Monday, October 31, 2016

He dreamed of screams: Meet the man behind the modern haunted house; Washington Post, 10/26/16

John Kelly, Washington Post; He dreamed of screams: Meet the man behind the modern haunted house:
" Itsi Atkins always believed that if he built it, they would scream.
And they did, by the thousands, at Blood Manor, the pulse-pounding, scream-inducing haunted house Itsi unveiled in 1971. When it became world famous — when a British tabloid called it “the sickest show in America” — Itsi knew that it had all been worth it — all that blood, all those severed limbs, all those fake guts and fake snakes, all those monsters, murderers and ghouls . . .
And to think it started in the wilds of St. Mary’s County, Md...
Itsi had trademarked the name “Blood Manor,” so when he saw the name being used for a Manhattan attraction — the sort of place lampooned in the “Saturday Night Live” David S. Pumpkins sketch — he sued them. They credited him with the name and concept on their website."

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Guess What’s Back From the Grave? ‘Night of the Living Dead’; New York Times, 10/27/16

Glenn Kenny, New York Times; Guess What’s Back From the Grave? ‘Night of the Living Dead’ :
"The film’s original distributor, the Walter Reade Organization (named for its founder, a pioneer of art-house distribution), did not file for a new copyright after changing the title from the original “Night of the Flesh Eaters” to “Night of the Living Dead.” That meant the movie went into the public domain almost immediately. As was once the case with Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the movie has been subjected to many unofficial, though legal, iterations.
The paradox of the situation has not been lost on its director, George A. Romero. “The fact that people were able to show it for free, that anybody was able to distribute it, did result in lots of people seeing it, and keeping the film alive,” he said in a phone interview. But viewers were too often watching inferior versions. That will change — dramatically, the moviemakers hope — on Saturday, Nov. 5, when the Museum of Modern Art screens a new, and copyrightable, restoration of “Living Dead” as part of its annual restoration and preservation festival, “To Save and Project.”"

Change at the Copyright Office; Publishers Weekly, 10/28/16

Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly; Change at the Copyright Office:
"Could Pallante’s departure spur Congress to finally appropriate sufficient resources to modernize the Copyright Office, which virtually everyone agrees is badly needed and long overdue? Hayden herself said she intends to build on the work Pallante did in terms of modernizing the Copyright Office for the digital age.
Or, might Pallante’s removal push Congress to consider removing the office from the Library of Congress altogether? Pallante was certainly held in high esteem by lawmakers. But sources expressed doubt that in the current political climate Congress would seek to create a new federal bureaucracy for copyright—which is the domain of Congress—that would be headed by a presidential appointee.
At the very least, ALA’s Sheketoff observed that Pallante’s removal suggests that the future of the U.S. Copyright Office is a high priority for at least one government official—Carla Hayden."

This ‘Stranger Things’ / ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Mashup Is — Wait, Come Back, It’s Actually Really Good; Comics Alliance, 10/28/16

Chris Sims, Comics Alliance; This ‘Stranger Things’ / ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Mashup Is — Wait, Come Back, It’s Actually Really Good:
"Listen, I’m as tired of stuff that mashes up two things that nerds like into one chimera of presumed awesomeness as everyone else is, but every now and then, that rare thing comes along that’s just really, really well done and well worth seeing. Today, we have one of those: Leigh Lahev and Oren Mendez’s Merry Christmas, Will Byers.
The animated short is, of course, a mashup that parodies Stranger Things and the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, but what sets it apart from your average It’s Two Things project (aside from not being a t-shirt) is that it’s really, really well done, and also builds to a pretty great punchline. Take three minutes and give it a watch!"

Patent Trolls Undermine Open Access; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 10/28/16

Elliot Harmon, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); Patent Trolls Undermine Open Access:
"...[E]ven as university research becomes accessible to a wider public, some of that same research is falling into the hands of patent trolls, companies that serve no purpose but to amass patents and sue innovators who independently created similar inventions. When universities file patents on inventions that arise from scientific research and then sell those patents to trolls, it puts a strain on innovation. That’s why EFF recently launched Reclaim Invention, a campaign to encourage universities to adopt policies not to sell or license patents to trolls...
As the open access movement continues to grow and mature, we hope to see open access allies on campus begin to take on their institutions’ patenting policies. University patenting and licensing policies directly affect how researchers’ outputs will be used in the field. The same arguments that have given way to the explosion of open access publishing also apply to patents—just as researchers shouldn’t trust their work with publishers that don’t have the public’s interest at heart, their institutions shouldn’t sell patents to trolls out for nothing but a quick buck. Instead, they should partner with companies that will bring their inventions to the public.
After all, the public paid for it."

