Saturday, March 31, 2018

RIP John Sulston, open science hero and father of the Human Genome Project; BoingBoing, March 9, 2018

Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing; RIP John Sulston, open science hero and father of the Human Genome Project

"Sulston won the Nobel in 2002 and was a force for open science and access to knowledge. His two claims to greatness were his contributions to genomics and his moral leadership. He will be missed."

Judge Refuses to Dismiss Copyright Lawsuit Over LeBron James Tattoo in 'NBA 2K'; Hollywood Reporter, March 30, 2018

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; Judge Refuses to Dismiss Copyright Lawsuit Over LeBron James Tattoo in 'NBA 2K'

"When the lawsuit was first brought in 2016, no judge had ever firmly declared that tattoo designs are copyrightable. One tattoo artist once sued Warner Bros. over Hangover 2 for a reproduction of Mike Tyson's face tattoo. That case settled. Another dispute came from a tattoo artist who inked a UFC fighter and later asked a bankruptcy court to determine the value of his tattoo claim against videogame publisher THQ.
Copyright law protects original works of expression fixed in a tangible medium, but the question on a motion to dismiss filed by Take-Two was whether the use of tattoos was too fleeting to be considered an infringement.
U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain isn't ready to adjudicate this quite so readily."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Open access to scientific publications must become a reality by 2020 - Robert-Jan Smits; Horizon: The EU Research & Innovation Magazine, March 23, 2018

Joanna Roberts, Horizon: The EU Research & Innovation Magazine; Open access to scientific publications must become a reality by 2020 - Robert-Jan Smits

"A lot of lip service is being paid to making scientific papers free to access but when it comes to action there is a lot of hypocrisy, according to Robert-Jan Smits, the EU's outgoing director-general for research, science and innovation. He has recently been appointed the EU's special envoy on open access, tasked with helping make all publicly funded research in Europe freely available by 2020.
Making scientific publications free to read is a big change in a world dominated by subscription journals. Why is it so important that science publications become open access?
At the moment we are putting a lot of public money at national, European and global level into science. But we don’t have free access to the published results of the research we fund because this is locked behind paywalls. We have to spend an enormous amount of money each year on subscriptions to journals where scientific articles are published and on making these results immediately available in open access. Imagine if all the billions we are now putting into these expensive subscription journals could be put into research. That’s also why in the 3 O’s policy of Commissioner Moedas (the EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation), open access is mentioned explicitly as a top priority within the open science agenda.
'Open access to research results will help to have more and faster innovations, to have quicker solutions to the problems we are facing and to allow further research to be carried out.
'There is with regard to open access also another dimension, to which we don't pay a lot of attention. If we want to see that also in the developing countries a science base is being built, we should give these countries easy and low-cost access to scientific publications because these countries just cannot afford to pay for these expensive subscription journals.'"

UC libraries launch tool to help achieve open access; Berkeley Library News, March 21, 2018

Berkeley Library News; UC libraries launch tool to help achieve open access

"To help address this problem, the scholarly community has been working toward achieving open access, helping to unlock this wealth of information by making it free to everyone, everywhere. But after nearly 20 years of work, much of the world’s scholarly information is still not as available as it could be — only 15 percent of journal articles, for example, are openly accessible at the time of publication.

Today, to accelerate toward free readership for all, the University of California Libraries published Pathways to Open Access, a toolkit for campuses and research institutions to help make more knowledge openly available...

The UC campus libraries look to be leaders in reforming scholarly publishing and making universal open access a reality. The UC Berkeley Library already supports many open access initiatives, and the institution has signed the OA2020 Expression of Interest, declaring its intention to repurpose funds toward open access publishing. To do that on a greater scale means working collaborating with a variety of partners, including other UC campuses. In recognition of this fact, the UC libraries formed a working group in August to analyze open access funding scenarios and strategies, to help equip UC campuses to make informed decisions about their own paths to help make research openly available."

