Saturday, December 31, 2016

How the Grinch Ended Up in Court!; New York Times, 12/29/16

Robin Pogrebin, New York Times; 

How the Grinch Ended Up in Court! :

"The Broadway playwright Matthew Lombardo has sued the owner of copyrights for Dr. Seuss’s works, arguing that his new play does not infringe on the classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in United States District Court in Manhattan, said Mr. Lombardo’s 75-minute one-woman play, “Who’s Holiday!,” is “highly transformative,” and therefore constitutes fair use. The play, Reuters reported, features a profane 45-year-old woman who recently served time in prison for murdering her husband, the Grinch, with whom she has a daughter."

Friday, December 30, 2016

Amazon’s Flying Warehouse Idea Isn’t Even Its Biggest Challenge; Huffington Post, 12/30/16

Kate Abbey-Lambertz, Huffington Post; 

Amazon’s Flying Warehouse Idea Isn’t Even Its Biggest Challenge:

"Delivering packages by drone at all seemed at first like “a loopy idea, far-fetched and the subject of instant mockery on Twitter,” as New York Times technology writer David Streitfeld wrote when Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos first mentioned it in 2013.

Now it’s considered all but a certainty, even if the timeline is hazy. Other companies are exploring or testing drone package delivery, including GoogleWalmart and the United Parcel Service

Amazon holds a separate patent for a system of light poles that would serve as miniature drone docking stations. There’s no indication it’s any more viable than airships, but it seems to show a company rigorously exploring drone delivery from every angle.

Considering how the company’s other out-there ideas have worked out ― like entirely upending the publishing industry ― it’s safe to say it’s too early to write off flying warehouses."

Summit Brewing sues two former employees, alleging sharing of trade secrets; Star Tribune, 12/30/16

Brandon Stahl, Star Tribune; 

Summit Brewing sues two former employees, alleging sharing of trade secrets:

"When Summit Brewing Company hired Jeffrey Spaeth in the summer of 1986, the fledgling St. Paul business was just getting on its feet as one of fewer than 20 craft brewers in the country.

Spaeth rose up through Summit’s ranks to reach vice president of sales, along the way helping the company become one of the largest microbrewers in the United States amid explosive growth in the industry.
But now Summit is suing Spaeth and another longtime employee, Timothy Daly, accusing both of conspiring to sell the company’s confidential trade secrets to high-level executives for “a direct competitor.”"

Washington Redskins: Recent Developments In The Team’s Trademark Case; Fansided via, 12/30/16

Desmond Lee/FanSided via Riggo's Rag 

Washington Redskins: Recent Developments In The Team’s Trademark Case:

"The once high-profile Washington Redskins trademark case has, for the time being, taken a back seat to another matter being heard in the United States Supreme Court. What will happen next and when will the Redskins matter get back on track?
For those of you waiting for a decision in the Redskins trademark case, you’ll need to wait somewhat longer. Last month, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decided to stay the team’s case pending the United States Supreme Court’s (“SCOTUS”) resolution of a matter brought by an Asian rock band."

The most dramatic patent and copyright cases of 2016; Ars Technica, 12/30/16

Joe Mullin, Ars Technica; 

The most dramatic patent and copyright cases of 2016:

"Many of the biggest legal disputes in technology relate to "intellectual property," a broad term used for laws relating to everything from copyrights to patents, trademarks to trade secrets. This year saw significant changes in the copyright and patent landscapes. "Patent trolls" who sue technologists for fun and profit got smacked down by courts more often—and harder—than ever before. At the same time, universities were filing patent lawsuits at an increased rate, and often winning.
In the copyright realm, the Oracle v. Google trial dominated the spring. A jury was left to decide the murky rules about when using an API could be "fair use." That legal uncertainty led to the two tech giants clashing over the ethics of each others' business practices and the history of the smartphone industry.
In two very different cases in 2016, copyright issues led to criminal charges being filed. US authorities are seeking to extradite and put on trial a man named Artem Vaulin, who they say made $16 million annually by running a massive online storehouse of pirated films and songs. And more than three years after they were condemned by a federal judge, lawyers behind a vast array of copyright lawsuits, a firm known as Prenda Law, were arrested and accused of fraud. Here's a look back at 2016's most dramatic IP cases."

Disney Wins ‘Cars’ Copyright Case in China; Variety, 12/30/16

Patrick Frater, Variety; 

Disney Wins ‘Cars’ Copyright Case in China:

"A Shanghai court has awarded damages to Disney and Pixar Animation in a copyright case over a Chinese-made film called “The Autobots.” The court ruled that the film was an illegal copy of Disney’s “Cars.”
The court said that the Chinese producer Bluemtv and distributor G-Point had been fined some $190,000 (RMB1.35 million) and ordered to cease their copyright infringement. “The Autobots” film was released in July 2015, and grossed some $863,000 (RMB6 million.)"

Like these beans? Don’t copy the photo, or you might get a hefty bil; Miami Herald, 12/30/16

David Ovalle, Miami Herald; Like these beans? Don’t copy the photo, or you might get a hefty bill:

"Porn. Poems. Pictures. The internet is awash in them. But more and more, people who download them, or use them on another website, are finding themselves targets of companies demanding money for illegally accessed copyrighted material.

Black bean soup — an innocuous snapshot of a tasty bowl, published on a South Florida health blog —has sparked the latest friction point between a media company and critics who believe these companies are “copyright trolls” unfairly shaking down online users...

Both cases, as well as several recent South Florida lawsuits over digital images, highlight the sometimes fuzzy line between outright trolls and companies genuinely needing to protect intellectual work.

“What makes these companies ‘trolls’ is they don’t seek fair value for the images,” said Oscar Michelen, a New York lawyer who specializes in helping people who receive letters demanding payments for photos. “They demand an excessive amount, threaten a lawsuit and scare you into settling for some lower amount.”

