Tuesday, August 25, 2020

This Guy is Suing the Patent Office for Deciding an AI Can't Invent Things; Vice, August 24, 2020

Todd Feathers, Vice; This Guy is Suing the Patent Office for Deciding an AI Can't Invent Things

The USPTO rejected two patents applications written by a "creativity engine" named DABUS. Now a lawsuit raises fundamental questions about what it means to be creative

"A computer scientist who created an artificial intelligence system capable of generating original inventions is suing the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) over its decision earlier this year to reject two patent applications which list the algorithmic system, known as DABUS, as the inventor.

The lawsuit is the latest step in an effort by Stephen Thaler and an international group of lawyers and academics to win inventorship rights for non-human AI systems, a prospect that raises fundamental questions about what it means to be creative and also carries potentially paradigm-shifting implications for certain industries."

Intellectual-Property Assets Are Getting More Valuable; The Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2020

Intellectual-Property Assets Are Getting More Valuable 

Covid-19 highlights importance of intellectual-property assets, particularly what happens with licensing contracts if a company goes out of business

"Intellectual-property assets such as brand names, customer data and trademarks are gaining value as the Covid-19 pandemic upends traditional models for retailers, restaurants and other struggling businesses."

Trade Secret Theft: Investigation Into Theft of Intellectual Property from GE Leads to Two Guilty Pleas; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), July 29, 2020

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Trade Secret Theft

"The investigation showed that Delia and Sernas stole elements of a computer program and mathematical model that GE used to expertly calibrate the turbines used in power plants.

Since GE also manufactured the turbines, they had complete understanding of them. “The company had a skill set and engineering-level details that no one else could offer,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York Wayne Myers.

Because of their expertise, power plant operators from all over the world hired GE’s performance engineers to help their turbines achieve peak performance for the climate and conditions in which they were installed. The service could increase the efficiency of the turbines enough to substantially lower the plants’ operating costs."

'The Terrible Towel' trademark owners sue Indiana county store over 'The Terrible Mask'; WTAE, August 23, 2020

WTAE; 'The Terrible Towel' trademark owners sue Indiana county store over 'The Terrible Mask'

"The owner of The Terrible Towel's trademark is suing an Indiana County store for selling a face covering called, The Terrible Mask...

Pittsburgh sports broadcaster, Myron Cope, created the Terrible Towel. 
After Cope's death in 2008, the rights were gifted to the Allegheny Valley School Foundation, now known as the Eamon Foundation."

Monday, August 24, 2020

Any Way You Slice It, D.C. Circuit Holds That &Pizza Can’t Get Piece of @Pizza; Lexology, July 23, 2020

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP - Jessica L. Hannah and Margaret A. Esquenet, Lexology; Any Way You Slice It, D.C. Circuit Holds That &Pizza Can’t Get Piece of @Pizza

"IMAPizza LLC operates the &pizza chain in the United States. IMAPizza alleged that At Pizza Ltd., an Edinburgh, Scotland company, operating under the name @Pizza, created an unauthorized copycat version of IMAPizza’s &pizza restaurant. The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently affirmed the dismissal of IMAPizza’s copyright and trademark infringement claims against At Pizza. The D.C. Circuit agreed with the district court’s conclusions that IMAPizza failed to allege any domestic copyright infringement or that At Pizza’s actions created any effect on U.S. commerce that could justify extraterritorial application of the Lanham Act."

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

A New Copyright Office Warehouse–25 Years in the Making; Library of Congress, August 19, 2020

, Library of CongressA New Copyright Office Warehouse–25 Years in the Making

"The following is a guest post by Paul Capel, Supervisory Records Management Section Head.

The United States Copyright Office holds the most comprehensive collection of copyright records in the world. The Office has over 200,000 boxes of deposit copies spread among three storage facilities in Landover, Maryland; a contracted space in Pennsylvania; and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) facility in Massachusetts. Even with these three warehouses, that’s not enough space. Each day, the Office receives new deposits, and despite the increase in electronic deposits, our physical deposits continue to grow year after year.

These deposits are managed by the Deposit Copies Storage Unit, a dedicated team that springs into action to retrieve deposits when requested by examiners or researchers or for litigation cases. In this type of work, speed and efficiency of retrieval are critical. Managing deposits across three storage locations can present a challenge to our ideal retrieval times. When our records are stored in several locations, the potential for miscommunication or misplaced deposits increases.

