Each week, Sheppard Mullin brings you News of Note in IP: The latest news in the IP-related fields of technology, privacy, fashion, advertising, music, and social media, curated by our IP team.  Here are some of the stories that we’ve been reading:

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on ITC Patent Litigation

The House’s Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet convened for a hearing focused patent litigation at the United States International Trade Commission (ITC).  The purpose of the hearing as to review how patent disputes are handled by the ITC to determine if the current arrangement complements district court litigation and produces fair and beneficial results.  The hearing focused a great deal on Section 337 investigations conducted by the ITC to look into complaints alleging unfair practices in import trade.  A high percentage of Section 337 investigations and the leveraging power they create in parallel litigation.

Buying a Stairway to . . . Trial

The opening riff from Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” is headed to trial in the Central District of California on May 10 after the district court denied Led Zepplin’s motion for summary judgment.  In the Order, U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner found enough similar protectable expression for the copyright-infringement case to proceed to the jury.

USPTO Launches New Online Payment Tools

On April 9, the USPTO rolled out two new online fee payment tools to the public: Financial Manager and the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront.  New features include bulk file payments, secure user permissions, and streamlined transactions reports or itemized receipts.  Existing deposit accounts and EFTs must be transferred to the new system by June 30, 2016.

Proposed Patent Venue Reform Bill Proves Controversial

Last month, the Senate Bill titled “Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Act of 2016” was introduced in an effort to limit forum shopping and strike a blow to so-called patent trolls.  The legislation has garnered support from the Computer & Communications Industry Association and the Consumer Technology Association, while the 21st Century Patent Reform coalition—which consists of 43 corporations across industries—has criticized the bill.