Amazon nets patent for mini police drones;, 10/28/16

Daniel Demay,; Amazon nets patent for mini police drones:
"Forget police body cameras, Amazon was just granted a patent for miniature police shoulder drones.
Amazon Technologies, Inc. was granted a patent Oct. 18 for a device it called an “unmanned aerial vehicle assistant,” aimed at use by police for everything from monitoring situations to finding lost children at the fair.
The miniature drone, shown in patent filing drawings perched on a police officer’s shoulder above their clip-on radio microphone (and only just as wide as the mic), would be voice activated and could detect “distress” commands, among other things, essentially providing a second set of ears and eyes not just for the officer on the ground, but for a central system monitoring data coming from the drone...
The devices, if put into wide use, would no doubt raise new questions about police use of technology, said Shankar Narayan, technology and liberty project director for the America Civil Liberties Union in Seattle. Because the drones would be so small, they might be able to operate in discreet ways, collecting information without the subjects ever being aware, he noted."

Sorry, Trump. Someone Else Just Got Dibs on the Trump TV Trademark; Fortune, 10/27/16

Tory Newmyer, Fortune; Sorry, Trump. Someone Else Just Got Dibs on the Trump TV Trademark:
"Trump could almost certainly secure the trademark if he wants it. For one, Grabowsky’s declaration that he has no intention of using it will likely prompt the trademark office to decide against awarding it to him, according to Ann Ford, chair of the U.S. trademark, copyright and media practice at DLA Piper. And Trump’s fame gives him another advantage in locking down a trademark with his name on it. “Fame gives you a kind of superpower as a trademark,” Ford says.
But it could take a while...
Over the years, Trump has trademarked a dizzying array of products and events with his name on them, many since failed or abandoned: Donald J. Trump, the Fragrance; Trump Vodka; Trump Power and Trump Fire (both non-alcoholic beverages); Purely Trump and Trump Ice (both bottled waters); Trump Steaks; Trump Style (a lifestyle magazine); Trump Steaks; Trump Shuttle; Trumpnet; and Oysters Trump. And in 1991, he managed to grab a trademark for “Central Park,” which he’s since slapped on everything from parking garages to pillows.
The campaign itself has presented its own branding opportunities. Trump applied to lock down the trademark for his now-signature “Make America Great Again” slogan way back in November 2012, days after Obama won a second term. And he’s kept an eye out since launching his bid. After Texas Sen. Ted Cruz accused him of throwing a “Trumpertantrum” when he finished second in the Iowa caucuses earlier this year, Trump mused about trademarking the term—“before he does.”"

Chicago Cubs Counter Trademark Filings During World Series; 10/24/16

Darren Heitner, Forbes; Chicago Cubs Counter Trademark Filings During World Series:
"The Chicago Cubs have made it to the World Series for the first time since 1945 and the franchise is doing everything in its power to completely commercially exploit the opportunity. In September, the Cubs sued known vendors who were selling unlicensed goods. Now, the Cubs are filing actions through the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) to prevent third parties from registering trademarks that may be likely to be confused with the marks popularized by the baseball team."

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Importance of Intellectual Property to the U.S. Economy; Inside Counsel, 10/27/16

Amanda Ciccatelli, Inside Counsel; The Importance of Intellectual Property to the U.S. Economy:
"...[T]he U.S. Department of Commerce recently released a report that finds that intellectual property (IP)-intensive industries support at least 45 million U.S. jobs (about 30 percent of all the jobs in the country) and contribute over $6 trillion to, or 38.2 percent of, U.S. GDP. While IP is used in every segment of the economy, there are 81 industries that use patent, copyright, or trademark protections extensively.
Mauricio Uribe, partner at Knobbe Martens and Chris Eusebi, principal at Harness Dickey, sat down with Inside Counsel to discuss what top IP-focused law firms are seeing in terms of growth in specific industries and types of IP.
“There may be a limited number of organizations whose main function is to buy, sell, or license IP and in such create an IP industry,” Uribe explained. “However, other than this specific niche, we wouldn’t consider IP as an industry in itself. Rather, it is easier to consider IP as a factor that impacts almost every industry in some manner.”
Over the past five years, IP has supported close to 30 million jobs, representing almost a one percent increase in the number of jobs since 2010.
“In an economy where every job is important, innovation and intellectual property protections represent some of the most significant protections for American jobs and Internal Rate of Return for corporate business units,” said Eusebi.
Total employment supported by the IP-intensive industries, which are the jobs in patent, trademark, copyright, or IP-intensive industries plus supply-chain jobs equals over 45 million jobs in the U.S. economy. “These jobs clearly represent exports to the world economy that represent the inflow of capital into the U.S.”
“Lately, trademark protection represents a large percentage of licensing revenue. For sole employment, which represents a large percentage of the U.S. work force, copyrights effect over 15 percent of the workforce. While the number of jobs protected due to patent protection appears to have been reduced since 2000, these high paying jobs, mostly in manufacturing, are as important as ever,” said Eusebi."

