Thursday, April 30, 2020

Senators Ask U.S. Copyright, Patent Offices to Study Infringement by States; The Hollywood Reporter, April 29, 2020

Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter; Senators Ask U.S. Copyright, Patent Offices to Study Infringement by States

"In a pair of letters on Tuesday, Sens. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) asked the U.S. Copyright Office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to begin a study on the extent to which intellectual property owners are suffering infringement at the hands of state government. The request by the two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee comes after a notable Supreme Court opinion in March. The study would prime new legislation on the IP front...

The senators say they want findings no later than April 30, 2021."

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Supreme Court Copyright Ruling Could Shake Up Legal Publishing; Publishers weekly, April 27, 2020

Andrew Albanese, Publishers WeeklySupreme Court Copyright Ruling Could Shake Up Legal Publishing

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court this week held that legislators "cannot be the authors of—and therefore cannot copyright—the works they create in the course of their official duties."

"In upholding the appeals court reversal, the Supreme Court held that the annotations amended to the state of Georgia’s legal code were “ineligible for copyright protection” under the “government edicts doctrine,” a legal regime developed from a trio of 19th-century Supreme Court decisions.

“The animating principle behind the government edicts doctrine is that no one can own the law,” Roberts wrote. “Over a century ago, we recognized a limitation on copyright protection for certain government work product, rooted in the Copyright Act’s ‘authorship’ requirement. Under what has been dubbed the government edicts doctrine, officials empowered to speak with the force of law cannot be the authors of—and therefore cannot copyright—the works they create in the course of their official duties.”"

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Georgia Can’t Copyright Its Entire State Code, the Supreme Court Rules; The New York Times, April 27, 2020

Georgia Can’t Copyright Its Entire State Code, the Supreme Court Rules

In a 5-to-4 ruling with unusual alliances, the court said that annotations cannot be copyrighted if they are the official work of state lawmakers.

"Georgia may not copyright its entire official code, which includes both the state’s laws and annotations interpreting them, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday. The 5-to-4 decision featured unusual alliances and would most likely be widely felt, as about 20 other states have claimed that parts of similar annotated codes are copyrighted."

Friday, April 24, 2020

Adler astronomer files trademark lawsuit against American Girl; Associated Press via Chicago SunTimes, April 24, 2020

Associated Press via Chicago SunTimes; Adler astronomer files trademark lawsuit against American Girl

"The lawsuit notes the doll has a purple streak in her hair and wears holographic shoes, just as Walkowicz does.

“Here, the defendants used the name and likeness of Lucianne, a well-known figure in astronomy, space and STEM, who particularly studied the star Vega, in conjunction with the American Girl doll Luciana Vega without obtaining her authorization,” the lawsuit states. “In fact, the defendants incorporated the same color hair streak, shoes and style of Lucianne in the Luciana Vega doll.”"

Kielbasa rivalry heats up with trademark infringement suit; The Citizens' Voice, April 21, 2020

James Halpin, The Citizens' Voice; Kielbasa rivalry heats up with trademark infringement suit

"The owner of an award-winning Nanticoke kielbasa shop has filed a federal lawsuit alleging a competitor is illegally infringing on the business’s trademarked name.

John T. Vishnefski, owner of Tarnowski’s Kielbasa Inc. at 579 E. Main St., alleges in the complaint that Nanticoke resident Mark Tarnowski is violating his trademark by running an unaffiliated business called Tarnowski Bros. Kielbasa at 14 E. Union St."

Protecting intellectual property still matters in a pandemic; Washington Examiner, April 21, 2020

"With businesses now under pressure as a result of COVID-19, they can hardly afford to absorb the costs associated with patent allegations that cannot be substantiated under close scrutiny. 

That’s why it’s important to preserve a trial-like procedure organized within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that makes it possible to review the legitimacy of patents through a streamlined, cost-effective process that avoids expensive litigation. 

Unfortunately, some lawmakers (such as Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware) are pushing legislation that would gut and dilute what is known as the inter partes review process, which provides important safeguards against patents that should not have been issued. 

