Friday, September 20, 2019

People Are Looking At Your LinkedIn Profile. They Might Be Chinese Spies; NPR, September 19, 2019

Ryan Lucas, NPR; People Are Looking At Your LinkedIn Profile. They Might Be Chinese Spies

"Demers took over leadership of the National Security Division in February 2018 after being confirmed by the Senate. Since taking the helm, he has spent a considerable amount of time on China and what he calls its prolific espionage efforts against the United States.

They're vast in scale, he said, and they span the spectrum from traditional espionage targeting government secrets to economic espionage going after intellectual property and American trade secrets...

It's a play that has also been used to target folks in the business world and academia, where China is hungry for cutting-edge technology and trade secrets. For years, the Chinese intelligence services have hacked into U.S. companies and made off with intellectual property.

Now, U.S. officials say China's spies are increasingly turning to what is known as "nontraditional collectors" — students, researchers and business insiders — to scoop up secrets."

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Pitt Tells Student Groups Not to Use Pitt in Their Names; Inside Higher Ed, September 13, 2019

Elin Johnson, Inside Higher Ed; Pitt Tells Student Groups Not to Use Pitt in Their Names

"An emailed statement from communications manager Kevin Zwick read, "Many student organizations already comply with the 10-year-old guidelines, which allow the use of the Pitt and Panther names in ways that don't imply that the organizations are official university entities. Pitt's Office of Student Life and the Student Organization Resource Center continue to discuss concerns with our Student Government Board leadership to work toward a potential resolution."

Zwick maintained that the current guidelines for Pitt student clubs were as follows: "Independent student organizations are voluntary associations led by Pitt students, which are legally separate entities from the university. Because they are voluntary associations, independent student organizations may not use 'University of Pittsburgh,' 'Pitt' or any other University of Pittsburgh trademark/wordmark (i.e., Panther/Panthers) in their names other than to identify that the organization is located at Pitt (i.e., 'at Pitt' or 'at the University of Pittsburgh')."

Currently listed on the university's student organization page are dozens of club names that are in apparent violation of these guidelines."

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Māori anger as Air New Zealand seeks to trademark 'Kia Ora' logo; The Guardian, September 12, 2019

Eleanor Ainge Roy, The Guardian; Māori anger as Air New Zealand seeks to trademark 'Kia Ora' logo

"New Zealand’s national carrier, Air New Zealand, has offended the country’s Māori people by attempting to trademark an image of the words “kia ora”; the greeting for hello."

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Faculty Council reexamines lost intellectual property rights policy; The Ithacan, April 24, 2019

Ashley Stalnecker, The Ithacan; 

Faculty Council reexamines lost intellectual property rights policy

"Peter Rothbart, professor in the Department of Music Theory, History and Composition, said that when he was the chair of the Faculty Council before Swensen took over the position in Fall 2016, the Intellectual Property Policy Committee extensively researched documents from other academic institutions and asked for input on the policy from staff, students, faculty and administrators.

“The resulting document was among the most liberal and supportive of creators of content and invention offered by any academic institution,” Rothbart said."

Peloton owners are pissed about bad music after copyright lawsuit; The Verge, April 24, 2019

Natt Auran, The Verge; Peloton owners are pissed about bad music after copyright lawsuit

"The changes in music selections resulted from a lawsuit Peloton faced last month, when the company was sued by members of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) for failing to obtain a sync license to use some labels’ musical work in their exercise videos. Peloton customers now say they have noticed a significant downgrade in music quality, with remixed versions of a popular song instead of an original, or limited song variety from an artist. Users also note that classes they’ve favorited have disappeared from the catalog, since they contain songs that were named by the lawsuit as having violated copyrights...

It may seem silly to lament over music selections in an exercise class, but it’s an issue that fitness companies may increasingly face as they transform from traditional health companies into media publishers. Let’s face it: working out can be boring, and people are willing to pay top dollar to have someone yell at us while sweating to the latest Migos track. Combine that with the flexibility to exercise in your own home on your own time and it’s a revenue strategy that has helped brands like Equinox, Pure Barre, SoulCycle, and Physique 57 tap into a demographic that previously found the studios inaccessible. Even companies like ClassPass and Fitbit have also expanded beyond their initial product of a subscription service and fitness trackers, offering their own guided fitness sessions for $8 to $15 a month.
But as fitness companies dabble in media creation, they’re also navigating into the pains of becoming an entertainment company."

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Technion sues own lecturer, claims intellectual property infringement; The Jerusalem Post, April 23, 2019

Eytan Halon, The Jerusalem Post; Technion sues own lecturer, claims intellectual property infringement

"The Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa has filed a rare lawsuit, the first in over two decades, against one of its own members of staff.

