Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Revolution in Science Publishing, or Business as Usual?; UNDARK, March 30, 2020

Michael Schulson, UNDARK; A Revolution in Science Publishing, or Business as Usual?

"Some advocates see corporate open-access as a pragmatic way of opening up research to the masses. But others see the new model as a corruption of the original vision — one that will continue to funnel billions of dollars into big publishing companies, marginalize scientists in lower income countries, and fail to fix deeper, systemic problems in scientific publishing.

As it stands, all trends point to an open-access future. The question now is what kind of open-access model it will be — and what that future may mean for the way new science gets evaluated, published, and shared. “We don’t know why we should accept that open access is a market,” said Dominique Babini, the open-access adviser to the Latin American Council of Social Sciences and a prominent critic of commercial open-access models. “If knowledge is a human right, why can’t we manage it as a commons, in collaborative ways managed by the academic community, not by for-profit initiatives?”"

Monday, March 30, 2020

Stay Away; No Trademark For Social Distancing And Other Informational Terms; JDSupra, March 23, 2020

Weintraub Tobin and Scott Hervey, JD Supra; Stay Away; No Trademark For Social Distancing And Other Informational Terms

"The trademark examiner assigned to an application to register SOCIAL DISTANCING will likely refuse registration because it fails to function as a trademark because it merely conveys an informational message. Where a term is merely informational, the context of its use in the marketplace would cause consumers to perceive the term as merely conveying an informational message, and not a means to identify and distinguish goods/services from those of others...

Some examples of proposed marks that have been denied registration on the grounds of being merely information or a widely used message are: ITS TACO TUESDAY for clothing, I LOVE YOU for jewelry, BLACK LIVES MATTER for a wide variety of goods and services, THINK GREEN for products advertised to be recyclable and to promote energy conservation, and DRIVE SAFELY for automobiles.
The trademark examiner would contend that the proposed mark, SOCIAL DISTANCING, merely conveys an expression of support for the ideas embodied in the message, that maintaining a certain distance between individuals is a measure people can take to slow the rapid spread of the coronavirus, as opposed to rather than an indicator of a single source of goods or services. In support of the refusal to register, the trademark examiner would introduce evidence from the CDC and other sources discussing the benefits of social distancing in slowing down the spread of coronavirus."

A Cosmic Copyright Conundrum: ‘Star Trek,’ Space Force, SCOTUS and Blackbeard’s Shipwreck: IPWatchdog, March 28, 2020

 Yitzchak Besser, IPWatchdog; A Cosmic Copyright Conundrum: ‘Star Trek,’ Space Force, SCOTUS and Blackbeard’s Shipwreck

"A Cosmic Conundrum

To unpack the result of this decision, let’s return to space. In a hypothetical scenario in which a private citizen infringed on the Star Trek copyrights, ViacomCBS could easily bring a lawsuit against them. If ViacomCBS believes that the Space Force seal infringes on its copyrights, then it can sue the U.S. government. But if a hypothetical North Carolina Space Force decided to use the Starfleet seal without permission, then ViacomCBS would be left without recourse against the state government.

To paraphrase Justice Breyer, something certainly seems “amiss” about this disparity. As he suggested in his concurrence, this case creates the potential for quite the cosmic copyright conundrum."

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Internet Archive offers 1.4 million copyrighted books for free online; Ars Technica, March 28, 2020

Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica; Internet Archive offers 1.4 million copyrighted books for free online

Massive online library project is venturing into uncharted legal waters.

""The Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners," the Internet Archive wrote in a Tuesday post. "This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later."
The Tuesday announcement generated significant public interest, with almost 20,000 new users signing up on Tuesday and Wednesday. In recent days, the Open Library has been "lending" 15,000 to 20,000 books per day.
“The library system, because of our national emergency, is coming to aid those that are forced to learn at home,” said Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle. The Internet Archive says the program will ensure students are able to get access to books they need to continue their studies from home during the coronavirus lockdown."

Friday, March 27, 2020

Over 24,000 coronavirus research papers are now available in one place; MIT Technology Review, March 16, 2020

Karen Hao, MIT Technology Review; Over 24,000 coronavirus research papers are now available in one place

The data set aims to accelerate scientific research that could fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The news: Today researchers collaborating across several organizations released the Covid-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), which includes over 24,000 research papers from peer-reviewed journals as well as sources like bioRxiv and medRxiv (websites where scientists can post non-peer-reviewed preprint papers). The research covers SARS-CoV-2 (the scientific name for the coronavirus), Covid-19 (the scientific name for the disease), and the coronavirus group. It represents the most extensive collection of scientific literature related to the ongoing pandemic and will continue to update in real time as more research is released."

