By Vivian Tao
Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in HIV Test Patent Dispute
Mercury News reports that oral arguments in the Supreme Court began this week over whether a Stanford University researcher’s patent on an HIV test belongs to Stanford or pharmaceutical company Roche. Researcher Mark Holodniy developed the test while he was employed as a professor at the Stanford School of Medicine. The dispute centers around whether he could transfer Stanford’s patent rights while working as a visiting researcher at Cetus laboratories, which later sold that line to Roche. Although the Bayh-Dole Act assigns the patent to Stanford automatically, Holodniy signed a form assigning rights to Cetus for patents that resulted from their collaboration. The decision will determine whether the Bayh-Dole Act remains the source of governance on research patents when researchers sign off on those rights.
Motorola Sues TiVO for Infringement on DVR Patents
Bloomberg reports that Motorola has filed a complaint against TiVo for infringing its patents on digital video recording (“DVR”) technology. General Instrument, a Motorola subsidiary, applied for its DVR patents in 1995; TiVo applied for its own patents for allegedly infringing technology in 1998. PCMag suggests that this suit may be in response to TiVO’s ongoing 2009 suit against Motorola client Verizon on similar claims of infringement related to Verizon’s FiOS service. PCMag notes that this is just the latest in an ongoing battle over DVR providers: in 2009, TiVO sued AT&T U-Verse and was awarded damages from DISH and Echostar on similar claims, while Microsoft sued TiVO last month on software patent violations.
USTR Identifies Top Chinese Search Engine as “Notorious Market”
Business Week reports that the United States Trade Representative’s office has included Baidu.com, China’s top search engine, on its list of “notorious markets” for its use of techniques that link users to commerce sites that sell pirated items. Reuters notes that Baidu.com is the most visited site in China, and one of the top 10 most visited sites in the world. The USTR’s list identified Asian and Latin American regions as the primary markets for these sites, and was followed by a Chamber of Commerce statement encouraging legislators to empower courts to block foreign sites marketing pirated goods.
Former Senator Dodd to Head MPAA
On March 17, former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd will become the new head of the Motion Picture Association of America (“MPAA”). CNET reports that Dodd is “truly excited” about the new position and named the protection of motion picture studio distributions as his “highest priority.” This announcement comes as the MPAA is engaged in lobbying Congress to pass the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, aimed at fighting piracy.