Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Scholarly Sting Operation Shines a Light on ‘Predatory’ Journals; New York Times, March 22, 2017

Gina Kolata, New York Times; 

A Scholarly Sting Operation Shines a Light on ‘Predatory’ Journals

"The open-access business model spawned a shadowy world of what have been called predatory journals. They may have similar names to legitimate journals, but exist by publishing just about anything sent to them for a fee that can range from under $100 to thousands of dollars."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Public Meeting on Consumer Messaging in Connection with Online Transactions Involving Copyrighted Works from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. ET on April 18, 2017

Copyright Alert


Consumer Messaging in Connection with Online Transactions Involving Copyrighted Works
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force will host a public meeting on Consumer Messaging in Connection with Online Transactions Involving Copyrighted Works from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. ET on April 18, 2017 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The meeting will be webcast, and members of the public will have opportunities to participate.
In its January 2016 White Paper on Remix, First Sale, and Statutory Damages, the Task Force concluded that when consumers download copies of works (such as eBooks, music, and motion pictures), they do not appear to have a clear understanding of what they can legally do with those copies. It also determined that consumers may benefit from having more information about the nature of their transactions related to copyrighted works delivered online—including whether they are paying for access to content or for ownership of a copy—to instill greater confidence and enhance participation in the online marketplace.  The Task Force is therefore convening this meeting to facilitate a dialogue about ways to improve consumers’ understanding of license terms and restrictions in connection with online transactions involving copyrighted works. The goal is to explore issues and facilitate a discussion, and to determine in what ways government can be of assistance.
Please note, for those attending the event in person in Alexandria, registration is required. Registration is free. The meeting will be open to members of the public to attend, space permitting, on a first-come, first-served basis. Register to attend.
Visit the USPTO's event page for more details and webcast information. For non-press inquiries, please contact Linda Quigley, Attorney-Adviser, Office of Policy and International Affairs (Copyright), USPTO, at

Why Trademarking a Scent is Actually Really Hard; Inside Counsel, March 22, 2017

Amanda Ciccatelli, Inside Counsel; 

Why Trademarking a Scent is Actually Really Hard

"“The biggest challenge for registering scents is that they can be subjective and therefore very difficult to register,” said Marjure. “Perception of smell can be a very individual human experience.  Sometimes the smell can even cause a negative or unpleasant reaction.”"

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Adidas Trademark War Means Three Stripes And You’re in Court; Bloomberg, March 15, 2017

Kim Bhasin, Bloomberg; Adidas Trademark War Means Three Stripes And You’re in Court

"Oftentimes, Whitney said, labels count on companies to back down over trademark issues, since they usually don’t think a legal war is worth the trouble.

Not this time."

One Way To Force Down Drug Prices: Have The U.S. Exercise Its Patent Rights; NPR, March 16, 2017

Alison Kodjak, NPR; 

One Way To Force Down Drug Prices: Have The U.S. Exercise Its Patent Rights

"...Trump already has a weapon he could deploy to cut the prices of at least some expensive medications.

That weapon is called "march-in rights."...

...[L]ower prices could also make drug companies less eager to invest lots of money in new medications.

That's the trade-off the government has always had to wrestle with. But it's one Trump could very well decide is worthwhile.

"Perhaps we as a country would rather have lower drug prices and a little less innovation," [Sara Fisher] Ellison [an economist at MIT] said."

Friday, March 17, 2017

Coachella Organizers Suing Urban Outfitters for Trademark Infringement; Rolling Stone, March 17, 2017

Ryan Reed, Rolling Stone; 

Coachella Organizers Suing Urban Outfitters for Trademark Infringement

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and promoters Goldenvoice are suing Urban Outfitters for trademark infringement and unfair competition, among other claims. In a complaint filed Tuesday in the U.S. Central District Court of California, the companies assert that the retail chain improperly used variations of the long-running fest's name and trademark branding design for clothes sold by Urban Outfitters' Free People line."