Read more here:

Read more here:

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DEADPOOL IS THE MOST-PIRATED FILM OF 2016; Comic Book Resources, 12/30/16

Kevin Melrose, Comic Book Resources; DEADPOOL IS THE MOST-PIRATED FILM OF 2016:

"In its rundown of the most-pirated films of 2016, TorrentFreak reports the Ryan Reynolds action-comedy was the clear winner, outpacing the likes of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Suicide Squad” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” for the dubious honor."

Run-DMC Files $50 Million Trademark Infringement Suit Against Amazon, Walmart, and Other Retailers; Slate, 12/30/16

David Canfield, Slate; 

Run-DMC Files $50 Million Trademark Infringement Suit Against Amazon, Walmart, and Other Retailers:

"Billboard reports that Run-DMC has filed a lawsuit for more than $50 million against such entities as Walmart, Amazon, and Jet for trademark infringement. The hip-hop group is alleging that that these and other companies—in addition to about 20 unnamed individuals—continue to “trade on the goodwill of RUN-DMC,” using their name, their logo, and misleading products made in their “style” (such as fedora hats and square-frame sunglasses) without permission."

Getting a Drone as a Gift? Check Your Insurance; New York Times, 12/14/16

Ann Carrns, New York Times; 

Getting a Drone as a Gift? Check Your Insurance:

[Kip Currier: Amazon is getting buzz this week with widely-reported coverage of the ever-experimenting online retailer's 2016 patent for floating warehouse blimps--or in Amazon's own words "airborne fulfillment centers (AFCs)". AFCs would, in theory, serve as "motherships" for worker bee drones to transport purchased goods directly to Amazon customers.

Joanne Lipman, chief content officer for Gannett, predicts that though some crystal ball gazers declared 2016 as the year drones would take off and be the new "it" thing, 2017 will be "The Year of the Drone, Really".

Earlier this month I did a very informative American Bar Association (ABA) Continuing Legal Education (CLE) webinar, "U.S. Drone Law: Current Status, Future Direction", through the ABA Intellectual Property Law section. A panel of practitioners with drone expertise highlighted key cases (e.g. the so-called "Drone Slayer" case), current legal issues, and liability concerns for emerging drone technologies. (Aside: in addition to legal issues, drones implicate a whole slew of information ethics issues; most notably, privacy.)

The article excerpted below sheds useful light on insurance issues regarding drone ownership and usage, something most of us probably have not considered, but absolutely should know more about. Especially considering how many people gifted and received drones as holiday gifts this year! (See Drone sales soaring this Christmas, capping a record year for the industry)]

"MANY people will receive drones as gifts this holiday season. But before heading to the nearest field to fly the devices, recipients may want to check their insurance coverage.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of drones given as Christmas gifts, and we’ll start to see more drone-related claims,” said Chris Hackett, the senior director for personal lines at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, an industry group."

Amazon Is Considering Drone-Friendly Floating Warehouses; Fortune, 12/29/16

Don Reisinger, Fortune; Amazon Is Considering Drone-Friendly Floating Warehouses:

"The e-commerce giant has been awarded a patent that describes a logistics technology it calls "airborne fulfillment center (AFC)." The AFC is essentially in airship that's capable of flying at altitudes of 45,000 feet or more that would house items the company sells through its online marketplace. In the patent, Amazon describes a method by which drones would fly into the warehouse, pick up the items they need to deliver, and then deliver those items to the customer's home.

Amazon filed for the patent in 2014. While it was actually awarded in April, it wasn't discovered until Wednesday by CB Insights tech analyst Zoe Leavitt."

Amazon Has Patented Some Wild Drone Technologies; Discover, 12/29/16

Nathaniel Scharping, Discover; 

Amazon Has Patented Some Wild Drone Technologies:

"Earlier this month, a fully autonomous Amazon drone delivered its first package in the United Kingdom — an Amazon Fire TV and a bag of popcorn — in just 13 minutes. The company says it hopes to expand the program in coming months, allowing select customers to have their packages brought to them via drone, weather permitting of course.
Any such implementation in the U.S. will have to wait a little longer, as current FAA regulations do not permit drones to be flown out of a pilot’s line of sight. Amazon seems to anticipate that those rules will soon change, however, and has filed a bevy of patents over the past couple of years aimed at upgrading their drone technology to make it fast, safe and efficient.
These patents may never see the light of day, of course, as it’s common for corporations to snap up the rights to forward-looking technologies before they come to fruition."

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Open Access Rewards Passionate Curiosity: 2016 in Review; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 12/24/16

Elliot Harmon, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); 

Open Access Rewards Passionate Curiosity: 2016 in Review:

"In February 2016, a team of scientists published one of the most important pieces of scientific research so far this century. For the first time, researchers had directly observed gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime whose discovery Albert Einstein first predicted a century ago. The team effectively placed the last piece in the puzzle confirming Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity—in doing so, they took a giant leap forward in humans’ understanding of how the universe works.
Something else was confirmed that day, too: open access publishing is no inferior sibling to closed publishing. The paper—Observational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger (PDF)—was published in an open access journal under a Creative Commons license that ensures anyone can copy, adapt, and reuse it as long as they give the authors credit.
Put simply, open access is the practice of making research and other materials freely available online, ideally under licenses that allow anyone to share and adapt them. For years, open access publishing has been at the center of a struggle over the future of research: will cutting-edge scholarship be published in the open for anyone to see, use, and build upon? Or will it stay trapped in a labyrinth of closed publications only to be read by those who can afford expensive journal subscriptions and academic databases?
In many ways, 2015 was academic publishing’s Napster moment. As publishing giant Elsevier fought to keep Sci-Hub off the Internet, it accomplished just the opposite. While the legal battle between Elsevier and Sci-Hub has trudged through 2016, more people than ever have begun using the unauthorized academic research repository.
Maybe 2016 was the year publishers realized they had to change course. Elsevier agreed to compromise with the Dutch academic community, allowing researchers covered by the publisher’s blanket agreement with Dutch universities to publish their research openly. That’s a small step, but an indicator that Elsevier recognizes the significance of the demand for open access."

