Friday, August 31, 2018

IBM makes millions off patents, but it could make billions with open source; TechRepublic, August 24, 2018

Matt Asay, TechRepublic;

IBM makes millions off patents, but it could make billions with open source

"While patent collectors will often claim that their portfolio is a good indicator of the deep research and development they do, rarely do we see patent heft translate directly into product success. Why? Because rarely do products succeed simply because of technical merit.

Instead, the most successful companies are those that can execute (sales, marketing, etc.) around a product, whatever its technical merits. In this area, IBM has largely failed over the last decade...

IBM has long been one of the pioneers in open source software, which is where most usable innovation seems to be happening today. From TensorFlow to Apache Kafka to Kubernetes, if IBM wants to compete with modern technology giants like Google and Microsoft, it needs to innovate in the same way they do, too. Yes, they still gather patents, but their more interesting work emerges as open source software."

New Paper Looks At Differential Protection For Traditional Knowledge, Folklore; Intellectual Property Watch, August 30, 2018

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch;

New Paper Looks At Differential Protection For Traditional Knowledge, Folklore


"The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) based in Canada recently issued a paper [pdf] on the tiered or differentiated approach to traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs)."

Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights, Oh My! What's the Difference?; Business News Daily, August 10, 2018

Adam C. Uzialko, Business News Daily;

Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights, Oh My! What's the Difference?

"Intellectual property might seem esoteric, but it's important to protect it like you would any other asset. To do so, you'll need to understand some basics about intellectual property rights first. 

Two of the most common forms of intellectual property protections are the copyright and the trademark. While the two are often confused, they protect very different types of intellectual property. Learning the differences, and how you can use both to protect your own creative output, is essential to securing your assets."

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ethics in Computing Panel; InfoQ, August 28, 2018

[Video] InfoQ; Ethics in Computing Panel

The panelists discuss the important points around privacy, security, safety online, and intent of software today." 

"Kathy Pham is currently researching the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence and Software Engineering at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center and MIT Media Lab."

Kathy Pham quote from video: 

[13:11 in video] "What a good engineer is maybe is something we should rethink as well.

I spend a lot of time in academia now. And I hear over and over again that people who are of the computer science plus philosophy or computer science plus social science background, have the hardest time finding jobs. Even if they're within the CS Department they have such a hard time getting jobs because they're not like the real hard science, or the real hard engineering discipline...

Those kinds of people provide a really different perspective on how we build our products. So if you're in charge of hiring for your companies, perhaps we all just need to rethink how we hire people and what makes a good engineer."

"Natalie Evans Harris is COO and VP of Ecosystem Development at BrightHive."

Natalie Evans Harris quote from video:

[12:28 in video:] "While we look at resumes and we care where you get your skills and degrees from, we also want to know what your ethical code of conduct is."

Predatory publishers: the journals that churn out fake science; The Guardian, August 10, 2018

Alex Hern and Pamela Duncan, The Guardian;

Predatory publishers: the journals that churn out fake science

"A vast ecosystem of predatory publishers is churning out “fake science” for profit, an investigation by the Guardian in collaboration with German publishers NDR, WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin has found.

More than 175,000 scientific articles have been produced by five of the largest “predatory open-access publishers”, including India-based Omics publishing group and the Turkish World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, or Waset."


California Bill Is a Win for Access to Scientific Research; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), August 30, 2018

Elliot Harmon, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); California Bill Is a Win for Access to Scientific Research

"In Passing A.B. 2192, California Leads the Country in Open Access

The California legislature just scored a huge win in the fight for open access to scientific research.

Now it’s up to Governor Jerry Brown to sign it. Under A.B. 2192—which passed both houses unanimously—all peer-reviewed, scientific research funded by the state of California would be made available to the public no later than one year after publication. There’s a similar law on the books in California right now, but it only applies to research funded by the Department of Public Health, and it’s set to expire in 2020. A.B. 2192 would extend it indefinitely and expand it to cover research funded by any state agency...