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Updates Regarding COVID-19 Impacts on Trademark Operations at the USPTO; The National Law Review, March 24, 2020

Abe Jentry Shanehsaz, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, The National Law Review; Updates Regarding COVID-19 Impacts on Trademark Operations at the USPTO

"As we continue to watch the effects of COVID-19 on our communities, it is impossible not to be struck by the scale of school closures and shuttered businesses, as well as the swift transitions made to accommodate mass teleworking nearly overnight. We have seen various government agencies offering late fee forgiveness, deadline extensions, and a plethora of other accommodations in light of the unique challenges presented by the novel virus.

When considering how COVID-19 might impact trademarks here in the United States, there are two important things to keep in mind:..."

How Do I Manage My Intellectual Property During the Coronavirus Pandemic?; Lexology, March 25, 2020

"But what if your critical intellectual property (IP) deadlines arise during uncertain times? What options do you have if you miss a deadline due to circumstances related to COVID-19?

Extensions and exceptional circumstance

Thankfully, numerous Intellectual Property Offices have taken action to make sure that your intellectual property rights may remain safe in the event you cannot meet a deadline due to the COVID-19 outbreak...

Key Takeaways

Many Intellectual Property Offices have officially indicated that they will be empathetic when considering extension requests in the wake of Covid-19, while others have even suspended deadlines completely for the time-being. Check what extensions or changes of process are being offered in the jurisdictions relevant to your applications."

The ‘Blurred Lines’ Case Scared Songwriters. But Its Time May Be Up.; The New York Times, March 24, 2020

, The New York Times;
Decisions in copyright cases involving Led Zeppelin and Katy Perry suggest the open season on lawsuits could be coming to a close.

"“Before Led Zeppelin’s en banc ruling, plaintiffs were on a roll,” said Joseph P. Fishman, an associate professor at the Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville. “That string of events built a narrative that successful musicians really needed to be worried about being sued. Now, with the Katy Perry verdict being thrown out only a week after the big Led Zeppelin decision, that narrative may change.”

The two decisions addressed what has become a key question as more copyright suits have focused on song fragments: what is original about them — and thus can be copyrighted — and what are basic building blocks that cannot be owned by any songwriter?"

Supreme Court rules states are immune from copyright law; Ars Technica, March 24, 2020

Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica; Supreme Court rules states are immune from copyright law

"A state government that infringes someone's copyright doesn't have to worry about getting sued, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday. The high court held that federalism trumps copyright law, effectively giving states a free pass."

Celebrating the Women Leading the Copyright Office; Library of Congress: Copyright Creativity At Work Blog, March 25, 2020

; Celebrating the Women Leading the Copyright Office

"To celebrate Women’s History Month, I wanted to write about the five women who have served (and are serving) as leaders of the U.S. Copyright Office. Women have led this Office consecutively since November 1993, and their accomplishments are nothing short of incredible. These five lawyers (who all attended either Columbia Law School or George Washington Law) have contributed over 100 years of public service to the Copyright Office, counting all their roles. Here is just a snapshot of their accomplishments and contributions to copyright."

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Freewheeling, Copyright-Infringing World of Custom-Printed Tees; Wired, March 16, 2020

Roger Sollenberger, Wired; The Freewheeling, Copyright-Infringing World of Custom-Printed Tees

"So, how can this model evolve without shortchanging IP owners or upending an industry with so much to offer? Do we need a new DMCA—and one for trademarks? Will anything change without new laws?"

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Business viewpoint: Prioritizing intellectual property protection in growing companies; Tulsa World, March 15, 2020

; Business viewpoint: Prioritizing intellectual property protection in growing companies

"Growth-phase companies, including startups, are often cash limited and must make difficult decisions when prioritizing expenditures.

Money spent to obtain legal advice may be at the expense of other concerns such as product development and marketing.
Although consultation with an intellectual property attorney can be an important early step, it is often postponed in favor of more pressing needs. However, ignoring intellectual property matters can result in missteps that can have long-term negative consequences."

Led Zeppelin Scores Big Win in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case; Variety, March 9, 2020

Gene Maddaus, Variety; Led Zeppelin Scores Big Win in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case

"Led Zeppelin scored a major win on Monday in the copyright battle over “Stairway to Heaven,” as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a jury verdict finding the song did not infringe on the 1968 song “Taurus.”

