Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Judge: Annotations to Georgia Law Are Protected by Copyright; Associated Press via U.S. News & World Report, March 28, 2017

Kate Brumback, Associated Press via U.S. News & World Report; 

Judge: Annotations to Georgia Law Are Protected by Copyright

"A federal judge has ruled that annotations to Georgia's legal code can be copyrighted and that a nonprofit organization's copying and distribution of them isn't protected by fair use laws.

The state in July 2015 sued Public.Resource.Org Inc. in federal court in Atlanta. The nonprofit is run by Carl Malamud, an internet public domain advocate who argues for free access to legally obtained files."

Judge Allows Copyright Lawsuit Against Marvel Over 'Iron Man 3' Poster; Hollywood Reporter, March 28, 2017

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; Judge Allows Copyright Lawsuit Against Marvel Over 'Iron Man 3' Poster

"[District Judge J. Paul] Oetken agrees with Marvel that the idea of a "highly mechanized suit of armor" and the "fighting pose" are unprotectable elements, scenes a faire in the comic book or superhero genre.
When it comes to the particularized expression of the idea, the judge notes some non-identical similarity — the hairstyles, the use of blue light, the color of the suits, etc. — with the ultimate conclusion that the works do share a similarity in their "total concept or feel" to survive a motion to dismiss."
According to the opinion (read here), "This is not a case where only non-copyrightable elements exist in the work, nor is it one where the Court can conclude, at this stage, that 'no reasonable jury, properly instructed, could find that the two works are substantially similar' based on their 'total concept and overall feel.'”

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I am an Arctic researcher. Donald Trump is deleting my citations; Guardian, March 28, 2017

Victoria Hermann, Guardian; 

I am an Arctic researcher. Donald Trump is deleting my citations

"The consequences of vanishing citations, however, pose a far more serious consequence than website updates. Each defunct page is an effort by the Trump administration to deliberately undermine our ability to make good policy decisions by limiting access to scientific evidence.

We’ve seen this type of data strangling before.

Just three years ago, Arctic researchers witnessed another world leader remove thousands of scientific documents from the public domain. In 2014, then Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper closed 11 department of fisheries and oceans regional libraries, including the only Arctic center. Hundreds of reports and studies containing well over a century of research were destroyed in that process – a historic loss from which we still have not recovered. 

These back-to-back data deletions come at a time when the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average. Just this week, it was reported that the Arctic’s winter sea ice dropped to its lowest level in recorded history. The impacts of a warming, ice-free Arctic are already clear: a decline in habitat for polar bears and other Arctic animals; increases in coastal erosion that force Alaskans to abandon their homes; and the opening up of shipping routes with unpredictable conditions and hazardous icebergs. 

In a remote region where data is already scarce, we need publicly available government guidance and records now more than ever before. It is hard enough for modern Arctic researchers to perform experiments and collect data to fill the gaps left by historic scientific expeditions. While working in one of the most physically demanding environments on the planet, we don’t have time to fill new data gaps created by political malice."

BrewDog backs down over Lone Wolf pub trademark dispute; Guardian, March 27, 2017

Rob Davies, Guardian; 

BrewDog backs down over Lone Wolf pub trademark dispute

"Branding expert Graham Hales, chief marketing officer at the Chemistry Group, said BrewDog had made the right decision by backing down. “Lawyers have their jobs to do and any brand needs to protect its trademark,” he said. “That being said, the sense of David versus Goliath in a business context is something people will comment on."

Who Has the Keys to Self-Driving Cars?; Inside Counsel, March 28, 2017

Amanda Ciccatelli, Inside Counsel; 

Who Has the Keys to Self-Driving Cars?

"The question of who controls the future of self-driving cars may be answered in a lawsuit happening right now in a California courtroom. In the lawsuit filed in February, Waymo (Google’s self-driving car unit) accuses Uber of patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation because Uber bought a $700 million start-up company formed by a former Waymo engineer who Waymo says stole its technology with Uber’s knowledge. 

