Friday, June 30, 2017

Coraopolis man accused of taking trade secrets from Harsco; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 30, 2017

Len Boselovic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Coraopolis man accused of taking trade secrets from Harsco

"A Camp Hill company that recycles mill waste is accusing a former employee from Coraopolis of taking thousands of pages of documents containing trade secrets to a competitor that planned to use them to develop products of its own.
A federal judge based in Pittsburgh this week ordered Stephen Miranda, a former employee in Harsco Corp.’s Sarver office, to remain on administrative leave from Phoenix Services, the Chester County company Mr. Miranda went to work for after leaving Harsco in April."

Thursday, June 29, 2017

One Year On: Developments in the Protection of Trade Secrets; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Director's Forum Blog, June 29, 2017

Director's Forum Blog

One Year On: Developments in the Protection of Trade Secrets
Guest blog by Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs Shira Perlmutter
U.S. businesses own an estimated $5 trillion worth of trade secrets. Their theft, involving losses in the tens or possibly hundreds of billions of dollars a year, poses a serious threat to our nation’s economy. Because the protection of trade secrets — which by their nature are not patented or publicly disclosed — is critical to the commercial viability of many U.S. businesses, Congress passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016. The law provides trade secret owners with a federal civil cause of action, rather than limiting them to state laws or criminal enforcement.
Last month, one year after enactment of the law, the USPTO convened a public symposium on “Developments in Trade Secret Protection.” The event brought together nearly 200 participants, at the USPTO’s headquarters in Alexandria Virginia, and via live webcast to individuals and the USPTO’s four regional offices.
Shira Perlmutter at Trade Secrets Symposium
Shira Perlmutter at Trade Secrets Symposium
The symposium consisted of four panels focused on various aspects of trade secret protection. The first panel, of business economists, discussed recent trends, including how to estimate the value of trade secrets and calculate damage awards in litigation, and how calculating damages in trade secret cases differs from cases involving other forms of intellectual property.
The second panel, a group of attorneys, addressed the use of the Defend Trade Secrets Act in practice, including the provisions for ex parte seizure of stolen trade secrets. The third panel, with participants from academia, private practice, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, examined the differing ways in which other countries have implemented trade secret protection and identified the elements that make up an effective regime. The final panel brought together participants from private practice, the U.S. government, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce to role-play as a corporate legal team called on to consider enforcement options for dealing with a case of trade secret misappropriation occurring overseas.
The practical information exchanged at the symposium should help governments and trade secrets owners improve protection for this valuable form of intellectual property in the United States and abroad. In helping to take forward the federal government’s 2017–2019 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, the USPTO will continue its work to promote the adoption of effective systems of trade secret protection and enforcement around the world.Videos of all four sessions of the trade secret symposium are posted  to the Trade Secret Policypage of the USPTO website, as well as additional useful information about the protection of trade secrets.
Read more from the Director's Forum Blog

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Should robot artists be given copyright protection?;, June 26, 2017

Andres Guadamuz,; Should robot artists be given copyright protection?

"But who owns creative works generated by artificial intelligence? This isn't just an academic question. AI is already being used to generate works in music, journalism and gaming, and these works could in theory be deemed free of copyright because they are not created by a human author.

This would mean they could be freely used and reused by anyone and that would be bad news for the companies selling them. Imagine you invest millions in a system that generates music for video games, only to find that music isn't protected by law and can be used without payment by anyone in the world."

Lawyers Rally to Save ‘McMansion Hell’ from Zillow’s Copyright Claim; Fortune, June 27, 2017

Jeff John Roberts, Fortune; Lawyers Rally to Save ‘McMansion Hell’ from Zillow’s Copyright Claim

"A Zillow spokesperson has sent the following statement to media outlets:

"We are asking this blogger to take down the photos that are protected by copyright rules, but we did not demand she shut down her blog and hope she can find a way to continue her work," the statement reads.

The McMansion Hell controversy is likely to end with Wagner's site going back online, and with Zillow becoming the latest victim of what is known as "the Streisand effect"—a phenomenon in which an attempt to use dubious legal tactics to smother an issue on the Internet results in even more publicity for that issue. (Ironically, the original Streisand effect case—named for Barbara Streisand—also turned on mansions)."

Sleepless Nights for GCs Caused by Regulations and Crisis Management; Inside Counsel, June 22, 2017

Jennifer Williams-Alvarez, Inside Counsel; Sleepless Nights for GCs Caused by Regulations and Crisis Management

"The inaugural "General Counsel Up-at-Night" report looks at responses to an online survey conducted in spring 2017 from more than 200 U.S.-based general counsel and other in-house legal decision-makers.
The results reveal that the most pressing challenges faced by respondents are: regulations and enforcement; privacy and data security; risk and crisis management; litigation; and intellectual property. Among these, the biggest concerns are regulations and enforcement, with 74 percent of respondents identifying this as a very important challenge, followed by privacy and data security with 65 percent and risk and crisis management with 63 percent."