Trademarks - New Year, Clean Start; National Law Review, 12/28/16

Sterne Kessler, National Law Review; Trademarks - New Year, Clean Start:

"As 2016 draws to a close, now is the perfect time to slow down (or at least try), wrap up loose ends, and plan for the promise and possibility of a new year.
For businesses, the holidays are a particularly good time to take stock of assets and consider opportunities on the horizon.  And, because brand assets are among a business's most valuable properties, taking a year-end look at trademarks is a great way to ensure the portfolio is primed to work for the business in the coming year.   
Following are some tips to help kick-start an annual year-end trademark audit..."

Dark Skies for International Copyright: 2016 in Review; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 12/28/16

Jeremy Malcolm, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF);

Dark Skies for International Copyright: 2016 in Review:

"It's hard to imagine that a year ago we were celebrating "positive movement" towards reforms to European copyright law, expecting that the European Commission would be soon proposing new copyright exceptions and other measures to modernize Europe's aging copyright regime. Instead, what we got was a proposal to force user-generated content websites to do deals with copyright holders to scan and filter users' uploads, along with a proposal to give news publishers the power to impose a link tax on third-party websites such as news aggregators."

Facebook Developing Copyright ID System to Stem Music Rights Infringement; Billboard, 12/28/16

Dan Rys, Billboard; Facebook Developing Copyright ID System to Stem Music Rights Infringement:

"As Facebook continues to grapple with its role in proliferating "fake news" amidst the heated U.S. election this year, it has another showdown looming on the horizon -- this one with the music industry. In the wake of NMPA president/CEO David Israelite's op-ed in Billboard in October, in which he called out the social media giant for hosting videos with copyrighted music without securing licensing deals or paying creators, Facebook is working to develop a copyright identification system -- similar to YouTube's Content ID -- that would find and remove videos containing copyrighted music, a source tells Billboard. The story was first reported by the Financial Times."

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

When are trade secrets not so secret? When Florida’s governor says so; Miami Herald, 12/16/16

Mary Ellen Klas, Miami Herald; When are trade secrets not so secret? When Florida’s governor says so:
"“A contract with a public agency paid for with taxpayer money is not a trade secret,” he said. He noted that Pitbull’s lawyers argued that, but they were wrong.
“Just because somebody claims it’s a trade secret, doesn’t mean it is a trade secret.”"

These three 2016 cases gave new life to software patents; Ars Technica, 12/27/16

Joe Mullin, Ars Technica; These three 2016 cases gave new life to software patents:
"In 2014, the US Supreme Court dealt a major blow to software patents. In their 9-0 ruling in Alice Corp v. CLS Bank, the justices made it clear that just adding fancy-sounding computer language to otherwise ordinary aspects of business and technology isn't enough to deserve a patent.
Since then, district court judges have invalidated hundreds of patents under Section 101 of the US patent laws, finding they're nothing more than abstract ideas that didn't deserve a patent in the first place. The great majority of software patents were unable to pass the basic test outlined by the Supreme Court. At the beginning of 2016, the nation's top patent court had heard dozens of appeals on computer-related patents that were challenged under the Alice precedent. DDR Holdings v. was the only case in which a Federal Circuit panel ruled in favor of a software patent-holder. The Alice ruling certainly didn't mean all software patents were dead on arrival—but it was unclear what a software patent would need to survive. Even DDR Holdings left a teeny-tiny target for patent owners to shoot at.
That all changed in 2016. Judges on the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found three more cases in which they believe that software patents were wrongly invalidated. What once looked like a small exception to the rule now looks like three big ones. The results of those cases could portend a coming year that will be friendlier to patent owners than the past few have been. As 2016 winds down, let's take a closer look at the details of these three software patent battles and how patent-holders kept their patents alive through the appeals court."

Apple and Nokia Battle Over Cellphone Patents; New York Times, 12/22/16

Vindu Goel and Mark Scott, New York Times; Apple and Nokia Battle Over Cellphone Patents:
"Central to the latest dispute between Apple and Nokia is what is a fair and reasonable fee to use Nokia technology that is now part of every smartphone. Patent lawyers say there has been a tradition of charging a modest royalty for patents on standard technologies. Previously, Nokia fought bitter legal battles with other smartphone makers, including Samsung and LG, over how they used its patents.
As Nokia seeks to require Apple to pay to license more of its patents, some of its recent claims may be hard to justify. In one of its lawsuits filed on Wednesday, it says Apple is violating a patent Nokia received two months ago for an electronic device case that includes a hole for a camera lens in the back and room for a battery beneath the display, features that have been common to smartphones for many years.
Still, Mr. Roberts said American courts have been skeptical of patent-related antitrust claims like those by Apple. “The whole point of the government granting these patents is that it was giving the inventor a monopoly over that invention,” he said.
But Apple and Nokia are fighters, and too much is at stake for either to give up easily.
“What is a fair return on technology that has been shared with everyone?” Mr. Brismark of Ericsson said. “You have to create the right incentives for tech pioneers.”"

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Have Yourself a Merry Little 2017; New York Times, 12/24/16

Bruce Handy, New York Times; Have Yourself a Merry Little 2017:
"The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra has used the original lyrics before, including on the 2015 album “Big Band Holidays,” so it’s not as if someone fished them out of the trunk 72 years later to make a tart postelection point. I’m also well aware that our current challenges pale in comparison to fighting a world war with civilization in the balance. Let’s say we are somewhere on a continuum between that and facing a move from St. Louis to New York. Still, I have to confess the “it may be your last” line captured my near-apocalyptic mood — and maybe yours as well.
But the lyric that moved me to tears is the line that follows “If the fates allow” (and remained in Martin’s final lyrics):
Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.
How prosaic, even homely as pre-rock era songwriting goes, and yet how perfect. Muddling through, somehow, may not sound particularly inspirational, but perseverance is often the best option at hand, when just moving forward, one inch or foot or yard at a time, can be a kind of heroism. At least that’s how it struck me listening to Ms. Russell, her deeply felt performance offering a subdued and cleareyed but still genuine optimism...
In “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is the catalyst for a happy ending: Tootie’s backyard rampage prompts her father to change his mind about the move, and we cut to a dazzling climax at the 1904 World’s Fair, electric lights and handsome beaus suggesting a fine future for all. Happy endings seem a little more remote in 2016 — miles away, as they say, or at least as distant as the next election. In the meantime, we muddle through. It’s a start."