Patents harder to obtain now, attorney [sic] say; Tulsa Business & Legal News, March 17, 2017

Ralph Schaefer, Tulsa Business & Legal News; 

Patents harder to obtain now, attorney [sic] say

"Back in 1899, Charles H. Duell, then-commissioner of the U.S. patent office, said “everything that can be invented has been invented” and the office should be closed.

Duell should have fast-forwarded 118 years to look at what has happened as technology has exploded and changed the face of the world. He would get a different perspective from four GableGotwals lawyers who are facing challenges the 19th century commissioner could not have imagined.

Todd A. Nelson, Scott R. Zingerman, James F. Lea III and David G. Woodral are registered patent attorneys."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

UN agency: China has explosive growth in patent applications; Associated Press via ABC News, March 15, 2017

Associated Press via ABC News; 

UN agency: China has explosive growth in patent applications

"The U.N.'s intellectual property agency says China is showing "quite extraordinary" growth in international patent applications, putting Chinese applicants on track to outpace their U.S. counterparts within two to three years.

Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, says China posted nearly 45-percent growth in such patent applications last year, saying "the country continues its journey from 'Made in China' to 'Created in China.'""

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Why the FDA hides the names of grocery stores that sell contaminated food; Washington Post, March 13, 2017

Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post; Why the FDA hides the names of grocery stores that sell contaminated food

"The SoyNut Butter and a related granola were sold in stores across the country, according to the Food and Drug Administration. It was also served in an untold number of child-care centers and schools.

The FDA does not specify, however, which stores, centers or schools — because that would violate its interpretation of an obscure trade secret rule...

In the case of releasing retailer lists during major outbreaks, the FDA has historically sided with business, ruling that such lists constitute “confidential commercial information” and thus should not be available for public consumption."

Trademark infringement award for Sturgis rally set aside; Associated Press via Minneapolis StarTribune, March 14, 2017

Associated Press via Minneapolis StarTribune; 

Trademark infringement award for Sturgis rally set aside

"A federal judge has vacated a nearly $1 million trademark infringement award made to the owners of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brand.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc., which owns the Sturgis logo, sued Walmart and a Rapid City retailer for allegedly improperly using the Sturgis trademark on merchandise. A jury awarded $912,500 to SMRI following a civil trial in October 2015, the Rapid City Journal reported ( ).

Federal Judge Jeffrey Viken upheld SMRI's trademark rights, but set aside the jury award against the defendants."

Lloyd Conover, Inventor of Groundbreaking Antibiotic, Dies at 93; New York Times, March 12, 2017

Denise Gellene, New York Times; 

Lloyd Conover, Inventor of Groundbreaking Antibiotic, Dies at 93

"With tetracycline’s commercial success, however, came a slew of patent challenges. Three pharmaceutical companies claimed that their scientists had discovered tetracycline before Dr. Conover, although their patent applications were filed later. After Pfizer licensed tetracycline to its competitors to end the dispute, the federal government challenged the licensing deals as anticompetitive, along with the validity of the patent.

“I had essentially a second career, preparing for and giving depositions and testifying,” Dr. Conover wrote in a 1984 article in the journal Research Management.

At scientific meetings, he wrote, he felt a coolness from peers who thought that his patent claim was false. A federal appeals court in Philadelphia finally affirmed the patent — and, by extension, the licensing agreements — in 1982, three decades after Dr. Conover invented tetracycline."

Monday, March 13, 2017

Patent Office finally confirms Michelle Lee is Director of the USPTO; IP Watchdog, March 10, 2017

Gene Quinn, IP Watchdog; Patent Office finally confirms Michelle Lee is Director of the USPTO

"At some point the story will be told about why it took 7 weeks for the Office to make a statement regarding the Director, and why the statement only came as the result of a FOIA request. But the more immediate question now becomes: How long will Michelle Lee remain Director of the USPTO?"

USPTO Freedom Of Information Act Inquiry; National Law Review, March 10, 2017

National Law Review; 

USPTO Freedom Of Information Act Inquiry

"The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) can be a very powerful tool. It provides unqualified right to access certain public records. Patent attorney Gary Shuster used it to file a FOIA request (Request No. F-17-00099) with the USPTO on January 26, 2017, seeking the following:
1. Any document written by or on behalf of Michelle Lee constituting a resignation from office, a request to withdraw a resignation from office, or a request to refrain from her position."