Finally, it’s time for Congress to pass a federal open access bill. Despite having strong support in both parties, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR, S. 1701, H.R. 3427) has been stuck in Congressional gridlock for five years. Take a moment to celebrate the passage of A.B. 2192 by writing your members of Congress and urging them to pass FASTR."

Copyright and Cosplay: Working With an Awkward Fit; Public Knowledge, August 29, 2018

Meredith Filak Rose, Public Knowledge; Copyright and Cosplay: Working With an Awkward Fit

"One of the questions about copyright that comes up most often at fan conventions is whether or not cosplay is “legal.” It’s a good question, but it gets into some of the murkiest areas of copyright law."

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Biggest Mistakes When Dealing With Copyrights; FosterSwift via YouTube, June 18, 2018

[Video] Josh W. Mashni, FosterSwift via YouTube; The Biggest Mistakes When Dealing With Copyrights

WIPO Traditional Knowledge Committee Begins Work On Core Issues; Indigenous Peoples May Be Left Out; Intellectual Property Watch, August 27, 2018

Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch;

WIPO Traditional Knowledge Committee Begins Work On Core Issues; Indigenous Peoples May Be Left Out

"The World Intellectual Property Organization’s committee seeking to find solutions against misappropriation of traditional knowledge opened this morning. While delegates are expected to negotiate wording of a potential treaty, the fund allowing indigenous peoples to participate in the discussions is empty with no foreseeable new donors, described by the chair as a historical situation. The committee is also trying to agree on recommendations for the upcoming WIPO General Assembly next month. On core issues, such as what the protection should cover, who would benefit from it, and under which conditions, delegates still have to find common positions."

Trump’s NAFTA Revision Could Further Extend Copyright Term (Or Not); Comic Book Resources, August 27, 2018

Eirik Gumeny, Comic Book Resources; Trump’s NAFTA Revision Could Further Extend Copyright Term (Or Not)

"An ambiguous press release from the United States government relating to the North American Free Trade Agreement is causing unexpected confusion for authors and copyright lawyers, as one specific document seems to state that the copyright term may be extended to 75 years. The wording, however, is unclear.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, a fact sheet released today by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative indicated that the “copyright term” — the length of time the creator of a particular work is entitled to certain protective rights — would “extend” to 75 years. Currently, the copyright term is set for the life of the author, plus 70 years."

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Story of the American Inventor Denied a Patent Because He Was a Slave; Gizmodo, August 28, 2018

Matt Novak, Gizmodo;

The Story of the American Inventor Denied a Patent Because He Was a Slave

"The world of invention is famous for its patent disputes. But what happens when your dispute wasn’t with another inventor but whether the Patent Office saw you as a person at all? In 1864, a black man named Benjamin T. Montgomery tried to patent his new propeller for steamboats. The Patent Office said that he wasn’t allowed to patent his invention. All because he was enslaved."

This New Hotel Room Is So Groundbreaking That They Patented It; Forbes, August 26, 2018

Christopher Elliott, Forbes; This New Hotel Room Is So Groundbreaking That They Patented It

"Can a hotel room be so groundbreaking that it deserves a patent? If it's the WorkLife Room, billed as the “guestroom of the future,” the answer apparently is yes.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) just approved InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)'s application for its new WorkLife Room at its Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts brand."

Copyright transfer, assignment and licensing in the United States; Lexology, June 25, 2018

Monday, August 27, 2018

Who Gets to Read the Research We Pay For?; Slate, August 21, 2018

Aaron Mak, Slate; Who Gets to Read the Research We Pay For?: Scientific journals’ lock on new studies has ignited tension for years. When it comes to access for people with rare diseases, it becomes an ethical issue too.