The ruling is also a significant win for the music industry, which has felt itself fighting a losing battle against frivolous copyright suits since the “Blurred Lines” trial in 2015. The court overturned the so-called “inverse ratio rule,” a precedent that has governed copyright cases in the 9th Circuit for the last 43 years."

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Open Educational Resources Are ‘Moving Up the Adoption Ladder’ Around the World; EdSurge, March 3, 2020

Rebecca Koenig, EdSurge; Open Educational Resources Are ‘Moving Up the Adoption Ladder’ Around the World

"Open educational resources have gone global and may help make learning more accessible, equitable and inclusive around the world.

So says the new Educause Horizon report, which identifies technologies and trends that are changing higher education.

This year’s forecast was created by nearly five dozen higher education experts, a third of them from institutions outside of the U.S. OER was one of six “emerging technologies and practices” the panelists highlighted as most likely to significantly influence postsecondary teaching and learning in the future...

At the October 2019 UNESCO General Conference meeting, multiple governments agreed to adopt a set of legal and technical standards for OER materials so that they can be better shared across borders."

Column: COVID-19 could kill the for-profit science publishing model. That would be a good thing; Los Angeles Times, March 3, 2020

Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times; Column: COVID-19 could kill the for-profit science publishing model. That would be a good thing

"The current crisis has demonstrated the value of open access to research, as well as the drawbacks of secrecy."

Why the Hulett Unloader Is One of History's Greatest Forgotten Machines; Popular Mechanics, March 3, 2020

Vince Guerrieri, Popular Mechanics; Why the Hulett Unloader Is One of History's Greatest Forgotten Machines

"Hulett, a 2006 inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, received more than two dozen patents for various machines in his career. But his most important was Patent No. 652,313A in 1899, for a 92-foot-tall unloading apparatus that could scoop iron ore from a ship’s hold 10 tons at a time—an almost unfathomable number back then, even though more than 13 million tons of ore were shipped on the Great Lakes that year."

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A former Uber executive was ordered to pay Google $179 million. Then he filed for bankruptcy.; The Washington Post, March 4, 2020

Anthony Levandowski was accused of stealing trade secrets on self-driving technology

"Anthony Levandowski, who once ran Uber’s self-driving car unit, was ordered Wednesday to pay $179 million to rival Google, prompting the software engineer to file for bankruptcy protection.

The enormous award, which was approved by a Superior Court judge in San Francisco and was confidential but disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, casts new light on one of Silicon Valley’s most heated dramas. It is also another blow to Levandowski, once a rising star in the tech industry who now faces criminal charges for allegedly possessing trade secrets that belong to Google."


WIPO’s Coordination Committee Nominates Singapore’s Daren Tang for Post of Director General; Press Release, World Intellectual Property Organization, March 4, 2020

Press Release, World Intellectual Property Organization;

WIPO’s Coordination Committee Nominates Singapore’s Daren Tang for Post of Director General

"The WIPO General Assembly will meet in an extraordinary session on May 7-8, 2020, to confirm the Coordination Committee’s nomination.

The process of electing a Director General is governed by the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization and “2019 Procedures for the Nomination and Appointment of Directors General of WIPO,” adopted by Member States in October 2019.

The Coordination Committee, which comprises 83 member states, met on March 4, and held two rounds of voting from an initial list of six candidates. Kazakhstan’s candidate withdrew her candidacy ahead of the first round of voting. Following the first round, the candidate with the least votes, from Peru, was eliminated.

Two other candidates – from Colombia and Ghana – withdrew their candidatures ahead of the second round of voting.

Mr. Tang prevailed in the second and final round of voting with 55 votes; Ms. Binying Wang of China received 28 votes.

Mr. Tang...is the Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore.

The term of the current Director General, Mr. Francis Gurry, ends on September 30, 2020."

Singaporean named to head intellectual property agency; AP via The Washington Post, March 4, 2020

Jamey Keaten | AP via The Washington Post; Singaporean named to head intellectual property agency

"A Singaporean official defeated a candidate from China in a leadership contest for the U.N.’s intellectual property body, which was swept into a rift between Washington and Beijing over claims of Chinese theft of technological know-how.

Daren Tang, 47, the CEO of Singapore’s intellectual property office, won a crucial nomination to become the next director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization over China’s Wang Binyang, a veteran at the agency.

The “coordination committee” handed a 55-28 victory to Tang in a final round of voting that began Wednesday with five candidates vying to replace the agency’s outgoing chief, Francis Gurry of Australia...

WIPO’s general assembly has final say in May, but it has never rejected a committee nominee since the 192-country agency was created in 1967."