The research university is suing Prof. Eli Ben-Sasson, a senior lecturer in computer science at the Technion, for 50% of his stake in blockchain company StarkWare Industries. The Technion alleges that he founded the company based on intellectual property that he developed at the university.
The Technion is also suing Michael Riabzev, a PhD candidate in computer science, who co-founded StarkWare with Ben-Sasson."

What the EU’s copyright overhaul means — and what might change for big tech; NiemanLab, Nieman Foundation at Harvard, April 22, 2019

Marcello Rossi, NiemanLab, Nieman Foundation at Harvard; What the EU’s copyright overhaul means — and what might change for big tech

"The activity indeed now moves to the member states. Each of the 28 countries in the EU now has two years to transpose it into its own national laws. Until we see how those laws shake out, especially in countries with struggles over press and internet freedom, both sides of the debate will likely have plenty of room to continue arguing their sides — that it marks a groundbreaking step toward a more balanced, fair internet, or that it will result in a set of legal ambiguities that threaten the freedom of the web."

Monday, April 22, 2019

Wary of Chinese Espionage, Houston Cancer Center Chose to Fire 3 Scientists; The New York Times, April 22, 2019

Mihir Zaveri, The New York Times; Wary of Chinese Espionage, Houston Cancer Center Chose to Fire 3 Scientists

"“A small but significant number of individuals are working with government sponsorship to exfiltrate intellectual property that has been created with the support of U.S. taxpayers, private donors and industry collaborators,” Dr. Peter Pisters, the center’s president, said in a statement on Sunday.

“At risk is America’s internationally acclaimed system of funding biomedical research, which is based on the principles of trust, integrity and merit.”

The N.I.H. had also flagged two other researchers at MD Anderson. One investigation is proceeding, the center said, and the evidence did not warrant firing the other researcher.

The news of the firings was first reported by The Houston Chronicle and Science magazine.

The investigations began after Francis S. Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, sent a letter in August to more than 10,000 institutions the agency funds, warning of “threats to the integrity of U.S. biomedical research.”"

Iancu v. Brunetti Oral Argument; C-SPAN, April 15, 2019

April 15, 2019, C-SPAN; 

"Iancu v. Brunetti Oral Argument

The Supreme Court heard oral argument for Iancu v. Brunetti, a case concerning trademark law and the ban of “scandalous” and “immoral” trademarks. Erik Brunetti founded a streetwear brand called “FUCT” back in 1990. Since then, he’s attempted to trademark it but with no success. Under the Lanham Act, the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) can refuse an application if it considers it to be “immoral” or “scandalous” and that’s exactly what happened here. The USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board also reviewed the application and they too agreed that the mark was “scandalous” and very similar to the word “fucked.” The board also cited that “FUCT” was used on products with sexual imagery and public interpretation of it was “an unmistakable aura of negative sexual connotations.” Mr. Brunetti’s legal team argued that this is in direct violation of his first amendment rights to free speech and private expression. Furthermore, they said speech should be protected under the First Amendment even if one is in disagreement with it. This case eventually came before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. They ruled in favor of Mr. Brunetti. The federal government then filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. The justices will now decide whether the Lanham Act banning “immoral” or “scandalous” trademarks is unconstitutional."

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Marvel's Kevin Feige Says It's 'Wonderful' to Have X-Men, FF Rights Back; Comic Book Resources, April 16, 2019

Colin Hickson, Comic Book Resources; Marvel's Kevin Feige Says It's 'Wonderful' to Have X-Men, FF Rights Back

"Despite their prominence in Marvel Comics, many fans were disappointed that the X-Men and the Fantastic Four were not included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since their film rights were owned by 20th Century Fox. However, with Disney's purchase of the rival studio, Marvel has regained access to the two franchises, and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige couldn't be happier.

"The specifics of what it means remains to be seen, but overall it's wonderful and it feels like these characters have come home", Feige said in an interview with Variety. "It will be nice to have what every other [intellectual property] holder that I can think of has, which is access to all their IP.
Imagine if Donald Duck was at another studio. Imagine if Goofy or Moana were someplace else and you didn’t have access to them even though they are yours.""

Trademark Battle: Pitt Football Forced To Remove ‘412’ From New Helmets; KDKA 2 CBS Pittsburgh, April 13, 2019

KDKA 2 CBS Pittsburgh; Trademark Battle: Pitt Football Forced To Remove ‘412’ From New Helmets

"Just a week after the University of Pittsburgh released new uniforms, they already came under fire with a reported trademark issue.

The Pitt Panthers unveiled new helmets that feature the numbers “412” above the visor. However, this did not sit well with officials at Pittsburgh-based clothing company Shop 412."