A better solution would be for policymakers to provide those businesses harmed by the coronavirus with greater assurances and predictability. They can do this by defending and strengthening the inter partes review process as a tool to eliminate low-quality, wrongly granted patents that harm the economy, stifle innovation, and cost jobs. 

There’s no disputing the fact that patent examiners are overburdened. Government records show that in 2018, there were 640,000 patent applications filed, but fewer than 8,200 patent examiners available to do a thorough review. On average, patent examiners only have about 19 hours to evaluate a patent application. Under these time constraints, a handful of ill-conceived applications are approved."

OSU making intellectual property available to help fight COVID-19;, April 22, 2020; OSU making intellectual property available to help fight COVID-19

"Oregon State University is joining universities and academic health centers nationally in making licensing agreements for its intellectual property quickly executable to speed up the development of technologies that can be used to diagnose, treat and prevent COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Technology Development Framework, spearheaded by Stanford, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was introduced earlier this month and includes 14 other research institutions across the United States as of April 20.

Researchers at Oregon State and throughout the U.S. will be able to build on concepts generated by other scientists, making the path easier for companies trying to develop new technologies to detect, monitor, prevent and treat the sickness caused by the novel coronavirus...

Below is the full text of the COVID-19 Technology Development Framework:"

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A deep dive into the Tiger King trademark lawsuits (long read); World Trademark Review, April 22, 2020

World Trademark Review; A deep dive into the Tiger King trademark lawsuits (long read)

"True crime documentary miniseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness has become a global phenomenon, watched by more than 34 million viewers in the first 10 days of its release on Netflix. Happily for IP professionals, one of the subplots revolved around a trademark and copyright conflict. In this guest piece, Haynes and Boone associate Joe Lawlor expands on the IP disputes and how they played out.

There are some plot spoilers in the article, so if you have not yet watched the series (and intend to), it is worth hitting pause on this piece and doing so before reading."

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Difference Between Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents; The New York Times, April 16, 2020

The Difference Between Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents

Whether you’re an inventor, a writer or an artist, you need to know what these each mean — and which you need to protect your work.

"Intellectual property theft has always been a problem, but it has never affected as many people as it does today. If you’ve taken a photo, recorded a song or written a letter, you’ve likely created a copyright. If you operate a small business, you probably qualify for trademark protection, and if you invent something, you may be able to patent it. But the same tools that make it easy to distribute your work online make it easier than ever to steal.

Intellectual property, or I.P., is everywhere, but almost nobody who is not a lawyer understands how to protect their art, business or inventions. This article is no substitute for real legal advice, but it should give you an idea of what questions you need to ask next. I.P. law is vast, so this will focus on basic terms you’ve probably heard: copyrights, trademarks and patents. Let’s get started."

Friday, April 17, 2020

How the ‘Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World’ Got Its Logo; The New York Times, April 13, 2020

, The New York Times; How the ‘Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World’ Got Its Logo

"The logo has generated an enormous amount of money for the Stones. The British public relations veteran Alan Edwards, who handled the band’s publicity in the ’80s, said the Stones “must have grossed a good billion [pounds] in concerts, record and DVD sales, merchandising and exhibitions” and also used the logo “all over advertising.” Samuel O’Toole, an intellectual property lawyer at Briffa Legal in London, estimated the figure to be “hundreds of millions of pounds.”"

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Open COVID Pledge: Removing Obstacles to Sharing IP in the Fight Against COVID-19; Creative Commons, April 7, 2020

Diane Peters, Creative Commons; Open COVID Pledge: Removing Obstacles to Sharing IP in the Fight Against COVID-19

"Creative Commons has joined forces with other legal experts and leading scientists to offer a simple way for universities, companies, and other holders of intellectual property rights to support the development of medicines, test kits, vaccines, and other scientific discoveries related to COVID-19 for the duration of the pandemic. The Open COVID Pledge grants the public free, temporary access to IP rights in support of solving the COVID-19 crisis, removing unnecessary obstacles to dissemination of the knowledge and inventions that could save lives and limit suffering."

