Thursday, December 12, 2019

Reflections of John Cabeca, USPTO Silicon Valley Regional Director; United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), December 12, 2019

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO);
Blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Laura Peter

"Recently, I spoke with John Cabeca, USPTO Silicon Valley Regional Director in San Jose, California, about his experience at the USPTO and what’s next for him. John is a 30-plus year veteran of the USPTO. He served in numerous key leadership roles throughout his tenure and has dedicated much of his career working with significant customers of the USPTO on IP matters and through outreach and education programs to help small and large businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. Over the years, he served the USPTO in important roles, including in the Office of Patent Legal Administration, the Office of Governmental Affairs, and most recently in the Office of the Under Secretary as Regional Director of the Silicon Valley. 

LP: How long has the USPTO had a Silicon Valley Regional Office (SV USPTO) and what is its purpose?

JC: The Silicon Valley office formally opened in October 2015 in the San Jose, California City Hall building. The purpose of the USPTO Silicon Valley Regional Office, and, in fact, all of our regional offices, including Detroit, Denver, and Dallas — is to foster and protect innovation. The regional offices carry out the strategic direction of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, and are responsible for leading the USPTO's regional efforts in their designated regions of the United States. As Regional Director, I actively engage the western region’s unique network of industries and entrepreneurs, and tailor the USPTO’s initiatives and programs to their needs. The regional office serves as a hub of outreach and education and offers services and programs readily accessible to inventors, entrepreneurs, and businesses. We also work closely with IP practitioners, community and business leaders, and academic institutions, as well as with federal, state and local governments, to advance the IP needs of the innovation ecosystem throughout the region at all levels.

LP: What states does the SV USPTO cover?
JC: The west coast region includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington State. Comprising seven states, this is the largest region covering over 1.1 million square miles, as well as some of the most innovative businesses and innovators in the country. In 2019, the west coast region originated more than 37% of all domestic patent applications and 28% of all trademark registrations by U.S. registrants.

LP: How does the public at-large including inventors, entrepreneurs, and brand owners benefit from the SV USPTO?

JC: We are here to help them. We hold events from learning the basics about patents and trademarks, to patent and trademark search workshops, to drafting patent claims, to protecting your IP abroad, to even more advanced IP programs as a CLE provider in the State of California. We welcome walk-ins to our office, will come and speak and educate the public any chance we get about IP, and also have the ability to hold virtual examiner interviews and trial and appeal board hearings in our space. The regional office pages of the USPTO website are constantly updated with new opportunities to visit our offices."

US-Mexico-Canada Trade Deal Carries Copyright Implications Across Borders; Billboard, December 10, 2019

, Billboard; US-Mexico-Canada Trade Deal Carries Copyright Implications Across Borders

"Canada and Mexico are one step closer to aligning their copyright laws with the U.S. on Tuesday (Dec. 10) after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump reached an agreement to ratify the trilateral trade deal that will extend copyright term in Canada by 20 years and contains provisions on "Safe Harbor" copyright liability exemptions. The treaty will now have to be ratified by the legislatures of both Canada and Mexico."

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Elsevier signs first open-access deal in the United States; Science, November 25, 2019

Science News Staff, Science; Elsevier signs first open-access deal in the United States

"Publishing giant Elsevier has signed its first open-access deal with a U.S. institution, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Inside Higher Ed reports. The arrangement, which CMU announced on 21 November, will allow CMU scholars to publish articles in any Elsevier journal on an immediately free-to-read basis. CMU researchers will also continue to have access to paywalled Elsevier articles, which previous contracts covered with subscription fees.

CMU did not disclose the cost of the arrangement, which has been a sticking point in Elsevier’s open-access negotiations with other research institutions. After the University of California system insisted on a price cut, Elsevier’s negotiations failed in February; in April, a research consortium in Norway cut a deal with Elsevier similar to CMU’s, while agreeing to a price hike. “All I can say is that we achieved the financial objectives we set out to achieve,” Keith Webster, dean of CMU’s university libraries and director of emerging and integrative media initiatives, tells Inside Higher Ed

CMU researchers only publish about 175 papers annually in Elsevier journals. That low volume gives Elsevier an opportunity to test the 4-year arrangement with relatively low financial risk."

Defying the doubters; United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), 2019

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO);

Defying the doubters

"Inspired by his father and his eighth-grade science teacher, Bob Metcalfe developed an early interest in science and engineering. While pursuing these passions as an adult, he decided to minimize the number of wires needed to connect office computers to printers and the internet. In a 1973 memo, Metcalfe proposed his idea of the Ethernet as a solution. What followed was a long but successful journey to develop, patent, and commercialize this wire, which is used today all over the world.

"Inspired by his father and his eighth-grade science teacher, Bob Metcalfe developed an early interest in science and engineering. While pursuing these passions as an adult, he decided to minimize the number of wires needed to connect office computers to printers and the internet. In a 1973 memo, Metcalfe proposed his idea of the Ethernet as a solution. What followed was a long but successful journey to develop, patent, and commercialize this wire, which is used today all over the world."