This October, the Office will be opening a new 40,000 square foot warehouse that has been in discussion for over twenty-five years. We will be moving our deposits out of facilities that are more than forty years old to centrally locate them in a new state-of-the-art facility. This is a huge undertaking, and we are aiming to move 88,000 boxes from Landover in under 45 days. The new space is environmentally controlled and meets preservation requirements for the storage of federal records. Even more importantly, the new facility will allow the Office to maintain control over all our records in a single location, which will improve our retrieval times and will enable us to serve our stakeholders better.
This new facility is a great start, but we have an even bigger vision for our deposits. To truly inventory and track our deposits, the Office is investigating a warehouse management system that will help staff inventory, track, locate, and manage all the items in our warehouse. This type of system will help the Office enhance the availability and accessibility of materials, decreasing manual processing, and allowing for real-time tracking of deposits at any given time. It will also let us know who has them and when their period of retention ends.
This system will provide all the notifications  expected from any modern delivery service. Copyright Office staff will be able to obtain a copy of their order and tell when it is in transit, know when it has been delivered, and sign for it digitally. This system will also provide transparency to others who might have an interest in requesting the same deposit, to see where it currently is, who has it, and how long they have had it."

Self-Driving to Federal Prison: The Trade Secret Theft Saga of Anthony Levandowski Continues; Lexology, August 13, 2020

Seyfarth Shaw LLP - Robert Milligan and Darren W. DummitSelf-Driving to Federal Prison: The Trade Secret Theft Saga of Anthony Levandowski Continues

"Judge Aslup, while steadfastly respectful of Levandowski as a good person and as a brilliant man who the world would learn a lot listening to, nevertheless found prison time to be the best available deterrent to engineers and employees privy to trade secrets worth billions of dollars to competitors: “You’re giving the green light to every future engineer to steal trade secrets,” he told Levandowski’s attorneys. “Prison time is the answer to that.” To further underscore the importance of deterring similar behavior in the high stakes tech world, Judge Aslup required Levandowski to give the aforementioned public speeches describing how he went to prison."

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Intellectual Property ‘Grab’; Inside Higher Ed, August 17, 2020

Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed; Intellectual Property ‘Grab’

"COVID-19 has upended so many academic norms. Now Youngstown State University may be poised to turn another tradition on its head: faculty ownership of textbooks, articles and other nonpatentable works.

According to documents from the university’s ongoing contract negotiations with its faculty union, Youngstown State wants to fundamentally change how it defines scholarship, copyright, intellectual property, distance education and the legal term "works for hire." It also wants to introduce the concept of commercialization into the faculty contract."

Volvo says copyright claim to photo of SC-made S60 doesn’t extend to Instagram; Post and Courier, August 16, 2020

David Wren, Post and Courier; Volvo says copyright claim to photo of SC-made S60 doesn’t extend to Instagram

"The Facebook-owned photo- and video-tagging app has created a legal gray area by requiring its users to grant the social media site a copyright license for any images they upload. Instagram can then sublicense those rights to others. In a recent similar case, however, Instagram said anyone who reposts images also might need a license from the original photographer."

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The cool story behind popsicles; CBS Sunday Morning, August 16, 2020

CBS Sunday Morning; The cool story behind popsicles

"...Frank Epperson would have to grow up before he patented his idea, in 1924.

"He called it 'Ep-sicle,'" said Kathleen. "Ep for Epperson, and sicle because it looked like an icicle."

But his four-year-old son George came up with a catchier name: "He ran up and he put his arms around his father's leg and he said, 'Pop, pop, can I have a 'sicle? I want a popsicle!'""

Will Online College Courses Help Reduce Textbook Prices?; Forbes, August 7, 2020

Robert Farrington, Forbes; Will Online College Courses Help Reduce Textbook Prices?

"Sympathetic professors often don’t even require textbooks at all, or they make it easy for students to access materials online — and this was even before the pandemic took hold. 

Movement To Open Educational Resources (OER)

Schools who planned to transition online this year due to Covid-19 had the entire summer to figure out ways to present their materials, whether that includes Zoom meetings, message boards, their own platforms, or the many other options available. It’s likely that some of them will have moved a lot of their course material entirely to the web, which could eliminate the need for physical textbooks altogether for some classes. 
But there was a major move toward free college textbooks that predates the pandemic, according to Brian Galvin, the Chief Academic Officer for Varsity Tutors. Galvin says that the biggest lever colleges have to pull is the popularity of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement, which has seen professors choose to teach courses using e-textbooks that are essentially "open-source" and made available by nonprofits that aim to reduce the cost of learning."

