03 January 2006

US Patent IP Litigation Trends

According to the US news service IP Law there has been a 14% increase in IP litigation in the USA over the past year thanks largely to a great increase in the number of claims by the entertainment industry. That has more than offset a drop in patent litigation.

The increase in copyright litigation is not surprising. The news and entertainments industries are the sectors of the economy most under threat from the new digital technology. Part of the threat springs from the ease with which almost any number of perfect copies of audio and sound recordings and other publications can be disseminated almost immediately around the world with much reduced risk of detection and interception. Very different from the days when I first came to the Bar when a warehouse could be Anton Pillered or a container impounded. That is the reason for the WIPO Copyright Treaty, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Copyright and Related Rights Directive.

The other threat comes from the fact that the new technology enables anyone to be a journalist through blogs or even broadcaster through audio and video podcasting. Tough times for the press and media barons! Maybe they will find out how it feels to be a lawyer nowadays.

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