Monday, April 15, 2019

EU approves tougher EU copyright rules in blow to Google, Facebook; Reuters, April 15, 2019

Foo Yun Chee, Reuters; EU approves tougher EU copyright rules in blow to Google, Facebook

"Under the new rules, Google and other online platforms will have to sign licensing agreements with musicians, performers, authors, news publishers and journalists to use their work.

The European Parliament gave a green light last month to a proposal that has pitted Europe’s creative industry against tech companies, internet activists and consumer groups."

Friday, April 12, 2019

Post-Elsevier breakup, new publishing agreement ‘a win for everyone’; University of Caifornia, April 11, 2019

, University of California; Post-Elsevier breakup, new publishing agreement ‘a win for everyone’

"Six weeks after ending negotiations with academic publishing giant Elsevier, the University of California announced April 10 that it’s entered into its first open access agreement with a major publisher — Cambridge University Press. The agreement maintains UC’s full access to all scholarly journal articles published by Cambridge University Press and also provides open access publishing in those journals to authors on all 10 UC campuses."

The open access research model is hurting academics in poorer countries; Quartz, April 12, 2019

Brenda Wingfield, University of Pretoria & Bob Millar, University of Pretoria, Quartz; The open access research model is hurting academics in poorer countries

"There is however, little focus on the costs of open access to researchers in the developing world. Most people we have spoken to inside academia are under the impression that these costs are waived. But that’s only the case for some journals in 47 of the world’s “least developed” nations; researchers in the 58 other countries in the developing world must pay the full price...

The cost of a PlosOne article is 20% of the cost of a Masters student’s scholarship. So the choice is “do I give a Masters student a scholarship, or publish more in open access journals?” We are trying to do both and we are sure that’s the approach many research programs are trying to take. But as more journals take the open access route this is going to be more difficult. In future, if we want to publish more articles in open access journals, we will have to reduce the number of Masters, Doctoral and post doctoral students in our programs."

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Nobel laureate takes stance against allowing research to be intellectual property; The Auburn Plainsman, April 11, 2019

Trice Brown, The Auburn Plainsman; Nobel laureate takes stance against allowing research to be intellectual property

"George Smith, recipient of a 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, spoke to a crowd of students and faculty about the problems that arise from making publicly funded research intellectual property.

Smith said one of the greatest problems facing the scientific research community is the ability of universities to claim intellectual property rights on publicly funded research.

“I think that all research ought not to have intellectual — not to be intellectual property,” Smith said. “It’s the property of everyone.”"

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Pride and profit: Why Mayan weavers fight for intellectual property rights; The Christian Science Monitor, March 27, 2019

, The Christian Science Monitor;

Pride and profit: Why Mayan weavers fight for intellectual property rights

Why We Wrote This

Who owns culture, if anyone? It’s a complicated question that can seem almost theoretical. But its real-life consequences are keenly felt by many traditional artisans.

"Dr. Little fears that looking at textile design through the lens of fashion essentially “freezes it in time as a kind of folk art or folk material and that doesn’t allow it to actually live.”

“I think of [weaving] like a language,” he adds. Among indigenous communities, “it’s more vibrant when everyone is using it, fooling around with it, taking from others, and making new combinations. Vibrancy in language indicates strength, and in textiles it’s the same way.”"

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Toyota is giving automakers free access to nearly 24,000 hybrid car-related patents; TechCrunch, April 3, 2019

Kirsten Korosec, TechCrunch; Toyota is giving automakers free access to nearly 24,000 hybrid car-related patents

"Toyota said Wednesday it will give royalty-free access to its nearly 24,000 patents related to electrification technology and systems through 2030 in a move that aims to encourage rival automakers to adopt the low-emissions and fuel-saving technology.

Collectively the patents represent core technologies that can be applied to the development of various types of electrified vehicles, including hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, Toyota said. This follows Toyota’s decision back in 2015 to offer 5,680 patents related to its fuel cell electric vehicles."

Highly Profitable Medical Journal Says Open Access Publishing Has Failed. Right.; Forbes, April 1, 2019

Steven Salzberg, Forbes; Highly Profitable Medical Journal Says Open Access Publishing Has Failed. Right.

"What Haug doesn't mention here is that there is one reason (and only one, I would argue) that NEJM makes all of its articles freely available after some time has passed: the NIH requires it. This dates back to 2009, when Congress passed a law, after intense pressure from citizens who were demanding access to the research results that they'd paid for, requiring all NIH-funded results to be deposited in a free, public repository (now called PubMed Central) within 12 months of publication.