"This does not sit well with academics and other members of the research community, who often publicly complain about the company’s profit margins, its allegedly restrictive copyrights, and the fact that much of the research it sells access to is taxpayer-funded. This public outrage seems to have gotten under the skin of William Gunn, Elsevier’s director of scholarly communications. When one user argued that people in rare-disease families “shouldn’t have to jump through additional hoops to access information,” Gunn responded, “Yes, everyone should have rainbows, unicorns, & puppies delivered to their doorstep by volunteers. Y’all keep wishing for that, I’ll keep working on producing the best knowledge and distributing it as best we can.”

This is just one reckless tweet in the heat of a Twitter spat (though it’s worth bearing Gunn’s job title in mind), and, sure, he later apologized. But the issue of rare-disease families trying to avoid the high fees associated with accessing research on potential treatments goes beyond this Twitter spat: It’s a real problem that has not been adequately fixed by the company."

Best Practices For Developing, Managing And Protecting Your Company's Intellectual Property; Forbes, August 16, 2018

Chalmers Brown, Forbes; Best Practices For Developing, Managing And Protecting Your Company's Intellectual Property

"Every company has some type of intellectual property (IP). It's that product or service that you have developed that sets you apart from other companies and frames your business, its purpose and its growth potential. Therefore, you want to keep developing, managing and protecting that IP in a way that drives more value and stimulates sustainable growth. It's also important that there is some type of exit strategy in place since most companies are acquired primarily due to their IP assets.

As someone who's created my own startups and is now working with others on theirs to help develop technology, I've gained a greater understanding of how to take care of these assets as an IT executive so that I might provide others with best practices to implement with their own IP. Previously, I did not prioritize IP in the way I should have. Here are some best practices to employ:"

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Forrest Goodluck: the Native American actor ripping up the rulebook; The Guardian, August 23, 2018

Amy Nicholson, The Guardian; Forrest Goodluck: the Native American actor ripping up the rulebook

"Not bad for a boy from Albuquerque, New Mexico who started his career on an inauspicious stage. In fifth grade, Goodluck spent a month writing down every line in A Charlie Brown Christmas so he could direct it at his small school, a former mental hospital with two dingy spotlights in the basement and a stack of rusty metal folding chairs. “I didn’t know about copyright,” says Goodluck, but he did have a beagle who could play Snoopy. His Charlie Brown dropped out a week before the show, so Goodluck stepped into the lead role."

Steven Tyler orders Donald Trump to stop playing Aerosmith music at rallies; The Guardian, Augist 23, 2018

Ben Beaumont-Thomas, The Guardian; Steven Tyler orders Donald Trump to stop playing Aerosmith music at rallies

"Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, has ordered Donald Trump to stop playing Aerosmith songs at his political rallies.

Aerosmith’s Livin’ on the Edge was played at a Trump rally in Charleston, West Virginia, on Tuesday. In a cease-and-desist letter, Tyler’s lawyers argued: “Mr Trump is creating the false impression that our client has given his consent for the use of his music, and even that he endorses the presidency of Mr Trump.”"

FBI Agent Points to Need for Protecting Intellectual Property From Theft; KTIC Radio, August 22, 2018

Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor, KTIC Radio; FBI Agent Points to Need for Protecting Intellectual Property From Theft


Agriculture has seen its share of high-profile thefts, some coming out of labs, while others come right out of cornfields. Nichols pointed to the case of Mo Hailong, who was sentenced in 2016 to three years in federal prison for stealing biotech corn seeds from DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto in the Midwest.

As DTN has reported in the past, before Hailong was caught, FBI agents said he shipped over 340 pounds of corn seeds from Iowa to his home in Florida. Authorities aren’t certain where the seeds went from there, but it was easy to conclude the seeds were sent to China. The FBI also recorded some of Hailong’s phone calls back to China, in which he and a Chinese plant breeder talked about “using the foreigners’ technology to beat them.” Citing the need to boost biotechnology in China, one of Hailong’s co-conspirators said, “There is a serious need for a national hero.”"