“This case is one of the first major battles over driverless car technology, and it promises to be a real food fight,” said Ryan Koppelman, a partner in Alston & Bird’s IP Litigation Practice and co-leader of the firm’s Connected & Autonomous Vehicle Group. “Both companies are angling to capture a large share in the burgeoning world of self-driving vehicles. The global market for autonomous driving hardware components alone is expected to grow from $400 million in 2015 to $40 billion in 2030. The stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Supreme Court Considers Why Patent Trolls Love Texas; New York Times, March 27, 2017

Adam Liptak, New York Times; 

Supreme Court Considers Why Patent Trolls Love Texas

"More than 40 percent of patent lawsuits are filed in a federal court in East Texas with a reputation for friendliness to plaintiffs. That curious fact was the backdrop for a Supreme Court argument on Monday over whether the court should halt what many big technology companies say is pernicious forum shopping in patent cases.

In recent years, a single judge based in Marshall, Tex., oversaw about a quarter of all patent cases nationwide, more than the number handled by all federal judges in California, Florida and New York combined.

The Texas court is a favorite venue of patent trolls, or companies that buy patents not to use them but to demand royalties and sue for damages." 

Let’s Make The Copyright Office Less Political, Not More; Electronic Frontier foundation (EFF), March 27, 2017

Kerry Sheehan, Electronic Frontier foundation (EFF); 

Let’s Make The Copyright Office Less Political, Not More

"In sum, we’ll have a Register, and a Copyright Office, that is accountable only to the President and the special interests that helped get them approved in the first place.  That will inevitably accelerate the politicization of the Office.
Under the current system, the official in charge of selecting the Register is a member of the one community that can usually be trusted to think about all of the interests copyright law affects: librarians.  As we’ve said before, libraries have an institutional obligation to serve the public, and to support access to knowledge and culture. Given copyright’s constitutional mandate to promote progress, we think the Office’s mission is best served when it is subject to the oversight and guidance of the library community.
It’s bad enough that Congress and the public can no longer look to the Register as a neutral arbiter of copyright policy.  We shouldn’t make the problem worse by effectively making the Copyright Office into an independent regulator and policymaker. Instead, the Register should remain an advisor to Congress and an administrator of the registration system."

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Planning for International Trade Secret Protection; National Law Review, March 23, 2017

Polsinelli LLP, National Law Review; 

Planning for International Trade Secret Protection

"Your company has worked hard to ensure that its trade secrets are protected under the applicable state laws, and modified its contracts and policies to reflect the new federal trade secret protection standards. When your company has grown internationally, what happens then to trade secret protection? What can your company do to ensure that secrets fundamental to your business remain protected, even internationally?"

3 Steps to Protect Trade Secrets Under the DTSA; Inside Counsel, March 21, 2017

Autumn Gentry, Inside Counsel; 

3 Steps to Protect Trade Secrets Under the DTSA

"In order to be protected by the DTSA, businesses or individuals must demonstrate that they have taken steps to keep their trade secrets private.

Here are three essential steps companies must take to ensure trade secret protection under the DTSA."

Becoming a trademark practitioner; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, March 2017

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Becoming a trademark practitioner

"Requirements to practice trademark law
Any individual who is an active member in good standing of the highest court of any State may represent others before the USPTO in trademark matters. Attorneys are not required to apply for registration or recognition to practice before the USPTO in trademark matters. See 37 C.F.R. §§ 2.17; 11.1; 11.14. Subject to limited exceptions, individuals who are not active U.S. attorneys may not represent others before the USPTO in trademark matters. All individuals who represent others before the USPTO are subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the USPTO. See 37 C.F.R. § 11.19.

Becoming a trademark attorney

As noted above, U.S. attorneys need not apply for registration to practice trademark law before the USPTO. If you are a law student interested in becoming a trademark attorney, you may want to consider participating in the USPTO’s Law School Clinic Certification Program. Only law students enrolled in the clinic program at a participating law school may receive limited recognition to practice in trademark matters."

A new bill on US copyright law would take power from the Library of Congress and give it to Trump; Quartz, March 24, 2017

Thu-Huong Ha, Quartz; 

A new bill on US copyright law would take power from the Library of Congress and give it to Trump

"Yesterday, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the House of Representatives that proposes to change the country’s head of copyright from someone appointed by the Library of Congress, to someone picked by the president."