Scientific publishers fought furiously against this policy. I know, because I was there, and I talked to many people involved in the fight at the time. The open-access advocates (mostly patient groups) wanted articles to be made freely available immediately, and they worked out a compromise where the journals could have 6 months of exclusivity. At the last minute, the NIH Director at the time, Elias Zerhouni, extended this to 12 months, for reasons that remain shrouded in secrecy, but thankfully, the public (and science) won the main battle. For NEJM to turn around now and boast that they are releasing articles after an embargo period, without mentioning this requirement, is hypocritical, to say the least. Believe me, if the NIH requirement disappeared (and publishers are still lobbying to get rid of it!), NEJM would happily go back to keeping all access restricted to subscribers.

The battle is far from over. Open access advocates still want to see research released immediately, not after a 6-month or 12-month embargo, and that's precisely what the European Plan S will do."

Faculty Council discusses intellectual property rights; The Ithacan, April 3, 2019

Ashley Stalnecker, The Ithacan; Faculty Council discusses intellectual property rights

"Costa said the current policy on student work at the college differs from the typical policies of higher-education institutions. Currently, the college deems any work created by a student in a class under the jurisdiction of a professor to be the property of the faculty member or the college. Costa said this means that if the faculty memberearned any royalties, they would be required to share it with the college but not with the student who created it.

Costa said that normally among higher-education institutions, student-created work is the copyright of the student. In this case, the student would earn any royalties associated with the work. For commissioned work, the person who made the commission would own the copyright. Because the work was paid for, the person who paid for it owns the work."

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

‘Blurred Lines’ on Their Minds, Songwriters Create Nervously; The New York Times, March 31, 2019

Ben Sisario, The New York Times; ‘Blurred Lines’ on Their Minds, Songwriters Create Nervously

"“There’s no question in my mind that there has been a chilling effect,” Ms. Lepera said. “People have thrown a lot of weight behind this — more weight than it deserves. Defendants may be more inclined not to put up a fight.”

And for songwriters, the impact is still often felt when thoughts about the courtroom intrude in the studio.

“I’m not going to stop writing songs,” said Busbee, who has written hits for Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum. “But it puts a massive damper on the process, if you’re concerned that you will be sued.”"

Friday, March 29, 2019

Avengers IP, Assemble: the wild, circuitous path to Marvel getting its own brands back; Polygon, March 23, 2019

Ross Miller, Polygon; Avengers IP, Assemble: the wild, circuitous path to Marvel getting its own brands back

"Since 1998, there have been over 50 films based on Marvel comic characters, from Blade (produced by New Line Cinema) through this month’s Captain Marvel. Only 21 of them have been considered canonical to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), with all but six exclusively produced and distributed by Marvel Studios. The others were produced and/or distributed by almost every major film company out there: Paramount, Universal, New Line, Warner Bros., Columbia/Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, and 20th Century Fox — the latter of which produced 16 Marvel IP-based films, with two more due out by the end of this year.

But now, with over $18 billion in worldwide box office grosses for the MCU alone and a long history of contractual negotiations, acquisitions, and at least one sandwich thrown, Marvel has reclaimed the rights to nearly its entire cast of characters. Here’s how it got here, and what’s left to collect."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

What Is the Difference Between a State and Federal Trademark?; New York Law Journal,, March 15, 2019

, New York Law Journal,;

What Is the Difference Between a State and Federal Trademark?


"Once a person or business starts using a mark in commerce, they technically have what is called a common law trademark; the protection afforded to this right is extremely limited. Hence, a common law trademark is only enforceable in the geographic area where the mark is used. In most instances, it is hard to enforce common law rights because it is hard to show when use of the mark began. Therefore, it is important for owners of marks to understand the importance of obtaining registered trademark(s) for their brand(s). They must decide whether they need to obtain a state or federal trademark registration. In this article, I will discuss the difference between these two and what can happen if a trademark registration is not obtained."

Open access task force releases draft recommendations; MIT News, March 18, 2019

MIT Libraries, MIT News;

Open access task force releases draft recommendations

The MIT community is invited to comment on ways to increase sharing of research, data, software, and more.

"The Ad Hoc Task Force on Open Access to MIT’s Research has released a set of draft recommendations that aim to support and increase the open sharing of MIT publications, data, software, and educational materials. They are available for public comment until April 17.

The recommendations include ratifying an Institute-wide set of principles for open science; broadening the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy to cover all MIT authors; adopting an open access (OA) policy for monographs; and asking department heads to develop discipline-specific plans to encourage and support open sharing from their faculty, students, and staff.

“Our recommendations are grounded in the view that openness leads to better research,” says Chris Bourg, director of the MIT Libraries and co-chair of the OA task force along with Hal Abelson, Class of 1922 Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “They are intended to reduce barriers and provide incentives to open sharing, while remaining flexible where needed to accommodate differences across disciplines.”"

Miss Vanjie! Miss Vanjie!: What RuPaul’s Drag Race Can Teach Us About Fair Use Under Copyright; Lexology, March 15, 2019

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

What does copyright infringement sound like?; The Washington Post, March 4, 2019

Daron Taylor, The Washington Post; What does copyright infringement sound like?