Court Rules Photographer Gave Up Exclusive Licensing Rights by Posting on Instagram; The Hollywood Reporter, April 14, 2020

Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter; Court Rules Photographer Gave Up Exclusive Licensing Rights by Posting on Instagram

"When it comes to appropriating images found online, the situation is understandably confusing. If an individual posts something on social media, does that give someone else the right to use it in a different forum? Most lawyers would likely answer, "Not so fast," and yet on Monday came a suggestive ruling perhaps otherwise from a New York federal court."

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Hospital Technicians Ignore Copyright Law to Fight COVID-19; Reason, April 13, 2020

Paul Detrick, Reason; Hospital Technicians Ignore Copyright Law to Fight COVID-19

"A right-to-repair movement has been fighting to change federal copyright law—or to pass state-level laws that let people fix their own devices. But medical device companies fought back with letters to lawmakers, saying right-to-repair laws could endanger the lives of patients if devices were fixed improperly by untrained personnel."

The Open COVID Pledge: What Is It and Is It Right for You?; The National Law Review, April 14, 2020

Theresa Rakocy, The National Law Review; The Open COVID Pledge: What Is It and Is It Right for You?

"Enter one possible solution: The Open COVID Pledge. A group of scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs developed the Open COVID Pledge to encourage businesses and research facilities to make their intellectual property available for use in the fight against COVID-19. The idea behind the Open COVID Pledge is to allow open sharing of intellectual property and technology to end the pandemic without the need for timely and costly licenses or royalty agreements. The initiative comes at a time when researchers and companies alike are surging ahead with ways to combat and end COVID-19. In its Press Release, the individuals behind the Open COVID Pledge explain that the license is needed because “enabling individuals and organizations across the world to work on solutions together, without impediments, is the quickest way to end this pandemic.”...

As COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide, with the number of new cases each day still increasing in most countries, research and the development of new technologies to combat and eradicate COVID-19 has blossomed. As discussed in an earlier post, countries and companies are looking for ways to contribute, with many now making available and expanding access to their intellectual property. The balance between access and protection of intellectual property, however, is delicate."

Monday, April 13, 2020

Putin’s Long War Against American Science; The New York Times, April 13, 2020

, The New York Times; Putin’s Long War Against American Science

A decade of health disinformation promoted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia has sown wide confusion, hurt major institutions and encouraged the spread of deadly illnesses.

"As the pandemic has swept the globe, it has been accompanied by a dangerous surge of false information — an “infodemic,” according to the World Health Organization. Analysts say that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has played a principal role in the spread of false information as part of his wider effort to discredit the West and destroy his enemies from within.

The House, the Senate and the nation’s intelligence agencies have typically focused on election meddling in their examinations of Mr. Putin’s long campaign. But the repercussions are wider. An investigation by The New York Times — involving scores of interviews as well as a review of scholarly papers, news reports, and Russian documents, tweets and TV shows — found that Mr. Putin has spread misinformation on issues of personal health for more than a decade.

His agents have repeatedly planted and spread the idea that viral epidemics — including flu outbreaks, Ebola and now the coronavirus — were sown by American scientists. The disinformers have also sought to undermine faith in the safety of vaccines, a triumph of public health that Mr. Putin himself promotes at home.

Moscow’s aim, experts say, is to portray American officials as downplaying the health alarms and thus posing serious threats to public safety.

“It’s all about seeding lack of trust in government institutions,” Peter Pomerantsev, author of “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible,” a 2014 book on Kremlin disinformation, said in an interview.

The Russian president has waged his long campaign by means of open media, secretive trolls and shadowy blogs that regularly cast American health officials as patronizing frauds. Of late, new stealth and sophistication have made his handiwork harder to see, track and fight."