Under pressure from tech companies, ‘Fair Repair’ bill stalls in Nebraska; Guardian, March 11, 2017

Olivia Solon, Guardian; 

Under pressure from tech companies, ‘Fair Repair’ bill stalls in Nebraska

"“This has the potential to weaken security features in a host of electronic devices. It’s not about dead screen or battery,” said CompTIA’s Alexi Madon, adding that the bill applied to medical equipment and government servers. “Manufacturers are also required to give up sensitive intellectual property.”

Tony Baker, a Nebraska politician who previously provided information solutions to the US military, countered the suggestion that repair rights would infringe on the intellectual property rights and the security of software. He explained how his organization created software running on classified networks that granted different levels of access to different groups of people, depending on their level of authorisation or security clearance. He argued that manufacturers could do the same with their products."

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I Got Sued, Babe: Cher On Defense In Copyright Infringement Case; Forbes, March 8, 2017

Ronald Abrams, Forbes; 

I Got Sued, Babe: Cher On Defense In Copyright Infringement Case

"Even if Nadav’s case survives Cher’s motion to dismiss it still faces a huge uphill battle, including the issues of ownership/originality of the copyrightable elements of Nadav’s work as well as an in-depth “substantial similarity” test at summary judgment or trial phases of the case.

Although typeface and fonts themselves cannot be copyrighted, font software can be copyrighted, and allegations of font software infringement have dogged big media companies for years. Interestingly, Nadav’s complaint includes allegations relating to font software and accuses two of the defendants of copying font software to copy original elements in Nadav’s logos. However, the complaint tacitly acknowledges that Nadav did not secure copyright registration (or an official copyright registration rejection) for the software prior to filing the lawsuit; a prerequisite for bringing suit for those allegations. And, even if Nadav eventually receives a copyright registration for the software, the apparent significant delay in obtaining copyright registration will greatly impact his ability to recover any attorneys’ fees and damages even if he is able to somehow prove that the defendants actually used that software to develop Cher’s logos. If only Nadav could turn back time."

China defends its Trump trademark approvals as in line with law; Reuters, March 10, 2017

Reuters/Jason Lee; 

China defends its Trump trademark approvals as in line with law

"China's trademark office in recent weeks green-lighted 38 trademark applications linked to Trump, giving the U.S. president and his family protection were they to develop the "Trump" brand in the market.

The ties between politics and business have, however, prompted concern from politicians and rights groups who say the president could face potential conflicts of interest related to the extensive business affairs of his family...

Trump and his family, like many business owners, hold trademarks around the world, from business sectors such as apparel in the Philippines to golf clubs in Australia and property in Japan and South Korea."

Relax About Trump's China Trademarks; Bloomberg, March 9, 2017

Adam Minter, Bloomberg; 

Relax About Trump's China Trademarks

"China also knows that Trump's recent trademark applications (including one for escort businesses) likely aren't intended to precede new products. Rather, as Trump's lawyer explained to the Washington Post, they're defensive in nature, and designed to keep someone else from trademarking, and launching, Trump Escorts. That may sound convoluted, but it's actually a common strategy for foreign companies hoping to protect their brands in China.  

Moreover, China's interest in protecting intellectual property is at least as strong as Trump's in this case. In the coming months, the Trump administration is likely to roll out aggressive new policies in opposition to China's trade practices, including its lax IP enforcement. The last thing China wants is fake but licensed Trump products in Chinese stores making Trump's case for him.

For now, at least, giving Trump his trademarks probably won't put money into the president's pocket. But it's a crucial step for Chinese officials hoping to manage their relationship with an unpredictable new marketer-in-chief.

(Corrects headline to indicate trademarks instead of patents.)"

Friday, March 10, 2017

Should an artificial intelligence be allowed to get a patent?; Robohub, March 9, 2017

Ronald Yu, Robohub; 

Should an artificial intelligence be allowed to get a patent?