Lawrenceville’s Arsenal Cider House Trademark Challenged By European Soccer Club;, 10/27/16; Lawrenceville’s Arsenal Cider House Trademark Challenged By European Soccer Club:
"Arsenal Cider House shares part of its name with the Arsenal Football Club in the United Kingdom.
It’s one of the most popular professional soccer teams in the world.
When Arsenal Cider House filed for a trademark application, lawyers with the football club tried to stop them."

Maria Pallante's Departure From the Copyright Office: What It Means, And Why It Matters; Billboard, 10/25/16

Robert Levine, Billboard; Maria Pallante's Departure From the Copyright Office: What It Means, And Why It Matters:
"Although Hayden spoke about the importance of copyright during her confirmation hearings, she is perceived to favor looser copyright laws, since she previously served as president of the American Library Association, an organization that lobbies for greater public access to creative works, sometimes as the expense of creators. The Obama Administration also has close ties to technology companies, which would like to see a Copyright Office that values fair use and other exceptions to copyright over the rights of creators and copyright owners.
Hillary Clinton is thought to be view copyright more favorably, but she hasn’t said much about the topic, and she initially addressed it in her “Initiative on Technology & Innovation” -- not an encouraging sign for creators. Donald Trump doesn’t appear to have said much about the topic."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

USPTO pushes trademark message at National Expo; exhibitors call for more public outreach efforts; World Trademark Review, 10/24/16

Tim Lince, World Trademark Review; USPTO pushes trademark message at National Expo; exhibitors call for more public outreach efforts:
"To appeal to the many youngsters attending, there were trademark-themed colouring books, a scavenger hunt and familiar costumed characters walking around the venue (including Crayola crayons, a Hershey’s Kiss, Fruit of the Loom characters and the USPTO’s own mascot, T-Markey). One of the events objectives, Denison told us after the opening ceremony, is to show attendees, especially those visiting on field trips, that “trademarks are fun” and not just a dry legal necessity, adding: “One of the reasons that the Expo is aimed at children is to get them thinking about trademarks at 10 years old, rather than when they're 35 years old and they've already started a business.” One of the exhibitors, Meghan Donohoe, COO at the AIPLA, told us that the strategy to inspire young people appeared to be working. “All the kids were wearing Under Armour, so it was interesting to see kids connect the dots when they realise the brand that they are wearing is trademarked,” she notes."

Monday, October 24, 2016

How the Copyright Act of 1976 Left Comic Artists, Like Jack Kirby, at the Mercy of Big Studios; New Hampshire Public Radio, 10/24/16

[Podcast] Devan Roehrig, New Hampshire Public Radio; How the Copyright Act of 1976 Left Comic Artists, Like Jack Kirby, at the Mercy of Big Studios:
"Jack Kirby and Stan Lee worked together at Marvel for almost a decade - they came up with the X-Men and the Hulk. And you may have heard of another character Kirby co-created: his name is…Captain America.
But for nearly 20 years Marvel and Jack Kirby engaged in harsh public battle over creative rights and fair compensation."

Maria Pallante Removed as U.S. Register of Copyrights; Billboard, 10/21/16

Robert Levine, Billboard; Maria Pallante Removed as U.S. Register of Copyrights:
"U.S. Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante was removed from her job Friday morning (Oct. 21) by the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, who has authority over the Copyright Office. Officially, Pallante has been appointed as a senior adviser for digital strategy for the Library of Congress, although it’s clear she was asked to step down. Karyn Temple Claggett, currently associate register of copyrights, has been appointed the acting register.
Pallante was locked out of the Library of Congress computer system this morning, according to two sources who spoke with Library employees."

Saturday, October 22, 2016

National Trademark Expo [U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)], October 21-22, 2016, Washington, D.C.