"Most music copyright infringement cases are settled out of court with shared writing credit — and royalties — as it’s extremely rare for these types of cases to make it to a jury. When it gets to that point, determining fault can be tricky.

In the video above, we explore how experts tell the difference between infringement and inspiration, and what that means for the music industry."

Saturday, March 16, 2019

'I can get any novel I want in 30 seconds': can book piracy be stopped?; The Guardian, March 6, 2019

Katy Guest, The Guardian;

'I can get any novel I want in 30 seconds': can book piracy be stopped?

"The UK government’s Intellectual Property Office estimates that 17% of ebooks are consumed illegally. Generally, pirates tend to be from better-off socioeconomic groups, and aged between 30 and 60. Many use social media to ask for tips when their regular piracy website is shut down; when I contacted some, those who responded always justified it by claiming they were too poor to buy books – then tell me they read them on their e-readers, smartphones or computer screens - or that their areas lacked libraries, or they found it hard to locate books in the countries where they lived. Some felt embarrassed. Others blamed greedy authors for trying to stop them.

When we asked Guardian readers to tell us about their experiences with piracy, we had more than 130 responses from readers aged between 20 and 70. Most regularly downloaded books illegally and while some felt guilty – more than one said they only pirated “big names” and when “the author isn’t on the breadline, think Lee Child” – the majority saw nothing wrong in the practice. “Reading an author’s work is a greater compliment than ignoring it,” said one, while others claimed it was part of a greater ethos of equality, that “culture should be free to all”."

The Marines don’t want you to see what happens when propaganda stops and combat begins; The Washngton Post, March 15, 2019

Alex Horton, The Washington Post; The Marines don’t want you to see what happens when propaganda stops and combat begins

"Lagoze found himself in a murky gray area of free speech and fair-use government products. U.S. citizens can already go on Pentagon-operated sites and download free military photos and video.Their tax dollars fund it, and federal government creations are not protected by copyright.

So could Lagoze take the moments he filmed with government resources and make something new?

He worked with the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University to push back against the military’s claims of impropriety. The Marine Corps relented this month."

Friday, March 15, 2019

Review: 'The Inventor' is a coolly appalling portrait of Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos scandal; The Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2019

Justin Chang, The Los Angeles Times;

Review: 'The Inventor' is a coolly appalling portrait of Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos scandal

"As a quick glance at this week’s headlines will remind you — a staggering college admissions scandal, a wave of indictments in the cases of Paul Manafort and Jussie Smollett — we are living in deeply fraudulent times. But if there are few people or institutions worthy of our trust anymore, perhaps we can still trust that, eventually, Alex Gibney will get around to making sense of it all. Over the course of his unflagging, indispensable career he has churned out documentaries on Scientology and Enron, Lance Armstrong and Casino Jack — individual case studies in a rich and fascinating investigation of the American hustler at work.
Gibney approaches his subjects with the air of an appalled moralist and, increasingly, a grudging connoisseur. His clean, straightforward style, which usually combines smart talking heads, slick graphics and reams of meticulous data, is clearly galvanized by these charismatic individuals, who are pathological in their dishonesty and riveting in their chutzpah. And he is equally fascinated by the reactions, ranging from unquestioning belief to conflicted loyalty, that they foster among their followers and associates, who in many cases shielded them, at least for a while, from public discovery and censure.
“The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” Gibney’s latest exercise in coolly measured outrage, is an engrossing companion piece to his other works in this vein. The subject of this HBO documentary is Elizabeth Holmes, the self-styled biotech visionary who dropped out of Stanford at age 19 and founded a company called Theranos, which promised to bring about a revolution in preventive medicine and personal healthcare. Its top-secret weapon was a compact machine called the Edison, which could purportedly run more than 200 individual tests from just a few drops of blood, obtained with just a prick of the finger.
Holmes’ vision of a brave new world — one in which anyone could stop by Walgreens and obtain a comprehensive, potentially life-saving snapshot of their health — proved tantalizing enough to raise more than $400 million and earned her a reputation as possibly the greatest inventor since, well, Thomas Edison. Her investors included Betsy DeVos, Rupert Murdoch and the Waltons; Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and James Mattis sat on her board of directors. But that was all before the Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou and other investigative journalists exposed glaring faults in the Edison’s design and sent the company’s $10-billion valuation spiraling down to nothing. Theranos dissolved in 2018, and Holmes and former company president Sunny Balwani were charged with conspiracy and fraud.