The real US patent 'crisis'; The Hill, December 9, 2019

Brian Pomper, The Hill; The real US patent 'crisis'

"The true crisis in our patent system is the dire state of Section 101 jurisprudence, the area of law determining what is and what is not eligible for patent protection. For nearly 150 years, Section 101 of the U.S. Patent Act was interpreted to allow inventions to be patented across broad categories and subject matters. These patents incentivized American R&D and innovation and led to countless technological and medical breakthroughs.

Starting in 2010, however, the Supreme Court issued a series of decisions that have upended longstanding settled law and narrowed the scope of patent-eligible subject matter...

Restoring clear patent rights will be essential to maintaining a strong and healthy U.S. innovation ecosystem...

So yes, patent quality is important, and we must provide the USPTO with the resources it needs to carefully weigh patent applications and make consistent, defensible and predictable decisions. But the real patent crisis we face is the inability of innovators to get patents for their new inventions under Section 101."

FAU sues grad for using an owl logo in tutoring business; The Palm Beach Post, Decemeber 10, 2019

FAU sues grad for using an owl logo in tutoring business

"In the lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court, FAU officials claim Neil Parsont intentionally named his business Owl Tutoring and is using an owl logo to confuse students into thinking his private lessons are affiliated with free Owl-to-Owl Tutoring offered at the school."

SpaceX Just Retroactively Put Copyright Restrictions on Its Photos; Motherboard, December 11, 2019

Karl Bode, Motherboard;

SpaceX Just Retroactively Put Copyright Restrictions on Its Photos

"As SpaceX began supplanting NASA in humanity’s quest to explore outer space, Motherboard pondered in 2015 what would happen to the public’s unfettered access to space imagery data (images taken by NASA are in the public domain and can be used by anyone for almost any purpose.) Thankfully, SpaceX soon after made the important decision to offer mission images under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) License, allowing them to be freely shared and even remixed by anyone. This is the least-restrictive Creative Commons license in existence and allows anyone to use the photos for almost anything (you could, for example, make and sell a photo book or calendar of SpaceX images if you wanted to.)

But a little noticed change to the SpaceX Flickr account this week stripped away the CC0 license affixed to the company’s images, replacing it with an “Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic” license. That, in turn, imposed notable and potentially confusing restrictions on how those images can be shared and re-used."

Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple Is Leaving; Publishers Weekly, December 9, 2019

Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly; Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple Is Leaving

"Just months after her permanent appointment as Register of Copyrights, Karyn Temple is leaving for a new position as the global general counsel of the Motion Picture Association...

Of course, the big question may be whether Temple’s departure will spur another attempt to remove the Register of Copyrights position out of the purview of the Library of Congress.

In October of 2016, Hayden’s abrupt removal of then-register, Maria Pallante (who is now president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers) angered many in the content and entertainment industries, who viewed Pallante as an ally. What followed was a campaign by lobbyists to paint Hayden as “anti-copyright,” and a subsequent bill, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act (HR 1695), which proposed to take the register of copyrights position out of the purview of the Librarian of Congress and make it a presidential appointment. That bill died in the Senate last year, but for more than two years it effectively blocked Hayden from appointing a permanent successor to Pallante."

Baby Yoda Shows Us the Force of Intellectual Property Rights; Observer, December 7, 2019

, Observer; Baby Yoda Shows Us the Force of Intellectual Property Rights

"Intellectual property protections allow for producers, such as Disney, to safeguard their secrets and profit off of the carefully-crafted storylines enjoyed by millions of fans around the world. Meanwhile, fans can still have their fun by posting movie-related memes that (likely) enjoy legal protection from copyright law.

And even when companies may be within their rights to sue for IP infringements, they must still weigh market considerations and make sensible decisions that please their consumer base. That’s critical, because ideas like lightsabers and Baby Yoda’s aren’t created in a vacuum (of space). IP protection allows us to travel to a galaxy far, far away, without being trampled by a bantha herd of lawsuits."

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Archivists Are Trying to Make Sure a ‘Pirate Bay of Science’ Never Goes Down; Vice, December 2, 2019

Matthew Gault, Vice;

Archivists Are Trying to Make Sure a ‘Pirate Bay of Science’ Never Goes Down

"...[O]ver the last few years, two sites—Library Genesis and Sci-Hub—have become high-profile, widely used resources for pirating scientific papers.

The problem is that these sites have had a lot of difficulty actually staying online. They have faced both legal challenges and logistical hosting problems that has knocked them offline for long periods of time. But a new project by data hoarders and freedom of information activists hopes to bring some stability to one of the two “Pirate Bays of Science...

“It's the largest free library in the world, servicing tens of thousands of scientists and medical professionals around the world who live in developing countries that can't afford to buy books and scientific journals. There's almost nothing else like this on Earth. They're using torrents to fulfill World Health Organization and U.N. charters. And it's not just one site index—it's a network of mirrored sites, where a new one pops up every time another gets taken down,” user shrine said on Reddit."

Who owns the law in Georgia?; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 29, 2019

Bill Rankin, Atlanta Journal Constitution; Who owns the law in Georgia?

"“If the (appeals court’s) decision is affirmed, publishers will no longer be able to rely on sales of copyrighted works to recoup their costs for preparing annotations,” said Johnson, also a Washington attorney. “Therefore, states will either need to use taxpayer dollars to pay the publishers or stop offering annotated versions of their official codes.”

