Monday, February 26, 2018

Dannon Defector to Chobani Ignites Yogurt Trade Secrets Battle; Bloomberg Business, February 21, 2018

Chris Dolmetsch, 
Bloomberg Business; Dannon Defector to Chobani Ignites Yogurt Trade Secrets Battle

"Federico Muyshondt is accused of stealing details of Dannon’s business strategies, plans for future products and customer lists before resigning in January to take a position with Chobani, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court in White Plains, New York.

The suit illustrates how competitive the yogurt business has become and highlights the proliferation in the corporate world of non-compete clauses in workers’ contracts that restrain them from going to work for rival employers. Just last week, International Business Machines Corp. called foul on Microsoft Corp.’s hiring of its former chief diversity officer in a case that elevated the recruiting and promotion of a diverse workforce to the level of protecting proprietary technology."

Nearly Every English Word Is Trademarked; How Stuff Works, February 26, 2018

John Perritano, How Stuff Works; Nearly Every English Word Is Trademarked

"The two professors, Barton Beebe and Jeanne C. Fromer, looked at the 6.7 million trademark applications filed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office between 2003 and 2016. They then studied a database of the 100,000 most frequently used words in American English — the Corpus of Contemporary American English. They also reviewed a U.S. Census list of the 151,672 most frequently occurring surnames in the United States.

What they found will knock your socks off, which, by the way is also trademarked. "The data present compelling evidence of substantial word-mark depletion," they write in the Feb. 9, 2018 issue of the Harvard Law Review, "particularly with respect to the sets of potential marks that businesses prefer most: standard English words, short neologisms that are pronounceable by English speakers and common American surnames."...
The result of so many trademarks is that new businesses have to strain their noggins (yes, variations of "noggin" are already taken) to come up with monikers that aren't already claimed, or resort to what's called a "parallel registration." That's when two companies use the exact same name as long as it won't confuse consumers (for example, Delta Faucets and Delta Airlines)."

Oscar contender 'The Shape of Water' facing copyright infringement lawsuit; Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2018

Nardine Saad and Christie D'Zurilla, Los Angeles Times; Oscar contender 'The Shape of Water' facing copyright infringement lawsuit

"Fox Searchlight, Guillermo del Toro and others associated with the Oscar contender "The Shape of Water" are facing a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by the estate of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Zindel."

More small businesses are bringing claims to the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), according to a new report.; Scottish Legal News, February 26, 2018

Scottish Legal News; More small businesses are bringing claims to the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), according to a new report.

"More small businesses are bringing claims to the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), according to a new report.

The number of claims heard by IPEC last year reached a record high...

“Growing numbers of technology companies, in particular, are using the court, as IP will often represent their most valuable asset,” it states."

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Allergan is dealt another setback as patent board shoots down Mohawk patent deal; STAT, February 23, 2018

Ed Silverman, STAT; Allergan is dealt another setback as patent board shoots down Mohawk patent deal

"In a closely watched case, a U.S. patent appeals board ruled that a Native American tribe cannot claim sovereign immunity in order to avoid a certain type of patent challenge. The decision is a blow to Allergan (AGN), which last fall transferred patent rights to one of its biggest-selling medicines to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in hopes of thwarting generic competition.

Procedurally, Allergan sought to avoid inter partes reviews, a type of patent challenge that has vexed drug makers since going into effect six years ago, because these are easier and faster to file than patent lawsuits. At the time it transferred patent rights to its Restasis eye treatment, which last year generated more than $1.4 billion in sales, Allergan was facing a conventional patent challenge in a federal court."

Friday, February 23, 2018

Patent Trolls Target Small Businesses With Lawsuit Threats. Here's How One Startup Fought Back; Inc., February 22, 2018

Minda Zetlin, Inc.; Patent Trolls Target Small Businesses With Lawsuit Threats. Here's How One Startup Fought Back

"Why are they targeting small businesses?

For years, these entities made their money by suing or threatening to sue large corporations with deep pockets. This worked well because they could take advantage of the rule that companies can be sued anywhere they do business, and large companies tend to do business in every state. Patent trolls found a few federal court districts where they had greater odds of winning. From their point of view, life was good.

But in May 2017, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that companies could only be sued for patent infringement in the state where they reside. That made collecting much harder for patent assertion entities. Many turned their attention to small companies and startups for which the cost of defending a patent case could pose an existential threat. They began sending letters containing a simple proposition: Pay us a (relatively reasonable) one-time fee and we'll sell you a permanent license and drop our planned lawsuit."