Spike in coronavirus knock-offs; Tiger King trademark fiasco; new TMview and DesignView - news digest; Lexology, April 3, 2020

World Trademark Review - Jonathan Walfisz, Lexology; Spike in coronavirus knock-offs; Tiger King trademark fiasco; new TMview and DesignView - news digest

"Every Tuesday and Friday, WTR presents a round-up of news, developments and insights from across the trademark sphere. In our latest edition, we look at how counterfeit vaping devices are resurfacing as a major issue, the first well-known trademark being registered in Tajikistan, a new CEO being unveiled at UpCounsel, AM General retreating on its Call of Duty lawsuit, and much more. Coverage this time from Trevor Little (TL), Bridget Diakun (BD), Jonathan Walfisz (JW) and Tim Lince (TJL)...

"Tiger King” sought reputational damage, in addition to murder – New Netflix documentary series ‘Tiger King’ has been the viral entertainment of the past month, and features a real treat for trademark professionals. The show follows the eccentric Joe Exotic, a self-described “gay, gun-carrying redneck with a mullet” who owned a private zoo in Oklahoma. Across seven episodes, the show looks at Exotic’s bitter, decades-long feud with animal conservationist Carole Baskin, who owns the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary and passionately wanted to put Exotic out of business for alleged mistreatment of the exotic animals in his care. The show features dozens of unbelievable moments, with one particular episode focused on a trademark dispute between the pair. While we won’t spoil the outcome, it hinges on Exotic launching his own ‘Big Cat’ entity and “boasting on Facebook that he registered the Big Cat Entertainment name to ruin its goodwill on Google”. For those that have seen the series already, The Fashion Law has an informative, fun breakdown of the case in more detail. For those that haven’t seen it, we highly recommend it for any fans of outrageous true-life stories. (TJL)"

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Want to livestream your religious service? Be aware of copyright law.; The Virginian-Pilot, April 11, 2020

Denise M. Watson, The Virginian-Pilot; Want to livestream your religious service? Be aware of copyright law.

"Unless religious organizations have a streaming or “synchronization” license to use the copyrighted music for livestreams and recordings, they may be violating the U.S. Copyright Act, said Jane Tucker, an attorney with Vandeventer Black, a business and litigation law firm based in Norfolk."

Friday, April 10, 2020

Brands, T-shirt makers line up to trademark coronavirus pandemic; USA Today, April 7, 2020

Nick Penzenstadler, USA Today; Brands, T-shirt makers line up to trademark coronavirus pandemic

"[Josh] Gerben [a Washington intellectual property attorney who’s been tracking daily filings] pointed out that trademark office examiners are perhaps the best equipped federal employees to keep working through the pandemic since most already telework. Trademarking is a lengthy process, he said, typically taking four months for an initial examination of an application and about eight months before a trademark is finalized.

Gerben pointed out that trademark office examiners are perhaps the best equipped federal employees to keep working through the pandemic since most already telework. Trademarking is a lengthy process, he said, typically taking four months for an initial examination of an application and about eight months before a trademark is finalized.

Examiners use simple tools such as Google to determine whether a phrase is unique. To receive the protections of exclusive national rights, a mark must be both distinct and already in commercial use by the filer. That means the dozen individuals applying for “I survived COVID-19” could be denied exclusive rights, especially if startups on Etsy or other do-it-yourself websites are selling items. 

Trademark holders will have to consider the business ethics of profiting from a pandemic that’s killed thousands."

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Past coronavirus: an open-access future for academics; The Bowdoin Orient, April 3, 2020

Radu Stochita, The Bowdoin Orient; Past coronavirus: an open-access future for academics

"What Aaron Swartz left us is the courage to try and break the wall that exists between the public and the profit-driven industry of academic publishing. In his eyes, information was meant to be free and accessible. Progress was meant for the common good, in the benefit of everyone, not only for a selected few."

Nature to join open-access Plan S, publisher says; Nature, April 9, 2020

Richard Van Noorden, NatureNature to join open-access Plan S, publisher says

"After a change in the rules of the bold open-access (OA) initiative known as Plan S, publisher Springer Nature said on 8 April that many of its non-OA journals — including Nature — were now committed to joining the plan, pending discussion of further technical details.

