Thursday, September 29, 2016

Supreme Court Takes Up Case That Could Affect Redskins Trademark; NPR, 9/29/16

Eyder Peralta, NPR; Supreme Court Takes Up Case That Could Affect Redskins Trademark:
"The Supreme Court has decided to hear a case that might decide whether the government can deny Washington's NFL team a trademark because it has deemed the team name is offensive.
The court granted certiorari on Lee V. Tam. If you remember, The Slants, an Asian-American rock band, sued the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office because it refused to trademark their name saying it proved offensive.
In December of last year, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decided that the band's name was private speech and therefore protected by the First Amendment."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pitt Innovation Showcase; University of Pittsburgh, 9/28/16

[Press Release] University of Pittsburgh; Pitt Innovation Showcase:
"The Pitt Innovation Showcase is your opportunity to see firsthand the exciting technologies being developed and moved toward commercialization at Pitt. It is also the opening reception for Science 2016.
Please plan on stopping by Alumni Hall on Wednesday, October 19, from 4-7 p.m. to network with Pitt Innovators, investors, entrepreneurs and members of the regional startup community.
The event begins with the Michael G. Wells Entrepreneurial Scholars Lecture that features this year a panel of leading healthcare entrepreneurs and investors who will give a behind-the-scenes look at getting a healthcare innovation from the lab to the market.
This will be followed by the announcement of the winners of the Wells Students Healthcare Competition and the Kuzneski Innovation Cup.
The Opening Reception and Innovation Showcase begin at 5 p.m. in the J.W. Connolly Ballroom, First Floor.
Come and be inspired by the Pitt faculty, students and staff who are working to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality and make an impact on the world.
Click here to register."

Can You Trademark a Cocktail Recipe?; Daily Beast, 9/27/16

Philip Greene, Daily Beast; Can You Trademark a Cocktail Recipe? :
"One of the most stressful drinks for a bar to put on its menu is one of the simplest: the Dark ‘n Stormy®. It’s certainly not the preparation that causes anxiety—just about anybody can make a serviceable version of this refreshing rum and ginger beer highball—but the brand of rum used can cause trouble.
It’s one of the few drinks (along with the Painkiller®) whose name is actually trademarked. In this case, Gosling’s Rum controls the moniker Dark ‘n Stormy, and if you put the drink on a menu it better be made with that brand of rum. If not, you might just get a cease and desist letter.
This, naturally, raises the question: Why aren’t more bartenders trademarking cocktail names? It’s a simple query with a long answer. Even as a trademark attorney and a cocktail geek, with one foot firmly in each field (well, maybe one is perched on the rail), I find it complicated to untangle."

U.S. man held for allegedly breaching trademark of Tokyo games logo; Japan Times, 9/28/16

Japan Times; U.S. man held for allegedly breaching trademark of Tokyo games logo:
"A U.S. citizen living in southwestern Japan has been arrested for trademark infringement through unauthorized use of a 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics logo, police said Wednesday.
David Roy Uhlstein, an assistant language teacher in Kumamoto Prefecture, is suspected of having sold five items such as mugs and smartphone cases bearing the logo for the Tokyo campaign to host the Games without the organizing committee’s permission, according to the police...
Uhlstein said he did not know that authorization by the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games was necessary to use the logo, the police said.
Uhlstein printed the logo by downloading it from the internet, attaching it to plain mugs and smartphone cases, and posting the items for sale through his own online store, according to the police."

The man who created the Hamdog is now selling his US patent; CNBC, 9/28/16

Matt Clinch, CNBC; The man who created the Hamdog is now selling his US patent:
"Following a week of intense media attention, the man who created a new food that merges a hot dog and a hamburger has decided to auction off his intellectual property rights.
The Hamdog was invented in 2004 by Mark Murray, who lives in Perth, Australia. He successfully applied for patents in the U.S., but after his story went viral last week, has decided to "pass it onto an entity that has the criteria required to roll it out in America.""

"Phonebooks"; Pearls Before Swine, GoComics, 9/28/16

Stephan Pastis, Pearls Before Swine, Go Comic; "Phone Books" :
[Kip Currier: Yesterday in my IP and "Open" Movements course, I was talking about the landmark U.S. Supreme Court copyright case, Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service Co. (involving discussion of whether the White Pages and Yellow Pages phone books were "original" works subject to copyright protection), and checked with my students to make sure everyone knew what a "phone book" was. They did. Timely seeing this "Pearls Before Swine" comic strip today.]