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Close family ties, and a secret recipe, keep business going; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/24/16

Steve Twedt, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Close family ties, and a secret recipe, keep business going:
"While the special seasoning recipe is kept locked away, the reason for the durability of the business may be no secret, suggested Kelly Hunt, Pittsburgh district director for the Small Business Administration, which named Ricci’s “Family Owned Business of the Year” in 2010.
“The No. 1 thing I have found is that there has to be someone in the family in each generation that shares that passion, and not just the passion, but who has the skill set,” she said...
Since its founding in 1945, Ricci’s Italian Sausage has survived four moves, landing at its current location in 2014. What hasn’t changed is the seasoning recipe — a secret mix of pork, paprika and various spices that has been handed down from Ernest to Ernest since 1945...
The Ricci family will tell you their secret is that special seasoning mix used in their hand-mixed, preservative-free sausage — a creation of founder Ernest Sr. after he and wife Sylvia migrated from the Abruzzo region of Italy east of Rome. The recipe is known only to family members and the U.S. Department of Agriculture."

Friday, December 23, 2016

China fines firms for using BMW-like trademark: media; Reuters, 12/19/16

Reporting by Engen Tham; Editing by Stephen Coates, Reuters; China fines firms for using BMW-like trademark: media:
"A court in Shanghai ordered two Chinese firms and the founder of one of them to pay automaker BMW (BMWG.DE) 3 million yuan ($431,617.41) for registering trademarks similar to that of the German firm, the Shanghai Daily reported on Tuesday.
The ruling is the latest win for a large foreign firm in China, a sign that courts are taking trademark infringement more seriously in a country dogged with fakes of everything from clothing brands to entire shops."

IBM's Astonishing Patent Strategy Shows Where It's Going Next; Nasdaq, 12/23/16

Prableen Bajpai, Nasdaq; IBM's Astonishing Patent Strategy Shows Where It's Going Next:
"IBM (IBM) is set to top the list of patent holders for the 24th year in a row in the U.S. This is no ordinary feat. IBM is the only company to have ever exceeded over 7,000 U.S. patent grants during a single year. During 2016 year-to-date, IBM has already crossed the 7,000-patent mark for the third consecutive year.
Against this backdrop, IBM is fundamentally reorganizing its business, leaving behind the image of ‘hardware, software, services’ company to emerge as a leader in ‘cognitive solutions and cloud computing.’ Here’s a look at how IBM is transforming its business, changing its patent portfolio and re-inventing to be IBM 2.0...
Patents are like the seeds of technological innovations that were planted years ago with a futuristic vision in mind. IBM has been active in doing so and what we see today in practice are the saplings. The real rewards will come with time but IBM is making sure that it keeps planting those seeds for the future."


"A federal judge said this week that a naturalized U.S. citizen from China who pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to steal seed corn must pay the U.S. companies that made the seed $425,000.
Mo Hailong, 47, was living in Florida when he was arrested in December 2013. In his plea agreement with federal prosecutors in January, he admitted to being part of a conspiracy to send stolen DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto seed corn from fields in Iowa and Illinois to China, where scientists planned to reverse engineer it to reproduce its genetic traits...
The investigation began when DuPont Pioneer security staff in Iowa detected suspicious activity, including men crawling around in cornfields. The FBI planted GPS monitors on rental cars and tapped cellphones of some of the men."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

USPTO Fights Fraudulent Trademark Solicitations; Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Mary Boney Denison, Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership, 12/21/16

Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Mary Boney Denison, Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership; USPTO Fights Fraudulent Trademark Solicitations:
"The USPTO has worked hard to fight solicitations from companies fraudulently promising to protect trademarks, and we have taken a number of steps to help raise awareness of these schemes in an attempt to limit the number of victims defrauded. Our agency works closely with federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the United States Postal Inspection Service to combat the problem...
A registered trademark is a valuable asset, and where there’s money, unfortunately, there are bound to be criminal elements lurking. The USPTO continues to provide its ongoing full support to U.S. law enforcement officials working on this issue."

Amazon Has a New U.S. Patent to Protect Its Drones; Fortune, 12/22/16

Madeline Farber, Fortune; Amazon Has a New U.S. Patent to Protect Its Drones:
"Amazon received a technology patent this week to give its drones extra anti-hacking protection when making deliveries, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Amazon filed for the patented technology covering countermeasures against threats to drones, or uncrewed autonomous vehicles (UAV), because it said that third parties could interfere with a drone's wireless communications system using a wireless signal jammer...
The drones, or UAVs, are used for Amazon's Prime Air delivery service. Earlier this month, the e-commerce giant successfully delivered its first package with a drone in the United Kingdom. The drones are designed to deliver packages of up to five pounds in less than 30 minutes, according to Amazon. Currently, Prime Air has development centers in the U.K., U.S., Austria, and Israel. The company has yet to get regulatory approval to fly drones in the U.S."

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Future of Open Government; Huffington Post, 12/19/16

Manish Bapna, Huffington Post; The Future of Open Government:
"This blog post is co-authored with Jean-Vincent Placé, French Minister of State for State Reform and Simplification, attached to the Prime Minister.
More than 4,000 people gathered in Paris from 7-9th December for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit 2016 hosted by the Government of France. OGP is a unique partnership dedicated to making government decision making more open, inclusive and responsive. Summit attendees included representatives from 80 governments, many of them heads of state and senior ministers; leaders from cities, municipalities and regions; and leading civil society organizations from around the world.
The goal for the summit was to highlight the crucial role of open government as a countervailing force to the rise of various forms of nationalism and populism around the world."