National Trademark Expo [U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)], October 21-22, 2016, Washington, D.C.
Kip Currier: Just returned from attending the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's National Trademark Expo in Washington, D.C.
Outstanding 75-minute "Trademark Basics" seminar by Atty. Scott Baldwin with the USPTO. Great conversations and hands-on demos with exhibitors like Velcro and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board within the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Self-guided exhibits on unique trademarks like the red-and-yellow McDonald's French Fry Holder and "100-year-old Registered Trademarks" like Campbell's Soup and Life Savers.
Photo-ops with USPTO staff decked out as Fruit of the Loom and Crayola crayon costumed characters.
And the ever-dapper Mr. Peanut--celebrating his 100th birthday--was in attendance too, with the Planter's NutMobile.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

About the USPTO's National Trademark Expo on 10/21/16 & 10/22/16; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); About the USPTO's National Trademark Expo:
"2016 National Trademark Expo
The 2016 National Trademark Expo will be held on October 21st and 22nd, 2016 at the beautiful Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium located at 1301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20240. The Expo is open to any owner of a federally-registered trademark. This free, family-fun, educational event includes exhibitors, kids programs, costumed characters, seminars, and more. The Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium is a very brief walk from the Federal Triangle Station of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) subway station and provides very convenient access."

‘The Great British Bake Off’ Changes the Way the British Bake; New York Times, 10/18/16

Melissa Clark, New York Times; ‘The Great British Bake Off’ Changes the Way the British Bake:
"Nobody expected a baking competition to become one of the top-rated shows on British television, reaching its peak audience of 15 million viewers with the Season 6 finale last year. (The most recent three seasons of the show began airing in the United States in 2014 on PBS as “The Great British Baking Show” because “Bake-Off” is a trademark of Pillsbury .)"

Monday, October 17, 2016

[Open Access Week Event at University of Pittsburgh] Open in Action: The Government, the University, and You: Presenter: Congressman Mike Doyle, Thursday, 10/27/16 4 PM - 6 PM

[Open Access Week Event at University of Pittsburgh] Open in Action: The Government, the University, and You; Presenter: Congressman Mike Doyle:
"Thursday, October 27, 2016 -
4:00pm to 6:00pm
Event Description:
4:00 pm – Reception
4:30 pm – Keynote speech
5:15 pm – Panel conversation followed by Questions and Answers from the audience
Learn about the latest actions around the Open Access Movement in the United States, and how you can get involved. Congressman Mike Doyle will join us to discuss FASTR, the Free Access to Science and Technology Research bill that he co-sponsored, which will require Open Access to all research articles funded by major US Government departments and agencies. He will discuss the history and origin of the bill as well as its current state in Congress, including what this bill would mean for researchers at our universities, across the country, and around the world.
Following Congressman Doyle’s speech, join us for a conversation with a panel of experts on advocacy and involvement in Open Access. James Maher, Provost Emeritus and Distinguished Service Professor of Physics at the University of Pittsburgh, will join special guests including Heather Joseph (Executive Director, SPARC) and Keith Webster (Dean of Libraries, Carnegie Mellon University) to discuss the role of the University and the individual researcher in moving the Open movement forward and what the impact of open access to research will be locally and globally."


"According to The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Brown operated numerous businesses based on the Star Wars trademark including New York Jedi, the Lightsaber Academy and Thrills and Skills. After serving multiple cease and desist notices, Disney finally filed a complaint with the California federal court."

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tell the Copyright Office: Copyright Law Shouldn't Punish Research and Repair; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 10/11/16

Corynne McSherry, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); Tell the Copyright Office: Copyright Law Shouldn't Punish Research and Repair:
"In enacting the “anti-circumvention” provisions of the DMCA, Congress ostensibly intended to stop copyright “pirates” from defeating DRM and other content access or copy restrictions on copyrighted works and to ban the “black box” devices intended for that purpose. In practice, the DMCA anti-circumvention provisions haven’t had much impact on unauthorized sharing of copyrighted content. Instead, they’ve hampered lawful creativity, innovation, competition, security, and privacy.
In the past few years, there’s been a growing movement to reform the law. As locked-down copyrighted software shows up in more and more devices, from phones to refrigerators to tractors, more and more people are realizing how important it is to be able to break those locks, for all kinds of legitimate reasons. If you can’t tinker with it, repair it, or peek under the hood, then you don’t really own it—someone else does, and their interests will take precedence over yours.
It seems the Copyright Office has heard those concerns. As part of an ongoing study, it’s asking for comments (PDF) on whether it should recommend that Congress enact a series of permanent exemptions to the law for several important and useful activities, including security research and repair."

Abbott and Costello Heirs Lose Appeal Over Broadway Play's Use of "Who's on First" Routine; Hollywood Reporter, 10/11/16

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; Abbott and Costello Heirs Lose Appeal Over Broadway Play's Use of "Who's on First" Routine:
"On Tuesday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of a copyright lawsuit brought by the heirs of William "Bud" Abbott and Lou Costello against producers of the Tony Award-nominated play Hand to God. However, the appeals court didn't accept dismissal for the same reason the lawsuit was initially thrown out. And in coming to its decision, the 2nd Circuit raises the possibility that the world- famous comedy routine "Who's on First?" is no longer under copyright."