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


"Considering its heavily ’80s-influenced tone, YouTuber Tony Harley decided to re-style “Stranger Things” with one of the most iconic opening sequences of the 1990s — the title sequence of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” It makes sense as both are stories about kids struggling against a strange supernatural threat and both star awesome ladies with three-part names. Millie Bobby Brown takes the place of Sarah Michelle Gellar as the lead-in character, while Winona Ryder gets the place of honor at the end of the credits — a place held by “Anthony Stewart Head as Giles” and later “Alyson Hannigan as Willow”."

Commemorating Five Years of the America Invents Act; USPTO Director's Forum Blog: Guest Blog by Dana Robert Colarulli, Director of the Office of Governmental Affairs, 9/26/16

USPTO Director's Forum Blog: Guest Blog by Dana Robert Colarulli, Director of the Office of Governmental Affairs; Commemorating Five Years of the America Invents Act:
"We’ve come a long way in five years. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), signed in 2011 by President Obama, modernized the U.S. patent system and, as a result, helped strengthen America’s competitiveness in the global economy. Together with our stakeholders, the USPTO sought to implement the act consistent with the intent of Congress to increase certainty in our nation’s intellectual property (IP) landscape and enable the brightest ideas and most ambitious endeavors in the world to come to light...
The USPTO has delivered on that promise by reducing the patent application backlog by nearly 30 percent from its high in early 2009, speeding up examination including introducing a fast track option with discounts for small entities, and leveraging the increased financial stability and fee setting authority provided by the act to reinvest user fees into increasing quality under Director Lee’s Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative.
And just this week, the USPTO and the Economics & Statistics Administration at the Department of Commerce released an updated report on the impact of IP on the U.S. economy, reiterating in quantifiable terms the importance of a well-functioning IP system."

Las Vegas NHL team files trademark applications for Silver Knights, Desert Knights and Golden Knights nicknames; IPWatchdog, 9/26/16

Steve Brachmann, IPWatchdog; Las Vegas NHL team files trademark applications for Silver Knights, Desert Knights and Golden Knights nicknames:
"A series of 12 trademark applications filed by Black Knight Sports and Entertainment, LLC, the consortium which owns the new NHL franchise, with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gives us a good idea of the three team nicknames which have made it to the final round of consideration. According to these trademark applications, the NHL team in Las Vegas will take one of the following names: Silver Knights, Golden Knights or Desert Knights. Interestingly, the Las Vegas franchise cannot use Knights by itself as the team will play in Canada and the Canadian rights to that name are held by the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League...
A search of trademarks held by other NHL teams shows that the Las Vegas franchise will likely apply for many more trademark protections after a team nickname is officially announced. The Pittsburgh Penguins, the NHL’s reigning Stanley Cup Champions, have filed 64 trademark applications with the USPTO, 41 of which have resulted in registered trademarks and 40 of which are still live whether they’re registered or still in the application phase."

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Reuters via New York Times; Divided U.S. Supreme Court Turns to Less Sensitive IP Cases, 9/21/16

Reuters via New York Times; Divided U.S. Supreme Court Turns to Less Sensitive IP Cases:
"Shorthanded and ideologically divided, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to take up any cases on politically sensitive social issues in its new term starting in October, instead showing a keen interest in more technical cases of importance to business such as disputes over intellectual property.
In addition to four intellectual property cases it has already agreed to hear, the court could as soon as next week take up a trademark battle that pits an Asian-American rock band and the Washington Redskins football team against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Later in the year, the court could take up a quirky copyright fight between a woman and a record company over a video she posted online of her toddler son dancing to a Prince song...
It is not unusual for the court to take up a handful of intellectual property (IP) cases among the 70 or so it selects for oral argument but this year there is a greater incentive than ever because they are often decided by unanimous or lopsided votes.
(Graphic on the Supreme Court's handling of intellectual property cases:"

Apple's new patent proposes a way to eliminate 'butt dialing' once and for all; Digital Trends, 9/24/16