Patent Bar Braces for Game-Changing Supreme Court Case; Inside Counsel, 12/19/16

Scott Graham, Inside Counsel; Patent Bar Braces for Game-Changing Supreme Court Case:
"The U.S. Supreme Court has heard more than 30 patent cases over the last 10 years. A case the high court accepted for review Wednesday could have more impact than any of them since a 2006 decision scaling back injunctions, in the eye of at least one experienced patent litigator.
TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands "could be the biggest change since the eBay case," said Haynes and Boone partner Kenneth Parker. "The biggest case of the decade."...
Patent litigators say Eastern Texas has become the venue of choice for a number of reasons: Juries are willing to award more damages, cases are brought to trial quickly, the trials themselves are kept shorter, summary judgment is harder to obtain, and Section 101 patent eligibility motions, which can quickly shut down a suit in other courts, are generally not decided early in the litigation."

Intellectual Property: Copyright rules make us break the law 80 times a day, says Productivity Commission; Sydney Morning Herald, 12/20/26

Peter Martin, Intellectual Property: Copyright rules make us break the law 80 times a day, says Productivity Commission:
"If you are anything like the typical Australian, you probably break the copyright law 80 times a day, according to figures included in the Productivity Commission's final report to the government on intellectual property.
Most of the breaches are harmless, things such as including a copy of an email in the reply to an email. But the commission says that laws that are routinely flouted are bad laws, bringing themselves into disrepute.
In place of the labyrinthine system of complicated rules governing what can or can't be copied, the report released on Tuesday recommends the US system of fair use, under which the use of copyrighted material is legal so long as it is fair, taking into account the purpose of the use, the nature of the work, the amount copied and the effect on the potential market value of the work."

Should Couples Get Prenups for Their Ideas?; New York Times, 12/21/16

Room for Debate, New York Times; Should Couples Get Prenups for Their Ideas? :
"The number of 18- to 35-year-olds seeking prenups is on the rise nationwide, but many millennials are more interested in protecting intellectual property — such as films, songs, software and even apps that haven’t been built yet — than cash.
What does this shift mean for marriage and divorce?"

Sunday, December 18, 2016

No Deal: German Universities Prepare For Cut-Off From Elsevier Journals; Intellectual Property Watch, 12/16/16

Intellectual Property Watch; No Deal: German Universities Prepare For Cut-Off From Elsevier Journals:
"After licensing negotiations between German university libraries and Elsevier failed at the beginning of the month, over 60 university libraries in Germany are preparing to be cut off from hundreds of journals of the British publisher, after a standoff over pricing and access.
The university libraries organised in the DEAL initiative rejected an offer made by Elsevier earlier this month for a first nationwide licence, because of an aggressive pricing and flaws in the access models...
With the stop of the negotiations access to future journal editions be cut off on 1 January, when current licenses are expiring. But there will also be no access to archived editions of journals licensed under “individual e-packages for the economic sciences in particular,” according to the message."

Open Government Data Act set for progress in 2017 after Senate passage; FedScoop, 12/12/16

Samantha Ehlinger, FedScoop; Open Government Data Act set for progress in 2017 after Senate passage:
"A bill codifying and building on the president's executive order and the White House’s Open Data Policy passed the Senate unanimously early on Saturday morning, in a surprising last-minute effort to get the bill through the chamber before the holidays.
The OPEN Government Data Act, which sets in place a presumption that government data should be published in an open, machine-readable format, will likely not make it to President Barack Obama’s desk. But the bill could be reintroduced next year.
“Because transparency keeps Washington accountable to the people, government data should be made public unless an administration makes a compelling reason not to,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who introduced the legislation with Sen. Brian Schatz D-Hawaii, in a statement. “After passing the Senate with bipartisan support, we have momentum to carry this important work into the new year.”"

Saturday, December 17, 2016

How to rethink what’s ‘top secret’ for the Internet age; Washington Post, 12/16/16

Dianne Feinstein, Washington Post; How to rethink what’s ‘top secret’ for the Internet age:
"Rooted in a paper-based era, the existing classification system has become so complex and distorted that it no longer serves its fundamental goals: sharing secrets with our allies and partners while safeguarding this information from adversaries who would do us harm...
We may never fully eliminate the tendency of reviewers to overclassify information. But by working to implement these solutions, we can begin to change the dynamic. At the heart of this issue are dedicated government employees who truly want to do the right thing, and there’s an obvious natural instinct to protect secrets. But classification should shield secrets, not bury them."

Friday, December 16, 2016

EFF to Supreme Court: Trademarks are Not Government Speech; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 12/16/16

Daniel Nazer, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); EFF to Supreme Court: Trademarks are Not Government Speech:
"Today, together with the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Freedom of Expression, EFF submitted an amicus brief in Lee v. Tam. Our brief discusses an unusual but important question: are registered trademarks government expression? It is important to get the dividing line between government and private speech correct. This is because, while the government doesn’t get to control what you say, it does get to control what it says. As we argue in our brief, categorizing registered trademarks as government expression would threaten speech in many other areas.
The case involves a rock band from California called The Slants."

Trademarks Coast to Coast, Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Mary Boney Denison; Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership, 12/8/16

Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership; Trademarks Coast to Coast, Guest blog by Commissioner for Trademarks Mary Boney Denison:
"USPTO regional offices support the agency’s mission of fostering innovation by serving their regions’ intellectual property (IP) communities, assisting local businesses, and educating the public about the importance of IP. Regional office staff, in addition to USPTO trademark staff from headquarters, provide the public with full access to trademark information and resources in their local communities. This year, I visited all four regional offices: Denver and Silicon Valley in the fall, and Dallas and Detroit earlier in the year. During these visits, I had the chance to meet with USPTO employees, hear from local businesses, inventors, and IP practitioners about their concerns, and hold events on the importance of trademarks."