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Gates Foundation announces open-access publishing venture; Nature, March 23, 2017

Declan Butler, Nature; 

Gates Foundation announces open-access publishing venture

"One of the world's wealthiest charities, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, is set to launch its own open-access publishing venture later this year. The initiative, Gates Open Research, was announced on 23 March and will be modelled on a service begun last year by the London-based biomedical charity, the Wellcome Trust. Like that effort, the Gates Foundation’s platform is intended to accelerate the publication of articles and data from research funded by the charity."

Copyright law protects decorative features on cheerleading uniform, SCOTUS rules; ABA Journal, March 22, 2017

Terry Carter, ABA Journal; 

Copyright law protects decorative features on cheerleading uniform, SCOTUS rules

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that copyright law protects decorative features on a cheerleading uniform, resolving what it calls “widespread disagreement” through an analysis of art, function and form through the lens of the 1976 Copyright Act’s pertinent section.

The majority opinion in the 6-2 ruling in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands (PDF) was written by Justice Clarence Thomas, with a concurring opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a dissenting opinion by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The question at issue concerned the appropriate test to determine when a feature of a useful article is protected under the Copyright Act’s Section 101."

Patents Are A Big Part Of Why We Can’t Own Nice Things: the Supreme Court Should Fix That; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), March 21, 2017

Kerry Sheehan, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); 

Patents Are A Big Part Of Why We Can’t Own Nice Things: the Supreme Court Should Fix That

"Today, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could allow companies to keep a dead hand of control over their products, even after you buy them.  The case, Impression Products v. Lexmark International, is on appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, who last year affirmed its own precedent allowing patent holders to restrict how consumers can use the products they buy. That decision, and the precedent it relied on, departs from long established legal rules that safeguard consumers and enable innovation."

A Scholarly Sting Operation Shines a Light on ‘Predatory’ Journals; New York Times, March 22, 2017

Gina Kolata, New York Times; 

A Scholarly Sting Operation Shines a Light on ‘Predatory’ Journals

"The open-access business model spawned a shadowy world of what have been called predatory journals. They may have similar names to legitimate journals, but exist by publishing just about anything sent to them for a fee that can range from under $100 to thousands of dollars."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Public Meeting on Consumer Messaging in Connection with Online Transactions Involving Copyrighted Works from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. ET on April 18, 2017

Copyright Alert


Consumer Messaging in Connection with Online Transactions Involving Copyrighted Works
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force will host a public meeting on Consumer Messaging in Connection with Online Transactions Involving Copyrighted Works from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. ET on April 18, 2017 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The meeting will be webcast, and members of the public will have opportunities to participate.
In its January 2016 White Paper on Remix, First Sale, and Statutory Damages, the Task Force concluded that when consumers download copies of works (such as eBooks, music, and motion pictures), they do not appear to have a clear understanding of what they can legally do with those copies. It also determined that consumers may benefit from having more information about the nature of their transactions related to copyrighted works delivered online—including whether they are paying for access to content or for ownership of a copy—to instill greater confidence and enhance participation in the online marketplace.  The Task Force is therefore convening this meeting to facilitate a dialogue about ways to improve consumers’ understanding of license terms and restrictions in connection with online transactions involving copyrighted works. The goal is to explore issues and facilitate a discussion, and to determine in what ways government can be of assistance.
Please note, for those attending the event in person in Alexandria, registration is required. Registration is free. The meeting will be open to members of the public to attend, space permitting, on a first-come, first-served basis. Register to attend.
Visit the USPTO's event page for more details and webcast information. For non-press inquiries, please contact Linda Quigley, Attorney-Adviser, Office of Policy and International Affairs (Copyright), USPTO, at

Why Trademarking a Scent is Actually Really Hard; Inside Counsel, March 22, 2017

Amanda Ciccatelli, Inside Counsel; 

Why Trademarking a Scent is Actually Really Hard

"“The biggest challenge for registering scents is that they can be subjective and therefore very difficult to register,” said Marjure. “Perception of smell can be a very individual human experience.  Sometimes the smell can even cause a negative or unpleasant reaction.”"

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Adidas Trademark War Means Three Stripes And You’re in Court; Bloomberg, March 15, 2017

Kim Bhasin, Bloomberg; Adidas Trademark War Means Three Stripes And You’re in Court

"Oftentimes, Whitney said, labels count on companies to back down over trademark issues, since they usually don’t think a legal war is worth the trouble.