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia offered similar sentiments in a legal brief filed with the high court...

Malamud’s case has received support in friend-of-the-court briefs filed by a wide variety of groups, including the American Library Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Intellectual Property Association and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which was joined by Gannett Co., the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.

“If the First Amendment requires public access to criminal trials so that citizens may oversee and participate in government, then citizens must also have access to the laws that organize their society (and that form the basis of those criminal trials),” the media organizations said.""

Should You Be Allowed to Copyright a Law? We're Going to Find Out; Gizmodo, December 4, 2019

Whitney Kimball, Gizmodo; Should You Be Allowed to Copyright a Law? We're Going to Find Out

"Copyright law, boring on its face, has posed various unprecedented threats to intellectual freedoms in recent internet history. It threatens to kill our links, kill our news, kill our memes, kill our precious videos of babies dancing to Prince. And yesterday, the Supreme Court considered the momentously stupid question: should you be able to paywall a law?"

Open Access: SCOTUS will consider whether publishers can copyright annotated state codes; ABA Journal, November 27, 2019

Mark Walsh, ABA Journal; Open Access: SCOTUS will consider whether publishers can copyright annotated state codes

"The question in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org Inc. is whether a work such as the Official Code of Georgia Annotated may not be copyrighted because it falls under the doctrine of “government edicts.” The doctrine stems from a series of 19th-century Supreme Court cases holding that judicial writings and other official legal works published under state authority are not “the proper subject of private copyright,” as an 1888 decision put it."

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

5 Easy Ways To Protect Your New Ideas And Intellectual Property; Forbes Technology Council, December 3, 2019

Michael Gargiulo, Forbes Technology Council; 5 Easy Ways To Protect Your New Ideas And Intellectual Property

"Ideas and work can be stolen unless you take steps to protect them. This especially applies to concepts involving lucrative inventions, industrial secrets or medical abstractions. If a bright, creative lightbulb suddenly illuminates your world in the middle of the night, consider using one of these five ways to safeguard your idea...

Intellectual Property Theft (IPT) is not just a buzzword. This crime is common across the world in the 21st century, especially in places like China -- CNBC reports one in five North American companies surveyed had their IP stolen by Chinese companies in the last year. I believe combating IP theft should now be a top priority of the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI and the CIA. Avoid being a victim of intellectual property theft by following these simple steps and proactively securing the very best ideas you and your organization have."

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Trying to Trademark a Meme? OK Boomer; The New York Times, November 19, 2019

, The New York Times; Trying to Trademark a Meme? OK Boomer

"In light of the phrase’s popularity, it’s not likely that any of the applications will be approved, said Josh Gerben, a trademark lawyer and founder of Gerben Law Firm, who noticed the filing by Fox Media on Monday.

“I think they are all very likely to meet the same fate, which is the U.S.P.T.O. will issue what is called a widely used message refusal,” Mr. Gerben said in an interview on Tuesday, adding that the definition of a trademark “has to identify a single company or individual as a source of a product or service.”

Once something like a meme goes viral and is widely used by people, it cannot legally function as a trademark, he said."

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Baby Yoda GIFs Are Being Pulled For Copyright Concerns; ScreenRant, November 23, 2019

Josh Plainse, ScreenRant; Baby Yoda GIFs Are Being Pulled For Copyright Concerns

"Baby Yoda GIFs from the Disney+ show The Mandalorian are being pulled from the internet, apparently due to claims of copyright infringement. Last week, the Star Wars spin-off show The Mandalorian released its first episode along with the simultaneous launch of Disney's streaming service. The show's first episode, titled “Chapter One,” ended with a character reveal which has played a huge role in the creation of viral memes and GIFs throughout the entirety of the internet, all of them containing The Mandalorian character referred to as Baby Yoda for now."

Congress Introduces AM-FM Act to Revise Copyright Law for Terrestrial Radio; Variety, November 21, 2019

Jem Aswad, Variety; Congress Introduces AM-FM Act to Revise Copyright Law for Terrestrial Radio

"Senator Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Jerrold Nadler today introduced the Ask Musicians for Music Act (AM-FM), which aims to revise existing copyright law for radio stations and musicians.

Under the current copyright system, radio stations can use sound recordings over their airwaves without paying royalties to creators who own a stake in the sound recordings. The AM-FM Act would require all radio services to pay fair-market value for the music they use...

“When music creators share their wonderful gift with the world, we hear songs that inspire and unite us. We should encourage such thriving talent and ensure the music community is properly compensated for their work,” said Senator Blackburn, who introduced the bill in the Senate. “The AM-FM Act will reward singers, songwriters and musicians for their hard work when their music is played on the radio.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. “The United States is an outlier in the world for not requiring broadcast radio to pay artists when playing their music, while requiring satellite and internet radio to pay,” he said. “This is unfair to both artists and music providers. I’m proud to sponsor the Ask Musician for Music Act of 2019 which would give artists and copyright owners the right to make a choice to allow AM/FM radio to use their work for free or to seek compensation for their work. The bill would also allow them to negotiate rates with broadcasters in exchange for permission for it to be aired.”"