Full disclosure: As the son of a retired medical technologist who spent more than 30 years testing blood the traditional way, I approached “The Inventor” with great fascination and more than a little schadenfreude. The movie, for its part, seems both magnetized and repelled by its subject, a reaction that it will likely share with its audience. Gibney is perhaps overly fond of deploying intense, lingering close-ups of Holmes’ face and peering deep into her unnerving blue eyes (“She didn’t blink,” a former employee recalls). If the eyes are the windows to the soul, “The Inventor” just keeps looking and looking, as though uncertain whether or not its subject has one."

We Are! Not happy! U.S. Patent office frowns on Penn State trademark request; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 14, 2019

Bill Schackner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; We Are! Not happy! U.S. Patent office frowns on Penn State trademark request 

"Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney in Washington, D.C., offered an analysis via twitter of the geographic issue raised by the Patent Office and another reason the agency refused the application: the trademark as submitted was deemed "ornamental.''

He said both issues are correctable...

Of the ornamental issue, he said, "I believe this is trademarks 101 and it shocks me every time a large institution or organization gets it wrong.""

Thursday, March 14, 2019

A price to be paid for open-access academic publishing; The Guardian, March 13, 2019

Letters, The Guardian; A price to be paid for open-access academic publishing

"The headlong rush towards further adoption of open-access models demands careful thought, says Prof Sarah Kember. Elsevier is a strong supporter of open access, says its vice-president of global policy, Gemma Hersh. The UK has moved further and faster than any other major research funding country, says Stephen Lotinga. It is difficult to find good (unpaid) reviewers for every article in scientific journals, says John Boardman"

The Guardian view on academic publishing: disastrous capitalism Editorial; March 4, 2019

The Guardian; The Guardian view on academic publishing: disastrous capitalism

In California the state university system has been paying $11m (£8.3m) a year for access to Elsevier journals, but it has just announced that it won’t be renewing these subscriptions. In Britain and Europe the move towards open access publishing has been driven by funding bodies. In some ways it has been very successful. More than half of all British scientific research is now published under open access terms: either freely available from the moment of publication, or paywalled for a year or more so that the publishers can make a profit before being placed on general release.

Yet, somehow, the new system has not yet worked out any cheaper for the universities. Publishers have responded to the demand that they make their product free to readers by charging their writers fees to cover the costs of preparing an article. These range from around £500 to $5,000, and apparently the work gets more expensive the more that publishers do it. A report last year from Professor Adam Tickell pointed out that the costs both of subscriptions and of these “article preparation costs” has been steadily rising at a rate above inflation ever since the UK’s open access policy was adopted in 2012. In some ways the scientific publishing model resembles the economy of the social internet: labour is provided free in exchange for the hope of status, while huge profits are made by a few big firms who run the market places. In both cases, we need a rebalancing of power."

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

UC open access fight exposes publishing rip-off: Charging exorbitant fees for journal articles isn’t in the best interests of scientific research, Mercury News, March 6, 2019

Editorial: UC open access fight exposes publishing rip-off

Charging exorbitant fees for journal articles isn’t in the best interests of scientific research

"The scholarly research publishing industry is a rip-off that hinders scientific advances and piles unnecessary costs onto taxpayers who already fund much of the academic work.

It’s ridiculous that, in this age of the internet, researchers are paying huge fees for access to academic papers and for publication of their own work. That made sense in the days when scholarly works were printed in bound volumes. Today, academic work, especially public- and foundation-funded research, should be open for all. It shouldn’t cost $35 to $40 for each article, effectively freezing out those without the means to pay...

The University of California’s mission statement reads: “The distinctive mission of the university is to serve society as a center of higher learning, providing long-term societal benefits through transmitting advanced knowledge, discovering new knowledge, and functioning as an active working repository of organized knowledge.”
UC’s commitment to open access helps fulfill that goal and advances scientific enterprise for the benefit of all."

Theranos: How a broken patent system sustained its decade-long deception Op-ed: The patent bargain is seriously busted.; Ars Technica, March 4, 2019

Daniel Nazer, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); Theranos: How a broken patent system sustained its decade-long deception

Op-ed: The patent bargain is seriously busted.

"Early Theranos skeptics tended to be scientists who had heard the company’s extravagant claims and had asked the obvious question: does the tech really work? In 2014, a pathologist wrote that he was skeptical Theranos was using proprietary technology for many of its tests. Other scientists expressed frustration that Theranos had not shared its methods with the scientific community nor offered any evidence that the methods worked.
In April 2015, while Theranos was still enjoying mostly fawning press coverage, Business Insider published an article quoting some skeptical scientists. The article noted that “technical details about Theranos’ seemingly revolutionary tests are hard to come by.” Notably, Theranos had hundreds of patents by that point. Yet a scientist looking to understand how Theranos actually conducted its test wouldn’t learn anything useful from a typical Theranos patent. This is because companies can submit rough outlines of their processes, leaving out the key details, and still get patents. Recent legal reforms have only made this easier.
Business Insider wrote that if Theranos had come up with a “killer application” for microfluidics, “that may explain its reluctance to show the patented details that make its technology unique.” This sentence shouldn’t make sense, because patents are public by nature. So “patented details” should be public.
The sentence only makes sense when you realize that the patent bargain is utterly broken. The people who work within the patent system realize it. That’s why no one raised red flags when Theranos received hundreds of patents without telling the scientific community how its machines actually worked."