Not this time."

One Way To Force Down Drug Prices: Have The U.S. Exercise Its Patent Rights; NPR, March 16, 2017

Alison Kodjak, NPR; 

One Way To Force Down Drug Prices: Have The U.S. Exercise Its Patent Rights

"...Trump already has a weapon he could deploy to cut the prices of at least some expensive medications.

That weapon is called "march-in rights."...

...[L]ower prices could also make drug companies less eager to invest lots of money in new medications.

That's the trade-off the government has always had to wrestle with. But it's one Trump could very well decide is worthwhile.

"Perhaps we as a country would rather have lower drug prices and a little less innovation," [Sara Fisher] Ellison [an economist at MIT] said."

Friday, March 17, 2017

Coachella Organizers Suing Urban Outfitters for Trademark Infringement; Rolling Stone, March 17, 2017

Ryan Reed, Rolling Stone; 

Coachella Organizers Suing Urban Outfitters for Trademark Infringement

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and promoters Goldenvoice are suing Urban Outfitters for trademark infringement and unfair competition, among other claims. In a complaint filed Tuesday in the U.S. Central District Court of California, the companies assert that the retail chain improperly used variations of the long-running fest's name and trademark branding design for clothes sold by Urban Outfitters' Free People line."

Patents harder to obtain now, attorney [sic] say; Tulsa Business & Legal News, March 17, 2017

Ralph Schaefer, Tulsa Business & Legal News; 

Patents harder to obtain now, attorney [sic] say

"Back in 1899, Charles H. Duell, then-commissioner of the U.S. patent office, said “everything that can be invented has been invented” and the office should be closed.

Duell should have fast-forwarded 118 years to look at what has happened as technology has exploded and changed the face of the world. He would get a different perspective from four GableGotwals lawyers who are facing challenges the 19th century commissioner could not have imagined.

Todd A. Nelson, Scott R. Zingerman, James F. Lea III and David G. Woodral are registered patent attorneys."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

UN agency: China has explosive growth in patent applications; Associated Press via ABC News, March 15, 2017

Associated Press via ABC News; 

UN agency: China has explosive growth in patent applications

"The U.N.'s intellectual property agency says China is showing "quite extraordinary" growth in international patent applications, putting Chinese applicants on track to outpace their U.S. counterparts within two to three years.

Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, says China posted nearly 45-percent growth in such patent applications last year, saying "the country continues its journey from 'Made in China' to 'Created in China.'""

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Why the FDA hides the names of grocery stores that sell contaminated food; Washington Post, March 13, 2017

Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post; Why the FDA hides the names of grocery stores that sell contaminated food

"The SoyNut Butter and a related granola were sold in stores across the country, according to the Food and Drug Administration. It was also served in an untold number of child-care centers and schools.

The FDA does not specify, however, which stores, centers or schools — because that would violate its interpretation of an obscure trade secret rule...

In the case of releasing retailer lists during major outbreaks, the FDA has historically sided with business, ruling that such lists constitute “confidential commercial information” and thus should not be available for public consumption."

Trademark infringement award for Sturgis rally set aside; Associated Press via Minneapolis StarTribune, March 14, 2017

Associated Press via Minneapolis StarTribune; 

Trademark infringement award for Sturgis rally set aside

"A federal judge has vacated a nearly $1 million trademark infringement award made to the owners of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brand.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc., which owns the Sturgis logo, sued Walmart and a Rapid City retailer for allegedly improperly using the Sturgis trademark on merchandise. A jury awarded $912,500 to SMRI following a civil trial in October 2015, the Rapid City Journal reported ( ).

Federal Judge Jeffrey Viken upheld SMRI's trademark rights, but set aside the jury award against the defendants."

Lloyd Conover, Inventor of Groundbreaking Antibiotic, Dies at 93; New York Times, March 12, 2017

Denise Gellene, New York Times; 

Lloyd Conover, Inventor of Groundbreaking Antibiotic, Dies at 93

"With tetracycline’s commercial success, however, came a slew of patent challenges. Three pharmaceutical companies claimed that their scientists had discovered tetracycline before Dr. Conover, although their patent applications were filed later. After Pfizer licensed tetracycline to its competitors to end the dispute, the federal government challenged the licensing deals as anticompetitive, along with the validity of the patent.