The Man Musicians Call When Two Tunes Sound Alike; New York Times, 10/11/16

Alex Marshall, New York Times; The Man Musicians Call When Two Tunes Sound Alike:
"People often hear similarities between songs when no copying has occurred, Mr. Bennett says. That should not be a surprise. Most songwriters follow a strict set of rules — songs being three to four minutes long or having four beats to a bar — so there is actually much scope for similarity. But the truth is that many songwriters do use other people’s music for inspiration.
“Society’s become enamored by the romantic myth of creativity,” he says. “The idea that inspiration comes to us in a genius-like way from God or the spirit or whatever. Often for songwriters, that is how it feels emotionally. But, of course, every songwriter is partly a product of their influences. Allowing yourself to be influenced by a song — just not copying the melody, chords or lyrics — is perfectly fine. I mean, isn’t that what songwriting actually is?”
Mr. Oxendale agrees. “A lot of famous songs have been created using reference tracks and there’s nothing wrong with that,” he says. “There would be no Beethoven without Haydn. Who would want to have lost his music?”"

What spoons have to do with the Samsung-Apple patent lawsuit; PBSNewsHour, 10/11/16

Gretchen Frazee, PBS NewsHour; What spoons have to do with the Samsung-Apple patent lawsuit:
"The court’s task is not to determine whether Samsung infringed on Apple’s patents but to determine how much money Samsung should pay Apple for doing so.
It marks the first time in 120 years that the the court has reviewed a design patent case. (The Supreme Court has reviewed patents based on function, but not appearance.) And the last design patent cases reviewed by the high court dealt in saddles, rugs and spoons.
In fact, one particular case involving 19th-century spoons, Gorham v. White, was cited multiple times by lawyers before the Supreme Court on Tuesday."

Apple-Samsung iPhone patent feud leaves U.S. top court struggling; Reuters, 10/11/16

Andrew Chung, Reuters; Apple-Samsung iPhone patent feud leaves U.S. top court struggling:
"The fierce, big-money patent fight between Apple and Samsung left the U.S. Supreme Court groping for a solution on Tuesday, as the justices puzzled over how to discern the value of individual design elements in a complex product like an iPhone.
The eight justices heard arguments in Samsung's bid to pare back $399 million of $548 million it paid Apple in December following a 2012 jury verdict finding that it infringed Apple's iPhone patents and copied its distinctive appearance in making the Galaxy and other competing devices.
The $399 million penalty stemmed specifically from Samsung's violation of three Apple patents on the design of the iPhone's rounded-corner front face, bezel and colorful grid of icons that represent programs and applications."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The government and the courts are finally getting fed up with patent trolls — and stupid patents; Los Angeles Times, 10/11/16

Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times; The government and the courts are finally getting fed up with patent trolls — and stupid patents:
"Almost nobody disputes that America’s patent system is a mess, or that it’s been that way for an unconscionably long time.
Overworked and misguided patent examiners issue patents for manifestly undeserving claims. An entire industry of patent trolls has sprung up to assemble patent rights and exploit them, not to make products or develop services, but to harass other businesses into paying them off to avoid costlier litigation.
Efforts to reform patenting tend to run into resistance from big businesses, such as the pharmaceutical industry, that long ago figured out how to game the process and are disinclined to give up their advantage. As a result, a system that was written into the U.S. Constitution to encourage invention and innovation has been turned into a “dead weight … on the nation’s economy.”"

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Among Pressing Campaign Issues, Don’t Forget About Copyright; Variety, 10/7/16

Ruth Vitale, Variety; Among Pressing Campaign Issues, Don’t Forget About Copyright:
"Last week, CreativeFuture and Copyright Alliance partnered to send an Open Letter to Political Candidates reminding them that copyright drives creativity and innovation.
Over 35,000 signatures from individuals in film, television, music, book publishing, and photography signed the letter. Why is this important? Because it shows that we all understand the need to keep our creative industries healthy, but I don’t believe we say this enough to our political leaders...
The same candidates that come to the creative community also visit the tech communities. As we know, there are strong voices in the tech communities whose view of copyright is the polar opposite of ours – not everyone, but a lot of them. And you can bet your lunch money that when people in the tech community go to campaign events, they take every opportunity to talk about their issues, often, to our detriment. Sure, they talk about other issues, but they make damn certain that candidates come away with a clear understanding of their positions on copyright.
We need to start asking our politicians the important questions that pertain to our livelihoods. Whether you host fundraisers for our leaders or simply attend and donate – we must ask our leaders in Washington, “What do you intend to do to protect my rights as a creative?”"