Friday, November 22, 2019

Lawsuit: Target's Good & Gather line infringes trademark of Georgia woman's business; USA Today, November 22, 2019

"A Georgia woman has filed a federal lawsuit against Target claiming the retail giant stole her trademark when it launched its Good & Gather flagship food brand in September.

Emily Golub, founder of the Atlanta-based Garnish & Gather, said the name, logo and products sold in Target's Good & Gather line are too similar to the business name she trademarked in 2014 and could create confusion in the market."

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Protect your restaurant’s intellectual property; The Miami Herald, Novermber 18, 2019

Andrew Cromer, The Miami Herald; Protect your restaurant’s intellectual property

"What if I told you that the most valuable piece of your restaurant wasn’t the dollars and cents that flow inward from customer transactions? You certainly take the appropriate precautionary measures to safeguard the money inside your restaurant, but why leave “the safe open” when it comes to arguably your most valuable asset? Of course, we’re talking about your restaurant’s intellectual property!"

Read more here:"

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Supreme Court will hear Google’s appeal in massive copyright suit brought by Oracle; CNBC, November 15, 2019

Tucker Higgins, CNBC; Supreme Court will hear Google’s appeal in massive copyright suit brought by Oracle

"The Supreme Court said on Friday that it will hear a dispute between tech giants Oracle and Google in a blockbuster case that could lead to billions of dollars in fines and shape copyright law in the internet era.

The case concerns 11,500 lines of code that Google was accused of copying from Oracle’s Java programming language. Google deployed the code in Android, now the most popular mobile operating system in the world. Oracle sued Google in 2010 alleging that the use of its code in Android violated copyright law...

Underlying the legal issues in the case is a technical dispute over the nature of the code that Google used. Google has said that the code was essentially functional — akin to copying the placement of keys on a QWERTY keyboard. Oracle maintains that the code, part of Java’s application programming interface, or API, is a creative product, “like the chapter headings and topic sentences of an elaborate literary work.”

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Giant Publisher Macmillan Goes To War Against Libraries; TechDirt, November 15, 2019

Mike Masnick, TechDirt; Giant Publisher Macmillan Goes To War Against Libraries

"In September, librarians around the US launched a campaign -- urging Macmillan to rethink this awful plan:
This embargo limits libraries’ ability to provide access to information for all. It particularly harms library patrons with disabilities or learning issues. One of the great things about eBooks is that they can become large-print books with only a few clicks, and most eBook readers offer fonts and line spacing that make reading easier for people who have dyslexia or other visual challenges. Because portable devices are light and easy to hold, eBooks are easier to use for some people who have physical disabilities.
Macmillan is the only major publisher restricting public libraries’ ability to purchase and lend digital content to their communities. Before the embargo took effect, we collected 160,000 signatures from readers who urged Macmillan not to go through with their plan. And we delivered these signatures in person to CEO John Sargent. Sadly, he did not listen."

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Spinal Tap Creators and Universal Music Settle Copyright Dispute; Variety, November 5, 2019

Jem Aswad, Variety; Spinal Tap Creators and Universal Music Settle Copyright Dispute

"The complaint also sought a judgment in the actors’ right to reclaim their copyright to the film and elements of its intellectual property (screenplay, songs, recordings and characters). Vivendi has claimed that the film was created as a work for hire, with the studio essentially the author. This would prevent the actors from exercising their option to reclaim the rights to the film 35 years after its initial release, which is permitted by law.

“The scale and persistence of fraudulent misrepresentation by Vivendi and its agents to us is breathtaking in its audacity,” Shearer said in a statement at the time. “The thinking behind the statutory right to terminate a copyright grant after 35 years was to protect creators from exactly this type of corporate greed and mismanagement. It’s emerging that Vivendi has, over decades, utterly failed as guardian of the Spinal Tap brand – a truer case of life imitating our art would be hard to find.”"

Thursday, November 7, 2019

NNS Spotlight: Nonprofit uses data research to spur change in communities; Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service (NNS), November 6, 2019

, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service (NNS); NNS Spotlight: Nonprofit uses data research to spur change in communities

"Numbers can tell only part of a story.

They mean nothing without context.

And that’s where Data You Can Use steps in. The nonprofit works to provide useful local data so organizations can create change on a community level.

“In some of these neighborhoods, people have a fear of research because they’ve always been the subject, but they never see the results. That can be very damaging,” said Katie Pritchard, executive director and president of Data You Can Use. “If you’re only telling one part of the story, it doesn’t help anyone.”...

“We wanted to find a better way to measure the impact of what we do,” [Barb] Wesson [the outcomes manager] said. “One of the things Data You Can Use does really well that I don’t do at all is qualitative data analysis, and that’s what we needed.”"

What if "Sesame Street" Were Open Access?; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), October 25, 2019

Elliot Harmon, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); What if "Sesame Street" Were Open Access?

"The news of iconic children’s television show “Sesame Street”’s new arrangement with the HBO MAX streaming service has sent ripples around the Internet. Starting this year, episodes of “Sesame Street” will debut on HBO and on the HBO MAX service, with new episodes being made available to PBS “at some point.” Parents Television Council’s Tim Winter recently told New York Times that “HBO is holding hostage underprivileged families” who can no longer afford to watch new “Sesame Street” episodes.