“I had essentially a second career, preparing for and giving depositions and testifying,” Dr. Conover wrote in a 1984 article in the journal Research Management.

At scientific meetings, he wrote, he felt a coolness from peers who thought that his patent claim was false. A federal appeals court in Philadelphia finally affirmed the patent — and, by extension, the licensing agreements — in 1982, three decades after Dr. Conover invented tetracycline."

Monday, March 13, 2017

Patent Office finally confirms Michelle Lee is Director of the USPTO; IP Watchdog, March 10, 2017

Gene Quinn, IP Watchdog; Patent Office finally confirms Michelle Lee is Director of the USPTO

"At some point the story will be told about why it took 7 weeks for the Office to make a statement regarding the Director, and why the statement only came as the result of a FOIA request. But the more immediate question now becomes: How long will Michelle Lee remain Director of the USPTO?"

USPTO Freedom Of Information Act Inquiry; National Law Review, March 10, 2017

National Law Review; 

USPTO Freedom Of Information Act Inquiry

"The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) can be a very powerful tool. It provides unqualified right to access certain public records. Patent attorney Gary Shuster used it to file a FOIA request (Request No. F-17-00099) with the USPTO on January 26, 2017, seeking the following:
1. Any document written by or on behalf of Michelle Lee constituting a resignation from office, a request to withdraw a resignation from office, or a request to refrain from her position."

Under pressure from tech companies, ‘Fair Repair’ bill stalls in Nebraska; Guardian, March 11, 2017

Olivia Solon, Guardian; 

Under pressure from tech companies, ‘Fair Repair’ bill stalls in Nebraska

"“This has the potential to weaken security features in a host of electronic devices. It’s not about dead screen or battery,” said CompTIA’s Alexi Madon, adding that the bill applied to medical equipment and government servers. “Manufacturers are also required to give up sensitive intellectual property.”

Tony Baker, a Nebraska politician who previously provided information solutions to the US military, countered the suggestion that repair rights would infringe on the intellectual property rights and the security of software. He explained how his organization created software running on classified networks that granted different levels of access to different groups of people, depending on their level of authorisation or security clearance. He argued that manufacturers could do the same with their products."

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I Got Sued, Babe: Cher On Defense In Copyright Infringement Case; Forbes, March 8, 2017

Ronald Abrams, Forbes; 

I Got Sued, Babe: Cher On Defense In Copyright Infringement Case

"Even if Nadav’s case survives Cher’s motion to dismiss it still faces a huge uphill battle, including the issues of ownership/originality of the copyrightable elements of Nadav’s work as well as an in-depth “substantial similarity” test at summary judgment or trial phases of the case.

Although typeface and fonts themselves cannot be copyrighted, font software can be copyrighted, and allegations of font software infringement have dogged big media companies for years. Interestingly, Nadav’s complaint includes allegations relating to font software and accuses two of the defendants of copying font software to copy original elements in Nadav’s logos. However, the complaint tacitly acknowledges that Nadav did not secure copyright registration (or an official copyright registration rejection) for the software prior to filing the lawsuit; a prerequisite for bringing suit for those allegations. And, even if Nadav eventually receives a copyright registration for the software, the apparent significant delay in obtaining copyright registration will greatly impact his ability to recover any attorneys’ fees and damages even if he is able to somehow prove that the defendants actually used that software to develop Cher’s logos. If only Nadav could turn back time."

China defends its Trump trademark approvals as in line with law; Reuters, March 10, 2017

Reuters/Jason Lee; 

China defends its Trump trademark approvals as in line with law

"China's trademark office in recent weeks green-lighted 38 trademark applications linked to Trump, giving the U.S. president and his family protection were they to develop the "Trump" brand in the market.

The ties between politics and business have, however, prompted concern from politicians and rights groups who say the president could face potential conflicts of interest related to the extensive business affairs of his family...

Trump and his family, like many business owners, hold trademarks around the world, from business sectors such as apparel in the Philippines to golf clubs in Australia and property in Japan and South Korea."