US Finds Existing Copyright Law Suited For Software Embedded In Everyday Products; Intellectual Property Watch, 12/16/16

Intellectual Property Watch; US Finds Existing Copyright Law Suited For Software Embedded In Everyday Products:
"The United States Copyright Office has released a study that finds that existing copyright laws are sufficient to cover issues arising over software embedded in everyday consumer products. But it does call for some flexibility for consumers to tinker with their devices.
The report, which followed hearings and research in the field, is available here. The report was requested by Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee."

Who Will Head the Patent and Trademark Office Under Trump?; Inside Counsel, 12/15/16

Scott Graham, Inside Counsel; Who Will Head the Patent and Trademark Office Under Trump? :
"Michelle Lee’s tenure as undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property is scheduled to conclude in January. While it’s not out of the question that she could continue in the role under Trump, observers see it as unlikely because of her past association with the Silicon Valley technology community and Google Inc., where she was head of patents and patent strategy before joining the PTO. Trump has a chilly relationship with tech and—while he said little about patent policy during the campaign—he is expected to favor a candidate who supports stronger patent rights...
Harter has speculated that Vice President-elect Mike Pence could hold some sway on IP policy. As a congressman Pence was skeptical of patent reform measures, though he voted for the America Invents Act. Pence also figures to be fluent with the IP issues of pharmaceutical companies given Eli Lilly & Co.’s presence in Indianapolis."

Friday, December 9, 2016

Vegas Golden Knights' trademark request denied by U.S. patent office; Associated Press via ESPN, 12/8/16

Associated Press via ESPN; Vegas Golden Knights' trademark request denied by U.S. patent office:
"The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has denied the Vegas Golden Knights' trademark application a little more than two weeks after the new NHL franchise unveiled its name and logo.
The office on Wednesday cited potential confusion with the team name for the College of Saint Rose in New York, which is also the Golden Knights. The Las Vegas franchise is set to take the ice next season...
The patent office said the similarities were too many to overlook.
"In this case, the marks are identical in part, sharing the same dominant wording and overall commercial impression," the office said in denying the application. "The nature of the applicant's and registrant's services is similar; both offer sports entertainment of a kind available in the same venues, broadcast on television, and are generally available to the same class of consumers. Accordingly, the examining attorney concludes that there is a likelihood of confusion between the applicant's and registrant's marks.""

Michael Jordan wins a tough copyright case in China; Associated Press via CBS News, 12/8/16

Associated Press via CBS News; Michael Jordan wins a tough copyright case in China:
[Kip Currier: This article is another example of confusion of trademark with copyright. It's clearly a trademark case from the facts: the dispute hinges on ownership rights to Michael Jordan's name, which is a trademark issue governed by trademark laws. But notice the headline "...tough copyright case..." and back-and-forth mentions of trademark and copyright.]
"Basketball legend Michael Jordan now owns his Chinese name, after China’s highest court sided with him Thursday following a years-long legal battle over a trademark dispute.
The former NBA star has fought a Chinese sportswear maker since 2012 over the name “Qiaodan,” pronounced “CHEEOW-dan,” the transliteration of “Jordan” in Mandarin.
Qiaodan Sports, a company based in southern China, had registered the trademark under which it was selling its own shoes and sportswear...
The case reflects the difficulties foreign individuals and companies face in protecting their copyrights in China, where domestic firms have long taken a cavalier attitude toward intellectual property."

Congressional panel calls for independent Copyright Office; Washington Post, 12/9/16

Peggy McGlone, Washington Post; Congressional panel calls for independent Copyright Office:
"Federal lawmakers are calling for an independent Copyright Office that would be led by a Register nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday released the first in what is expected to be a series of reforms. They suggest keeping a newly independent office in the Legislative branch, and funding technology upgrades including a searchable, digital database of historical and current copyright ownership.
Coming on the heels of the resignation of Copyright Register Maria Pallante, and previous suggestions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the proposals set up a show-down between Congress and new librarian Carla D. Hayden over the future of the agency."

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

TV for the fake news generation: why Westworld is the defining show of 2016; Guardian, 12/7/16

Paul MacInnes, Guardian; TV for the fake news generation: why Westworld is the defining show of 2016:
"Westworld is a hit. Viewing figures released this week confirmed that the first season of HBO’s sci-fi western drama received a bigger audience than any other debut in the channel’s history...
The producers deliberately reached out to an audience that enjoys obsessing. They knew some fans would watch the show again and again on their laptops. They knew they would freeze-frame the screen and zoom in on details that would pass the casual viewer by. From there the fans would try to make connections, to unravel the mysteries, to find deeper meaning. Things were left uncertain enough that people could believe what they wanted. Whether a theory was “true” was less important than the fact that someone believed in it. Sound familiar?
I’m not calling HBO a purveyor of fake news, and neither am I suggesting that Westworld has been captured by the alt-right like Pepe the Frog. But the drama has certainly tapped into an audience of young people who love video games and cracking codes, and understands both technology and identity politics."

Still lovin’ it: Jim Delligatti’s Big Mac changed American culture; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/7/16

Editorial Board, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Still lovin’ it: Jim Delligatti’s Big Mac changed American culture:
"Not content with McDonald’s menu, he invented the Big Mac even though the chain initially rebuffed his efforts and he had to hunt down a sesame-seed bun with enough brawn to contain the two all-beef patties, special sauce and extras he packed into the 550-calorie sandwich. It first sold in 1967 in his Uniontown restaurant, one of nearly 50 he came to own. The Big Mac was a smash hit, establishing Mr. Delligatti as one of the most important ingredients in McDonald’s success.
Surprisingly, Mr. Delligatti told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1997 that he received no royalties from the sandwich that helped put the gold in McDonald’s arches. He received no big pay raise, either. “All I got was a plaque,” said Mr. Delligatti, who also developed the McDonald’s breakfast.
The Big Mac today is criticized for contributing to the nation’s obesity epidemic and couch-potato culture. Yet the Big Mac was a product of its time, and Mr. Delligatti did what inventors and entrepreneurs naturally do. He filled a niche, brilliantly."