"Returning to the original question about patent rights for an A.I., perhaps the question we should ask is not whether an A.I. should be able to get a patent, but whether an A.I., given current technology, can create a patentable invention in the first place and if the answer to that question is ‘no’, then the question of granting patent rights to an A.I. is moot."

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Trump’s actions raise fears about access to government data; The Spokesman-Review, March 8, 2017

Stuart Leavenworth and Adam Ashton, The Spokesman-ReviewTrump’s actions raise fears about access to government data

"Wondering who is visiting the White House? The web-based search has gone dark. Curious about climate change? Some government sites have been softened or taken down. Worried about racial discrimination in housing? Laws have been introduced to bar federal mapping of such disparities. Federal rules protecting whistleblowers? At least one has been put on hold.

Since taking office, the Trump administration has made a series of moves that have alarmed groups with a stake in public access to information – historians, librarians, journalists, climate scientists, internet activists, to name a few. Some are so concerned they have thrown themselves into “data rescue” sessions nationwide, where they spend their weekends downloading and archiving federal databases they fear could soon be taken down or obscured...

“What is unprecedented is the scale of networking and connectivity of groups working on this, and the degree it is being driven by librarians and scientists and professors,” said Alex Howard, deputy director of the Sunlight Foundation, a group that tracks transparency in government."

Open-data contest unearths scientific gems — and controversy; Nature, March 8, 2017

Heidi Ledford, Nature; 

Open-data contest unearths scientific gems — and controversy

"Now one-third of the 60 papers that Wright's team had planned to publish are in jeopardy of being scooped. “I think the incentives to do these trials will be dramatically lessened if this is going to be the expectation going forward,” he says. “It's a huge time commitment.”

But others favour making data from trials publicly available as soon as possible. Doing so, they argue, opens up the possibility of a wide range of additional analysis, and speeds up analyses that can yield important clinical insights. “Clinical trial data are quite valuable, but usually they're kept locked away,” says Sandosh Padmanabhan, a participant in the competition who researches cardiovascular genomics at the University of Glasgow, UK. “Everybody who does clinical trials needs to open up their data for everybody to use.”"

The US government grants cannabis patents even though weed is illegal; Quartz, March 8, 2017

Ephrat Livni, Quartz; 

The US government grants cannabis patents even though weed is illegal

"If you look closely, the US government doesn’t seem as intent on thwarting marijuana development as the rhetoric espoused by some politicians would have you believe. In fact, cannabis seems to be slowly but surely gaining legitimacy, even in federal government circles, despite its Drug Enforcement Administration classification as a schedule 1 substance with no medical use.
Acceptance is signaled in small but significant ways. For example, the Patent and Trademark Office grants intellectual property rights to companies developing both marijuana plant strains and synthetic weed for industry...
[...S]ome industry insiders, like patent lawyer Erich Veitenheimer, who represented the holders of No. 9095554, believe this is just the beginning, and told Vice that intellectual property wars over marijuana are inevitable. Certainly, players appear to be preparing for these future cannabis battles, lining up ownership rights despite current federal law, as if widespread legalization is a pretty sure thing."

Plotting a patent; Nursery Management, February 6, 2017

Karen E. Varga, Nursery Management; 

Plotting a patent

"There have been 28,191 plant patent applications filed through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) since 1963. From those applications, 24,021 plant patents were granted. While, comparatively speaking, plant patents make up a very small portion of the overall number of patents granted in the U.S. (there were 25,986 design patents granted in 2015 alone), their importance within the horticulture industry has grown, especially with the proliferation of brands...

When the America Invents Act was signed into law in 2011 and fully implemented in 2013, the U.S. went from being a “first to invent” to a “first inventor to file” country, putting it in line with most of the rest of the world. Under the new system, whomever files the patent application first can become the patent owner. That means that if you publicly disclose your plant before filing, you risk losing patentability. In addition, the new system considers any public disclosure outside of the U.S. the same as one made within our borders.
“The most important thing I tell people is, don’t show it to anybody, particularly anybody from outside of your operation,” McCoy says. “Don’t disclose it, don’t show it to anyone, and then get with a practitioner. Under this ‘first inventor to file’ system, you need to file before you disclose in any way.”
For 10 more patent questions and their answers, read the full article in our February issue."