Hamilton Producers Sue Over Copyright; Playbill, 10/8/16

Adam Hetrick, Playbill; Hamilton Producers Sue Over Copyright:
"Online t-shirt companies SunFrog and GearLaunch are being sued by the producers of Hamilton over copyright infringement. The show’s producers state that the companies have been selling bootleg t-shirts that utilize the show’s logo, according to"

Saturday, October 8, 2016

WVU library offers patent, trademark resources; West Virginia Record, 10/7/16

Taryn Phaneuf, West Virginia Record; WVU library offers patent, trademark resources:
"The only official Patent & Trademark Resource Center in the state has been offering its services for nearly 25 years. Recently, it’s become a tool used more frequently by WVU students building businesses involving intellectual property, Marian Armour-Gemmen, the patent and trademark librarian at Evansdale Library, told The West Virginia Record...
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has a network of official resource centers all over the country at public, state and academic libraries. It is designed to assist the public, and library staff are trained in using USPTO search tools to find the patent and trademark information. The records have changed over the years — from hard paper copies to microfiche to DVDs to online databases — but the premise is the same, Armour-Gemmen said.
“It’s really important to find a similar patent to your invention,” she said. “No invention stands alone. We don’t live in a vacuum — we’re influenced by somebody. It’s important to find ones that are similar to your invention so you can show how yours is novel.”
The centers are an important resource because of the value of intellectual property. The stakes are high for an inventor or business owner looking to protect their ideas or to avoid infringing on someone else’s — a mistake that can cost a lot of money."

Improving the Trademark Register; Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership, 10/5/16

Guest Blog from Commissioner for Trademarks Mary Boney Denison, Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership; Improving the Trademark Register:
"When selecting a mark for a new product or service, a business will search the USPTO database of registered marks to determine whether a particular mark is available. Registered trademarks that are not actually in use in commerce unnecessarily block someone else from registering the mark.
To ensure the accuracy of our trademark registry, in 2012, the USPTO launched a pilot program to gather data on whether registered marks were actually being used on the products and services listed on their registrations.
During the pilot, in 500 randomly-selected maintenance filings we required the registrant to submit proof of use for two additional items for each class listed on the registration. Although the registrant must submit one example of use per class in a maintenance filing, typically the registration will list multiple products or services for each class.
At the conclusion of the pilot, the USPTO determined that in more than half of the trademark registrations selected, the owner was unable to verify the actual use of the mark for the goods or services queried. This was in spite of the owner having recently sworn under penalty of perjury to such ongoing use as part of the maintenance filing. We issued a report on the results and held a roundtable to discuss the results and next steps. The consensus among roundtable participants was that the results of the pilot program indicated a need for some action to improve the accuracy and integrity of the register. As a result of these findings and input from the trademark community, we are now taking a three-pronged approach to tackling the so-called “deadwood” in our searchable database of registered marks."

Dramatic twists could upend patent battle over CRISPR genome-editing method; Science, 10/5/16

Jon Cohen, Science; Dramatic twists could upend patent battle over CRISPR genome-editing method:
"The 9-month-old patent battle over CRISPR, a novel genome-editing tool that could have immense commercial value, has taken two surprising twists. Last week, attorneys for the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the research organizations vying for CRISPR rights, submitted motions that could let it win even if it loses. And yesterday, a new player in the drama, a French biopharmaceutical company called Cellectis, may have made the whole fight moot, revealing it has just been issued patents that it says broadly cover genome-editing methods, including CRISPR.
The Broad Institute, a marriage between Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, holds 13 CRISPR patents that are under fire from the University of California (UC) and two co-petitioners. This past January, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) said it would review the patent claims in what’s known as an interference proceeding. That has triggered an epic legal battle over CRISPR intellectual property (IP) that centers on the Broad Institute’s issued patents and a patent application from UC that’s still under review."