Kyle Wiggers, Digital Trends; Apple's new patent proposes a way to eliminate 'butt dialing' once and for all:
"From the boneheadedly pragmatic to the wildly impractical, Apple’s patents run the gamut of usefulness, but one of the newer patents filed by the Cupterino, California-based company falls squarely in the latter category. On Thursday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple filing, titled “detecting stowing or unstowing of a mobile device,” that presents a solution for the infamous “butt call” to which absentminded cellphone users too often fall victim...
There’s no certainty it’ll ever see the light of day, of course. (Patents aren’t a particularly reliable indicator of forthcoming features.) And Apple is notorious for filing applications that tend more toward the whimsical than feasible — last week, the iPhone maker patented “bleached sulfate” shopping bags with “rough and dull … [finishes].” But the idea of tapping the contextual prowess of smartwatches isn’t a new one, and is perhaps simple enough to implement in an over-the-air software update. Who knows: next time you inadvertently sit on your shiny new iPhone, it might just know who not to butt dial."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

White House expanding open data initiatives; FedScoop, 9/21/16

Samantha Ehlinger, FedScoop; White House expanding open data initiatives:
"The Obama administration has big plans to improve its open data — particularly around contracting data, data on foreign aid and data to aid development.
In a series of new commitments announced Tuesday to further expand its third Open Government National Action Plan, the administration calls for increased engagement with contracting officers to discuss data quality and accessibility, and directs the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department to "reach out to small business owners to better understand what types of contracting data are most useful to them.”"

Apple patents bold new innovation – a paper bag; Guardian, 9/20/16

HAL 90210, Guardian; Apple patents bold new innovation – a paper bag:
"Apple has patented remotely disabling iPhone cameras. It’s patented Gear VR-style headsets, and watch-controlled photography. It’s even patented the sliding function to unlock the phone – deceased as of iOS 10 – and the concept of a phone with a bezel and rounded edges.
Now it’s gone one step further, and applied to patent a paper bag."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Professor analyzing decades of data to determine patent value; University of Kansas, 8/30/16

University of Kansas; Professor analyzing decades of data to determine patent value:
"For more than two centuries, patents have been considered a key governmental policy tool for economic innovation. And for just as long numerous assumptions have been made about what they mean to an innovation’s value, where the most important ones are litigated and numerous other questions. A University of Kansas law professor is part of a project that is providing definitive answers to these and other patent questions for policy makers through a unique, big-data approach.
Andrew Torrance, the Earl B. Schurtz Research Professor at the University of Kansas School of Law, and colleagues have developed an approach to analyze mountains of detailed U.S. patent data from 1976 to the present day. One application of their research, commissioned by Canada's Ministry of Innovation, has been a comprehensive analysis of how patents having either Canadian inventors or owners compare with those without such connections. One of their most striking findings is that patents listing at least one Canadian inventor are more than 15 percent more valuable, on average, than other patents."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Redskins, rock band battle government in trademark fight; Washington Post, 9/19/16

Sam Hananel, Washington Post; Redskins, rock band battle government in trademark fight:
"Simon Tam has openly criticized the Washington Redskins team name as a racist slur that demeans Native Americans.
But Tam and his Asian-American rock band, The Slants, find themselves on the same side as the NFL franchise in a First Amendment legal battle over trademark protection for names that some consider offensive. The Supreme Court could decide as early as this month whether to hear the dispute involving the Portland, Oregon-area band. And if the football team has its way, the justices could hear both cases in its new term. At issue is a constitutional challenge to a law barring the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from registering trademarks that disparage minority groups. The office denied a trademark to the Slants in 2011 after finding the name disparaged people of Asian descent.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

McGregor beaten to the punch as 'IP squatter' files trademark claim; Irish Independent, 9/18/16

Simon Rowe, Irish Independent; McGregor beaten to the punch as 'IP squatter' files trademark claim:
"Tabassum Gazala Khan has gone on a spending spree since July in an apparent bid to acquire valuable commercial IP linked to the UFC star.
Ms Khan spent €3,150 applying for an EU trademark for 'Conor McGregor The Notorious' - just days after shelling out Stg£500 (€590) on three UK trademark applications for 'The Notorious Conor McGregor', 'Conor The Notorious McGregor' and 'Conor McGregor The Notorious'. She has also registered the following websites: conormcgregor, and
The EU trademark application covers 17 classes of IP, which would enable Ms Khan to cash in on McGregor's name on products including aftershave, computer games, mugs and beer.
Legal experts predict McGregor will apply immediately to have the application declared invalid on the basis of 'bad faith'."