REMINDER re Free Webinar: Understanding Patent Basics: Law Librarians Bringing Added Value June 28, 2017, 2 PM ET

As a law librarian you serve a wide array of lawyers so you may not have a background specific to patent law. Many law librarians feel they could be more productive if they could better communicate in patent attorney "speak" and may feel awkward in asking for definitions of basic patent terminology.

As part of our efforts to offer on-going support to law librarians, LexisNexis IP Solutions is offering a crash course in basic patent concepts to help you better communicate with your colleagues.

Join us for this informative webinar which will demystify patent terminology and review basic concepts. The presenters will discuss:
  • Common terms in patent law, such as "What is a provisional patent application?"
  • What patents lawyers are looking for in terms of help from their law librarians relevant to common concepts.
  • Why research related to each of these terms, or concepts, are important in the area of patent prosecution.
  • Q&A to answer those questions you have been meaning to ask.

    Sign up today! We will provide slides from the webinar to all registrants.

    The presenters are Amantha Allen, User Experience and Professional Development Manager, LexisNexis® IP Solutions and Megan McLoughlin, Product Director, LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Patents can stifle, as well as protect, stifle innovation; Albuquerque Journal, June 26, 2017

Joel Jacobsen, Albuquerque Journal; 

Patents can stifle, as well as protect, stifle innovation

"The absence of patent protection would make it difficult if not impossible for many inventors to profit from their ingenuity. But when a second inventor vastly improves on an original idea, as Curtiss did, isn’t he equally entitled to reap the rewards of his own ingenuity? Even apart from questions of fairness, society benefits from both the original invention and its subsequent improvement. Both types of progress deserve legal protection."

Inventor's Corner: What happens when someone infringes a patent?; Sioux Falls Business Journal via Argus Journal, June 23, 2017

Jeffrey Proehl, for the Sioux Falls Business Journal via Argus Journal; Inventor's Corner: What happens when someone infringes a patent?

"Jeffrey Proehl is a registered patent attorney with Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith P.C. in Sioux Falls.

Although the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office grants patents, the U.S. government does not enforce patents against infringers. When a patent owner becomes aware someone without authorization is “making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing” a product that infringes the owner’s patent, the owner has the option to enforce the patent."

Sunday, June 25, 2017

How Bad Intellectual Property Laws Hurt Classic Video Game Consumers; Forbes, June 25, 2017

Adam Ozimek, Forbes; How Bad Intellectual Property Laws Hurt Classic Video Game Consumers

"The economic purpose of intellectual property is to incentivize the creation of products that would not otherwise be created. These laws can benefit consumers, but the granting of monopoly rights creates a cost as well. In terms of balancing costs and benefits, the current copyright system is -to be frank- absurd. A look at how excessive copyright is harming back video game consumers makes that clear."

The great intellectual property trade-off; BBC, June 25, 2017

Tim Harford, BBC; The great intellectual property trade-off

"For most economists, scrapping intellectual property entirely is going too far. They point to important cases - such as new medicines - where the costs of invention are enormous and the costs of copying are trivial.
But those who defend intellectual property protections still tend to argue that - right now - those protections offer more than enough incentive to create new ideas.
Dickens himself eventually discovered a financial upside to weak copyright protection.
Twenty five years after his initial visit to the US, Dickens returned, keen to make some money.
He reckoned that so many people had read cheap knock-offs of his stories that he could cash in on his fame with a lecture tour. He was absolutely right: off the back of pirated copies of his work, Charles Dickens made a fortune as a public speaker, many millions of dollars in today's terms.
Perhaps the intellectual property was worth more when given away."

Tupac Shakur Biopic 'All Eyez On Me' Hit With Copyright Infringement Lawsuit; NPR, June 23, 2017

Andrew Flanagan, NPR; Tupac Shakur Biopic 'All Eyez On Me' Hit With Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

"A week after opening to a tepid critical response and accusations of historical inaccuracies from actress Jada Pinkett Smith — as well as a misinterpreted Internet joke that had many searching in vain for the appearance of an iPhone in the film — the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me has now been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit.

The suit — filed today by Kevin Powell, a longtime pop culture writer, author, activist — accuses the film's executive producers, screenwriters and distributors of cribbing from three cover stories on Shakur that Powell wrote for Vibe during the height of Shakur's career. [Disclosure: NPR Music published an article by Powell, a remembrance of the recently deceased rapper Prodigy, earlier today.]"