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Suboxone Creator’s Shocking Scheme to Profit Off of Heroin Addicts; Daily Beast, 10/5/16

Christopher Moraff, Daily Beast; Suboxone Creator’s Shocking Scheme to Profit Off of Heroin Addicts:
"The case against Reckitt Benckiser accuses it of “product hopping,” in which a company tweaks its product slightly, often without any actual improvements, and then applies for a new patent with the intent of keeping its market share intact. In Reckitt Benckiser’s case, the product switch was from the orange Suboxone tablets it had been successfully marketing to a new dissolvable film strip that was developed by co-defendant MonoSol RX.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit say Reckitt Benckiser took product hopping to a nefarious new level by using “feared-based messaging” and “sham science” to illegally subvert the market for Suboxone tablets while aggressively promoting its new film variation, which was introduced in 2010 and is under patent until 2023...
Patent expiration is a conundrum faced by all drug makers and ordinarily it wouldn’t be a terribly big deal for a global monolith like Reckitt Benckiser—which generated more than $2.5 billion in revenue during the first half of 2016 through its ownership of popular brands like Lysol disinfectant, Mucinex cold medicine, and Durex condoms."

U.S. Justice Department Defends Copyright Anti-Hacking Law as "Unquestionably Constitutional"; Hollywood Reporter, 9/30/16

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; U.S. Justice Department Defends Copyright Anti-Hacking Law as "Unquestionably Constitutional" :
"The U.S. Department of Justice is demanding an end to a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of a law that prevents people from getting around the access restrictions on copyrighted works such as films, television shows and songs.
In July, the Electronic Frontier Foundation led the lawsuit that argues that the anti-circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Sec. 1201) inhibits free expression in violation of the First Amendment. The law allows for a triennial review where every three years the Librarian of Congress grants exemptions. For example, in the most recent review, the government made it legal to hack a smart TV to achieve interoperability and also allowed grade school teachers to circumvent access controls on DVDs for educational purposes."

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Here's Why Software Patents Are in Peril After the Intellectual Ventures Ruling; Fortune, 10/3/16

Jeff John Roberts, Fortune; Here's Why Software Patents Are in Peril After the Intellectual Ventures Ruling:
"Software Patents as a Threat to Free Speech
Friday’s ruling is also significant because Judge Mayer eschews the insider baseball language that typically dominates patent law, and addresses patents in the broader context of technology and government monopolies.
Pointing out that intellectual property monopolies can limit free speech, Mayer notes that copyright law has built-in First Amendment protections such as “fair use” and that patent law must include similar safeguards. He suggests that the safeguard comes in the form of a part of the Patent Act, known as “Section 101,” which says some things—including abstract ideas—simply can’t be patented in the first place."

U.S. top court refuses to hear Redskins trademark appeal; Reuters, 10/3/16

Lawrence Hurley, Reuters; U.S. top court refuses to hear Redskins trademark appeal:
"The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal by the Washington Redskins challenging a federal agency's decision to cancel the National Football League team's trademarks after finding the name disparaging to Native Americans.
While the justices refused to hear the team's appeal, the issues it raises are part of another case that the court last week agreed to hear involving the Oregon-based Asian-American rock band The Slants whose bid for trademark protection of its name was denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Both the band and the team have argued that a 1946 federal law barring trademarks on racial slurs violates free speech rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.
The Supreme Court opted not to hear the Redskins' appeal of a federal judge's ruling in July 2015 that upheld the Patent and Trademark Office's 2014 decision to cancel six trademarks held by the team and provided another victory for Native American activists pressing the franchise to change its name."

Tito's Tacos to change name following trademark tangle; Brattleboro Reformer, 10/3/16

Robert Audette, Brattleboro Reformer; Tito's Tacos to change name following trademark tangle:
"Victoroff requested that the Reformer "immediately remove the aforementioned infringing material from its website, immediately notify the source of the infringing content of this notice, inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately, and notify them to cease any further posting of infringing material to The Brattleboro Reformer News website in the future."
The Reformer has declined to take down the picture on First Amendment grounds.
In a response, Fredric D. Rutberg, the president of New England Newspapers Inc., which owns the Reformer, refused to remove the picture from the Reformer's website.
"The photo in question depicts a local food vendor whose sign identifies his business as Tito's Tacos," wrote Rutberg. "While this use of the name Tito's Tacos may indeed infringe on your client's registered trademark, it is our opinion that the photo in question does not constitute an infringement of your client's trademark. At best it is a 'fair use' of trademarked material."
"Tito's greatly respects your newspaper's First Amendment rights of free speech," Victoroff responded in an email to Rutberg, "but the use of its trademarked name in the [photo and news story] seriously dilutes and erodes its trademark. ... Every day the Tito's Tacos family must defend and protect its trademark rights from death by 1,000 cuts or risk losing its name and trademark.""