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

How the CRISPR Patent Dispute Became So Heated; The Atlantic, 12/6/16

Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic; How the CRISPR Patent Dispute Became So Heated:
"This week, the biggest science-patent dispute in decades is getting a hearing at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office headquarters. The invention in dispute is the gene-editing technique CRISPR, and at stake are millions, maybe even billions, of dollars for the winning side. CRISPR is the hugely hyped technology that could launch life-saving therapies, novel genetically modified crops, new forms of mosquito control, and more. It could—without much exaggeration—change the world.
Any company that wants to use CRISPR will have to license it from the patent dispute’s winner. Both parties embroiled in this fight are universities: MIT and the University of California, Berkeley, whose lawyers represent rival groups of scientists with claims to have first invented CRISPR. The Berkeley group published their work and filed for a patent first, by a few months—but the patent office ended up awarding a patent to the MIT group, due to some complicated procedural rules. The legal and scientific details of the dispute get pretty arcane pretty fast, but you can read some excellent reporting here, here, and here."

Battle of the brands: six epic fights over trademark names; Guardian, 12/2/16

Anne Cassidy, Guardian; Battle of the brands: six epic fights over trademark names:
"Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is taking on Iceland, the purveyor of frozen chicken tikka lasagne, in a major trademark battle. The Icelandic government launched legal action against the British supermarket last week, arguing that the grocery chain, which owns the Europe-wide trademark registration for the word Iceland is preventing Icelandic companies from promoting themselves abroad.
The contest is one of many brand name legal battles offering more entertaining plot points than your average box set. We look back at six of the best..."

Is Coopting Graffiti Artist's Street Cred A Fair Use?; Mondaq, 12/5/16

Nicholas M. O'Donnell, Mondaq; Is Coopting Graffiti Artist's Street Cred A Fair Use? :
"The estate of Dashiell "Dash" Snow, better known as graffiti artist "Secret Snow"— has sued McDonald's over allegedly infringing use of Snow's street art in McDonald's dining rooms. The lawsuit in the Central District of California is the latest in a series of cases in which street artists are asserting their rights in copyright without any concession about whether the creation has other legal issues (i.e., trespassing or vandalism). Based on the survival of other recent similar cases, this latest case could be a headache for the giant restaurant chain, though it may have interesting fair use arguments based on the contrasting nature of the street vs. corporate uses...
The Dash Complaint also picks up on the theory that survived dismissal in the Tierney v. Moschino case involving street artist "Rime"—namely, that identifiers in the images themselves violate the "copyright management information" (CMI) provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 1202. This is somewhat different than the Tierney case, however, because in that matter the plaintiff alleged that deleting his signature interfered with CMI, while here Dash's estate argues that the presence of his signature creates an unwarranted association between him and McDonald's.
The case is a reminder of how quickly what was once examined has now become routine—the idea that street art, whether or not painted on property with permission—can be protected under copyright."

Monday, December 5, 2016

Who Owns Key Gene Technology? Question Heads to Court; Wall Street Journal, 12/5/16

Joe Palazzolo and Amy Dockser Marcus, Wall Street Journal; Who Owns Key Gene Technology? Question Heads to Court:
"A dispute between two research institutions over which invented Crispr-Cas9, a technology scientists hope will reduce gene-editing to something akin to cutting and pasting text on a computer, enters a crucial phase Tuesday."

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Australian students recreate Martin Shkreli price-hike drug in school lab; Guardian, 11/30/16

Melissa Davey, Guardian; Australian students recreate Martin Shkreli price-hike drug in school lab:
"He said the open nature of the project demystified science and revealed the number of roadblocks the students had faced in coming up with the final product, which involved three complicated chemical steps.
“With science results you can be presented with a polished finished product that hides the false steps along the way,” he said. “The students’ real-time diary highlights their whole process, and is a very transparent way of doing things.”...
He said unfortunately the students would not be able to sell their drug to the US market. While the drug can be bought in Australia for about A$13 for a packet of 50, there are a number of complicated legal roadblocks in the way of producing and selling it in the US.
“Turing has the exclusive rights to sell it, even though the drug is no longer under patent,” Todd said. “The ridiculousness of this legal loophole means if we wanted to launch it as drug in the US we’d have to go through a whole new clinical trial because we would have to compare the Sydney Grammar stuff with the officially sanctioned stuff, and Turing would have to give us the drug to allow those comparisons to be made."

Michael James Delligatti, Creator of the Big Mac, Dies at 98; New York Times, 11/30/16

Kevin Rawlinson, New York Times; Michael James Delligatti, Creator of the Big Mac, Dies at 98:
"Most memorable was the ad campaign, begun in 1974, in which actual customers tried to recite the ingredients in a Big Mac, with comic results, before a chorus jumped in and smoothly sang the now-famous jingle.
“It wasn’t like discovering the light bulb,” Mr. Delligatti told John F. Love, the author of “McDonald’s: Behind the Arches” (1986). “The bulb was already there. All I did was screw it in the socket.”...
...[T]he sales remain huge, leading many to believe that Mr. Delligatti, as its inventor, must have reaped a windfall worth billions.
Not so. “All I got was a plaque,” he told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2007."

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Summer Project Turns Into Leukemia Testing Breakthrough; New York Times, 11/28/16

Donald G. McNeil Jr., New York Times; Summer Project Turns Into Leukemia Testing Breakthrough:
'Gleevec, which made almost $5 billion for Novartis last year, has been at the center of a long battle between pharmaceutical companies and activists fighting price increases. The drug cost about $26,000 per year in 2001, and Novartis repeatedly raised the price even as competitors emerged; early this year, it was more than $120,000.
Those who support broader access to medicines argue that poor countries should reject patents and make generic versions of leukemia drugs. In 2013, India’s highest court struck down Novartis’s patent application for Gleevec, opening the way for generics. They now cost about $400 a year in India and about $9,000 in Canada."