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

USPTO Seeking Public Comments on Draft 2018-2022 Strategic Plan; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), August 22, 2018

USPTO Seeking Public Comments on Draft 2018-2022 Strategic Plan

"The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced it is seeking comments on the draft 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. The draft plan sets out the USPTO's mission-focused strategic goals: to optimize patent quality and timeliness; to optimize trademark quality and timeliness; and to provide domestic and global leadership to improve intellectual property (IP) policy, enforcement, and protection worldwide.
The USPTO welcomes comments on all aspects of the plan. Comments should be sent by email addressed to (link sends e-mail). The USPTO will consider all comments received during the public comment period from August 22 through September 20, and anticipates posting the final strategic plan for FY 2018-2022 on in November 2018.
For more information on the proposed 2018-2022 Strategic Plan at the USPTO, please visit"

Calculating (and Acknowledging) the Costs of OER; Inside Higher Ed, July 25, 2018

Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed; Calculating (and Acknowledging) the Costs of OER

"The news releases regularly roll in to the email inbox these days with headlines like "College X has saved students $5 million by adopting open educational resources." Not only have these initiatives made a higher education more affordable, the colleges and universities note, but students who might have forgone buying an expensive textbook in the past are actually getting and using the OER content, ideally contributing to their academic success.

Amid those successes, rarely mentioned is the reality that in many cases, the institution itself is picking up the costs that were formally borne by the students, through some combination of direct subsidies to instructors to create the content and a loss of textbook revenue to a campus store, among other costs.

A session this week at the annual meeting of the National Association of College and University Business Officers addressed that issue head-on, in a way that would be unusual at a conference of OER advocates. It's not that the session took a skeptical view of OER -- far from it. The featured institution, the Pierce College District in Washington State, has fully embraced the use of open resources for affordability and efficacy, among other reasons. But the enthusiasm of the community college's open education project manager, Quill West, was balanced by the even-keeled acknowledgment of Choi Halladay, the district's vice president of administrative services, that OER comes at a price to the institution -- though a price very much worth paying, he said."

Copyright vs. Conscience: Lawyering Up Isn’t Always the Right Move; PetaPixel, August 21, 2018

Blair Bunting, PetaPixel; Copyright vs. Conscience: Lawyering Up Isn’t Always the Right Move

"You read stories about photographers going after copyright abuse all the time, and it’s nearly always justified. In this case, I hope you can agree with me that seeking monetary compensation through legal recourse was not the right move. Sometimes you have to step back and remember that this may be a business, but it’s a business that relies on people. Once in a while, you have to remember that everyone featured in a photograph is a human, and as such all deserve compassion.

Rest in peace, Old Man."

Monday, August 20, 2018

Face-PALM: US Patent and Trademark Office database down for 5 days and counting; The Register, August 20, 2018

Richard Speed, The Register; Face-PALM: US Patent and Trademark Office database down for 5 days and counting

"The Patent Application Locating and Monitoring (PALM) database forms the backbone of a distressingly large number of US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) systems and, during some maintenance at 04:30 ET on 15 August, "experienced an issue".

More than five days on, PALM is still down. As such, this is more akin to the Titanic experiencing an iceberg "issue" rather than a straightforward turn it off and on again.

Systems impacted include the USPTO's Electronic Filing System (EFS), the Public and Private Patent Application Retrieval (PAIR) systems and the Electronic Patent Assignment (ePAS) among others.

36 hours after the outage began, the USPTO kicked off its contingency systems so users could at least still file patents (in theory), if not access saved submissions. Users were not convinced."

Legal Counsel: Can you copyright a tweet?; The Oklahoman, August 19, 2018

Terry L. Watt, PhD, The Oklahoman; Legal Counsel: Can you copyright a tweet?

"Although there is no clear rule concerning the ability to copyright tweets, it is likely that in most cases they are not eligible. Still, when in doubt, getting permission from the author is always advised."