Singapore’s Daren Tang to Succeed Gurry as Next WIPO Director General; IPWatchdog, March 4. 2020

IPWatchdog; Singapore’s Daren Tang to Succeed Gurry as Next WIPO Director General

"Daren Tang has been elected to be the next WIPO Director General, succeeding Francis Gurry.
Tang is currently the Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS). He has served in this capacity since 2015. Prior to that he was Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Legal Counsel for IPOS and Senior State Counsel, International Affairs Division at the Singapore Attorney-General’s Chambers. He also has served as Chairperson for WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights."

China already leads 4 of the 15 U.N. specialized agencies — and is aiming for a 5th; The Washington Post, March, 3, 2020

Courtney J. Fung and Shing-Hon Lam, The Washington Post; China already leads 4 of the 15 U.N. specialized agencies — and is aiming for a 5th

Beijing is campaigning to lead the global intellectual property agency

"The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a U.N. agency specializing in intellectual property protection, will pick a new head this week. China now heads up four of the 15 U.N. specialized agencies — the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Telecommunication Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the U.N. Industrial Development Organization.

Beijing is running a campaign to lead WIPO — despite U.S. and E.U. concerns about China’s lack of protection for intellectual property rights. China is also a huge user of the global intellectual property system, filing almost half of global patent applications in 2018."

China Vies to Run U.N. Patent Office in Bid for Fifth Leadership; Reuters via The New York Times, March 4, 2020

Reuters via The New York Times; China Vies to Run U.N. Patent Office in Bid for Fifth Leadership

"A Chinese lawyer is one of two Asian favorites to head the world patent office, a post that would give Beijing its fifth U.N. leadership role and, according to its critics, an unprecedented level of influence over new technologies.

Voting opened on Wednesday at the 193-member Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which shapes global rules for intellectual property and oversees a patent system in which China and its firms, like telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, have a growing stake.

The Coordinating Committee, a group of 83 countries chaired by France, met behind closed doors to choose a nominee. Whoever is chosen needs to be confirmed at a general assembly in May...

WIPO members vote by secret ballot and campaign videos have not been made public."

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Fragile Nature of Trade Secrets: Clues from the Courts on How to Keep Them; IP Watchdog, March 1, 2020

Peter J. Toren, IP Watchdog; The Fragile Nature of Trade Secrets: Clues from the Courts on How to Keep Them

"Trade secrets have become an increasingly valuable asset to many companies, but compared to other types of intellectual property, including patents, copyrights and trademarks, they are extremely “fragile,” and require that an owner undertake as many steps as possible to protect their information and be vigilant about the need to protect such information to the fullest extent possible. The failure to do so may lead to a court’s finding in a misappropriation case that the information in question is not protectable as a trade secret. As described below, it is very easy for trade secrets to lose protection under a variety of circumstances, even where the owner has taken what it believes are “reasonable measures” as required for trade secret protection under 18 U.S.C. § 1839(3)(A. In short, authorities in this area teach that the more steps a party undertakes to protect its trade secrets, the more likely that a court will find those steps to constitute “reasonable measures.”"

Monday, March 2, 2020

Librarian of Congress Seeks Input on Register of Copyrights; The Library of Congress, March 2, 2020

Press Release, The Library of Congress;

Librarian of Congress Seeks Input on Register of Copyrights

"The public will have the opportunity to provide input to the Library of Congress on expertise needed by the next Register of Copyrights, the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, announced today.

Beginning today, March 2, a form to solicit this feedback is online and open to the public. The form will be posted through Friday, March 20.

The Library of Congress will review all input and use it to help develop the knowledge, skills and abilities requirements for our announcement to fill the Register of Copyrights position.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services, and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov, and register and record creative works of authorship at copyright.gov."

‘This Land Is Your Land’ Is Still Private Property, Court Rules; The New York Times, Febraury 28, 2020

, The New York Times;
A federal judge shot down a challenge to the copyright of the Woody Guthrie folk anthem, blocking an attempt to put it in the public domain.

"First, “Happy Birthday to You” lost its copyright. Then “We Shall Overcome” became public domain as well.

But on Friday, Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” avoided what had been shaping up as a growing trend affecting the copyright owners of old songs, as the publishers of “This Land” defeated a challenge against it...

On Friday, Judge P. Kevin Castel of Federal District Court in Manhattan did not reach a decision on whether the song deserved to keep its copyright, because he said he didn’t have to. He ruled that there was no legal dispute for him to adjudicate: Satorii had already paid the license fee, and in exchange, the publisher had agreed to let Satorii do what it wanted with the song. The judge dismissed the case."