Responsible Enforcement: How To Handle Trademark Disputes Effectively; Forbes, March 15, 2018

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

"Co-author Teri Karobonik contributed to this post*
There are many different types of legal disputes that you might encounter when you own intellectual property. Trademark law protects consumers from confusion regarding the origin or source of a product or service. Trademarks can end up being a significant asset for your business because over time, your customers will be able to identify with the company. Your branding choices can make or break your business, and your trademarks will help you build that brand.
This means that you as a business owner should know what kind of protection your trademarks get you, how to maintain and use your trademarks (and those of another company), and when you should take action against someone using your trademarks. Trademarks can be expensive to get, more expensive to protect, and disastrous to your business if you lose protection. Because of these factors, trademark over-enforcement has become a bit of an epidemic, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
In the second part of this multi-part series (see part 1 on handling copyright infringement here), we provide some key tips and action steps for enforcing your trademarks responsibly online."

Why an Indian hotel startup is taking the difficult route of filing patents; Quartz, March 28, 2018

Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz; Why an Indian hotel startup is taking the difficult route of filing patents

"India and patents
High costs, lengthy processing periods, and a general lack of awareness are huge deterrents for startups eyeing patents in India. Gaps in the system, like a shortage of examiners, have caused hundreds of thousands of applications to pile up.
“Filing patents is common practice in other parts of the world but the importance of filing patents has only of late become apparent to startups in India,” said Anindya Ghose, the Heinz Riehl professor of business at New York University. Shorter processing times for intellectual property (IP) rights applications, an 80% rebate on patent fees for startups, and more transparency around the system are helping.
However, the country is still ranked an unimpressive 44th out of 50 in a score of IP robustness compiled by the US Chamber of Commerce (pdf) this year. “India’s score continues to suggest that additional, meaningful reforms are needed to complement the Policy,” the federal entity said."

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Google loses Android battle and could owe Oracle billions of dollars; CNN Money, March 27, 2018

Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Money; Google loses Android battle and could owe Oracle billions of dollars

"Google isn't the only company that stands to lose from this decision. Many others rely on open-source software to develop their own platforms. Tuesday's ruling means that some will either have pay to license certain software or develop their own from scratch.

"The decision is going to create a significant shift in how software is developed worldwide," Carani said. "It really means that copyright in this context has teeth."

"Sometimes free is not really free," he added."

Monday, March 26, 2018

Illuminating the Profession: Women in Copyright; Landslide, A Publication of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law, March/April 2018

[Kip Currier: The new issue of Landslide magazine, a digital and print publication of the Intellectual Property Law Section of the American Bar Association (ABA), has a fascinating interview of 6 female copyright experts. Ralph Oman, a former U.S. Register of Copyrights (1985-1993) and a copyright law professor at George Washington University Law School, poses intriguing copyright-related questions, of interest to copyright wonks and would-be copyright practitionersfrom the future of copyright in the digital age, to copyright cases that were decided “right” and those decided “wrong”, to “the number one legislative copyright priority in this Congress?”, and more.

Unfortunately, the full article is only available for members of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law. In my view, this article could and should have been made freely accessible future  to reach a much wider audience and showcase these outstanding and inspiring role models and leaders in copyright law, representing a wide range of sectors and copyright areas. [C'mon ABA, I get that you want to have a paywall for the IP Section of ABA, but how about providing some limited access or a few articles from an issue. The article's called "Illuminating the Profession: Women in Copyright", so why not further that aim by making the article accessible to more people and attracting more women to IP careers?!]

The six copyright luminaries are, in alphabetical order, June Besek; Dale Cendali; Mary Rasenberger; Kate Spelman; Francine Ward; Nancy Wolff. ]


Illuminating the Profession: Women in Copyright
Meet the copyright stars! Get to know some of the outstanding attorneys who practice copyright law."

Saturday, March 24, 2018

What Stake China Has In American Intellectual Property; All Things Considered, NPR, March 23, 2018

All Things Considered, NPR; What Stake China Has In American Intellectual Property

"NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Scott Kennedy, a specialist on China's economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies about China's stake in American intellectual property."

What’s Intellectual Property and Does China Steal It?; Bloomberg, March 22, 2018

Grant Clark and Shelly Hagan, Bloomberg; What’s Intellectual Property and Does China Steal It?