Thursday, February 22, 2018

When the Copyright Office Meets, the Future Needs a Seat at the Table; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), February 21, 2018

Cory Doctorow, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); When the Copyright Office Meets, the Future Needs a Seat at the Table

"Every three years, EFF's lawyers spend weeks huddling in their offices, composing carefully worded pleas we hope will persuade the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress to grant Americans a modest, temporary permission to use our own property in ways that are already legal.

Yeah, we think that's weird, too. But it's been than way ever since 1998, when Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, whose Section 1201 established a ban on tampering with "access controls for copyrighted works" (also known as "Digital Rights Management" or "DRM"). It doesn't matter if you want to do something absolutely legitimate, something that there is no law against -- if you have to bypass DRM to do it, it's not allowed.

What's more, if someone wants to provide you with a tool to get around the DRM, they could face up to five years in prison and a $500,000 fine, for a first offense, even if the tool is only ever used to accomplish legal, legitimate ends."

Apple looks to patent yoga calorie counting; Axios, February 22, 2018

Ina Fried, Axios; Apple looks to patent yoga calorie counting

"Ever wonder how many calories you are burning doing yoga? Well Apple has applied for a patent for a way to do just that...

Standard patent disclaimer: Patents represent an idea that a company has but don't always mean something is coming to market."

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

6 Core Values and 5 Emotional Intelligence Skills Leading to Sound Ethical Decisions; IPWatchdog, July 6, 2017

Bernard Knight, IPWatchdog; 6 Core Values and 5 Emotional Intelligence Skills Leading to Sound Ethical Decisions

"Ethical conduct is required in all jobs and by all organizations.   It also applies to positions at all levels.   Anyone can disagree with a substantive business or legal decision, but make an ethical mistake and your company, firm or individual career could be in jeopardy.   I explain below some excellent tools to avoid ethical missteps...

This article discusses how you can use core values and emotional intelligence skills to avoid ethical mishaps.   These skills are easy to gain and can save you from an unintended ethical mishap.   For more on the importance of emotional intelligence, see my prior IPWatchdog article."

Patenting the Future of Medicine: The Intersection of Patent Law and Artificial Intelligence in Medicine; Lexology, February 14, 2018

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP - Susan Y. Tull, Lexology; Patenting the Future of Medicine: The Intersection of Patent Law and Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

"Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the world of medicine, and the intellectual property directed to these inventions must keep pace. AI computers are diagnosing medical conditions and disorders at a rate equal to or better than their human peers, all while developing their own software code and algorithms to do so. These recent advances raise issues of patentability, inventorship, and ownership as machine-based learning evolves."

Over 50 Libraries, Educators, Researchers Call On EU Parliament For Better Copyright; Intellectual Property Watch, February 15, 2018

Intellectual Property Watch; Over 50 Libraries, Educators, Researchers Call On EU Parliament For Better Copyright

"More than 50 organisations representing a range of teachers, students, trainers, researchers, scientists, librarians and others have joined together to call on the European Parliament to improve European copyright reform for education.
The announcement from Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) is available here and reprinted below:"

Merck Falls After $2.54 Billion Gilead Verdict Is Tossed; Bloomberg, February 20, 2018

Susan Decker and Christopher Yasiejko, Bloomberg; Merck Falls After $2.54 Billion Gilead Verdict Is Tossed

"Merck & Co. fell after a federal judge tossed a record $2.54 billion verdict it had won against Gilead Sciences Inc. over a hepatitis treatment.
A federal jury in 2016 had said that Gilead owed Merck 10 percent of the sales of its Sovaldi and Harvoni hepatitis C drugs. District Court Judge Leonard Stark in Wilmington, Delaware, agreed Friday with Gilead’s argument that the Merck patent was invalid...
The verdict was the largest patent-infringement verdict in U.S. history, dwarfing the next biggest, a $1.67 billion verdict won by Johnson & Johnson against Abbott Laboratories that was later thrown out on appeal, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The case is Idenix Pharmaceuticals LLC v. Gilead Sciences Inc., 14-846, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington)."