This means that Nature and other Nature-branded journals that publish original research will now look to offer an immediate OA route after January 2021 to scientists who want it, or whose funders require it, a spokesperson says. (Nature is editorially independent of its publisher, Springer Nature.)...
In simple terms, the plan means that researchers funded by agencies supporting Plan S must submit their work to OA journals, or post peer-reviewed versions of their work openly online."

Sandia Labs offers fast-track licensing approval program for access to intellectual property; KOB4, April 7, 2020

Brett Luna, KOB4; Sandia Labs offers fast-track licensing approval program for access to intellectual property

"Sandia Labs is now offering up more than a thousand pieces of its intellectual property to help fight the pandemic.

The fast-track licensing approval program, or the Rapid Technology Deployment Program, is allowing businesses and individuals to freely use some of Sandia Labs’ intellectual property without paying fees or royalties. The program gives people approval within a few days instead of a few months.

"We have about almost 1,600 active patents so we have made 70% of those patents available to U.S. individuals and companies free of charge through the end of the calendar year,” said Mary Monson, Senior Manager for Technology Partnership at Sandia Labs...

For more information about the program, click here."

Free Access to Intellectual Property is Crucial in Mitigating The COVID-19 Pandemic; News18, April 9, 2020

Simantini Dey, News18; Free Access to Intellectual Property is Crucial in Mitigating The COVID-19 Pandemic

"Furthermore, sharing intellectual property among members of academia is also important, so that the invention of a working vaccine can be accelerated, and more can be discovered about this potent virus. 

To ensure such co-operation, a group of scientists, lawyers, entrepreneurs and individuals have come together and started the 'Open COVID pledge' initiative. The organisations, institutions and universities who take the 'Open COVID Pledge' will voluntarily make the commitment of sharing their Intellectual Property related to COVID-19, thereby reducing information barrier. 

So far, Intel, Mozilla and Creative Commons have publically taken the Open COVID pledge. Harvard, MIT and Stanford have also agreed to this initiative. The University of Utah (Centre for Law and Biological Sciences), and Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital are among some of the other institutions that have endorsed the pledge.

The current global healthcare crisis has brought to sharp focus the need to review patent laws of pharmaceutical products and how it should be reframed in case of a pandemic, or epidemic in future."

Managing Intellectual Property in a Crisis (Part 3); JDSupra, April 8, 2020

Joseph Falcon, III, JDSupraManaging Intellectual Property in a Crisis (Part 3)

"The most common danger of ignoring intellectual property is the loss of business opportunities, because the business owner was not attentive to whether those opportunities were worth pursuing. For example, an issued patent requires maintenance fees periodically through the life of the patent. Failure to pay a maintenance fee will cause the patent to expire. The business owner must make an informed decision as to whether or not maintaining that patent is in the business’ best interests. On the other hand, the unnecessary payment of a maintenance fee may result in a lost opportunity to invest those funds in new projects or patents. It is therefore critical to maintain a portfolio of patents which is driven by the business’ needs, strategy and long-term goals."

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

US Copyright Office, USPTO Act to Assist Those Affected by COVID-19; The National Law Review, April 8, 2020

Eleanor B. AtkinsJiaxiao Zhang, The National Law Review; US Copyright Office, USPTO Act to Assist Those Affected by COVID-19

"Pursuant to the temporary authority granted by the CARES Act, the US Copyright Office and the USPTO have announced that they are taking steps to assist those impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by extending certain deadlines, provided that the filing or fee payment is accompanied by a statement attesting that the delay was due to the COVID-19 crisis."