EU Internet Advocates Launch Campaign to Stop Dangerous Copyright Filtering Proposal; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), March 7, 2017

Kerry Sheehan, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); 

EU Internet Advocates Launch Campaign to Stop Dangerous Copyright Filtering Proposal

"In the wake of the European Commission’s dangerous proposal to require user-generated content platforms to filter user uploads for copyright infringement, European digital rights advocates are calling on Internet users throughout Europe to stand up for freedom of expression online by urging their MEP (Member of European Parliament) to stop the #CensorshipMachine and “save the meme.”

Last year, the European Commission released a proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, Article 13 of which would require all online service providers that “store and provide to the public access to large amounts of works or other subject-matter uploaded by their users” to reach agreements with rights holders to keep allegedly infringing content off their sites – including by implementing content filtering technologies.

We’ve talked at length about the dangers of this proposal, and the problems with filtering the Internet for copyright infringement. For one thing, it’s extremely dangerous for fair use and free expression online."

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ohio State University seeks to trademark The Oval; Columbus Dispatch, March 7, 2017

Mary Mogan Edwards, Columbus Dispatch; 

Ohio State University seeks to trademark The Oval

"Forget about any plans you might have to appeal to OSU-lovers everywhere with a line of T-shirts evoking that signature grassy expanse that's something between a circle and a rectangle: Ohio State University is claiming "The Oval" — the place name and the image, not the geometrical shape — as its own.

Seeking trademark protection is the ultimate step in brand defense, said Rick Van Brimmer, OSU's assistant vice president for trademark-licensing services. The university is moving The Oval up to that category (where Brutus Buckeye, Woody Hayes, The Shoe, Urban Meyer and the like dwell) because the university is using it these days as a neck label on apparel and other items."

Prenda Law principal pleads guilty to federal charges in porn copyright case; ABA Journal, March 7, 2017

Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal; 

Prenda Law principal pleads guilty to federal charges in porn copyright case

"A defendant in the Prenda Law case, which involved alleged shakedowns of people accused of illegally downloading pornography, pleaded guilty Monday to federal conspiracy charges of money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud. 

John L. Steele, the defendant, previously bragged about earning millions from suing people for illegal downloads, the Star Tribune reports. Federal prosecutors claim that Steele and Paul Hansmeier, a Minneapolis attorney, created two fake businesses to acquire copyrights for the pornographic films, some of which they filmed themselves, and posted the materials to file-sharing websites. Then they and other lawyers filed John Doe lawsuits against the downloaders and subpoenaed Internet service providers to identify defendants.
The government asked for a sentence of eight to 10 years. But according to the Star Tribune, prosecutors could agree to something shorter if Steele cooperates with them, which presumably would involve testifying against Hansemeier.
Between April 2011 and December 2012, Steele and Hansmeier, along with lawyers who worked for them, collected more than $6 million in settlements, according to the article."

Monday, March 6, 2017

A right to repair: why Nebraska farmers are taking on John Deere and Apple; Guardian, March 6, 2017

Olivia Solon, Guardian; 

A right to repair: why Nebraska farmers are taking on John Deere and Apple

"Kyle is one of many farmers in the US fighting for the right to repair their equipment. He and others are getting behind Nebraska’s “Fair Repair” bill, which would require companies to provide consumers and independent repair shops access to service manuals, diagnostic tools and parts so they aren’t limited to a single supplier. They have an unlikely ally: repair shops for electronic items like iPhones, tablets and laptops who struggle to find official components and information to fix broken devices. This means the bill could benefit not just farmers but anyone who owns electronic goods. There’s also a benefit to the environment, as it would allow for more refurbishment and recycling instead of sending equipment to the landfill.

Nebraska is one of eight states in the US – including Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Wyoming, Tennessee and Kansas – seeking to pass “right to repair” legislation. All eyes will be on the Cornhusker state when the bill has its public hearing on 9 March, because its unique “unicameral legislature” (it’s the only state to have a single parliamentary chamber) means laws can be enacted swiftly. If this bill, officially named LB67, gets through, it may lead to a domino effect through the rest of the US, as happened with a similar battle over the right to repair cars."