Relax About Trump's China Trademarks; Bloomberg, March 9, 2017

Adam Minter, Bloomberg; 

Relax About Trump's China Trademarks

"China also knows that Trump's recent trademark applications (including one for escort businesses) likely aren't intended to precede new products. Rather, as Trump's lawyer explained to the Washington Post, they're defensive in nature, and designed to keep someone else from trademarking, and launching, Trump Escorts. That may sound convoluted, but it's actually a common strategy for foreign companies hoping to protect their brands in China.  

Moreover, China's interest in protecting intellectual property is at least as strong as Trump's in this case. In the coming months, the Trump administration is likely to roll out aggressive new policies in opposition to China's trade practices, including its lax IP enforcement. The last thing China wants is fake but licensed Trump products in Chinese stores making Trump's case for him.

For now, at least, giving Trump his trademarks probably won't put money into the president's pocket. But it's a crucial step for Chinese officials hoping to manage their relationship with an unpredictable new marketer-in-chief.

(Corrects headline to indicate trademarks instead of patents.)"

Friday, March 10, 2017

Should an artificial intelligence be allowed to get a patent?; Robohub, March 9, 2017

Ronald Yu, Robohub; 

Should an artificial intelligence be allowed to get a patent?

"Returning to the original question about patent rights for an A.I., perhaps the question we should ask is not whether an A.I. should be able to get a patent, but whether an A.I., given current technology, can create a patentable invention in the first place and if the answer to that question is ‘no’, then the question of granting patent rights to an A.I. is moot."

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Trump’s actions raise fears about access to government data; The Spokesman-Review, March 8, 2017

Stuart Leavenworth and Adam Ashton, The Spokesman-ReviewTrump’s actions raise fears about access to government data

"Wondering who is visiting the White House? The web-based search has gone dark. Curious about climate change? Some government sites have been softened or taken down. Worried about racial discrimination in housing? Laws have been introduced to bar federal mapping of such disparities. Federal rules protecting whistleblowers? At least one has been put on hold.

Since taking office, the Trump administration has made a series of moves that have alarmed groups with a stake in public access to information – historians, librarians, journalists, climate scientists, internet activists, to name a few. Some are so concerned they have thrown themselves into “data rescue” sessions nationwide, where they spend their weekends downloading and archiving federal databases they fear could soon be taken down or obscured...

“What is unprecedented is the scale of networking and connectivity of groups working on this, and the degree it is being driven by librarians and scientists and professors,” said Alex Howard, deputy director of the Sunlight Foundation, a group that tracks transparency in government."

Open-data contest unearths scientific gems — and controversy; Nature, March 8, 2017

Heidi Ledford, Nature; 

Open-data contest unearths scientific gems — and controversy

"Now one-third of the 60 papers that Wright's team had planned to publish are in jeopardy of being scooped. “I think the incentives to do these trials will be dramatically lessened if this is going to be the expectation going forward,” he says. “It's a huge time commitment.”

But others favour making data from trials publicly available as soon as possible. Doing so, they argue, opens up the possibility of a wide range of additional analysis, and speeds up analyses that can yield important clinical insights. “Clinical trial data are quite valuable, but usually they're kept locked away,” says Sandosh Padmanabhan, a participant in the competition who researches cardiovascular genomics at the University of Glasgow, UK. “Everybody who does clinical trials needs to open up their data for everybody to use.”"

The US government grants cannabis patents even though weed is illegal; Quartz, March 8, 2017

Ephrat Livni, Quartz; 

The US government grants cannabis patents even though weed is illegal

"If you look closely, the US government doesn’t seem as intent on thwarting marijuana development as the rhetoric espoused by some politicians would have you believe. In fact, cannabis seems to be slowly but surely gaining legitimacy, even in federal government circles, despite its Drug Enforcement Administration classification as a schedule 1 substance with no medical use.
Acceptance is signaled in small but significant ways. For example, the Patent and Trademark Office grants intellectual property rights to companies developing both marijuana plant strains and synthetic weed for industry...
[...S]ome industry insiders, like patent lawyer Erich Veitenheimer, who represented the holders of No. 9095554, believe this is just the beginning, and told Vice that intellectual property wars over marijuana are inevitable. Certainly, players appear to be preparing for these future cannabis battles, lining up ownership rights despite current federal law, as if widespread legalization is a pretty sure thing."