Monday, February 19, 2018

From Taco Tuesday to Sunday Brunch, restaurants fight over trademarks; National Post, February 19, 2018

Joseph Brean, National Post; From Taco Tuesday to Sunday Brunch, restaurants fight over trademarks

"News that a large restaurant franchise conglomerate has threatened a small Tex-Mex cantina in Calgary with a lawsuit for illegally using the trademark “Taco Tuesday” has shone a rare light into the murky world of intellectual property law for foodies.

It is a brutal world, in which even the most basic culinary gimmick has probably already been claimed and protected by unforgiving law, from the “Ham N’ Egger” to “Eggs Benny.”"

ASCAP sues Peninsula bar for copyright infringement; Peninsula Daily News, February 18, 2018

, Peninsula Daily News; ASCAP sues Peninsula bar for copyright infringement

"The lawsuit seeks damages, as outlined in the Copyright Act for infringement actions, of between $750 and $30,000 for the unlicensed, unpermitted performance of each of four songs, or $3,000 to $120,000 in total damages, along with court costs and attorney’s fees.

ASCAP alleges the songs were played on April 19, 2017, during what Wagener said were karaoke performances. A person from a private investigative firm who was at the bar documented The Dam Bar patrons singing the songs, Wagener said."

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Judge awards graffiti artists $6.7M in suit against building owner who whitewashed their art; ABA Journal, February 14, 2018

Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal; Judge awards graffiti artists $6.7M in suit against building owner who whitewashed their art

"A federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, awarded statutory damages of $6.7 million to 21 graffiti artists in a suit that contended a building owner violated federal law when he painted over their artwork.

U.S. District Judge Frederic Block ruled Monday that 45 works of graffiti art on the 5Pointz warehouses in the borough of Queens were protected under the Visual Artists Rights Act because of their “recognized stature,” report the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Dean Nicyper, a Withers Bergman partner who specializes in art law, told the New York Times that the decision is the first to find that graffiti and graffiti artists were protected by VARA.

The Visual Artists Rights Act amends copyright law to give artists the right to attribution and integrity of their visual work."

Friday, February 16, 2018

Copyright For Libraries Around The World In 2018; Intellectual Property Watch, February 16, 2018

IFLA via Intellectual Property Watch; Copyright For Libraries Around The World In 2018

"Note: This roundup of changes to copyright laws around the world was prepared and originally published here by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). It is reposted with permission of the authors.

Copyright laws around the world are constantly changing in an attempt to adapt – or react – to the digital world. These changes can have a major impact on how libraries function and on the public service they provide. While some reforms offer new possibilities and legal certainty, others look backwards and seek to use the law to restrict the ability of libraries to guarantee meaningful information access to their users.

IFLA therefore follows the evolution of copyright reforms around the world, as well as bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that impact copyright regimes.

With the input of the IFLA copyright and other legal matters committee and network, we have compiled an inventory of recent and ongoing reforms that affect libraries and their services around the world. Following part 1, part 2 will identify topics that seem to be gaining importance in copyright reforms, and the approach that countries are adopting."

Thursday, February 15, 2018

IBM-Microsoft Spat Elevates Diversity to Tech-Secret Level; Bloomberg, February 12, 2018

Chris Dolmetsch, Bloomberg; IBM-Microsoft Spat Elevates Diversity to Tech-Secret Level

"“McIntyre was at the center of highly confidential and competitively sensitive information that has fueled IBM’s success” in diversity and inclusion, the company said in a statement. “While we understand Microsoft’s need to deal with mounting criticism of its record on diversity, IBM intends to fully enforce Ms. McIntyre’s non-compete agreement to protect our competitive information.”

In its complaint, filed Monday in federal court in White Plains, New York, IBM pointed to Microsoft’s own attempts to keep details about its diversity efforts secret.

IBM’s diversity-related trade secrets aren’t valuable to Microsoft and McIntyre wouldn’t be able to use them in her new role, her attorneys said."

Drafting Quality Patents Avoiding §112 Rejections at the USPTO; LexisNexis Webinar on February 22, 2018 at 12 Noon ET

LexisNexis Webinar on February 22, 2018 at 12 Noon ET: 

"The value of a patent, for better or worse, is related to the likelihood that it could be successfully defended against challenges. In the past, it was believed that there was safety in numbers. Today, the focus is on quality patents, not the quantity of patents.

The requirements of §112 have become the linchpin in modern patent practice. Whether you are trying to define an improvement over the prior art to satisfy the Alice-Mayo patent eligibility test, or you need to carefully describe an innovation to overcome obviousness hurdles, filing a well-crafted, completed and vetted specification is mandatory.