Australia to reform copyright laws in face of digital and COVID-19 world; ZDNet, August 13, 2020

, ZDNet; Australia to reform copyright laws in face of digital and COVID-19 world

The changes include a new fair dealing exception that allows cultural and educational institutions, governments, and other persons engaged in public interest or personal research to quote copyright material.

"The Australian government has announced it will make reforms to the nation's copyright laws in a bid to better support the needs of Australians in an increasingly digital environment.

The decision comes after two years of industry consultation and is the government's response to copyright recommendations made by the Productivity Commission four years ago...  

"The need for change has been further highlighted during COVID-19, with schools, universities, cultural institutions, and governments moving more services online."  

The proposed copyright reforms are focused on five main measures: Introducing a limited liability scheme for use of orphan works; a new fair dealing exception for non-commercial quotation; amendments to library and archives exceptions; amendments to education exceptions; and streamlining the government's statutory licensing scheme."

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Why Patents Don't Stop People From Stealing Your Invention; Forbes, June 4, 2020

Stephen Key, Forbes; Why Patents Don't Stop People From Stealing Your Invention

"Here are effective and practical ways of protecting your ownership of your creativity."

Explainer: who owns the copyright to your tattoo?; The Conversation, August 10, 2020

, The Conversation; Explainer: who owns the copyright to your tattoo?

"So, why don’t tattooists sue over copying?

In some art industries, there can be a big gap between holding rights and exercising them. 
To tattooists, appropriation is mostly seen as a matter of ethics or manners rather than law...
These norms aside, copyright law does apply to tattoos. Whether or not more tattoo enthusiasts will seek an appropriate licence, as occurred in the case of Jarrangini (buffalo), or a copyright owner will sue for a rights violation, is another matter."

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Intellectual Property and Education in the Age of COVID-19; Research Symposium, QUT Faculty of Law via infojustice.org, July 29, 2020

, Research Symposium, QUT Faculty of Law via infojustice.org; Intellectual Property and Education in the Age of COVID-19


This event will consider the relationship between intellectual property and higher education in the age of the public health crisis over the coronavirus COVID-19. It will bring together scholars, experts, and practitioners in law, business, and education, and examine this topic from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

Universities and educational institutions will play a key role in our local, national, and global response to the public health crisis of the coronavirus COVID-19. Professor John Shine — the President of the Australian Academy of Science — has stressed: ‘As a repository of knowledge, networks, infrastructure and smart, agile people, university science has the capacity to address global challenges.’ Shine suggests: ‘People trained by university science and working within the research sector are the people whose expertise will deliver on this global challenge.’ He has concluded: ‘It’s the capacity to innovate in our university science that will bring us through this crisis.’

This symposium will consider the role of universities and educational institutions as creators, intermediaries, and users of copyright work. It will also examine how universities rely upon trade mark law, branding, marketing, and Internet Domain Names. This symposium will explore the role of universities in respect of research, development and deployment of patented inventions in key fields — including agriculture, biotechnology, medicine, and clean technologies. This event will also consider the tension between the open access culture of universities, and the push towards the protection of trade secrets and confidential information. It will look at recent concerns about the cyber-hacking of universities, educational establishments, and research institutions.

This symposium will also provide an Australian launch of Professor Jacob Rooksby’s Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (Edward Elgar, 2020) — which includes a contribution from a QUT researcher on intellectual property, 3D printing, and higher education."

CBS’ overzealous copyright bots hit Star Trek virtual Comic-Con panel; Ars Technica, July 23, 2020

. Ars Technica; CBS’ overzealous copyright bots hit Star Trek virtual Comic-Con panel

"Media companies that usually have a large presence at events like SDCC worked hard to create streaming alternative content—but it seems they forgot to tell their copyright bots.

ViacomCBS kicked things off today with an hour-long panel showing off its slew of current and upcoming Star Trek projects: Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, and Strange New Worlds...

Even if the presentation didn't look like a real episode of Discovery to the home viewer, it apparently sounded close enough: after the Star Trek Universe virtual panel began viewers began to lose access to the stream. In place of the video, YouTube displayed a content ID warning reading: "Video unavailable: This video contains content from CBS CID, who has blocked it on copyright grounds."