"2. What did Trump do?
In his first trade action aimed directly at China, Trump ordered that tariffs be imposed on a broad range of goods, which could include everything from tennis shoes and baseball hats to lingerie and consumer electronics. The U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has 15 days to propose a list of goods that will face higher tariffs. The levies would apply to about 10 percent of the value of China’s exports to the U.S., but aren’t restricted to products the U.S. says China made in violation of American IP. Trump is also directing officials to pursue a World Trade Organization complaint against China for discriminatory licensing practices and to propose new restrictions on Chinese investments within 60 days to safeguard strategic U.S. technology.

3. What’s the rationale for all this?

Lighthizer just completed a seven-month investigation into China and intellectual property at Trump’s direction. The $50 billion figure is based on U.S. estimates of the lost corporate earnings caused by China’s alleged IP theft or forced technology transfers. U.S. officials were said to find strong evidence that China uses foreign-ownership restrictions to compel American companies to switch technology to local firms and that China supports and conducts cyberattacks on U.S. companies to access trade secrets."

Celebrating Fair Use Week: An Interview With Peter Jaszi; Above The Law, March 1, 2018

Krista L. Cox, Above The Law; Celebrating Fair Use Week: An Interview With Peter Jaszi

"Peter Jaszi is a professor emeritus at the American University Washington College of Law and an expert in copyright law and fair use. His distinguished career has included numerous projects designed to promote the understanding of fair use in various communities. He is also the co-author of the book, Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back In Copyright, a new edition of which will be published later this year by the University of Chicago Press.


KC: One of the reasons that I love Fair Use Week so much is that it really provides an opportunity to celebrate a doctrine that we actually rely on every day in the digital era, whether people realize it or not. What are a couple of examples of how individuals use fair use in their day to day lives?
PJ: For good or ill, we live these days in a copyright-rich environment, surrounded by (and sometimes bombarded with) information objects that are at least technically within the subject-matter of copyright. In addition, contemporary copyright regulates many of the ways we interact with these objects. Under the circumstances, fair use makes it possible for us to get on with our lives and work without being serial copyright infringers. And while some of our fair use activities are done knowingly, many are not. When most of us clip a few lines from a news story or song lyric and send it to a friend on line, we don’t necessarily think that we’re exercising our fair use rights — but we are! Likewise, an investigative journalist who quotes extensively from the “smoking gun” memo that exposes a business conspiracy may be thinking in terms of press freedom, but it is fair use that animates the general principle. Anyone who dabbles in remix culture is a fair use beneficiary, and those of us who teach and learn in physical or virtual classrooms would be lost without it. Artists in all media rely constantly on fair use — for a current example, consider the powerful final sequence in the 2017 The Florida Project (which was robbed in the Oscar nominations). Fair use undergirds the system by which blind readers receive accessible copies of texts, helping to fulfill the aspirations of the Americas with Disabilities Act. And I could go on. Instead, let me recommend this year’s ARL infographic on the applications of fair use, which tells the story better than I ever could."

How much has the US lost from China's IP theft?; CNN, March 23, 2018

Sherisse Pham, CNN; How much has the US lost from China's IP theft?

"The United States has long said that intellectual property theft has cost the US economy billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs.

So just how much damage has it done?

The United States Trade Representative, which led the seven-month investigation into China's intellectual property theft and made recommendations to the Trump administration, found that "Chinese theft of American IP currently costs between $225 billion and $600 billion annually."

We Asked 7 Lawyers to Untangle the Broadway Fight Over ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’; New York Times, March 23, 2018

Michael Paulson and Alexandra Alter, New York Times; We Asked 7 Lawyers to Untangle the Broadway Fight Over ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

"So what happens now? The two sides could settle the dispute. Or the case could go to trial. In the meantime, we asked seven lawyers with relevant expertise to help us untangle the thicket — how much change is permissible, and who gets to decide whether the script crosses that line?"

Thursday, March 15, 2018

4/19/18 Mark T. Banner Award Luncheon at 33rd Annual Intellectual Property Law Conference

American Bar Association.
ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law

Harper Lee’s Estate Sues Over Broadway Version of ‘Mockingbird’; New York Times, March 14, 2018

Alexandra Alter and Michael Paulson, New York Times; Harper Lee’s Estate Sues Over Broadway Version of ‘Mockingbird’

"The move to assert more control over the play is perhaps a sign of how Ms. Carter views her role as a guardian of Ms. Lee’s legacy. In her final years, Ms. Lee went to court to protect her intellectual property, and sued a museum in her hometown, Monroeville, in 2013, arguing that it had infringed on Ms. Lee’s trademark by selling “Mockingbird” themed T-shirts and trinkets (the suit was settled in 2014).