Join presenters Gene Quinn, founder of, Joseph Root, founder of QualiPat and Dave Stitzel, IP Solutions Consultant on February 22 at 12:00 PM ET for a free webinar. They will discuss best practices for filing a robust application to avoid §112 rejections and associated problems."

Why Students Are Still Spending So Much for College Textbooks; The Atlantic, January 26, 2018

Laura McKenna, The Atlantic; Why Students Are Still Spending So Much for College Textbooks

"Along with the traditional textbooks, many college classes now require students to purchase access codes—which cost $100 on average—to online platforms created by publishers such as McGraw-Hill and Pearson. Homework and quizzes are hidden on the platforms behind paywalls that expire after the semester, meaning students can’t resell them once they’re done with the course...

Publishers and some professors tout the advantages of these new digital assessment tools, pointing to their ability to streamline the academic experience by making it more efficient and customized. The fact that they’re becoming omnipresent on some campuses speaks to instructors’ enthusiasm for them. But as demonstrated in a new report by Student PIRGs, a collection of college student-run advocacy groups that works alongside U.S. Public Interest Research Groups, students are starting to question their merits: The access codes threaten to exacerbate the already-high cost of college materials, undermining the used-book market and reshaping the college experience. As McGrath put it, now “you have to pay to do homework.”

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Artist Says Kendrick Lamar Video for ‘Black Panther’ Song Stole Her Work; New York Times, February 11, 2018

Robin Pogrebin, New York Times; Artist Says Kendrick Lamar Video for ‘Black Panther’ Song Stole Her Work

"In detailing the infringement, the letter says the video contains a 19-second segment (starting at the 2:59 mark) “that incorporates not just the immediately-identifiable and unique look of her work, but also many of the specific copyrightable elements in the ‘Constellations’ series of paintings, including stylized motifs of mythical animals, gilded geometric forms on a black background, and distinctively textured areas and patterns, arrayed in a grid-like arrangement of forms.”

Nancy E. Wolff, a copyright lawyer who currently serves as the president of the Copyright Society of the USA, said that the video’s directors are likely to argue that the images in the video are not exact copies. But because the gold-on-black aesthetic of Ms. Viktor’s work “is so strong,” Ms. Wolff said, “it’s just going to look like it’s the same.”

“It’s really tricky because style is not protected,” Ms. Wolff added, “but I can see why everyone assumed this artist was involved.”"

SCIENCE’S PIRATE QUEEN; The Verge, February 8, 2018


"The legal campaigns against Sci-Hub have — through the Streisand effect — made the site more well-known than most mainstay repositories, and Elbakyan more famous than legal Open Access champions like Suber. The threat posed by ACS’s injunction against Sci-Hub has increased support for the site from web activists organizations such as the EFF, which considesr the site “a symptom of a serious problem: people who can’t afford expensive journal subscriptions, and who don’t have institutional access to academic databases, are unable to use cutting-edge scientific research.”

The effort may backfire. It does nothing to address disappointment scientists feel about how paywalls hide their work. Meanwhile, Sci-Hub has been making waves that might carry it further to a wider swath of both the public and the scientific community. And though Elbakyan might be sailing in dangerous waters, what’s to stop idealistic scientists who are frustrated with the big publishers from handing over their login credentials to Sci-Hub’s pirate queen?"

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Cloudflare Terminates Service to 'The Pirate Bay of Science'; MotherBoard, February 9, 2018

Rebecca Flowers, MotherBoard; Cloudflare Terminates Service to 'The Pirate Bay of Science'

"On February 3, the Twitter account for Sci-Hub tweeted a screenshot of an alleged email from Cloudflare, the content delivery network provider for Sci-Hub (which acts as an intermediary between the user and website host), informing Sci-Hub that its service would be terminated in 24 hours. At the time of writing, the main Sci-Hub domain is inaccessible on the web, but the mirror sites mentioned in the screenshotted email from Cloudflare are still active.

Cloudflare’s termination of service is due to a court injunction against Sci-Hub, a Cloudflare spokesperson told me over the phone. That order was handed down by a federal judge in November when the American Chemical Society, another academic publisher, won $4.8 million in damages against Sci-Hub. The decision also included an injunction requiring search engines and internet service providers to block Sci-Hub, a digital blockade unusual for the US."

Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2018 to Be Celebrated February 26–March 2; Association of Research Libraries (ARL), January 17, 2018

Krista L. Cox, Association of Research Libraries (ARL); 

Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2018 to Be Celebrated February 26–March 2

"Mark your calendars! Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2018—a community celebration coordinated by the Association of Research Libraries—will take place Monday–Friday, February 26–March 2. You can participate on a single day during the week, multiple days, or the full week."

Happy birthday open source: A look back at the software that's pushing tech forward; TechRepublic, February 7, 2018

Jack Wallen, TechRepublic; Happy birthday open source: A look back at the software that's pushing tech forward

"Twenty years. It's been 20 years since the Open Source Definition (based on the Debian Free Software Guidelines) was published. That definition sought to uphold 10 ideas:
  • A license shall not restrict free redistribution
  • The source code must be included with the program
  • The license must allow for derived works
  • The license protects the integrity of the author's source code
  • No discrimination against persons or groups
  • No discrimination against fields of endeavor
  • The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed
  • License must not be specific to a product
  • License must not restrict other software
  • License must be technology-neutral
From that original definition, the idea of "free" (as in "freedom," not "price") software was born. In part, because of the Open Source Definition, plenty of game-changing software has been developed."

Can Christian Louboutin Trademark Red Soles? An E.U. Court Says No; New York Times, February 6, 2018

Elizabeth Paton, New York Times; Can Christian Louboutin Trademark Red Soles? An E.U. Court Says No

"The case highlights one of the most difficult questions in fashion: In a world where designers often have distinct styles, and attract admirers based on those styles, what can, and cannot, be trademarked?"

It’s all over: Why the Waymo v. Uber self-driving settlement makes sense; Ars Technica, February 10, 2018

Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica; It’s all over: Why the Waymo v. Uber self-driving settlement makes sense

"On Friday morning, Waymo and Uber settled their trade secrets lawsuit, setting the stage for self-driving marketplace competition rather than a legal battle.
After a drawn-out struggle both in a court of law and the court of public opinion, a settlement is the outcome that makes the most sense for both parties. To borrow a phrase that came out during trial from Uber’s ex-CEO, Travis Kalanick, the deal "minimizes risk, minimizes pain."
Waymo gets what it wants: Uber agreed to ensure that none of Waymo’s "confidential information" would end up in hardware or software produced by Uber’s self-driving division, known as the Advanced Technologies Group. Waymo also will receive a sizeable 0.34 percent equity share of Uber, worth over $244 million. No money has actually changed hands: it’s an all-equity arrangement, which means Waymo is financially invested to some degree in Uber's future. (The New York Times reported Friday that Uber's board had initially offered 0.68 percent, but that proposal was yanked prior to trial. After Thursday's fourth day of trial, settlement talks resumed.)"

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Andrei Iancu Named US Patent And Trademark Office Director; Intellectual Property Watch, February 6, 2018

Dugie Standeford, Intellectual Property Watch; Andrei Iancu Named US Patent And Trademark Office Director

"By a vote of 94-0, the United States Senate on 5 February confirmed California intellectual property litigator Andrei Iancu as next director of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)."

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Marvel Uses DC Comics to Fight for ‘Jean Grey’ Trademark; Bleeding Cool, February 4, 2018

Rich Johnston, Bleeding Cool; Marvel Uses DC Comics to Fight for ‘Jean Grey’ Trademark

"Marvel was invited to respond to submit evidence that “the applied-for mark is used to identify the goods in addition to identifying the character.”

Oh, and while they were at it, confirm that Jean Grey is not a real living person.

Well, Marvel has now responded, and is using evidence of its claims, almost 700 pages’ worth, of images of valid trademarks — mostly from DC Comics — to make its point.

Which is basically a) yes, we can, b) you’ve done it for other people before, and c) you’ve done it for us before."

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Responsible Enforcement: How To Handle Copyright Disputes; Forbes, January 31, 2018

Art Neill, Forbes; Responsible Enforcement: How To Handle Copyright Disputes

"Co-author Teri Karobonik contributed to this post*
You’ve started your business and covered all your bases. You’ve got contracts in place and you registered your copyrights and trademarks. But then it happens: you see your copyright or trademark reused without your permission. Or maybe, despite your carefully crafted contract, the videographer your hired to create a promo video won’t give you the video that you paid for. Or perhaps someone just said something really mean about you on the internet. What do you do?
There are many types of legal disputes that you might encounter when you own intellectual property. While we can’t tell you what to do in every situation, let’s break down many of the types of disputes you may encounter and provide some basic suggestions for responding to those disputes.

