Monday, May 12, 2008

Updates on Congressional IP/Legal Legislation

House Passes H.R. 4279 - Last Thursday, the House passed H.R. 4279, titled "Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008" (PRO-IP). While patent reform continues to stumble, copyright protection is getting stronger than ever. Under H.R. 4279, federal copyright law would be amended to:

(1) provide a safe harbor for copyright registrations that contain inaccurate information;
(2) provide that copyright registration requirements apply to civil (not criminal) infringement actions;
(3) require courts to issue protective orders to prevent disclosure of seized records relating to copyright infringement;
(4) revise standards for civil damages in copyright infringement and counterfeiting cases; and
(5) prohibit importing and exporting of infringing copies of copyrighted works.

Also, the federal criminal code would be amended with respect to copyrights/TM's to:
(1) enhance criminal penalties for infringement of a copyright, for trafficking in counterfeit labels or packaging, and for causing serious bodily harm or death while trafficking in counterfeit goods or services; and
(2) enhance civil and criminal forfeiture provisions for copyright infringement and provide for restitution to victims of such infringement.

- View a copy of H.R. 4279 here.

Upcoming Amendments to Attorney/Client Privilege (S. 2450) - While this isn't necessarily "new", it is worth noting that amendments to the Federal Rules of Evidence were approved last February in the Senate, and continue their way through the House. Under S. 2450, the Federal Rules of Evidence would be amended with respect to the disclosure of a communication or information covered by the attorney-client privilege and work product protection.

The proposed legislation provides that, when such a disclosure is made and waives the attorney-client privilege or work-product protection, the waiver extends to an undisclosed communication or information in a federal or state proceeding only if: (1) the waiver is intentional; (2) the disclosed and undisclosed communications or information concern the same subject matter; and (3) they ought in fairness to be considered together.
Also, when the disclosure is made, it does not operate as a waiver in a federal or state proceeding if: (1) the disclosure is inadvertent; (2) the holder of the privilege or protection took reasonable steps to prevent disclosure; and (3) the holder promptly took reasonable steps to rectify the error.
- View a copy of S. 2450 here

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