The Key to the Sharp Objects Mystery Is in the Music; Esquire, August 12, 2018

Matt Miller, Esquire; The Key to the Sharp Objects Mystery Is in the Music

[Kip Currier: HBO's 8-episode "Sharp Objects" is a thought-stirring, unflinching exhumation on the roles of "memory" and "place" in people's lives, as witnessed via the POV of childhood trauma survivor-cum-journalist Amy Adams' tragi-heroine. Music plays an inseparable role in the show's haunting story-telling and this Esquire article sheds fascinating light on the creative, collaborative spirit between director Jean-Marc Vallée and rock music icon band Led Zeppelin, whose songs stand out memorably in some key episodes.]

"Miraculously, [Led Zeppelin] liked the idea so much they approved not one but four songs; they also gave Vallée free reign to play as much of the tracks as he wanted and even layer them over each other to make his own atmosphere. “I think I fell on the floor,” Jacobs says of when she got the call, hearing that the songs had been approved. “Like, wow, this was so unprecedented, because they rarely ever let you use more than one song, and [we could] use the songs multiple times.”

The difference with Sharp Objects was Vallée’s approach to his soundtracks, which isn’t music as background music, but rather an integral part of the story and characterization."

How Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ Became a Battle Cry for Musicians Seeking Royalties; The New York Times, August 17, 2018

Ben Sisario, The New York Times; How Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ Became a Battle Cry for Musicians Seeking Royalties

"It was Aretha Franklin’s first No. 1 hit, the cry of empowerment that has defined her for generations: “Respect.”

But for the roughly seven million times the song has been played on American radio stations, she was paid nothing.

When Ms. Franklin died on Thursday at age 76, fans celebrated the song all over again as a theme for the women’s rights movement. But in the music industry, “Respect” has also played a symbolic role in a long fight over copyright issues that, advocates say, have deprived artists like Ms. Franklin of fair royalty payments...

[Aretha Franklin] also added what became the song’s signature line: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T / Find out what it means to me.” 

Ms. Franklin’s reinvention of Mr. Redding’s song has continued to fascinate critics. Peter Guralnick, the author of books like “Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom,” noted that she transformed the original meaning “not so much by changing the lyrics, as by the feeling that she imparted on the song — so that ‘Respect’ became a proclamation of freedom, a proclamation of feminism, a proclamation of an independent spirit.”"

Friday, August 17, 2018

Cosplayers at Steel City Con, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 10-12, 2018

[Kip Currier]
Cosplayers at Steel City Con, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 10-12, 2018

Steel City Con's summer event was August 10-12, 2018 at the Monroeville Convention Center in suburban Pittsburgh. The Q & A session with film and stage star Kathleen Turner (Body Heat; Romancing The Stone; Serial Mom; Broadway's Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff?) was entertaining and refreshingly candid, as The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described here.

I had some illuminating IP-related conversations with several vendors at the Con and will have a post about that soon.

Cosplayers representing diverse genres and characters were in abundance...and I snagged some great photos of them (thanks for the impressive clarity, Google Pixel 2 camera!).

Sundry denizens of the Star Wars universe roamed the Con: 

Yes...Even Stormtroopers can't put down their phones:

DC heroes, anti-heroes, and villains posed proudly:

Marvel characters from The Avengers (plus Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, on loan from Sony) may have been on the lookout for Infinity Stones...and Thanos:

While the Guardians of the Galaxy in attendance (Mantis, Gamora, and Star Lord--with Baby Groot perched on his shoulder) may have been looking for teammates Drax and Rocket, as well as a script and a director for their eagerly-anticipated Threepeat flick:

[*Spoiler Alert*] 
Three of these four characters (Nick Fury, Wasp, Ant-Man, and Black Panther) disappeared with a snap in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Know which one didn't disappear?

See you in July 2019, Spider-Man: Far From Home...