Friday, June 23, 2017

Elsevier Wins $15 Million in Copyright Suit Against Piracy Sites; Chronicle of Higher Education, June 22, 2017

Clara Turnage, Chronicle of Higher Education; Elsevier Wins $15 Million in Copyright Suit Against Piracy Sites

"A federal court has ruled in favor of one of the world’s largest science publishers in its lawsuit against websites that provide free, pirated access to millions of scholarly-journal articles, reported on Thursday.

In a judgment handed down this week, Judge Robert W. Sweet of the U.S. District Court in New York City ruled for the company, Elsevier, in the absence of any representatives of the defendants, which include Sci-Hub, LibGen, and related sites, and awarded the publisher $15 million in damages for copyright infringement."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Paul Zukofsky, Prodigy Who Became, Uneasily, a Virtuoso Violinist, Dies at 73; New York Times, June 20, 2017

Margalit Fox, New York Times; Paul Zukofsky, Prodigy Who Became, Uneasily, a Virtuoso Violinist, Dies at 73

"He was also known to literary scholars as an ardent defender — too ardent, some said — of the intellectual property of his father, the American poet Louis Zukofsky...

Such behavior also colored Mr. Zukofsky’s guardianship of his father’s copyright. He denied some scholars the right to quote from Louis Zukofsky’s writings altogether. He granted others permission in exchange for payment — an unorthodox demand.

“I don’t think Paul knew anything at all about the academic world,” Mr. Quartermain said. “He was convinced that we were all busy making money on his father’s writings.”

In 2009, in an act that engendered astonishment and rage among scholars, Mr. Zukofsky escalated prevailing tensions by posting a manifesto on Z-site, the official online companion to Louis Zukofsky’s work. His manifesto — since removed — included these provisions:

• “You may not use LZ’s words as you see fit, as if you owned them, while you hide behind the rubric of ‘fair use.’ ”

• “For your own well-being, I urge you to not work on Louis Zukofsky, and prefer that you do not. Working on LZ will be far more trouble than it is worth.”

• “One line you may not cross i.e. never never ever tell me that your work is to be valued by me because it promotes my father. Doing that will earn my lifelong permanent enmity.”

Mr. Zukofsky made securing permission to quote his father so difficult, Mr. Quartermain said, that “I know of people who simply gave up” on Louis Zukofsky scholarship, “and one or two people who gave up on their academic careers, because they could not get anywhere: They’d done their Ph.D.’s and they wanted to publish, but they’d somehow offended Paul.”"

UM System announces plan to adopt open educational resources; Missourian, June 21, 2017

Gabriela Velasquez, Missourian; UM System announces plan to adopt open educational resources

"Open educational resources are published with open access copyrights, are free for students and can be distributed and used for little to no cost. Instructors also can write and add chapters to tailor textbooks to specific courses. They are accessed online, usually as PDFs, and can be revised and updated fairly quickly, according to previous Missourian reporting.

The UM System and MU will partner with OpenStax and with faculty members to develop open educational resources for students."

4 Common Reasons for a Trademark Registration Refusal; JDSupra, June 22, 2017

Anderson Duff, JDSupra; 4 Common Reasons for a Trademark Registration Refusal

"When someone applies for a federal trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it is possible for the trademark registration application to be refused. While this is often disappointing, it is possible to appeal a trademark registration refusal. An experienced trademark registration lawyer will be able to help you understand your trademark registration grounds for refusal and can help you try to overcome the refusal, either by providing evidence of secondary meaning associated with your trademark, or through the appeals process.

Most Common Grounds for Trademark Registration Refusal

There are several possible grounds for trademark registration refusal, which include:
  • Likelihood of confusion with an existing registered trademark.
  • The trademark is merely descriptive.
  • The trademark is deceptively misdescriptive.
  • The trademark is primarily merely a surname."

Patent Record Broken 2 Years in a Row; PittWire, June 21, 2017

PittWire; Patent Record Broken 2 Years in a Row

"Pitt innovators have been issued a total of 92 U.S. patents through May, already surpassing the previous record of 80...

Along with the record-breaking fiscal year, in an overlapping measure of the University’s increasing strength in innovation, Pitt advanced into the top third of the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents Ranking for 2016.
Pitt moved up eight slots from last year to rank No. 27 — topping Duke University, Yale University and other top research institutions. The National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association has published the ranking annually since 2013 to highlight the important role patents play in university research and innovation.  
Those rankings are compiled by calculating the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that list a university as the first assignee. Utility patents are issued for the invention of a new or improved useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter and generally permit the owner to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention for a period of up to 20 years."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Breaking: Gene Simmons Abandons Hand Gesture Trademark Application; Forbes, June 21, 2017

Ronald Abrams, Forbes; Breaking: Gene Simmons Abandons Hand Gesture Trademark Application

"Although images or stylized drawings of hand gestures can function and be registered as trademarks either by themselves or as part of a design mark, hand gestures in and of themselves cannot function as trademarks. And, even if they could, there would be no practical way to enforce the trademark against others (often referred to as “policing the mark”). Compounding the non-registerability of the “devil horn” hand gesture is the fact that the gesture means “I love you” in sign language.