Big Week For WIPO Marrakesh Treaty On Access For Visually Impaired; Human Rights Side Under Focus; Intellectual Property Watch, 10/3/16

William New, Intellectual Property Watch; Big Week For WIPO Marrakesh Treaty On Access For Visually Impaired; Human Rights Side Under Focus:
"Prof. Laurence Helfer of Duke University Law School, one of the authors asked by the WBU to draft the implementation guide, said in an interview that the hope is the treaty “will not be seen as only an IP treaty, but also as an agreement that uses copyright to achieve human rights objectives. Marrakesh is thus one of the first treaties that is focused on the public interest side of IP law.”
Fellow guide author Prof. Molly Land, a human rights law professor at the University of Connecticut, said there is a connection between the Marrakesh Treaty and human rights treaties, such as the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). They are looking at how “ratifying and implementing the treaty is one way that states can fulfil their obligations under these other human rights instruments.”
“At the crossroads of human rights and IP, it’s really important to be able to see the treaty in light of both regimes,” she said. “Both in interpreting it, and also in implementation. States have commitments under both IP treaties and human rights treaties, and the guide is about how states can bring those together in implementation.”"

Libraries, Orphan Works, and the Future of Copyright; Information Today, 10/4/16

Nancy K. Herther, Information Today; Libraries, Orphan Works, and the Future of Copyright:
"Harvard Library recently released a comprehensive literature review on orphan works and copyright in “an attempt to solve the legal complexities of the orphan works problem by identifying no-risk or low-risk ways to digitize and distribute orphan works under U.S. copyright law. The project’s goal is to help clear the way for U.S. universities, libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions to digitize their orphan works and make the digital copies open access.”
The review, “Digitizing Orphan Works: Legal Strategies to Reduce Risks for Open Access to Copyrighted Orphan Works,” was written by David Hansen, clinical assistant professor of law and faculty research librarian at the UNC (University of North Carolina) School of Law. Its goal is to “change the face of the orphan-works problem in the United States.”"

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Library offers workshop ‘Copyright and Fair Use for Graduate Students’; University of Delaware, 9/28/16

UDaily Staff, University of Delaware; Library offers workshop ‘Copyright and Fair Use for Graduate Students’ :
"The University of Delaware Library is offering a Nov. 17 workshop on “Copyright and Fair Use for Graduate Students,” which will deal with the practical application of copyright law and its fair use provisions.
Considering copyright at the beginning of the research process will simplify the completion of the degree requirements for graduate students. Attendees will learn why and when copyright is important to scholars – researchers, writers and teachers – and these important skills:
• How to determine when permission is needed to use an excerpt or image;
• How to obtain permission; what to do when permission to use an image or excerpt cannot be obtained; and
• How to evaluate if fair use may be an appropriate defense for your use of material protected by copyright...
The workshop is available at no charge is open to University of Delaware faculty, staff and students."

Thanks to copyright law, Donald Trump Jr.’s controversial Skittles photo is now gone; Boston Globe, 9/28/16

Nicole Hernandez, Boston Globe; Thanks to copyright law, Donald Trump Jr.’s controversial Skittles photo is now gone:
"Copyrights: Even in the digital age, you must respect them.
Donald Trump Jr.’s controversial Skittles image that was tweeted last week has been taken down after a report from the copyright holder, according to a message that now replaces the photo."

Warning: This article on trademarks may include language deemed ‘scandalous, immoral or disparaging’; Washington Post, 9/30/16

Fred Barbash, Washington Post; Warning: This article on trademarks may include language deemed ‘scandalous, immoral or disparaging’ :
"It is a law called the Lanham Act that gives the federal government the power to refuse to register or to cancel trademarks deemed scandalous, immoral or disparaging — let’s call it SIOD for short.
On the basis of that law, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, for example, determined that Redskins, as in Washington Redskins, was SIOD and canceled its trademark...
The primary purpose of the 1905 Trade Mark Act, later reenacted as the Lanham Act in 1946, is twofold, as Carpenter and Murphy wrote in their law review article, “including lessening of consumer search costs and encouraging producers of goods and services ‘to invest in quality by ensuring that they, and not their competitors, reap the reputation-related rewards of that investment,’ thereby protecting consumers from deceptive practices.”...
What is SIOD?
“It is always going to be just a matter of the personal opinion of the individual parties as to whether they think it is disparaging,” said the PTO’s assistant commissioner in 1939, as he explained his own discomfort."

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Concept to Commercialization course for Pitt faculty and grad students; University of Pittsburgh, 1/29/16

University of Pittsburgh; Concept to Commercialization course for Pitt faculty and grad students:
"Concept to Commercialization is a course for Pitt faculty and grad students. It will help you learn how to protect your intellectual property, learn about the realities of entrepreneurship, and recognize the commercial potential of a scientific discovery."