University libraries offer online “lending” of scanned in-copyright books; Ars Technica, April 7, 2020

Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica; University libraries offer online “lending” of scanned in-copyright books

"A consortium of university libraries called HathiTrust recently announced a solution to this problem, called the Emergency Temporary Access Service. It allows participating HathiTrust member libraries to offer their patrons digital scans of books that they can "check out" and read online.
HathiTrust has a history of pushing the boundaries of copyright. It was the defendant in a landmark 2014 ruling that established the legality of library book scanning. At the time, HathiTrust was only allowing people with print disabilities to access the full text of scanned books. Now HathiTrust is expanding access to more people—though still with significant limits...
These limits distinguish HathiTrust's service from another recently announced "emergency library." Two weeks ago, the Internet Archive announced it was offering the general public the opportunity to check out 1.4 million scanned books. During the pandemic, the Internet Archive isn't limiting the number of people who can "borrow" a book simultaneously.
Cornell University legal scholar James Grimmelmann tells Ars that the limits on the HathiTrust program will put the group in a stronger position if it is ever challenged in court. The same fair use doctrine that allows HathiTrust to scan books in the first place might also justify what the organization is doing now—though that's far from certain."

Dr. Drew apologizes for being a COVID-19 denier after copyright silliness; Ars Technica, April 6, 2020

Kate Cox, Ars Technica; Dr. Drew apologizes for being a COVID-19 denier after copyright silliness

Dr. Drew coronavirus supercut restored to YouTube after copyright takedown.

"Bharara, a former US attorney, and Boutrous, a high-profile attorney, were among the many who replied to defend or amplify Ali.

"You are safe from any 'copywrite' lawsuit, @yashar," Bharara tweeted. "Know your writes."

"Truth and fair use got you," Boutrous added in a tweet that quoted Pinsky's now-deleted threat.

It appears that either Pinsky or YouTube was inclined to agree. Sometime around noon Monday, give or take an hour, the YouTube video listing very quietly started working once again. Similarly, every message on Pinsky's @drdrew Twitter account relating to the video has been deleted."

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Social distancing beer, CBD oil, and crop tops? Coronavirus-related applications pouring into U.S. trademark office.; The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 6, 2020

William Bender, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Social distancing beer, CBD oil, and crop tops? Coronavirus-related applications pouring into U.S. trademark office.

"Josh Gerben, a Washington trademark lawyer and founder of Gerben Law Firm, said he’d counted more than 120 coronavirus-related applications as of last week. More are coming in. Each application costs $275.

“I wasn’t that impressed with everybody’s, to be honest,” Gerben said. “There could be some more creativity out there.”...

Gerben said trademark applications are usually rejected once a word or phrase has become ubiquitous. On the other hand, an application such as Shelter in Paradise — a resort-hotel concept riffing on shelter-in-place directives — might have a better chance."

After a long legal struggle, Seattle band Thunderpussy is granted a U.S. trademark; The Seattle Times, April 5, 2020

, The Seattle Times; After a long legal struggle, Seattle band Thunderpussy is granted a U.S. trademark

"“There are a great many immoral and scandalous ideas in the world (even more than there are swearwords), and the Lanham Act covers them all,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the court’s opinion. “It therefore violates the First Amendment.” She also noted a lack of consistency in how the USPTO interpreted the Lanham Act, approving some trademarks and rejecting others that used the same potentially offensive language.

Kerr, Thunderpussy’s attorney, had argued the same point in his appeal to the USPTO.

“I mentioned over 40 trademark applications that had been accepted that included the word ‘pussy,’ ” he said. “Human discretion enters into the process, which is one person forming an opinion based on an internet search — but the implications for the band are enormous.”

The wheels of bureaucracy turned and, on April 4, Kerr finally received a letter from the USPTO granting Thunderpussy registered trademark number 6,021,338."

In a first, China knocks U.S. from top spot in global patent race; Reuters, April 7, 2020

Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters; In a first, China knocks U.S. from top spot in global patent race

"China was the biggest source of applications for international patents in the world last year, pushing the United States out of the top spot it has held since the global system was set up more than 40 years ago, the U.N. patent agency said on Tuesday.

The World Intellectual Property Organization, which oversees a system for countries to share recognition of patents, said 58,990 applications were filed from China last year, beating out the United States which filed 57,840.

China’s figure was a 200-fold increase in just 20 years, it said. The United States had filed the most applications in the world every year since the Patent Cooperation Treaty system was set up in 1978. 