Now, less than two weeks later, Mr. Simmons has apparently reconsidered whether he might have valid trademark rights to the hand gesture, as he expressly abandoned the application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It is also noted that his application drew a fair amount of criticism from fellow musicians and others who saw the application as a shameless overreach by Simmons. Simmons, one of the most successful musician-entrepreneurs in history, owns a stable of other trademark registrations through his Gene Simmons Company. Nice try, Gene."

Current copyright regime makes entertainment industry boring; The Daily Texan, June 18, 2017

Usmaan Hasan, The Daily Texan; Current copyright regime makes entertainment industry boring

"The current system of copyright and intellectual property protections quells artistic expression gives consumers the short end of the stick.
Mickey Mouse, as a property of Disney, enjoys bipartisan support in Congress. He was created in 1928, and under the existing copyright regime of the time, Disney’s right to Mickey should have ended in 1956 at the soonest, 1984 at the latest. Yet with some Disney magic, without fail, Congress expands copyright protections every time the Mickey is about to lapse into the public domain.
The hypocrisy coming from Disney is staggering. It has gained its immense wealth by monetizing properties in the public domain – like Cinderella, a centuries old fairy tale owned by no one – lobbying for copyright protections for those properties, and then reworking properties while constantly expanding the lifetime of their protections. It is a company that has managed to exercise artistic reinterpretation of cultural touchstones while making it nearly impossible for others to do the same. In fact, Disney has made its wealth by making movies on at least 50 works in the public domain."

Derogatory trademarks aren’t about free speech. They’re about discrimination.; Washington Post, June 21, 2017

Robert S. Chang, Washington Post; Derogatory trademarks aren’t about free speech. They’re about discrimination.

"Unfortunately, Reyna’s hypothetical is an actuality of sorts. In Florida and other states, gun store owners have placed signs on their establishments declaring themselves to be a “Muslim Free Zone.” As the owner of one of the stores, Florida Gun Supply, said: “My goal is to make sure they don’t feel welcome here so I don’t have the need to discriminate in the first place.

Following Matal v. Tam, nothing will prevent the owner from obtaining federal registration of “Muslim Free Zone” as a trademark, accomplishing through speech what he might not be able to do through direct denial of service. For businesses not covered by Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, nothing will prevent the creation and federal registration of trademarks such as “No Gays Allowed” or, for that matter, “Whites Only.”

The federal government, though, should not be required to register these trademarks. The government should not be required to participate in discrimination.

This is where we are following the Supreme Court decision. This is the mischief that will come."

Without intellectual property licensing, where would we be?; CIO, June 19, 2017

Roger Kay, CIO; Without intellectual property licensing, where would we be?

"Intellectual property (IP) is a lot like taxes: you don’t care about the legal niceties until they apply to you. IP (not to be confused with the IP in TCP/IP, which stands for Internet Protocol) is the fuel that runs our information economy, the wellspring from which a thousand flowers bloom in the form of a plethora of products based on IP previously created, established, and licensed to all comers.
When an inventor creates a valuable technology and patents it, there are two ways to go:
  • exploit the technology directly and try to profit from being the sole supplier, or
  • license it to anyone on a “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) basis and nurture an entire industry.
There are plenty of examples of both.
IP licensing can enable not just one company, but an entire industry."


Christian de Looper, Digital Trends, APPLE VS. QUALCOMM: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

"Update: We revised this post to reflect the content of Apple’s amended court filings, which allege that Qualcomm’s licensing practices are “illegal” and push back against Qualcomm’s counterclaims. 
Apple and Qualcomm are engaged in what will likely be a yearslong and epic battle. Following news that Qualcomm had been charging heightened royalties for use of its tech, as well as reports indicating Qualcomm required Apple to pay a percentage of the iPhone’s revenue in return for the use of Qualcomm patents, Apple has sued the company in three countries.
In the United States, Apple is suing Qualcomm for a hefty $1 billion — but it has also filed a lawsuit in China for $145 million, as well as in the United Kingdom. Now, Qualcomm is following with its own countersuit (but losing quite a bit of money).
Here’s everything you need to know about the lawsuit battle so far."