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:
In support of the White House’s $1 billion initiative to aid the fight against cancer, the USPTO has launched a pilot program to provide expedited review of patent applications directed to cancer immunotherapy. The objective of the Pilot Program is to complete examination of patent applications containing claims to methods of treating cancer using immunotherapy within 12 months of a special-status grant.
Long-time rivals Netflix and Comcast have confirmed that Comcast’s X1 interactive television box will offer Netflix, obviating the need for a smart TV or third-party device. The companies have not announced whether users will also need Comcast Internet Services and, if so, whether watching Netflix will eat into the data plan. But the partnership raises interesting net neutrality questions, since it could put Comcast in the position of choosing sides in the streaming video market.
The Ninth Circuit issued an opinion last week that, the appellate court acknowledged, could turn password sharing among friends and family into a federal crime. The appellate court concluded that an employee acted “without authorization” and in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) when he used an old coworker’s login (with permission) to access computer data owned by the former employer.
Nintendo is having its moment in the mobile-game-market sun. Stock prices surged 36 percent after the Wednesday launch of Pokemon Go. The mobile game quickly jumped to the number one spot in Apple’s iOS store, with $1.6M in daily revenue. Rumors are that Trainers might even get real Pokeball controllers to use in the game. Nintendo has partnered with Tokyo-based gaming developer DeNa to develop its mobile games. Fans are still waiting on the fabled Super Mario Bros. mobile game, but Nintendo’s next two games set to hit smartphones this fall. For now, Pokemon Go is catching us all—often in unexpected ways.
Facebook is rolling out a beta version of a new feature it calls “Secret Conversations.” Facebook will use the Open Whisper Systems protocol, which is already used in WhatsApp, Allo, and Signal’s standalone app to offer end-to-end encrypted messages. Facebook’s approach will have some key differences, such as the opt-in requisite and a single-device implementation.