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Swatch succeeds in trademark case over Apple 'iWatch'; BBC, 9/13/16

BBC; Swatch succeeds in trademark case over Apple 'iWatch' :
"The UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) upheld Swatch's opposition, which was filed in March 2014...
"This decision shows the difficulty global brands can have when it comes to launching a new product around the world," said Sharon Daboul, a trademark lawyer at law firm EIP.
"Trademarks are territorial, which means that a trademark must be available for registration in every country of interest."
Not being able to secure the iWatch trademark around the world would have been a "key factor", Ms Daboul added, in Apple's decision not to use the name for its smartwatch."

Oprah Winfrey beats 'Own Your Power' trademark appeal; Reuters, 9/16/16

Jonathan Stempel, Reuters; Oprah Winfrey beats 'Own Your Power' trademark appeal:
"Oprah Winfrey, the media mogul and former talk show host, on Friday defeated an appeal in a trademark lawsuit over her use of the phrase "Own Your Power" in her namesake magazine and on television, websites and social media.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the plaintiff, Simone Kelly-Brown, a motivational speaker and business coach, and her company, Own Your Power Communications Inc, did not show that Winfrey's use of "Own Your Power" confused people.
The court also said the phrase "Own Your Power" was "not distinctive" and thus lacked independent trademark protection.
Kelly-Brown registered a "design mark" for "own your power" in a stylized light-blue script with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in May 2008."

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Revised IP/copyright policy being readied; University Times, 9/15/16

Kimberly K. Barlow, University Times; Revised IP/copyright policy being readied:
"A proposed new intellectual property and copyright policy is expected to be ready for faculty review next month.
Jennifer E. Woodward, associate vice provost for research operations, told the University Senate research committee last week that an IP/copyright policy would be in the hands of the chancellor and provost this week.
“Unless they have an issue with it, we anticipate it going very soon then through the faculty review process,” she said, adding that it’s possible that the draft policy could be on the Senate research committee’s Oct. 7 agenda.
A provost’s committee headed by Vice Provost for Research Mark Redfern ( has been working for more than a year to revise University policies (see March 3 University Times) to help faculty work with outside partners and translate their research more effectively.
Woodward said that the draft policy covers both patent and copyright policy issues. “They’ve been woven in a way that one policy speaks appropriately to both,” she said."

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Commemorating the Lanham Act’s 70th; Politico, 9/14/16

Li Zhou, Politico; Commemorating the Lanham Act’s 70th:
[Kip Currier: I attended this reception recognizing the 70th year since the signing of the 1946 Lanham Act (the U.S. federal trademark statute). In highlighting the benefits of the trademark system, the speakers raised some powerful points about the impacts of counterfeit goods--such as Sen. Chuck Grassley's example of implantable medical devices--on public health and safety. Earlier in the day, at the "American Bar Association's Intellectual Property Law 4th Annual Trademark Day: Behind the Scenes at the USPTO", a speaker raised the similarly chilling example of counterfeit ball bearings in commercial airplanes. Compelling cases for ensuring product quality and brand authenticity and identification.]
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center will present framed copies of the 70-year-old federal trademark law to the co-chairs of the Congressional Trademark Caucus: Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Randy Forbes (R-Va.)."

Patent chief tells lawmakers ‘time and attendance fraud is not tolerated’; New York Times, 9/13/16

Lisa Rein, Washington Post; Patent chief tells lawmakers ‘time and attendance fraud is not tolerated’ :
"U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Michelle K. Lee told lawmakers Tuesday that she and her team “do not tolerate any kind of attendance abuse” and promised that employees who commit fraud are disciplined...
A 15-month analysis by Deputy Inspector General David Smith’s office of thousands of patent examiners’ turnstile badge swipes, computer logins and remote computer connections from their homes to federal systems showed consistent discrepancies between the time employees reported working and the hours they actually put in.
This time and attendance abuse cost the government at least $18.3 million, as employees who review patent applications billed the agency for almost 300,000 hours they never worked, investigators found."

Fixing why USPTO issues low-quality patents should be oversight hearing's focus; The Hill, 9/13/16

Julie Samuels, The Hill; Fixing why USPTO issues low-quality patents should be oversight hearing's focus:
"Today, the House Judiciary Committee is holding a Patent Office oversight hearing. It promises to include a headline-grabbing discussion of a recently released report showing abuses of the Patent Office’s telework program. It would be a serious missed opportunity if that conversation distracts the Committee from talking about what really matters: why the Patent Office issues low-quality patents and what can be done to fix it.
The Patent Office’s primary job is, not surprisingly to administer the patent system. This is not a small job—the Office has a staff of nearly 10,000 people and it grants approximately 350,000 patents a year. Each of these represents a 20-year monopoly, so it is crucial that the patents are of the highest quality. If they’re not, they can be quite dangerous, especially if they end up in the hands of a patent troll.
In fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report finding some things we already knew, namely, that low-quality patents lead to more patent litigation and that the less time patent examiners are able to dedicate to a patent application, the more likely they are to turn that application into a patent."