Some of Marvel's most famous mutants--soon to be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)--were in the house:

Frank "The Punisher" Castle looked battle-tested and battle-ready:

Wizards with wands wandered the walkways:

Along with eclectic characters--like Ghost Spider (formerly Also Known As Spider-Gwen), Deadpool-cum-painter-Bob-Ross, and Captain Morgan (representing the Rum-imbibing community):

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Raytheon CEO: Why Your Own Employees Could Be Your Greatest Threat; Fortune, August 14, 2018

Thomas A. Kennedy, Fortune;

Raytheon CEO: Why Your Own Employees Could Be Your Greatest Threat

"Is there a bounty on your intellectual property?

It’s more likely than you think. Earlier this month, news broke that FBI agents investigating a case of corporate cyber theft seized a handbook revealing what China was willing to pay to “individuals or entities who can provide certain technologies.”

Nation-states have been using cyber hacking to actively target valuable intellectual property, or IP, for years. However, what may be startling to the public is that state-sponsored IP theft is so organized and methodical; criminal hackers receive catalogs of the most-wanted technologies, referred to as “collection requirements,” each with associated bounties.

For business, university, and research lab leaders, it begs a couple of questions: Do any of your employees have such handbooks? And if they were stockpiling and exporting sensitive data, would you know before it was too late?"

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Intellectual Property The Hard Way: Part I; Forbes, August 7, 2018

Mary Juetten, Forbes;

Intellectual Property The Hard Way: Part I


[Kip Currier: Cautionary real-world tale about the vital need for Intellectual Property literacy, and "consulting with a lawyer on a regular basis", as the author of this article--the first in a Forbes series of "IP Tales from the Crypt"-esque stories--encourages.]

"In the startup tips series, both the need for intellectual property (IP) protection and foundational protections, like employment and contract agreements were outlined. However, I would like to shift gears now and start a series of lessons learned or in some cases, IP horror stories. If you are interested in contributing please see below.

I spoke with New Orleans lawyer, Andrew Legrand of Spera Law about an interesting cautionary tale concerning an artist who had developed a logo for a small business about ten years prior and the business that paid for it but did not have the rights assigned.  In other words, you do not necessarily get what you pay for. There will be a theme in our stories where clients either do not know that they need to identify and protect their IP or they consciously decide that it’s not worth the time or money."

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A Presentation on Legal Issues for Podcasters - Who Owns What?; Lexology, August 3, 2018

Lexology; A Presentation on Legal Issues for Podcasters - Who Owns What?

"Last week, I spoke at Podcast Movement 2018 – a large conference of podcasters held in Philadelphia. My presentation, Legal Issues In Podcasting – What Broadcasters Need to Know, was part of the Broadcasters Meet Podcasters Track. The slides from my presentation are available here. In the presentation, I discussed copyright issues, including some of the music rights issues discussed in my articles here and here, making clear that broadcaster’s current music licenses from ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and even SoundExchange don’t provide them the rights to use music in podcasts. Instead, those rights need to be cleared directly with the holders of the copyrights in both the underlying musical compositions as well as in any sound recording of the song used in the podcast."

Monday, August 6, 2018

Seeking a Vulgar Trademark? Better Wait for Supreme Court Review; Bloomberg News, August 1, 2018

Susan Decker, Bloomberg News; Seeking a Vulgar Trademark? Better Wait for Supreme Court Review

"The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has placed suspensions on trademark applications that contain “scandalous or vulgar” words while it considers whether to ask the Supreme Court to look at the issue...

There’s always the chance that the trademark office will put other roadblocks in front of applications even if the “scandalous” standard goes away, like saying that the trademark doesn’t really identify the source of a good or service, or that it’s only an ornamental use.

And there’s no indication the ruling has led to a rise in applications for what many would consider hate speech, Baird said. One reason -- you have to pay the application fees and show you actually are using the trademark."