The move is particularly galling because the show is partially paid for with public funding. Let's imagine an alternative: what if “Sesame Street” were open access? What if the show’s funding had come with a requirement that it be made available to the public?" breaks its silence amid trademark lawsuit controversy to apologize and say “we made a mistake”; The Colorado Sun, November 6, 2019

Jason Blevins, The Colorado Sun; breaks its silence amid trademark lawsuit controversy to apologize and say “we made a mistake”

"“To be fair, this is not about Marquette Backcountry Skis. It’s about the small nonprofits, it’s about the guides and the small businesses they targeted. This has all been about the lawsuits filed against the people in front of me and the ones coming for the people behind me,” [David] Ollila said. “What we’ve witnessed here is that it takes 25 years to build a business and a reputation and it can be lost very quickly with these poor decisions. I wonder how the market will react to this. I wonder if they can be forgiven.”...

“This boycott isn’t about a word,” [Jon Miller] said. “What is happening is that a corporation has a stranglehold over our culture in a battle over a word they literally don’t even own.”"

Ludacris, Tom Luse, More to Speak at Intellectual Property Master Class; Georgia State University, November 6, 2019

Kelundra Smith, Georgia State University;

Ludacris, Tom Luse, More to Speak at Intellectual Property Master Class

"Entertainer and entrepreneur Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and Tom Luse, former executive producer of “The Walking Dead,” will participate in “Intellectual Property Essentials for Creatives: It’s All About Content” presented by the Entertainment, Sports and Media Law Initiative and the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) on Nov. 16.

This full-day master class aims to teach students, attorneys, artists and industry professionals the particulars of intellectual property protection with a focus on content development and the distribution of music, television and film in the digital world...

“The expansion of Atlanta’s entertainment industry made this the perfect time to focus on content,” said Mo Ivory, director of the Entertainment, Sports and Media Law Initiative. “Understanding how intellectual property laws apply in music and television versus on social media is critical in the digital age. As more content developers move to Georgia, we need attorneys who know how to advise clients and artists who know how to advocate for themselves.”"

Trump administration sues drugmaker Gilead Sciences over patent on Truvada for HIV prevention; The Washington Post, November 7, 2019

Christopher Rowland, The Washington Post; Trump administration sues drugmaker Gilead Sciences over patent on Truvada for HIV prevention

"The Trump administration took the rare step Wednesday of filing a patent infringement lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturer Gilead Sciences over sales of Truvada for HIV prevention, a crucial therapy invented and patented by Centers for Disease Control researchers."

Monday, November 4, 2019

Scientists With Links to China May Be Stealing Biomedical Research, U.S. Says; The New York Times, November 4, 2019

, The New York Times; Scientists With Links to China May Be Stealing Biomedical Research, U.S. Says

""The investigations have fanned fears that China is exploiting the relative openness of the American scientific system to engage in wholesale economic espionage. At the same time, the scale of the dragnet has sent a tremor through the ranks of biomedical researchers, some of whom say ethnic Chinese scientists are being unfairly targeted for scrutiny as Washington’s geopolitical competition with Beijing intensifies...

The alleged theft involves not military secrets, but scientific ideas, designs, devices, data and methods that may lead to profitable new treatments or diagnostic tools.

Some researchers under investigation have obtained patents in China on work funded by the United States government and owned by American institutions, the N.I.H. said. Others are suspected of setting up labs in China that secretly duplicated American research, according to government officials and university administrators...

The real question, [Dr. Michael Lauer, ] added, is how to preserve the open exchange of scientific ideas in the face of growing security concerns. At M.D. Anderson, administrators are tightening controls to make data less freely available."

The pirate Blackbeard is laughing in his grave over a SCOTUS copyright case; Quartz, November 2, 2019

Ephrat Livni, Quartz; The pirate Blackbeard is laughing in his grave over a SCOTUS copyright case

"The high court will decide who is right at some point in the months following the upcoming “aaarrrguments.” Meanwhile, the pirate Blackbeard will be chortling from beyond the grave, laughing at the very notion of property ownership, intellectual or otherwise."

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A face-scanning algorithm increasingly decides whether you deserve the job; The Washington Post, October 22, 2019

Drew Harwell, The Washington Post; A face-scanning algorithm increasingly decides whether you deserve the job 

HireVue claims it uses artificial intelligence to decide who’s best for a job. Outside experts call it ‘profoundly disturbing.’

"“It’s a profoundly disturbing development that we have proprietary technology that claims to differentiate between a productive worker and a worker who isn’t fit, based on their facial movements, their tone of voice, their mannerisms,” said Meredith Whittaker, a co-founder of the AI Now Institute, a research center in New York...

Loren Larsen, HireVue’s chief technology officer, said that such criticism is uninformed and that “most AI researchers have a limited understanding” of the psychology behind how workers think and behave...

“People are rejected all the time based on how they look, their shoes, how they tucked in their shirts and how ‘hot’ they are,” he told The Washington Post. “Algorithms eliminate most of that in a way that hasn’t been possible before.”...

HireVue’s growth, however, is running into some regulatory snags. In August, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a first-in-the-nation law that will force employers to tell job applicants how their AI-hiring system works and get their consent before running them through the test. The measure, which HireVue said it supports, will take effect Jan. 1."