More than half of patent applications - 52.4 % - now come from Asia, with Japan ranking third, followed by Germany and South Korea."

COVID-19 and Trade Secrets: Is Your Business Prepared to Protect its Trade Secrets While Your Employees Work From Home?; National Law Review, March 25, 2020

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP., National Law Review; COVID-19 and Trade Secrets: Is Your Business Prepared to Protect its Trade Secrets While Your Employees Work From Home?

"In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses (particularly those in states or cities under “stay home” orders) have implemented a work-from-home (“WFH”) directive for employees.  It is important for businesses to address the security of their trade secrets in this new environment in order to reduce the risk of misappropriation.  It is also important to reduce the risk that the trade secret status of information will be lost based on a failure to take reasonable steps to protect its secrecy.  This article addresses some steps your business can consider taking to protect trade secrets accessible by employees who are now working at home.  Even if your business had a WFH policy before the COVID-19 outbreak, it should be re-visited in light of the current circumstances flowing from a pandemic during which all or most of your workforce may be operating on a WFH basis.  For example, what was once a “no trade secrets may be taken home” policy may be impossible in the current climate.

The following are a few potential steps for consideration to protect trade secrets in the hands of employees working at home:"

Harry and Meghan's Archewell trademark suggests plan for non-profit empire Application filed in US ranges from awards to clothing to a health website; The Guardian, April 7, 2020

Caroline Davies, The Guardian; Harry and Meghan's Archewell trademark suggests plan for non-profit empire

Application filed in US ranges from awards to clothing to a health website

"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex appear to be planning a wide-ranging non-profit empire, including websites, films and their own awards, according to trademark applications lodged in the US under the name of Archewell.

The first clear indications of how Harry and Meghan intend to rebrand themselves as non-working royals are revealed in an extensive list published on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.

Archewell, derived from the Greek word arche, meaning “sources of action”, was the inspiration for the name of their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, the couple have revealed. It replaces the Sussex Royal brand they had originally trademarked in the UK, but were banned from using by Buckingham Palace.

The application, lodged on 3 March in Beverly Hills, covers items from educational materials, clothing, stationery and a nutrition and general health website, possibly modelled on Meghan’s successful The Tig lifestyle site, which she shut down following her engagement to Harry."

Listen to Hundreds of Free Audiobooks, From Classics to Educational Texts; Smithsonian Magazine, April 6, 2020

, Smithsonian Magazine; Listen to Hundreds of Free Audiobooks, From Classics to Educational Texts

"With classrooms closed due to COVID-19, millions of students across the United States are venturing into the realm of distance learning. To support these efforts, Amazon’s audiobook service, Audible, has launched an online collection of hundreds of free audiobooks primed for both education and entertainment.
The website doesn’t require a log-in, sign-up or payment information. To peruse Audible’s selection of novels, poetry and fables—from classics to modern favorites—simply click “Start Listening.”...
The Audible Stories website states, “For as long as schools are closed, we’re open.”
This goal is similar to that of the National Emergency Library, which—controversially—makes more than a million free books available for temporary download. Normally, the archive has about 2.5 million public domain books available for download without constraint. An additional 1.4 million copyrighted books are accessible to one reader at a time for a two-week borrowing period.
The Emergency Library removes that one-at-a-time restriction until the end of June, “or the end of the U.S. national emergency, whichever is later,” according to a statement. Backlash from authors and publishers has since framed the collection as internet piracy that violates intellectual property laws, but the campaign still has its fair share of supporters.
Audible’s offerings come without any of these concerns. So, if you enjoy audiobooks, the Audible Stories platform represents a straightforward option that can be enjoyed in conjunction with audiobook downloads offered by public libraries. Apple Books is also highlighting free book options, joining Audible Stories in a growing repertoire of at-home educational content."

Monday, April 6, 2020

Online Teaching During Pandemic Raises Copyright Concerns; Bloomberg Law, April 3, 2020

Matthew Bultman, Bloomberg Law; Online Teaching During Pandemic Raises Copyright Concerns

"The sudden shift to online teaching is raising a host of copyright questions for educators...