How the patent office's lax standards gave Elizabeth Holmes the BS patents she needed to defraud investors and patients; Boing Boing, March 4, 2019

Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing; How the patent office's lax standards gave Elizabeth Holmes the BS patents she needed to defraud investors and patients

"Patents are only supposed to be issued for devices with "utility" -- that is, they have to actually work before you can get a patent for them. But it's been decades since the USPTO has paid meningful [sic] attention to this criterion when evaluating applications, handing out patents for imaginary "inventions" to con artists, delusional hucksters, and other "inventors" who are willing to pay the filing fees that keep the lights on at the Patent Office. And since most people only have a vague idea of the rigor used in patent examination, these patents for design fiction can be used as impressive "proof" when crooks set out to deceive their marks.

(Another real problem with these fake patents: allowing con-artists to patent "inventions" that they have no idea how to make means that when someone really does invent that gadget, the con-man can use their bogus patent to threaten and extort real inventors)."

IP 101: Intellectual Property Management In The Digital Age; Forbes, March 4, 2019

Danae Vara Borrell, Forbes; IP 101: Intellectual Property Management In The Digital Age

"So, how do brands facing a high number of counterfeits leverage classic IP rights and technology to implement an effective online IP strategy and prevent brand erosion?

Many brands are streamlining processes by enforcing their IP rights, using technology-based solutions that rely on artificial intelligence (AI) and detect potential incidents on behalf of right owners. However, to be effective, the best AI-driven systems should take a holistic approach to brand protection by consolidating tools and actions on a single platform, providing full visibility on all the different types of infringements negatively impacting a company’s reputation such as black, grey and white market goods."

Supreme Court Clarifies That, Yes, You Have to Register Your Copyright, and No, You Cannot Recover Your Expert Witness Fees in Copyright Cases; Lexology, March 5, 2019

Squire Patton Boggs - Joseph A. Meckes and Theresa Rakocy, Lexology; Supreme Court Clarifies That, Yes, You Have to Register Your Copyright, and No, You Cannot Recover Your Expert Witness Fees in Copyright Cases 

"In a pair of unanimous rulings on March 4, 2019, the Supreme Court clarified (1) that the U.S. Copyright Office must issue a registration certificate before a plaintiff can commence suit and (2) that a prevailing plaintiff cannot recover fees for expert witnesses, jury consultants or other “costs” that are not specifically called for in the relevant statutes."

Saturday, March 2, 2019

‘Mockingbird’ Producer Reconsiders, Letting Local Plays Go Forward; The New York Times, March 1, 2019

Michael Paulson and Alexandra Alter, The New York Times; ‘Mockingbird’ Producer Reconsiders, Letting Local Plays Go Forward

"Mr. Rudin defended his actions in a brief statement, saying, “As stewards of the performance rights of Aaron Sorkin’s play, it is our responsibility to enforce the agreement we made with the Harper Lee estate and to make sure that we protect the extraordinary collaborators who made this production.”

But he also blamed the situation on the Dramatic Publishing Company, which is run by Christopher Sergel III, Mr. Sergel’s grandson, saying it had erred in issuing licenses to present the play to theaters that should not have received them. Mr. Rudin has argued that a 1969 agreement between Ms. Lee, the author of the novel, and Dramatic Publishing bars productions by theaters within 25 miles of a city that in 1960 had a population of more than 150,000 people, as well as productions using professional actors, when a “first-class” production is running on Broadway or on tour.

“We have been hard at work creating what I hope might be a solution for those theater companies that have been affected by this unfortunate set of circumstances, in which rights that were not available to them were licensed to them by a third party who did not have the right to do so,” Mr. Rudin said. “In an effort to ameliorate the hurt caused here, we are offering each of these companies the right to perform our version of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Aaron Sorkin’s play currently running on Broadway.”...

“Unfortunately this issue has been the shot heard ’round the fine arts world over recent days,” said Davis Varner, the president of the board of the Theater of Gadsden, a community theater in Alabama that is planning to stage the Sergel version this month. The theater is not near a big city, so its rights appear to be unchallenged, but Mr. Varner issued a statement referring to Mr. Rudin as “the bully from Broadway” and said, “I am saddened and disappointed for those groups who have been forced to cancel their productions through no fault of their own.”