Monday, October 14, 2019

MARVEL & Others Sued Over X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES Theme Song Alleging Copyright Infringement - Report; Newsarama, October 9, 2019

Chris Arant, Newsarama; MARVEL & Others Sued Over X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES Theme Song Alleging Copyright Infringement - Report

"Marvel Entertainment, the Walt Disney Company, and others are being sued for copyright infringement over the 1990s theme song to X-Men: The Animated Series due to its similiarities to a 1980s Hungarian cop show's theme, according to TMZ. The similarities between the two themes have been noted before online, and now a representative from the estate of the original show's composer has reportedly filed a lawsuit."

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Hippocratic License: A new software license that prohibits uses that contravene the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights; BoingBoing, October 4, 2019

Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing; The Hippocratic License: A new software license that prohibits uses that contravene the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

"The Open Source Initiative maintains the canonical list of free/open licenses based on compliance with its Open Source Definition, which excludes licenses that ""discriminate against any person or group of persons" and that "restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor." On this basis, OSI cofounder Bruce Perens says the Hippcratic License is not compatible with the OSD.

Ehmke calls the OSD "horribly dated" because it doesn't enable software developers to ensure that "our technology isn't used by fascists.""

An Open Source License That Requires Users to Do No Harm; Wired, October 4, 2019

Klint Finley, Wired;

An Open Source License That Requires Users to Do No Harm

Open source software can generally be freely copied and reused. One developer wants to impose ethical constraints on the practice.

"Increasingly, some developers are calling on their employers and the government to stop using their work in ways they believe are unethical...

Coraline Ada Ehmke wants to give her fellow developers more control over how their software is used. Software released under her new "Hippocratic License" can be shared and modified for almost any purpose, with one big exception: "Individuals, corporations, governments, or other groups for systems or activities that actively and knowingly endanger, harm, or otherwise threaten the physical, mental, economic, or general well-being of individuals or groups in violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Defining what it means to do harm is inherently contentious, but Ehmke hopes that tying the license to existing international standards will reduce the uncertainty. The declaration of human rights "is a document that's 70 years old and is pretty well established and accepted for its definition of harm and what violating human rights really means," she says."

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Under Armour trademark dispute hits family start-up company with Boise ties;, October 1, 2019

Ashley Miller,; Under Armour trademark dispute hits family start-up company with Boise ties

"“Trademark dilution” is the legal standard that gives companies like Under Armour the right to sue businesses that have similar names as them, even if their products offered do not overlap. Trademark dilution argues that a famous trademark or brand can lose its “uniqueness” or be watered down if another brand has a similar name."

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

IP and counterculture: Who owns a tattoo?; Lexology, September 27, 2019

"Advising the artist: think bigger than copyright

With the exception of tribal tattoos based on an indigenous right or designs transferred to another party via assignment, IP rights in tattoo artwork will belong to the artist that created the tattoo, assuming it meets the requirements for artistic copyright. To do this, it needs to be ‘fixed’ (ie permanent) and ‘original’, although the threshold for the latter is fairly low.

As their tattoo body of work will invariably qualify for copyright protection, in theory there is nothing tattoo artists need to do to prove the subsistence of this right other than keep records of their designs and their creation dates. However, a tattoo design can also be eligible for trademark protection where it satisfies the requirements of a bona fide intention to use: for example use in marketing as part of a branded range of products. It may also function as a design right where the tattoo satisfies the requirement for novelty."

Monday, September 30, 2019

Judge Lets NMPA Double Damages to $300M in Peloton Copyright Suit; Billboard, September 28, 2019

, Billboard; Judge Lets NMPA Double Damages to $300M in Peloton Copyright Suit

"A Manhattan federal judge has approved the National Music Publishers' Association's (NMPA) request to double damages to $300 million in a lawsuit against Peloton, for the exercise startup's alleged use of more than 2,000 songs in its workout videos without the proper licenses."

Friday, September 20, 2019

People Are Looking At Your LinkedIn Profile. They Might Be Chinese Spies; NPR, September 19, 2019

Ryan Lucas, NPR; People Are Looking At Your LinkedIn Profile. They Might Be Chinese Spies

"Demers took over leadership of the National Security Division in February 2018 after being confirmed by the Senate. Since taking the helm, he has spent a considerable amount of time on China and what he calls its prolific espionage efforts against the United States.

They're vast in scale, he said, and they span the spectrum from traditional espionage targeting government secrets to economic espionage going after intellectual property and American trade secrets...

It's a play that has also been used to target folks in the business world and academia, where China is hungry for cutting-edge technology and trade secrets. For years, the Chinese intelligence services have hacked into U.S. companies and made off with intellectual property.

Now, U.S. officials say China's spies are increasingly turning to what is known as "nontraditional collectors" — students, researchers and business insiders — to scoop up secrets."

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Pitt Tells Student Groups Not to Use Pitt in Their Names; Inside Higher Ed, September 13, 2019

Elin Johnson, Inside Higher Ed; Pitt Tells Student Groups Not to Use Pitt in Their Names

"An emailed statement from communications manager Kevin Zwick read, "Many student organizations already comply with the 10-year-old guidelines, which allow the use of the Pitt and Panther names in ways that don't imply that the organizations are official university entities. Pitt's Office of Student Life and the Student Organization Resource Center continue to discuss concerns with our Student Government Board leadership to work toward a potential resolution."