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Strange Case of Off-Patent Drug Price Gougers; Bloomberg, 9/9/16

Justin Fox, Bloomberg; The Strange Case of Off-Patent Drug Price Gougers:
"There’s a conflict at the heart of pharmaceutical pricing in the U.S.: On the one hand, it’s in the public’s interest for pharma companies to get a good return on the huge investments they often make in developing new drugs. On the other, it’s in the public’s interest to be able to afford those drugs.
We try to resolve this by granting companies temporary monopolies (aka patents) on the drugs they develop -- letting them effectively set the price unilaterally -- but then allowing competition from generic substitutes once the patents expire...
What’s going on, basically, is that a new breed of pharmaceutical company has emerged (Valeant is, or at least was, the archetype) that doesn’t develop drugs but identifies business opportunities in existing drugs --many of them with expired patents -- that the previous owners were too lazy or timid or decent to fully exploit. So they acquire them, and jack up the prices."

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter prevail in database patent appeal; Reuters, 9/12/16

Reuters; Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter prevail in database patent appeal:
"A federal appeals court on Friday knocked out all of the parts of two database search patents that were challenged at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by social media sites Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter."

Yahoo on the hunt for patent thieves; New York Post, 9/9/16

Claire Atkinson, New York Post; Yahoo on the hunt for patent thieves:
"“There are three things you say when someone tells you that you are infringing on a copyright,” the source said. “Your patents are invalid; the patents may be invalid and if they’re not, then sue me; or let’s talk about a number.”
Yahoo hired Black Stone IP to help it sell about 3,000 patents that cover a range of technologies including online payment services, mobile messaging, data mining and behavioral ad targeting.
The patent trove, called Excalibur, is attracting interest from several tech players, including Amazon, Salesforce and Microsoft, the source said."

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Minnesota winery owner helps breeders patent their unique plants and potables; In Forum, 9/10/16

Vicki Gerdes, In Forum; Minnesota winery owner helps breeders patent their unique plants and potables:
"[Penny] Aguirre became a student at the fledgling Plant Molecular Genetics Institute, working under Professor Alan Smith, and eventually earned her master's degree in horticulture...
That passion for plants brought her to Santa Barbara, Calif., where she took a job as general manager at PlantHaven, a small, independent agency that worked to introduce new plant cultivars into the North American market—plants developed by breeders from all over the world.
"Part of that job was writing plant patents," Aguirre says.
Eventually, she became knowledgeable enough about that part of the job that she decided to take the patent bar exam and become a registered U.S. patent agent. "It's the same bar exam that legal students take to become patent attorneys," Aguirre said. "If you have a bachelor's degree in one of the sciences, take the exam and pass, at that point you are a registered patent agent."
Though most patent agents specialize in design or utility patents, Aguirre made the relatively unusual choice of specializing exclusively in patenting plants...
Plant patenting mostly involves writing a lot of very detailed descriptions—"every leaf, every stem, every stamen, every pistil," she said, noting that there are often very minute differences between plant varieties...
For more information about Aguirre's plant patenting business, please visit"

Ray Kurzweil: Accelerating Tech Is Making Old Intellectual Property Laws Obsolete; Singularity Hub, 9/8/16

[Video] Singularity Hub; Ray Kurzweil: Accelerating Tech Is Making Old Intellectual Property Laws Obsolete:
"As technology and innovation move faster and faster, concerns over ownership and access continue to increase. In answer to a question at a Singularity University event, Ray Kurzweil suggested we need to rethink intellectual property laws to more realistically match today’s pace.
Intellectual property laws from the 19th century were envisioned with roughly 20-year cycles, he said, which was enough to give you a head-start on a new idea or invention and attract funding to see it through. But how relevant is a 20-year cycle today when a generation of technology can come and go in a year—and even that is set to speed up?
Attracting investment and capital is a critical function of intellectual property law. But the way things are currently structured, intellectual property laws are falling behind the pace of invention."