China’s theft of U.S. trade secrets under scrutiny; Science, February 28, 2017

Mara Hvistendahl, Science; 

China’s theft of U.S. trade secrets under scrutiny

"When it comes to intellectual property (IP) theft, there’s the rest of the world, and then there’s China, a new report says. In 2015, mainland China and Hong Kong accounted for 87% of counterfeit goods seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. China’s share of trade secrets theft, though harder to track, is not far behind, claims the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property in Washington, D.C., a bipartisan nongovernmental group co-chaired by former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., who served as U.S. ambassador to China from 2009 to 2011.
Stolen trade secrets, pirated software, and counterfeiting cost the United States between $225 billion and $600 billion per year, the commission estimates...
Scholars often take issue with efforts to put a price tag on IP theft... 
Also up for debate is how best to address IP theft. The Obama administration pursued a strategy heavy on prosecutions of Chinese-born U.S. scientists (see herehere, and here), along with symbolic moves against overseas offenders, such as the 2014 indictment of five members of a People’s Liberation Army hacking unit. Policy tools improved under Obama went “largely unused,” the report said. For instance, a 2015 law enabling the president to sanction foreign countries, companies, and individuals for IP theft has not yet been invoked."

The day of Trump toilets and condoms in China may have just ended. Here's why that's controversial; Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2017

Jessica Meyers, Los Angeles Times; 
The day of Trump toilets and condoms in China may have just ended. Here's why that's controversial

"Could Trump benefit from the decision?

Some analysts believe investors, wary about the delicate relationship between China and the U.S., will veer away from anything bearing Donald Trump’s name. But two chief ethics lawyers under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama argue China could still use Trump’s ties to his family empire to influence policies.
They’re part of a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York that alleges the president’s foreign business connections violate the Constitution.
“We should be seriously concerned about Mr. Trump’s ethical standards,” [Haochen] Sun [director of the Law and Technology Center at the University of Hong Kong and a specialist in intellectual property law] said. “The registration carries the message that Trump is still doing business.”

Patent Data – The Modern Investor’s Crystal Ball; Intellectual Property Watch, March 6, 2017

Sirena Rubinoff, Intellectual Property Watch; 

Patent Data – The Modern Investor’s Crystal Ball

"What if there was a crystal ball that could tell you where and when to invest your money? It sounds like science fiction, but engineers at MIT have actually developed a formula that can predict future events in tech development. The formula is based on a combination of big data from patent applications and smart analytics which, when put together, can estimate how fast a technology is advancing.
Why patent applications?
If you want to know where technology is headed, a great place to look is in a patent application database like the USPTO. One of the qualifications for getting a patent granted is “novelty,” which means new, similar innovations won’t appear anywhere else. Once enough data is collected from the database, it can be used to map out and predict unique advancements in specific areas of technology."

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Peer-review activists push psychology journals towards open data; Nature, March 1, 2017

Gautam Naik, Nature; 

Peer-review activists push psychology journals towards open data

"An editor on the board of a journal published by the prestigious American Psychological Association (APA) has been asked to resign in a controversy over data sharing in peer review.

Gert Storms — who says he won’t step down — is one of a few hundred scientists who have vowed that, from the start of this year, they will begin rejecting papers if authors won’t publicly share the underlying data, or explain why they can’t.
The idea, called the Peer Reviewers’ Openness Initiative, was launched by psychologists hoping to increase transparency in a field beset by reports of fraud and dubious research practices. And the APA, which does not ask that data be made available to peer reviewers or shared openly online, seems set to become an early testing ground for the initiative’s influence. With Storms’ situation still unresolved, the society’s council of editors will discuss whether it should change its policies at a meeting in late March."