Plotting a patent; Nursery Management, February 6, 2017

Karen E. Varga, Nursery Management; 

Plotting a patent

"There have been 28,191 plant patent applications filed through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) since 1963. From those applications, 24,021 plant patents were granted. While, comparatively speaking, plant patents make up a very small portion of the overall number of patents granted in the U.S. (there were 25,986 design patents granted in 2015 alone), their importance within the horticulture industry has grown, especially with the proliferation of brands...

When the America Invents Act was signed into law in 2011 and fully implemented in 2013, the U.S. went from being a “first to invent” to a “first inventor to file” country, putting it in line with most of the rest of the world. Under the new system, whomever files the patent application first can become the patent owner. That means that if you publicly disclose your plant before filing, you risk losing patentability. In addition, the new system considers any public disclosure outside of the U.S. the same as one made within our borders.
“The most important thing I tell people is, don’t show it to anybody, particularly anybody from outside of your operation,” McCoy says. “Don’t disclose it, don’t show it to anyone, and then get with a practitioner. Under this ‘first inventor to file’ system, you need to file before you disclose in any way.”
For 10 more patent questions and their answers, read the full article in our February issue."

EU Internet Advocates Launch Campaign to Stop Dangerous Copyright Filtering Proposal; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), March 7, 2017

Kerry Sheehan, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); 

EU Internet Advocates Launch Campaign to Stop Dangerous Copyright Filtering Proposal

"In the wake of the European Commission’s dangerous proposal to require user-generated content platforms to filter user uploads for copyright infringement, European digital rights advocates are calling on Internet users throughout Europe to stand up for freedom of expression online by urging their MEP (Member of European Parliament) to stop the #CensorshipMachine and “save the meme.”

Last year, the European Commission released a proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, Article 13 of which would require all online service providers that “store and provide to the public access to large amounts of works or other subject-matter uploaded by their users” to reach agreements with rights holders to keep allegedly infringing content off their sites – including by implementing content filtering technologies.

We’ve talked at length about the dangers of this proposal, and the problems with filtering the Internet for copyright infringement. For one thing, it’s extremely dangerous for fair use and free expression online."

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ohio State University seeks to trademark The Oval; Columbus Dispatch, March 7, 2017

Mary Mogan Edwards, Columbus Dispatch; 

Ohio State University seeks to trademark The Oval

"Forget about any plans you might have to appeal to OSU-lovers everywhere with a line of T-shirts evoking that signature grassy expanse that's something between a circle and a rectangle: Ohio State University is claiming "The Oval" — the place name and the image, not the geometrical shape — as its own.

Seeking trademark protection is the ultimate step in brand defense, said Rick Van Brimmer, OSU's assistant vice president for trademark-licensing services. The university is moving The Oval up to that category (where Brutus Buckeye, Woody Hayes, The Shoe, Urban Meyer and the like dwell) because the university is using it these days as a neck label on apparel and other items."

Prenda Law principal pleads guilty to federal charges in porn copyright case; ABA Journal, March 7, 2017

Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal; 

Prenda Law principal pleads guilty to federal charges in porn copyright case

"A defendant in the Prenda Law case, which involved alleged shakedowns of people accused of illegally downloading pornography, pleaded guilty Monday to federal conspiracy charges of money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud. 

John L. Steele, the defendant, previously bragged about earning millions from suing people for illegal downloads, the Star Tribune reports. Federal prosecutors claim that Steele and Paul Hansmeier, a Minneapolis attorney, created two fake businesses to acquire copyrights for the pornographic films, some of which they filmed themselves, and posted the materials to file-sharing websites. Then they and other lawyers filed John Doe lawsuits against the downloaders and subpoenaed Internet service providers to identify defendants.
The government asked for a sentence of eight to 10 years. But according to the Star Tribune, prosecutors could agree to something shorter if Steele cooperates with them, which presumably would involve testifying against Hansemeier.
Between April 2011 and December 2012, Steele and Hansmeier, along with lawyers who worked for them, collected more than $6 million in settlements, according to the article."