It Gets Better: U.S. Patent and Trademark employees share their stories; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 6/25/15

[Video] U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; It Gets Better: U.S. Patent and Trademark employees share their stories:
[Kip Currier: While prepping for a patent lecture for my Intellectual Property and "Open" Movements course next week, I serendipitously found this inspiring "It Gets Better" video from 2015, featuring USPTO Director Michelle K. Lee and openly LGBT employees in the USPTO.]
"“Do not let the bullies of the world distract you from the commitment to achieve your fullest potential,’ says USPTO Director Michelle K. Lee in this video featuring stories from our employees, “It does get better.”"

The US Copyright Office is the poster child for regulatory capture; Boing Boing, 9/8/16

Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing; The US Copyright Office is the poster child for regulatory capture:
"Public Knowledge's new report, Captured: Systemic Bias at the US Copyright Office makes a beautifully argued, perfectly enraging case that the US Copyright Office does not serve the public interest, but rather, hands out regulatory favors to the entertainment industry.
Starting from the undeniable evidence that the easiest way to get a senior job at the Copyright Office is to hold a senior job in a giant entertainment company first (and that holding a senior Copyright Office job qualifies you to walk out of the Copyright Office and into a fat private sector gig as an entertainment exec), the report documents the numerous instances in which the Copyright Office has said and done outrageous things, and grossly misinterpreted the law, leading in many cases to being slapped down by the courts."

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Trade secret law: A brief guide for in-house counsel; Inside Counsel, 8/18/16

Ben Berkowitz, Briggs Matheson, Inside Counsel; Trade secret law: A brief guide for in-house counsel:
"What information does trade secret law protect?
Forty-seven states have adopted some form of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”), with New York, Massachusetts, and North Carolina as the only exceptions. Under the UTSA, there is a two-prong test for determining whether information may be subject to trade secret protection. First, trade secret information must be information that “derive[s] independent economic value” from not being publicly known (See, e.g., Cal. Civ. Code § 3426.1(d)). That is, the information is valuable because it is a secret that others, including competitors, do not possess. Second, the information must be “the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.” (Id.) “The determination of whether ‘reasonable efforts’ have been taken is quintessentially fact-specific,” and “‘depends on a balancing of costs and benefits that will vary from case to case.’” (Rockwell Graphic Systems, Inc. v. DEV Industries, Inc.) “Reasonable efforts” may include adopting confidentiality policies, entering into non-disclosure agreements, and establishing digital and physical security infrastructure. (Religious Tech. Ctr. Netcom On-Line Commc’n Servs.)"

Trade Secret Protection Blocks Sick Samsung Workers From Data; Claims Journal, 8/12/16

Youkyung Lee, Claims Journal; Trade Secret Protection Blocks Sick Samsung Workers From Data:
"An Associated Press investigation has found South Korean authorities have, at Samsung’s request, repeatedly withheld from workers and their bereaved families crucial information about chemicals they were exposed to at its computer chip and liquid crystal display factories. Sick workers are supposed to have access to such data through the government or the courts so they can apply for workers’ compensation from the state. Without it, government officials commonly reject their cases.
The justification for withholding the information? In at least six cases involving 10 workers, it was trade secrets. Court documents and interviews with government officials, workers’ lawyers and their families show Samsung often cites the need to protect trade secrets when it asks government officials not to release such data.
“Our fight is often against trade secrets. Any contents that may not work in Samsung’s favor were deleted as trade secrets,” said Lim Ja-woon, a lawyer who has represented 15 sick Samsung workers."

'Moonshot' cancer panel calls for US to create national research database; Guardian, 9/7/16

Amanda Holpuch, Guardian; 'Moonshot' cancer panel calls for US to create national research database:
"The Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel report said the recommendations, if implemented, “will transform our understanding of cancer and result in new opportunities to more effectively prevent and treat the disease”.
The 10 recommendations include existing programs that need more funding – such as research to update guidelines for patient symptom control – and brand new initiatives including a human tumor database to monitor and analyze multi-dimensional cell behavior...
But the funding necessary to fulfill these recommendations has not been approved by Congress despite lobbying by the Obama administration, which said it hoped to spend $1bn on the program."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Tell Your University: Don't Sell Patents to Trolls; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 8/17/16