Friday, March 3, 2017

U.S. Withdrawal from TPP Impact on Intellectual Property; Inside Counsel, March 3, 2017

Amanda Ciccatelli, Inside Counsel; 

U.S. Withdrawal from TPP Impact on Intellectual Property

"Further, the U.S. withdrawal from the TPP may have major global implications for IP rights. As the TPP was being negotiated, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was slowly progressing in the background. The RCEP is a Chinese- and Indian-led alternative to TPP that includes all seven of the Asian and Oceanic states in TPP, plus South Korea, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Cambodia. 

“But the RCEP is almost certain to provide less protection for IP rights – especially pharmaceutical patent rights – than the TPP would have,” Rich said. “India and China are traditionally hostile to strong pharmaceutical patent protections of the type found under U.S. law, calling such patent protections ‘evergreening.’ “So, the rejection of the TPP is likely to allow an alternative, less protective paradigm for international IP rights to arise in its place.”"

LDS Church goes after MormonLeaks, accuses website of ‘copyright’ violation; Salt Lake Tribune, March 3, 2017

Christopher Smart, Salt Lake Tribune; 

LDS Church goes after MormonLeaks, accuses website of ‘copyright’ violation

"The website — which has generated headlines by posting purloined papers on topics ranging from how much Mormon apostles are paid to rules for missionary phone calls home — recently circulated a PowerPoint presentation highlighting issues that could lead members away from the fold.

On Wednesday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints threatened legal action against MormonLeaks, alleging that the site published copyright material. The PowerPoint was posted on, a YouTube-like hosting site for documents, but was removed after the church sent its letter."

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Lou Reed Archives Head to New York Public Library; New York Times, March 2, 2017

Ben Sisario, New York Times; 

Lou Reed Archives Head to New York Public Library

"Ms. Anderson said that the library’s mandate of making its collections available to the public was central to her decision to place the archive there. But she also felt that it all simply belonged in New York.

“Lou is kind of Mr. New York,” Ms. Anderson said. “This is the city he loved the most. It doesn’t make any sense for him to be anywhere else. Then, what’s the best place in New York? This is the best place in New York.”

She also giggled a little, and made a mock librarian’s shush, as she added: “I just love that somebody who is so loud is in the New York Public Library.”"

Privacy Laws and Listener Data in the Music Industry; Inside Counsel, March 2, 2017

Adrian J. Perry and Sari Sharoni, Inside Counsel; 

Privacy Laws and Listener Data in the Music Industry

"Whether and how state privacy laws across the United States apply to the collection and sharing of listener preference data could have a profound effect on not only the ability of music streaming services to deliver their content to listeners, but on the future of music and the music industry generally.

A recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision, in which the court dismissed a proposed class action suit against Pandora for disclosure of listener music preferences in violation of Michigan's Preservation of Personal Privacy Act (PPPA), shed light on the uncertainty looming over the music industry from the prospect of state privacy law placing constraints on the alienability of this valuable data.

The Michigan PPPA, in relevant part, prohibits a business engaged in selling, renting, or lending sound recordings from knowingly disclosing to anyone information that personally identifies a particular customer as having purchased, leased, rented, or borrowed those sound recordings from that business. The question before the Ninth Circuit was whether this statute could be construed to prohibit Pandora, a music streaming service with both paid and ad-supported unpaid options, from disclosing listener preference data."

Stupid Patent of the Month: IBM Patents Out-of-Office Email; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), February 28, 2017

Daniel Nazer, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); 

Stupid Patent of the Month: IBM Patents Out-of-Office Email

"Update: March 1, 2017 Today IBM told Ars Technica that it "has decided to dedicate the patent to the public" and it filed a formal disclaimer at the Patent Office making this dedication. While this is just one patent in IBM's massive portfolio, we are glad to learn that it has declared it will not enforce its patent on out-of-office email.

On January 17, 2017, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted IBM a patent on an out-of-office email system. Yes, really.
United States Patent No. 9,547,842 (the ’842 Patent),“Out-of-office electronic mail messaging system,” traces its history to an application filed back in 2010. That means it supposedly represents a new, non-obvious advance over technology from that time. But, as many office workers know, automated out-of-office messages were a “workplace staple” decades before IBM filed its application. The Patent Office is so out of touch that it conducted years of review of this application without ever discussing any real-world software."