A conversation with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the 2018 Trademark Expo; Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership, August 6, 2018

Guest blog by Linda Hosler, Deputy Program Manager for USPTO partnerships;
A conversation with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the 2018 Trademark Expo

"On July 27 and 28, guests poured in to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to participate in the 2018 National Trademark Exposition. This free biennial event supports the USPTO’s mission of educating the public about the vital role intellectual property protectionsin this case trademarks play in our increasingly competitive global marketplace. More than twenty exhibitors, including government entities, non-profits, small businesses, and corporations from all over the country provided thought-provoking interactive displays and educational workshops.

Keynoting at this year’s expo was NBA All-Star, author, and entrepreneur, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I had the opportunity to sit down with Abdul-Jabbar to find out what made him the industry giant he is today—not surprisingly, it is much more than his 7 foot 2 inch stature."

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Why Pittsburgh’s Innovation and Performance team takes an open-source approach to open data;, August 1, 2018

Tara Matthews,; Why Pittsburgh’s Innovation and Performance team takes an open-source approach to open data

"This is a guest post by Tara Matthews, the senior digital services analyst at the City of Pittsburgh's Department of Innovation and Performance.
Picture it: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. October 2015.
It was the birth of what would be named the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center (also known as the WPRDC, also known as “Whopper Duck”), an all-star collaboration between the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the University of Pittsburgh.

This put us in the unique position of hosting not just city and county data, but data from non-governmental organizations such as the Carnegie Library and Bike PGH, as well as other local service providers such as the Port Authority of Allegheny County. This required a specialized set-up, which is why WPRDC is based in CKAN, an open-source data management system that allowed for a completely custom configuration.

The Data Center launch coincided with the kickoff of the city’s Open Data program, managed by the city’s Department of Innovation and Performance."

How your employees can – and must – protect intellectual property; The Globe and Mail, July 18, 2018

Jeff McDowell, The Globe and Mail; How your employees can – and must – protect intellectual property

"Unfortunately, protecting IP is an area where Canada lags globally. Only 10 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada have IP, and only 9 per cent have IP strategies.

The Canadian government is helping reverse this trend with its new national IP strategy, which supports local innovators through increased resources and legislation. But it’s Canadian companies ourselves who need to see the value in protecting IP − to keep our employees motivated and validate their innovations, to protect our businesses’ hard-won knowledge and to keep strong companies growing and thriving in the Canadian economy."

Make a Name for Yourself: 4 Expert Tips for Choosing a Name and Trademark; Entrepreneur, August 2, 2018

Darpan Munjal, Entrepreneur; Make a Name for Yourself: 4 Expert Tips for Choosing a Name and Trademark 

"A recent Harvard Law Review study highlighted the upwards of 6.7 million U.S. trademark applications (registered 1985 to 2016) that had been made over the last three decades and suggested that we might soon be at the point of actually running out of trademark options...

Choosing an effective trademark means a trademark that's unique. With upwards of 6.7 million trademarks out there, and only 171,476 words in the English dictionary, you need to start thinking outside the box."

Report – Patent Abuse A Leading Cause Of High Drug Prices In US; Intellectual Property Watch, August 3, 2018

David Branigan, Intellectual Property Watch; Report – Patent Abuse A Leading Cause Of High Drug Prices In US

"The report, “Overpatented, Overpriced: How Excessive Pharmaceutical Patenting is Extending Monopolies and Driving up Drug Prices,” was produced by the New York-based Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK)...

“Spanning twelve drugmakers and a range of conditions such as cancer, arthritis, stroke, and diabetes, the study captures an industry-wide trend of pharmaceuticals ‘evergreening’ their products with excessive patents so they can artificially extend monopolies and boost profits—at the expense of American families and the budgets of public and private payers around the country,” according to the press release."