Elliot Harmon, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); Tell Your University: Don't Sell Patents to Trolls:
"When universities invent, those inventions should benefit everyone. Unfortunately, they sometimes end up in the hands of patent trolls—companies that serve no purpose but to amass patents and demand money from others. When a university sells patents to trolls, it undermines the university’s purpose as a driver of innovation. Those patents become landmines that make innovation more difficult.
A few weeks ago, we wrote about the problem of universities selling or licensing patents to trolls. We said that the only way that universities will change their patenting and technology transfer policies is if students, professors, and other members of the university community start demanding it.
It’s time to start making those demands.
We’re launching Reclaim Invention, a new initiative to urge universities to rethink how they use patents. If you think that universities should keep their inventions away from the hands of patent trolls, then use our form to tell them.
EFF is proud to partner with Creative Commons, Engine, Fight for the Future, Knowledge Ecology International, and Public Knowledge on this initiative.
A Simple Promise to Defend Innovation
Central to our initiative is the Public Interest Patent Pledge (PIPP), a pledge we hope to see university leadership sign. The pledge says that before a university sells or licenses a patent, it will first check to make sure that the potential buyer or licensee doesn’t match the profile of a patent troll"

No, the Internet Has Not Killed the Printed Book. Most People Still Prefer Them.; New York Times, 9/2/16

Daniel Victor, New York Times; No, the Internet Has Not Killed the Printed Book. Most People Still Prefer Them. :
"Even with Facebook, Netflix and other digital distractions increasingly vying for time, Americans’ appetite for reading books — the ones you actually hold in your hands — has not slowed in recent years, according to a study by the Pew Research Center...
Lee Rainie, the director of internet, science and technology research for Pew Research, said the study demonstrated the staying power of physical books.
“I think if you looked back a decade ago, certainly five or six years ago when ebooks were taking off, there were folks who thought the days of the printed book were numbered, and it’s just not so in our data,” he said."

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

IP Offices Focus On Educating Younger Population About IP Protection; Intellectual Property Watch, 9/6/16

Catherine Saez and Alexandra Nightingale, Intellectual Property Watch; IP Offices Focus On Educating Younger Population About IP Protection:
"Intellectual property rights awareness campaigns are increasingly targeting the younger population, as early as primary school, according to several country presentations at the World Intellectual Property Organization enforcement committee this week. WIPO is also developing an Education Took Kit for teachers of children aged 5 to 18. However for some countries, this education should encompass a broader view on IP than only enforcing rights."

You've Gotta Love This Stranger Things / X-Men Mash-Up; Gizmodo, 8/29/16

Germain Lussier, Gizmodo; You've Gotta Love This Stranger Things / X-Men Mash-Up:
"With all the 1980s influences used in Stranger Things, there’s little doubt that the Duffer brothers thought of Eleven as a bit of a mutant. In another universe, maybe she was a member of the X-Men—which is why this mash-up by artist Lance Schibi is so fun.
It takes the cover of X-Men #134, the first appearance of Jean Grey at Dark Phoenix, and flips it to the upside down world of Stranger Things."

Behind the EpiPen controversy are questions about patents granted to drugmaker; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/4/16

Samantha Liss, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Behind the EpiPen controversy are questions about patents granted to drugmaker:
"Drugmaker Mylan NV has received the brunt of criticism for alleged price-gouging on the lifesaving EpiPen, but other factors — and players — contributed to the monopoly it enjoys today, say experts familiar with the drug industry.
First approved in 1987, the EpiPen is protected from competition until 2025 by four patents. Three of those patents were awarded within the last six years."

Monday, September 5, 2016

Seattle salon shares trademark warning for small businesses;, 9/1/16

[Video] Heather Graf,; Seattle salon shares trademark warning for small businesses:
""The fact that they're spelled differently in this case really doesn't offer much protection," said attorney Robert Cumbow of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn. "How much do they look alike? How much do they sound alike? How close are they in meaning? And in this case, they look a lot alike. There's one extra extra letter in them. And they sound identical."
Cumbow said he knows it's a costly and frustrating experience for small business owners. His advice is for those business owners to do extensive research before choosing the name of their company.
"You've got to do your homework," he said. "So the very first thing for someone who is choosing a name for their business, product, or services is to get a search done, and make sure you aren't accidentally picking a name or product name that somebody else is already using.""

Pro athletes and the things they trademark; CNN Money, 8/19/16

Ahiza Garcia, CNN Money; Pro athletes and the things they trademark:
"Olympians know what they're worth.
That's why they trademark their names, catchphrases and logos -- things they think might turn into money-making ventures down the line. Sprinter Usain Bolt, for instance, trademarked an icon of the "lightening bolt" stance he's so well known for.
And it's not just Olympians -- plenty of pro-athletes seek trademarks to make money outside of their playing careers...
Bolt can't trademark the actual physical pose -- only symbols, words, phrases and designs can be trademarked, according to Professor J. Gordon Hylton of the University of Virginia School of Law.
Also, applicants must show that their trademark will be used on commercial goods, and it can't go unused for more than three years."