Zwick maintained that the current guidelines for Pitt student clubs were as follows: "Independent student organizations are voluntary associations led by Pitt students, which are legally separate entities from the university. Because they are voluntary associations, independent student organizations may not use 'University of Pittsburgh,' 'Pitt' or any other University of Pittsburgh trademark/wordmark (i.e., Panther/Panthers) in their names other than to identify that the organization is located at Pitt (i.e., 'at Pitt' or 'at the University of Pittsburgh')."

Currently listed on the university's student organization page are dozens of club names that are in apparent violation of these guidelines."

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Māori anger as Air New Zealand seeks to trademark 'Kia Ora' logo; The Guardian, September 12, 2019

Eleanor Ainge Roy, The Guardian; Māori anger as Air New Zealand seeks to trademark 'Kia Ora' logo

"New Zealand’s national carrier, Air New Zealand, has offended the country’s Māori people by attempting to trademark an image of the words “kia ora”; the greeting for hello."

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Faculty Council reexamines lost intellectual property rights policy; The Ithacan, April 24, 2019

Ashley Stalnecker, The Ithacan; 

Faculty Council reexamines lost intellectual property rights policy

"Peter Rothbart, professor in the Department of Music Theory, History and Composition, said that when he was the chair of the Faculty Council before Swensen took over the position in Fall 2016, the Intellectual Property Policy Committee extensively researched documents from other academic institutions and asked for input on the policy from staff, students, faculty and administrators.

“The resulting document was among the most liberal and supportive of creators of content and invention offered by any academic institution,” Rothbart said."

Peloton owners are pissed about bad music after copyright lawsuit; The Verge, April 24, 2019

Natt Auran, The Verge; Peloton owners are pissed about bad music after copyright lawsuit

"The changes in music selections resulted from a lawsuit Peloton faced last month, when the company was sued by members of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) for failing to obtain a sync license to use some labels’ musical work in their exercise videos. Peloton customers now say they have noticed a significant downgrade in music quality, with remixed versions of a popular song instead of an original, or limited song variety from an artist. Users also note that classes they’ve favorited have disappeared from the catalog, since they contain songs that were named by the lawsuit as having violated copyrights...

It may seem silly to lament over music selections in an exercise class, but it’s an issue that fitness companies may increasingly face as they transform from traditional health companies into media publishers. Let’s face it: working out can be boring, and people are willing to pay top dollar to have someone yell at us while sweating to the latest Migos track. Combine that with the flexibility to exercise in your own home on your own time and it’s a revenue strategy that has helped brands like Equinox, Pure Barre, SoulCycle, and Physique 57 tap into a demographic that previously found the studios inaccessible. Even companies like ClassPass and Fitbit have also expanded beyond their initial product of a subscription service and fitness trackers, offering their own guided fitness sessions for $8 to $15 a month.
But as fitness companies dabble in media creation, they’re also navigating into the pains of becoming an entertainment company."

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Technion sues own lecturer, claims intellectual property infringement; The Jerusalem Post, April 23, 2019

Eytan Halon, The Jerusalem Post; Technion sues own lecturer, claims intellectual property infringement

"The Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa has filed a rare lawsuit, the first in over two decades, against one of its own members of staff.

The research university is suing Prof. Eli Ben-Sasson, a senior lecturer in computer science at the Technion, for 50% of his stake in blockchain company StarkWare Industries. The Technion alleges that he founded the company based on intellectual property that he developed at the university.
The Technion is also suing Michael Riabzev, a PhD candidate in computer science, who co-founded StarkWare with Ben-Sasson."

What the EU’s copyright overhaul means — and what might change for big tech; NiemanLab, Nieman Foundation at Harvard, April 22, 2019

Marcello Rossi, NiemanLab, Nieman Foundation at Harvard; What the EU’s copyright overhaul means — and what might change for big tech

"The activity indeed now moves to the member states. Each of the 28 countries in the EU now has two years to transpose it into its own national laws. Until we see how those laws shake out, especially in countries with struggles over press and internet freedom, both sides of the debate will likely have plenty of room to continue arguing their sides — that it marks a groundbreaking step toward a more balanced, fair internet, or that it will result in a set of legal ambiguities that threaten the freedom of the web."

Monday, April 22, 2019

Wary of Chinese Espionage, Houston Cancer Center Chose to Fire 3 Scientists; The New York Times, April 22, 2019

Mihir Zaveri, The New York Times; Wary of Chinese Espionage, Houston Cancer Center Chose to Fire 3 Scientists

"“A small but significant number of individuals are working with government sponsorship to exfiltrate intellectual property that has been created with the support of U.S. taxpayers, private donors and industry collaborators,” Dr. Peter Pisters, the center’s president, said in a statement on Sunday.

“At risk is America’s internationally acclaimed system of funding biomedical research, which is based on the principles of trust, integrity and merit.”

The N.I.H. had also flagged two other researchers at MD Anderson. One investigation is proceeding, the center said, and the evidence did not warrant firing the other researcher.

The news of the firings was first reported by The Houston Chronicle and Science magazine.