Friday, August 3, 2018

G.M. Used Graffiti in a Car Ad. Should the Artist Be Paid?; The New York Times, July 17, 2018

Alan Feuer, The New York Times; G.M. Used Graffiti in a Car Ad. Should the Artist Be Paid?

"The law, however, is struggling to catch up with the change in taste and culture, especially when it comes to the issue of when graffiti — an ephemeral form of art — deserves the safeguards of a copyright. This month a federal judge in California will entertain exactly that question as he hears oral arguments in a copyright lawsuit that could determine if graffiti wins new protections, or if companies can use it for commercial purposes without having to compensate the artists who create it."

The Real Deal: Using Found Content ; Lexology, August 1, 2018

[Kip Currier: Informative article with tips on deciding how and when to use images found on the Net.

In my IP course I've shared the "teachable moment" story of a savvy business friend who was getting a start-up up and running about a decade ago and asked me "if it's OK to just scrape images from the Internet to use on the company's website?" You can anticipate my response, which always elicits a knowing laugh from the students--and reinforces the importance of considering potential copyright and risk management issues.]

"As reported by MediaPost, replacing the use of stock images with crowdsourced photos from real people is gaining popularity with major brands. The attraction is obvious: photos from real consumers can be more "authentic, local and real" than stock imagery.

But it's important to keep some rules of the road in mind to avoid the potential of liability for use of found content."

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Trade Secret Thief Hid Files In Digital Photo Of Sunset; Intellectual Property Watch, August 2, 2018

Intellectual Property Watch; Trade Secret Thief Hid Files In Digital Photo Of Sunset

"The criminal complaint alleges that on or about July 5, Zheng, an engineer employed by General Electric, used an elaborate and sophisticated means to remove electronic files containing GE’s trade secrets involving its turbine technologies. Specifically, Zheng is alleged to have used steganography to hide data files belonging to GE into an innocuous looking digital picture of a sunset, and then to have e-mailed the digital picture, which contained the stolen GE data files, to Zheng’s e-mail account."

New Vice Chancellor Named as Pitt Marks Another Record-breaking Year in Innovation; PittWire, August 1, 2018


New Vice Chancellor Named as Pitt Marks Another Record-breaking Year in Innovation


"These and 20 other innovative and impactful discoveries — all developed at the University of Pittsburgh — were the basis for the formation of 23 startup companies that were formed, or “spun out,” in fiscal year 2018, according to Pitt’s Innovation Institute. The institute is headed by Evan Facher, who held the position of interim director until being named director and vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship earlier this week...

 “It’s a big deal that universities are now developing the technology that’s going to propel us into the future,” said Joe Marcanio, who has been guiding University innovators as an Innovation Institute entrepreneur-in-residence since 2015. “My job is to stand behind them and help them avoid the mistakes I learned the hard way.”...

The year in kudos

Pitt rose to No. 21 — up from 27th last year and 35th in 2015 — among the top universities worldwide to be granted U.S. utility patents for a new or improved product, process or machine. Neighboring Carnegie Mellon University, a fellow anchor in Pittsburgh’s innovation ecosystem, was No. 40 in annual rankings compiled by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

In March, Pitt alumnus and trustee Bob Randall (A&S ’65) announced a $2 million gift to accelerate student entrepreneurship through the Big Idea Center at Pitt.
A new Innovation Igniter workshop outlines the path to licensing an innovation or forming a startup company. The two-hour workshop is open to faculty, staff and students who are curious about commercialization.

The first cohort of a revamped Blast Furnace student accelerator program completed the nine-week program in June. Ten teams pitched their business ideas at a June 29 final event at the University Club. The Innovation Institute will host @PITTINNOVATES Open on Sept. 20 to introduce its 2018-19 academic year programming and funding opportunities.

Finally, the Innovation Institute came home a winner from the recent Deshpande Symposium for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education, receiving the 2018 Exemplary Practice in Technology Commercialization Award in recognition of its work in accelerating innovations to the market."