Europe’s copyright cop-out; Politico, 9/1/16

Chris Spillane and Axex Spence, Politico; Europe’s copyright cop-out:
"Fifteen years of bitter battles between old media and disruptive digital upstarts over copyright have led the European Commission’s long-awaited reforms of the system down a blind alley.
Instead of a coherent vision that produces winners and losers, the draft proposals on the so-called copyright directive fudge crucial questions about how artists can earn money in the digital age, and whether generations of internet users can avoid committing a crime for unwittingly accessing protected intellectual property...
Streamlining and modernizing a patchwork of copyright laws is a cornerstone of the Commission’s digital single market strategy, which aims to pump €415 billion into Europe’s economy annually by breaking digital barriers across the EU. A final version of the proposal is due to be proposed by the Commission on September 21, and then goes to the European Parliament and EU states for approval, which will likely be highly contentious."

Yes, the News Can Survive the Newspaper; New York Times, 9/4/16

Jim Rutenberg, New York Times; Yes, the News Can Survive the Newspaper:
"In this case, as the ad dollars that have long financed journalism vaporize into the electronic ether, you don’t know with any certainty that the best services that newspapers have provided — holding public officials to account, rooting out corruption — will live on.
If anything, today’s “efficiencies” may even set readers back by pumping out lowest-common-denominator nonsense or, at worst, disinformation.
Just look at what happened last week after that Goliath of the digital transformation, Facebook, pared back the team of “curators” and copy editors who oversaw the selection process for its “Trending Topics” feed. Instead, it gave more control over to an algorithm...
The Facebook experience wasn’t all that far off from the doomsday scenario John Oliver recently envisioned on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight.”...
Know-nothing press haters may say that news organizations are going out of business because the public is shunning them, but that’s not the case at all. Through online exposure, newspapers are reaching more people than ever. The problem is how they make money. Circulation for physical newspapers is declining, and so is print advertising; digital ads remain far less profitable. The trick is finding a way to make up the lost revenue."

Thursday, September 1, 2016

University of Pittsburgh Announces U.S. Patents Issued in July 2016; 8/15/16

University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institite; University of Pittsburgh Announces U.S. Patents Issued in July 2016:
"The University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute reported that Pitt Innovators were issued five U.S. patents in July 2016."

University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute; University of Pittsburgh, Press Release, 9/1/16

Press Release, University of Pittsburgh; University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute:
"You are invited to tour the newly renovated offices of the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute, from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14, 2016, at the Gardner Steel Conference Center, 130 Thackeray Avenue. Come and meet Innovation Institute staff and learn about the many resources, programs, events, and competitions planned for the new academic year. Appetizers and beverages will be provided. Click here to RSVP.
The Innovation Institute’s mission is to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at Pitt. Through its innovation commercialization services and entrepreneurship education programs, the Innovation Institute served nearly 2,000 Pitt faculty, students and staff in fiscal 2015. During the year Pitt Innovators submitted a record number of invention disclosures, were issued a record number of patents, and witnessed their discoveries translated into a record number of spinout companies.
As the Innovation Institute celebrates 20 years of providing innovation commercialization services to the University and the region this year, it is launching version 2.0 of its organization, following the consolidation of multiple offices under the Innovation Institute banner in 2013. With a streamlined technology management and commercialization organization, a new website, and expanded resources and programming, the staff of the Innovation Institute look forward to another banner year serving the needs and launching the dreams of Pitt Innovators."

Elsevier’s New Patent for Online Peer Review Throws a Scare Into Open-Source Advocates; Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/1/16

Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Education; Elsevier’s New Patent for Online Peer Review Throws a Scare Into Open-Source Advocates:
"Patents on software can be controversial. And often, so is the company Elsevier, the giant journal publisher. So when word hit the internet starting on Tuesday night that Elsevier had just been awarded a patent for an "online peer-review system and method," reaction from people aligned with the publishing and open-source worlds came swiftly on Twitter and in other online venues, much of it reflecting suspicion about the company’s motives...
The concern revolves around the patent Elsevier received for its five-year-old "article-transfer service," a propriety online system the company uses to manage journal-article submissions and the ensuing peer reviews."