Allaying Teacher Fears

Hoping to provide guidance, a group of copyright specialists at colleges, universities and other organizations last month wrote a statement on fair use that was signed or endorsed by more than 200 experts. It has circulated among grade school educators as well. 
Making course materials available to students during the pandemic will “almost always be a fair use,” the group wrote in the statement. Showing full-length movies or television shows can be more tricky, and the group encouraged instructors to use video through licensed services whenever possible. 
“One of the reasons that this statement was put together was to address and allay some of the fears that faculty, students, and librarians are facing when rapidly shifting to moving their courses online,” said Sara Benson, a copyright librarian and assistant professor at the University of Illinois.
The group also put together a list of video and other content that publishers have made available for free—called “Vendor Love In The Time Of Covid”—during the outbreak. Copyright specialists have also held informational “Virtual Copyright Office Hours” on Zoom. 
“We want to make copyright the least of your concerns,” Courtney said. “Be worried about your students, their health, their welfare, because that’s most important.”"

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Managing Intellectual Property in a Crisis (Part 2); JDSupra, April 1, 2020

Joseph Falcon, III, JDSupra; Managing Intellectual Property in a Crisis (Part 2)

"(Note: This is the second of a three-part series stressing the importance of intellectual property protection in difficult economic times. You can read Part 1 here, and watch for Part 3 tomorrow.)

Maintaining intellectual property first requires identification of intellectual property your business already possesses. Intellectual property rights are classified into various categories, each protectable by different legal instruments such as patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret...
These items for patents, copyrights or trademarks are general, but each business likely will have specific questions on how they can apply to each business."

Managing Intellectual Property in a Crisis (Part 1); JDSupra, March 31, 2020

Joseph Falcon, III, JDSupra; Managing Intellectual Property in a Crisis (Part 1)

"Businesses are often not aware that they own intellectual property that generally provides the owner exclusionary rights, which are critical to any business that wants to commercialize their product or services in view of competition. Therefore, those companies that appropriately manage intellectual property rights create improved opportunities to protect and exploit these rights as assets, especially in an economic crisis or downturn. Developing and maintaining intellectual property, as a management strategy, has proven to be an effective tool for any company and having such a strategy may be essential for a business to gain and maintain a competitive advantage, especially in today’s economy."

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Music Copyright Infringement Is Beginning To Make Sense Again; Forbes, April 1, 2020

Bobby Owsinski, Forbes; Music Copyright Infringement Is Beginning To Make Sense Again

"But finally there is some indication that sanity may be returning to the courtroom when it comes to music copyright infringement...

This is a feel-good story if I ever heard one, except for the mental anguish and time that the people of Burbank High School had to endure. I get it that a copyright holder is trying to protect its rights. Publishers and songwriters deserve to get paid, and I don't think anyone questions that. Suing a school over a fundraiser is not going to make you many friends, however.
The bottom line is that common sense now seems to prevail when it comes to music copyright infringement cases, and it’s about time. May it continue this way for a long time."

Copyright Alliance blasts Internet Archive’s Emergency Library launch as “vile”; ZDNet, March 31, 2020

, ZDNet; Copyright Alliance blasts Internet Archive’s Emergency Library launch as “vile”

The National Emergency Library opened to help learners “displaced” by COVID-19.

"The Authors Guild said that COVID-19 has been used "as an excuse to push copyright law further out to the edges" which, in turn, is causing authors that are already struggling to pay the bills additional harm...

"Acting as a piracy site -- of which there already are too many -- the Internet Archive tramples on authors' rights by giving away their books to the world," the group says.  
More criticism has come in the form of comments made by the Copyright Alliance, an organization that represents the rights of those in creative industries including authors and artists. CEO Keith Kupferschmid noted that creators are among the hardest hit at present, and while projects have been set up to help those in these industries, the executive said IA's project is making "things much worse for those that need our help.""