Dawn Ellmore Employment's Blog

IP and Legal Industry Updates


December 2016

Microsoft Patents Eye Tracking Technology

Microsoft has applied for the following patent “Capacitive Sensors For Determining Eye Gaze Direction”.

The device does not include any eye tracking sensors but relies on the position and orientation of your head to “detect” what you are looking at.  The technology is very fast allowing the sensor to track even rapid eye movements.

This latest technology would make gaze tracking on a headset much simpler, cheaper and unobtrusive which are all positive attributes.


Facebook’s Patent Application for Technology to Reduce Counterfeit Goods Sales

Facebook’s patent application for technology capable of recognising the content of images and the ability to flag them was recently published.

The patented technology has the ability to spot “a logo that an advertiser may have incorporated into its advertisements without permission.”  Once this has been identified it can be flagged and potentially removed from the website.  In the past the sheer volume of potentially infringing posts have made it impossible to be vetted by human.  This new automated technology should definitely help with the identification of counterfeit goods being offered for sale.


PayPal Makes Trade Mark Complaint Against Paytm

The global online payments company PayPal (launched in 1999) has made a trade mark infringement complaint in the Indian Trademark office against Indian e-commerce website Paytm (launched in 2010) because of the similar colours used in its logo.

Paypal’s complaint states that the logo is “deceptively and confusingly similar” in terms of both the name and the two tone blue colours used to its own, which is likely to cause confusion among consumers.


General Motor’s Patent Calculates Travel Range of Electronic Vehicles

The time required for recharging vehicle batteries and the lack of available publicly accessible charging stations can cause electric vehicle drivers anxiety about whether they can complete their trips with the remaining charge.  General Motors actually filed a trade mark for the term “range anxiety” back in 2010.

General Motors recently had a patent published for the “Display of Total Vehicles Trip Range”.  General Motors state that this patented technology is specifically designed to give electric vehicle drivers confidence in how much further they can drive an electronic vehicle before it will need to be recharged.  It will also display a maximum and minimum range depending on your driving style.  The new technology is no doubt beneficial to drivers.

Source: and

Hepatitis C Patents Ruling means Gilead Ordered to Pay Merck $2.54 Billion

Gilead Sciences was recently ordered to pay $2.54 billion to Merck to resolve a long-running patent dispute concerning its blockbuster patent sellers Sovaldi (earning Gilead $19 billion) and Harvoni (earning Gilead $23 billion) for hepatitis C treatment.

The patent dispute originated with smaller companies that are now owned by two of the world’s largest drug makers.


First Preliminary Injunction Issued by Guangzhou IP Court Since Establishment in 2014

In 2016 the Guangzhou IP Court granted its first ever preliminary injunction since its establishment in 2014.  The injunction was given to French designer brand Christian Louboutin owner of three Chinese registered designs covering the lid and container of a lipstick.

The request ordered Guangzhou based Verteam Trade Co., Ltd. to stop manufacturing and selling nine lipsticks which infringed Christian Louboutin designs and ordered Guangzhou based Benefit Cosmetics Co., Ltd. to stop manufacturing the same infringing goods.

Historically the Chinese courts had been cautious in issuing preliminary injunctions it is hoped however that this injunction from Guangzhou IP Court will mark stronger protection for IP rights in China.


Michael Jordan Won Rights to his Chinese Name in a Long Run Trade Mark Battle

Michael Jordan asked Chinese authorities in 2012 to revoke Qiaodan Sports Co’s trade marks, which featured a similar name and logo to Jordan’s Nike-produced brand and he claimed mislead consumers about its ties to him.

In a recent ruling by the Chinese supreme court, Qiaodan Sports Co must stop using the Chinese characters for Qiaodan (a Chinese rendering of Jordan’s name widely known by the country’s consumers) on its merchandise.


Scientists Battle Ownership of Patents for Gene-Editing Tool

A gene-editing technology called CRISPR-cas9 allows scientists to make precise edits in DNA that could lead to new medical therapies, research tools and new crop varieties.  This has been called the biggest biotechnology breakthrough in the past 30 or 40 years which could result in the most valuable biotech patents.  Scientists also assume CRISPR will earn Nobel Prizes for the scientists who are proved inventors of this technology.

Unfortunately it is not clear who owns the idea.  US patent judges will hear oral arguments from high-prestige universities and well-regarded scientists but this is just the first step in a process that’s likely to last through 2017.


Biometric Car Entry System Patented by Jaguar Land Rover

This recently published patent from car maker Jaguar Land Rover states car-mounted cameras will use facial recognition and gait analysis to identify drivers as they approach their vehicles allowing them to unlock their vehicles without the need to carry keys.  This move is an attempt by the manufacturer to combat car thefts. Using gait analysis ensures thieves could not fool the system by holding up pictures of the owner’s face.

The patent application states: ”The user of the vehicle must carry out a registration process which requires them to record a still image of their face and a moving image such as a hand gesture or their gait as they approach the vehicle.”

Multiple drivers of a vehicle (i.e. family members and friends) can register their personal characteristics, allowing them to unlock the vehicle.  If the owner sells the vehicles their details can be erased and new user details installed.


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