After being blacked out for about 20 minutes, the panel was restored, and the recording of the virtual panel has no gaps in playback."

Saturday, August 8, 2020

U.S. Copyright Office: DMCA Is “Tilted Askew,” Recommends Remedies for Rightsholders; JDSupra, August 7, 2020

Aylin Kuzucan, Fenwick & West LLP, JDSupra; U.S. Copyright Office: DMCA Is “Tilted Askew,” Recommends Remedies for Rightsholders

"On May 21, 2020, the U.S. Copyright Office released its first full report—based on 92,000 written comments, five roundtables and decades of case law—on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 512). The analysis was intended to determine whether the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions effectively balanced the needs of online service providers and rightsholders. The Copyright Office concluded that the balance is “tilted askew,” with largely ineffective copyright infringement protections for rightsholders...

Going forward, the Copyright Office plans to post a new website—copyright.gov/DMCA—with several educational and practical elements, including model takedown notices and counter-notices. In addition, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property plans to draft changes to the DMCA by the end of 2020. Any changes made will be critical for the copyright community to monitor closely."

Friday, August 7, 2020

CCC Salutes and Celebrates the US Copyright Office’s 150th Anniversary; Copyright Clearance Center, August 5, 2020

Copyright Clearance Center;

CCC Salutes and Celebrates the US Copyright Office’s 150th Anniversary

"CCC salutes and celebrates the historic milestone passed recently by the US Copyright Office: its 150th year of continuous operation...

In 1906, Mark Twain addressed Congress, appearing in his famous white suit for the first time, in pursuit of additional copyright protection for authors (which did not actually occur until 1976): 

“I am interested particularly and especially in the part of the bill which concerns my trade. I like that extension of copyright life to the author’s life and fifty years afterward. I think that would satisfy any reasonable author, because it would take care of his children. Let the grand-children take care of themselves. That would take care of my daughters, and after that I am not particular. I shall then have long been out of this struggle, independent of it, indifferent to it.”"

Thursday, August 6, 2020

U.S. Copyright Office Celebrates 150 Years of Fostering American Creativity and Innovation; U.S. Chamber of Commerce, August 4, 2020

Frank Cullen, U.S. Chamber of Commerce;

U.S. Copyright Office Celebrates 150 Years of Fostering American Creativity and Innovation

"Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) joins the U.S. Copyright Office in celebrating its 150th-anniversary as an essential leader in fostering American creativity and innovation.

The office was established during the wake of the Civil War when Librarian of Congress Ainsworth Spofford lobbied and convinced Congress to unify the copyright registration system in the Library of Congress."

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Can Neil Young Sue Donald Trump Into Silence?; Rolling Stone, August 5, 2020

Amy X. Wang, Rolling Stone; Can Neil Young Sue Donald Trump Into Silence?

"The lawsuit is just the latest in a long line of clashes between Young and Trump — dating back to June 2015, when Trump played “Rockin’ in the Free World” after announcing his presidential run. Trump most recently played the Freedom cut at events in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Mount Rushmore, despite Young’s longstanding objection.

But does the musician have a case? “It’s absolutely a license issue,” Gary Adelman — a New York-based entertainment business attorney at Adelman Matz — tells Rolling Stone. He notes that the case will hinge on whether the artist has specifically removed those particular songs from his public performance organization’s blanket licenses: “If he has withdrawn those two particular songs from BMI’s political license program, then the Trump administration does not have a license to play them at a political rally and they have a good case that they will more likely win.”"

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Sold: An 1891 Patent by Granville T. Woods, Innovative Black Engineer; Atlas Obscura, July 22, 2020

Matthew Taub, Atlas Obscura; Sold: An 1891 Patent by Granville T. Woods, Innovative Black Engineer

Woods was prolific, but was largely forgotten for many years after his death.

"Despite his striking productivity, Woods had a difficult time profiting from his inventions. Rayvon Fouché, a professor of American Studies at Purdue University who studies technology and invention, says it’s a common misunderstanding that patents lead to wealth. More often, competition with other inventors—or a simple lack of commercial interest in the product—prevents innovators from seeing major returns, says Fouché, who is also the author of Black Inventors in the Age of Segregation: Granville T. Woods, Lewis H. Latimer, and Shelby J. Davidson."