Americans”. Goodlatte also talked about 2016’s bipartisan proposal to ensure the Copyright Office “keeps pace in the digital age”. “Among the reforms contained in our first proposal are granting the Copyright Office autonomy and requiring it to maintain an up-to-date digital, searchable database of all copyrighted works.” “This proposal is the first of what we intend to be numerous policy proposals to reform aspects of our copyright laws.” ITC investigations saw surge New International Trade Commission (ITC) investigations surged in 2016, with 54 instituted, according to law firm Morrison Foerster. The number of new investigations in 2016 is the highest since its all time high of 69 in 2011 and higher than an average of 39 per year from 2012 to 2015. Of the 54 new investigations, 49 were related to patent infringement allegations, while five alleged other acts including trademark infringement, trade secret misappropriation and anti-trust violations. Morrison Foerster’s study also found that, in cases where an administrative law judge’s decision was considered, 100 percent of the commission’s decisions resulted in a finding of violation, a 30 percent increase on the previous year. Further, 67 percent of patents adjudicated were found to be infringed and nearly 92 percent were found valid. Capital Plaza, 2nd Flr, Mwai kibaki rd, P.O.BOX 105722, Dar es salaam, Tanzania (EA) Tel. +255 688609931 Fax. +255 713055195 Mob.+255 713055195 www.abcattorneys.co.tz 6

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