This is part of 1 of 3 about responsible enforcement in copyright disputes. The next two articles will be about trademark and defamation disputes."

Friday, February 2, 2018

Open science: Sharing is caring, but is privacy theft? by David Mehler and Kevin Weiner; PLOS Neuro Community Blog, January 31, 2018

Emilie Reas, PLOS Neuro Community Blog; Open science: Sharing is caring, but is privacy theft? by David Mehler and Kevin Weiner

"As we are actively figuring out the balance between transparency and collaboration in research, we thought it was worth reaching out to six of our colleagues who have thought extensively about OS. We hope that additional scientists will weigh in with further insight regarding this balance not only in human brain mapping, but also in other scientific fields.
Specifically, we asked them: What are the main challenges in moving toward Open Science and how can we meet them? Here are their responses:
Change is coming. Before we continue, let’s define some terms for potential readers: Open Science is an umbrella term that can mean different things to different people. Open access research allows everyone to learn from scientific work (particularly that paid for by the tax payer). Open educational resources mean we don’t re-invent the wheel when we teach others about our work. Open source materials are ones that allow you to see inside, and improve, the black box. Open dataallows researchers to verify our work, and conduct analyses that could not be carried out by one group alone.
Open Science also means open to everyone. We can use the power of curious non-experts through Citizen Science projects. The Open Neuroimaging Laboratory was a finalist for the Open Science Prizeand sought to “lower the barriers for researchers, students, and citizen scientists to help scientific discovery”. We can look to other neuroscience projects such as Eye Wire and FoldIt for inspiration in the future.
Finally, Open Science means open for all. Whose voices are not currently represented well in our field of study? Who is not advancing to tenured positions? How do we ensure that researchers in the developing world are able to contribute to our quest to understand the human brain? All of the open practices above facilitate the inclusion of under-represented minorities, but it will require ongoing focus and consideration to create an equitable community. That’s my biggest challenge: addressing my implicit (and explicit) biases to ensure we have bigger, better and more diverse ideas in the future.
I would like to live in a world where helping to advance the boundary of scientific knowledge is rewarded through new findings and by confirming (or not) already published results irrespective of who owns the data.”"

Copyright And Artificial Intelligence; Intellectual Property Watch, January 30, 2018

Edward Klaris, Managing Partner, KlarisLaw and KlarisIP, Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School, Intellectual Property Watch; Copyright And Artificial Intelligence

"If a software engineer programs a bot which can generate music, for example, the copyright belongs to the person who created a song by controlling the bot, not the engineer who fabricated the software, nor the bot itself. The monkey may have pushed the camera button, but the photographer owns the copyright.  That’s got to be the rule even in a world where the bot may be operating more on its own and with increasing artificial intelligence.  United States law needs to evolve to recognize that, although a person may rely even 100 percent on a machine to produce original work, the person is the author worthy of Constitutional protection.

Of course, there may well be cases that test this position going forward.  But, in an increasingly mechanized world, we must hold fast to the original principles of promoting “the progress of science and useful arts” by protecting human creativity and innovation."

Super Bowl Legal Blitz: Inside The NFL's Legendary Trademark Defense; Forbes, January 30, 2018

Michelle Fabio, Forbes; Super Bowl Legal Blitz: Inside The NFL's Legendary Trademark Defense

"A trademark is a "word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services." Generally, courts use a "likelihood of confusion" test to determine whether trademark infringement has occurred, i.e., whether a consumer is likely to be confused as to the source of the goods or services by the allegedly infringing usage.
Legally speaking, defending a mark is an important aspect of being a trademark owner. Besides the potential weakening and loss of distinctiveness ("dilution" in trademark speak), the failure to enforce a trademark could even lead to the forfeiture of some of the available remedies for infringement.
For this reason, multimillion-dollar companies hire professional watch services to monitor trademark use and possible infringement. And with the NFL, nothing seems to escape its notice—or legal wrathwhich goes far beyond just counterfeiters.
In 2007, the NFL sent a warning letter to an Indianapolis church that had advertised a “Super Bowl” party and planned to charge admission for a viewing on a screen larger than 55-inches. The league has since loosened its policies regarding gatherings—the word “Super Bowl” and team names can be used—but still no admission fees are allowed. For churches, the event must be held in the usual place of worship as opposed to a rented space.
Notably, the logos of the NFL, the Super Bowl and the participating teams may not be used, which has led to rather hilarious if legally sound results. Take, for example, this promotional image by a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania arts campus, which features clip art, "Birds" and "Big Game," instead of official NFL logos, "Philadelphia Eagles" and "Super Bowl"..."