Mr. Rudin alluded to that lawsuit in a statement that said the “estate has an unfortunate history of litigious behavior and of both filing and being the recipient of numerous lawsuits, and has been the subject of considerable controversy based on the perceptions surrounding its handling of the work of Harper Lee both before and after her death.”"

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Why the roots of patent trolling may be in the patent office; Ars Technica, March 5, 2018

Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica; Why the roots of patent trolling may be in the patent office

"In recent years, American companies have faced a growing threat from patent assertion entities derisively called "patent trolls." These often shadowy firms make money by threatening patent lawsuits rather than creating useful products. A recent study suggests that the roots of the patent trolling problem may lie with the US Patent and Trademark office—specifically with patent examiners who fail to thoroughly vet patent applications before approving them...
The study reinforces earlier research suggesting that the country's problems with low-quality patents and rampant patent litigation is driven by inadequate scrutiny of patents by patent examiners. It suggests that giving patent examiners better training and more time to scrutinize each patent could improve patent quality and bring down frivolous patent litigation over time."

ABA Webinar: Thursday, March 8, 2018

Webinar | March 8, 2018 | 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 

American Bar Association.


IBM settles legal dispute with diversity officer hired by Microsoft; IBM, March 5, 2018

Jan Wolfe, Reuters; IBM settles legal dispute with diversity officer hired by Microsoft

"International Business Machines Corp on Monday said it settled a trade secrets lawsuit it brought against its former chief diversity officer who left for a similar job at Microsoft Corp.

The settlement allows Lindsay-Rae McIntyre to begin working at Microsoft in July."

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Pepe the Frog Artist Suing InfoWars for Copyright Infringement; Comic Book Resources, March 6, 2018

Kirsten Thompson, Comic Book Resources; Pepe the Frog Artist Suing InfoWars for Copyright Infringement

"The lawsuit specifically cites a poster that pictures Pepe in the company of President Donald Trump, InfoWars founder Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, Roger Stone, Matt Drudge and Milo Yiannopoulous (among others) and the text “MAGA,” which refers to Trump’s presidential campaign slogan. Furie claims that InfoWars is selling this poster in its online store, though he did not authorize such use of the character.

The complaint can be read here in its entirety."

2018 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees announced; Dept. of Commerce Blog, March 2018

"Dept. of Commerce Blog


A post about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce

Earlier this year, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, in partnership with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), announced the 2018 class of inductees.
These visionary innovators each patented inventions that revolutionized their industries and changed people’s lives. Of the fifteen new inductees, five will be honored posthumously. 
Men and women in black tie attire pose for a photo on a stage.
The National Inventors Hall of Fame was established in 1973 by the USPTO and honors monumental individuals who have contributed great technological and scientific achievements and helped stimulate growth for our nation and beyond. The criteria for induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame requires candidates to hold a U.S. patent that has contributed significantly to the nation's welfare and the advancement of science and the useful arts. The inductees are honored at the National Inventors Hall of Fame museum located in the Madison Building on the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia.
This year’s class of inductees includes:..."


Andrew Whalen, Newsweek; 


"CBS and Paramount are unlikely to see things the same way. While Star Trek: Discovery press releases trumpet the “ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doers,” plans for streaming market domination depend upon exclusivity. The metaphor equating artistic expression and property has become so ingrained that companies regularly reduce their consumers to provisional licensees, subject to whatever controls the copyright holder decides upon, even long after the point of purchase.

Star Trek stands on the shoulders of giants. It exists because they plundered some of the most interesting stories and memes of science fiction, just as all science fiction writers do, to tell their own story. And to argue that when they did it that was the legitimate progress of art and whenever anyone else does it, it's theft, is pretty self-serving and kind of obviously bullshit,” Doctorow said. “It's a ridiculous thing for a law to ban something that ancient and fundamental to how we experience art.”

Countering the monopoly exercised by copyright holders will require a broader social realignment, under which people come to understand art as a shared cultural endowment, rather than product—a mindset beyond capital."