Jury Finds 'Jersey Boys' Creators Liable for Copyright Infringment; Hollywood Reporter, 11/29/16

Ashley Cullins, Hollywood Reporter; Jury Finds 'Jersey Boys' Creators Liable for Copyright Infringment:
"The jury on Monday found that DeVito did not grant an implied license for the creators of the stage play to use his book as source material — and attributed 10 percent of Jersey Boys' success to infringement of the book."

Effective online copyright law a thorny issue; China Daily, 11/30/16

Zhang Huibin, China Daily; Effective online copyright law a thorny issue:
"Data from Tencent indicate the value of internet works, including IPR deals, was 420 billion yuan ($60.72 billion) in 2015-and it is expected to cross 560 billion yuan this year.
Along with many benefits, the internet has also created difficulties for copyright protection. The reuse of traditional works on the internet in new forms, such as through digitalized disposal, show the efforts to protect copyright have not been fully successful. China started amending its copyright law for the third time in July 2011. A series of copyright dilemmas, such as combating cyber literature piracy, illegal online video aggregation, non-payment for music and live broadcasts of sports events, pose a major problem for the healthy development of the internet sector...
How to effectively protect copyrights as well as ensure the public continues to share authorized content are pressing issues for country's copyright law. Lenient laws will compromise the rights of copyright owners, but very strict measures for copyright protection could restrict the sharing of even many authorized works by the public. Legislative, judicial and law enforcement departments should, therefore, weigh the pros and cons and try to strike the right balance in copyright legislation and protection."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The TPP wasn't killed by Donald Trump – our protests worked; Guardian, 11/28/16

Evan Greer, Tom Morello, and Evangeline Lilly, Guardian; The TPP wasn't killed by Donald Trump – our protests worked:
"As more and more people learned about what the TPP really meant for them and their families, it became politically toxic, to the point that no major party candidate for president could openly support it.
This was a sign that the TPP was on its deathbed, but with the threat of a last-minute push during the “lame duck” session after the election, we needed to be sure. So we targeted undecided lawmakers with protests and flew inflatable blimps outside their offices. We harnessed the power of music to draw huge crowds across the country to “Rock Against the TPP” concerts and teach-ins, taking our opposition to the TPP into the cultural mainstream. We tuned out the chorus of voices that told us that corporate power would always prevail in the end. And finally, we claimed our victory.
Now more than ever, it’s crucial that Americans understand how the TPP was really defeated. An organized and educated public can take on concentrated wealth and power and win. With four years of new battles ahead of us, this is a story we must commit to memory, and a lesson we must take to heart."

On Eve Of WIPO Traditional Knowledge Negotiations, Nations Swap Experiences; Intellectual Property Watch, 11/28/16

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; On Eve Of WIPO Traditional Knowledge Negotiations, Nations Swap Experiences:
"A seminar was organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization to provide a discussion platform on the eve of this week’s meeting on the protection of traditional knowledge, and as a way for countries to share systems of protection. Panellists presented views on possible graduated protection for different sorts of traditional knowledge.
The WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) is meeting from 28 November to 2 December.
This week, delegates are expected to discuss a list [pdf] of outstanding and pending issues. This includes the use and meanings of certain terms and concepts, such as terms describing the diffusion of traditional knowledge (TK). Criteria for eligibility of the protection, and whether beneficiaries should include nations and states, are also on the list."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Patents – A Novel and Inventive Approach to Brexit?; National Law Review, 11/28/16

Carl a. Rohsler and Florian Traub, National Law Review; Patents – A Novel and Inventive Approach to Brexit? :
"The announcement on Monday afternoon by the UK Government that it intended to proceed with the ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) took almost all commentators by complete surprise. It was commonly believed that Brexit would either completely destroy, or at least significantly delay, the introduction of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court. After all, the UK was going to leave the EU and it seemed nonsensical that it would continue to play an active role in supporting treaties that would have a profound effect on the EU just at the time that it was planning to leave the party."

YouTube protects copyright with artificial intelligence; The Australian, 11/29/16

Chris Griffith, The Australian; YouTube protects copyright with artificial intelligence:
"YouTube is using artificial intelligence to thwart a game of cat and mouse by users circumventing copyright.
The Google-owned service already has algorithms for detecting copyright movie, video and music content that users post on YouTube.
Over the years, some users have developed tricks for getting around detection.
Some have posted video with colours reversed, or images of each frame reversed vertically or horizontally. Other techniques include altering colours, changing the aspect ratio, cropping frames and using a halo effect. The idea is to make video unrecognisable as copyright content...
YouTube however is fighting back. It has been delving into the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning to dissemble video and music, and outfox these cunning operators.
“That’s what we’re using machine learning for, to take out these things, and to work out they are the same image,” said Harris Cohen, senior product manager of Content ID at YouTube."

Turning Promises Of Marrakesh Treaty For Visually Impaired Into Reality; Intellectual Property Watch, 11/21/16

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch; Turning Promises Of Marrakesh Treaty For Visually Impaired Into Reality:
"With the recent entry into force of the Marrakesh Treaty providing copyright exceptions for persons with visual impairments, a panel convened alongside last week’s World Intellectual Property Organization copyright committee meeting explored ways to transform the treaty’s promises into reality.
The WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) met from 14-18 November. The 15 November side event was organised by the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), which is hosted by WIPO.
Recently appointed WIPO Deputy Director General for the Copyright and Creative Industries Sector Sylvie Forbin said at the event that 25 countries have now ratified the 2013 Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, which entered into force on 30 September..."
Chris Friend, representing the World Blind Union, in the audience, presented the World Blind Union Guide to the Marrakesh Treaty: Facilitating Access to Books for Print Disabled Individuals, to be published by Oxford University Press in February.
The guide is intended to provide an analysis of the treaty to multiple audiences including parliamentarians and policymakers who adopt domestic legislation and regulations to give effect to the treaty, judges and administrators who interpret and apply those laws, and to disability rights organisations and other civil society groups who advocate for the treaty’s implementation and effective enforcement, according to the guide executive summary."