The investigations began after Francis S. Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, sent a letter in August to more than 10,000 institutions the agency funds, warning of “threats to the integrity of U.S. biomedical research.”"

Iancu v. Brunetti Oral Argument; C-SPAN, April 15, 2019

April 15, 2019, C-SPAN; 

"Iancu v. Brunetti Oral Argument

The Supreme Court heard oral argument for Iancu v. Brunetti, a case concerning trademark law and the ban of “scandalous” and “immoral” trademarks. Erik Brunetti founded a streetwear brand called “FUCT” back in 1990. Since then, he’s attempted to trademark it but with no success. Under the Lanham Act, the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) can refuse an application if it considers it to be “immoral” or “scandalous” and that’s exactly what happened here. The USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board also reviewed the application and they too agreed that the mark was “scandalous” and very similar to the word “fucked.” The board also cited that “FUCT” was used on products with sexual imagery and public interpretation of it was “an unmistakable aura of negative sexual connotations.” Mr. Brunetti’s legal team argued that this is in direct violation of his first amendment rights to free speech and private expression. Furthermore, they said speech should be protected under the First Amendment even if one is in disagreement with it. This case eventually came before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. They ruled in favor of Mr. Brunetti. The federal government then filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. The justices will now decide whether the Lanham Act banning “immoral” or “scandalous” trademarks is unconstitutional."

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Marvel's Kevin Feige Says It's 'Wonderful' to Have X-Men, FF Rights Back; Comic Book Resources, April 16, 2019

Colin Hickson, Comic Book Resources; Marvel's Kevin Feige Says It's 'Wonderful' to Have X-Men, FF Rights Back

"Despite their prominence in Marvel Comics, many fans were disappointed that the X-Men and the Fantastic Four were not included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since their film rights were owned by 20th Century Fox. However, with Disney's purchase of the rival studio, Marvel has regained access to the two franchises, and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige couldn't be happier.

"The specifics of what it means remains to be seen, but overall it's wonderful and it feels like these characters have come home", Feige said in an interview with Variety. "It will be nice to have what every other [intellectual property] holder that I can think of has, which is access to all their IP.
Imagine if Donald Duck was at another studio. Imagine if Goofy or Moana were someplace else and you didn’t have access to them even though they are yours.""

Trademark Battle: Pitt Football Forced To Remove ‘412’ From New Helmets; KDKA 2 CBS Pittsburgh, April 13, 2019

KDKA 2 CBS Pittsburgh; Trademark Battle: Pitt Football Forced To Remove ‘412’ From New Helmets

"Just a week after the University of Pittsburgh released new uniforms, they already came under fire with a reported trademark issue.

The Pitt Panthers unveiled new helmets that feature the numbers “412” above the visor. However, this did not sit well with officials at Pittsburgh-based clothing company Shop 412."

Monday, April 15, 2019

EU approves tougher EU copyright rules in blow to Google, Facebook; Reuters, April 15, 2019

Foo Yun Chee, Reuters; EU approves tougher EU copyright rules in blow to Google, Facebook

"Under the new rules, Google and other online platforms will have to sign licensing agreements with musicians, performers, authors, news publishers and journalists to use their work.

The European Parliament gave a green light last month to a proposal that has pitted Europe’s creative industry against tech companies, internet activists and consumer groups."

Friday, April 12, 2019

Post-Elsevier breakup, new publishing agreement ‘a win for everyone’; University of Caifornia, April 11, 2019

, University of California; Post-Elsevier breakup, new publishing agreement ‘a win for everyone’

"Six weeks after ending negotiations with academic publishing giant Elsevier, the University of California announced April 10 that it’s entered into its first open access agreement with a major publisher — Cambridge University Press. The agreement maintains UC’s full access to all scholarly journal articles published by Cambridge University Press and also provides open access publishing in those journals to authors on all 10 UC campuses."

The open access research model is hurting academics in poorer countries; Quartz, April 12, 2019

Brenda Wingfield, University of Pretoria & Bob Millar, University of Pretoria, Quartz; The open access research model is hurting academics in poorer countries

"There is however, little focus on the costs of open access to researchers in the developing world. Most people we have spoken to inside academia are under the impression that these costs are waived. But that’s only the case for some journals in 47 of the world’s “least developed” nations; researchers in the 58 other countries in the developing world must pay the full price...

The cost of a PlosOne article is 20% of the cost of a Masters student’s scholarship. So the choice is “do I give a Masters student a scholarship, or publish more in open access journals?” We are trying to do both and we are sure that’s the approach many research programs are trying to take. But as more journals take the open access route this is going to be more difficult. In future, if we want to publish more articles in open access journals, we will have to reduce the number of Masters, Doctoral and post doctoral students in our programs."

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Nobel laureate takes stance against allowing research to be intellectual property; The Auburn Plainsman, April 11, 2019

Trice Brown, The Auburn Plainsman; Nobel laureate takes stance against allowing research to be intellectual property

"George Smith, recipient of a 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, spoke to a crowd of students and faculty about the problems that arise from making publicly funded research intellectual property.

Smith said one of the greatest problems facing the scientific research community is the ability of universities to claim intellectual property rights on publicly funded research.

“I think that all research ought not to have intellectual — not to be intellectual property,” Smith said. “It’s the property of everyone.”"