Facebook patent tries to guess users' socioeconomic status; Axios, February 2, 2018

Kim Hart, Axios; Facebook patent tries to guess users' socioeconomic status

"A new patent from Facebook describes a system that would use data points it collects on the user — like education, travel history, the number of devices owned, and homeownership — to predict their socioeconomic status. The patent was spotted by CBInsights.

Why it matters: The social network, which is already coming under fire for knowing too much about its users, could use such a system to better target ads and content to specific audiences."

Thursday, February 1, 2018

GDPR is coming. Here are four simple steps to help you prepare; Wired, January 4, 2018

Matt Burgess, Wired; GDPR is coming. Here are four simple steps to help you prepare

"If you've made it this far without hearing of GDPR, or don't know where to start with preparing for its obligations, we've put together a few simple steps to get you started. GDPR is a dense piece of law so these shouldn't be treated as an all-encompassing list of actions to get you underway."

Tech Giants Brace for Europe’s New Data Privacy Rules; New York Times, January 28, 2018

Sheera Frenkel, New York Times; Tech Giants Brace for Europe’s New Data Privacy Rules

"Ms. Jourová said as the new rules take effect, countries outside Europe could begin demanding similar data protection measures for their citizens.

“There will be a moment, especially as more and more people in the U.S. find themselves uncomfortable with the channels monitoring their private lives,” she said."

WTF is GDPR?; TechCrunch, January 20, 2018

Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch; WTF is GDPR?

"The EC’s theory is that consumer trust is essential to fostering growth in the digital economy. And it thinks trust can be won by giving users of digital services more information and greater control over how their data is used. Which is — frankly speaking — a pretty refreshing idea when you consider the clandestine data brokering that pervades the tech industry. Mass surveillance isn’t just something governments do.

The General Data Protection Regulation (aka GDPR) was agreed after more than three years of negotiations between the EU’s various institutions.

It’s set to apply across the 28-Member State bloc as of May 25, 2018. That means EU countries are busy transposing it into national law via their own legislative updates (such as the UK’s new Data Protection Bill — yes, despite the fact the country is currently in the process of (br)exiting the EU, the government has nonetheless committed to implementing the regulation because it needs to keep EU-UK data flowing freely in the post-brexit future. Which gives an early indication of the pulling power of GDPR.

Meanwhile businesses operating in the EU are being bombarded with ads from a freshly energized cottage industry of ‘privacy consultants’ offering to help them get ready for the new regs — in exchange for a service fee. It’s definitely a good time to be a law firm specializing in data protection."

Data is the new lifeblood of capitalism – don't hand corporate America control; Guardian, February 1, 2018

Ben Tarnoff, Guardian; Data is the new lifeblood of capitalism – don't hand corporate America control

"Over the past year, a growing number of people have come to realize that data has a dark side. The information revolution has turned out to be something less than total liberation. The digital sphere is not intrinsically democratic; rather, what matters is who owns it and how it’s organized.

The digitization of everything has made this abundantly clear. As more of our lives are made into data, the companies that control that data have grown rich and powerful. It’s not merely that they know so much about us, from our favorite type of toilet paper to our favorite type of porn. It’s that they use what they know to inform algorithmic decisions that have a significant impact on society as a whole –decisions like what kind of news (if any) we consume, or how long we go to prison.

But the stakes are even higher. The emphasis on personal data has obscured the fact that data is not just personal – it’s commercial, industrial, financial. The reason that corporations are so concerned about who controls the packets that flow through the world’s fiber-optic cables is because a vast array of profit-making activities now depends on them."

Amazon patents wristband that tracks warehouse workers' movements; Guardian, January 31, 2018

Olivia Solon, Guardian; Amazon patents wristband that tracks warehouse workers' movements

"Amazon has patented designs for a wristband that can precisely track where warehouse employees are placing their hands and use vibrations to nudge them in a different direction.

The concept, which aims to streamline the fulfilment of orders, adds another layer of surveillance to an already challenging working environment."