Others took to social media to vent their unhappiness.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Mongols Biker Club Can Keep Its Logo, Judge Rules; The New York Times, February 28, 2019

Louis Keene and Serge F. Kovaleski, The New York Times; Mongols Biker Club Can Keep Its Logo, Judge Rules

"Nearly two months after a federal jury decided that a notorious motorcycle club must forfeit the rights to its trademarked emblem, a judge on Thursday nullified the verdict, finding that seizure of the intellectual property was unconstitutional. 

In a 51-page ruling, Federal District Judge David O. Carter said the government’s strategy of trying to devastate the Mongols motorcycle club by confiscating its treasured Genghis Khan-style logo would violate the group’s First Amendment right to free speech and the excessive fines clause of the Eighth Amendment."

A professor is accused of stealing a student's invention to make millions; CNN, March 1, 2019

, CNN; A professor is accused of stealing a student's invention to make millions

"The University of Missouri-Kansas City has filed a lawsuit against a former professor, alleging that he stole and sold his graduate student's research for $1.5 million."

University of California boycotts publishing giant Elsevier over journal costs and open access; Science, February 28, 2019

Alex Fox, Jeffrey Brainard, Science; University of California boycotts publishing giant Elsevier over journal costs and open access

"The mammoth University of California (UC) system announced today it will stop paying to subscribe to journals published by Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific publisher, headquartered in Amsterdam. Talks to renew a collective contract broke down, the university said, because Elsevier refused to strike a package deal that would provide a break on subscription fees and make all articles published by UC authors immediately free for readers worldwide.

The stand by UC, which followed 8 months of negotiations, could have significant impacts on scientific communication and the direction of the so-called open-access movement, in the United States and beyond. The 10-campus system accounts for nearly 10% of all U.S. publishing output and is among the first U.S. institutions, and by far the largest, to boycott Elsevier over costs. Many administrators and librarians at U.S. universities and elsewhere have complained about what they view as excessively high journal subscription fees charged by commercial publishers."

Community Theaters Kill 'Mockingbird' Productions After Lawsuit Threat; NPR, March 1, 2019

Matthew S. Schwartz, NPR; Community Theaters Kill 'Mockingbird' Productions After Lawsuit Threat

"From Massachusetts to Utah, small community theater productions of "To Kill a Mockingbird" are being shut down under threat of a lawsuit by the producer of the new Broadway production."

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

New Research Study Describes DNDi As A “Commons” For Public Health; Intellectual Property Watch, February 25, 2019

David Branigan, Intellectual Property Watch; New Research Study Describes DNDi As A “Commons” For Public Health

"Since 2003, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) has worked to meet the public health needs of neglected populations by filling gaps in drug development left by the for-profit pharmaceutical industry. A new research study by the French Development Agency analysed DNDi’s unique product development partnership (PDP) model, and found that it “illustrate[s] what can be presented as a ‘commons’ within the area of public health."

The research study, “DNDi, a Distinctive Illustration of Commons in the Area of Public Health,” was published earlier this month by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the French public development bank that “works in many sectors — energy, healthcare, biodiversity, water, digital technology, professional training, among others — to assist with transitions towards a safer, more equitable, and more sustainable world: a world in common,” according to its website."

Startup Law A to Z: Intellectual Property; TechCrunch, February 25, 2019

Daniel McKenzie, TechCrunch; Startup Law A to Z: Intellectual Property

"Whether protected through copyright, trade secret, trademark, or patents, software technology companies depend on IP more so than perhaps any other business type in history.

It is surprising, then, just how little founders think about protecting their own IP. Sure, “product-market fit” is an all-engrossing search for truth that tolerates no distraction, but that is at best an explanation, not an excuse.

The real pros will find product-market fit while documenting and protecting IP along the way — it’s the only way to ensure you own your work, after all.

This article provides an overview to help you think about where your IP sits, how to protect it, and how to avoid certain pitfalls that plague far too many startups."

A Century-Old Debate Over Science Patents Is Repeating Itself Today; Slate, February 25, 2019

Charles Duan, Slate; A Century-Old Debate Over Science Patents Is Repeating Itself Today

"What caused the demise of Ruffini’s idea? It turned out to be devils in the details: Deep thinkers on the subject, even those in favor of scientific property in principle, couldn’t figure out the implementation. Rogers, for example, wondered how scientific property would deal with multiple contributors to one discovery. Who, for example, “discovered” electricity—Benjamin Franklin? André-Marie Ampère? George Simon Ohm? The “chap that made the Leyden jar”? Industries worried about unexpected liability and demanded creation of a scientific property insurance scheme. The American Association for the Advancement of Science report found concerns that the expansive scope of some scientific discoveries could lead to unbounded, tortuous litigation. A U.S. Patent Office official wondered how scientific property patents could be written without being too vague and speculative."