A New Troll In Town

Green, ugly creatures living under bridges that demand payment from anyone who passes: we have all heard the fairy tales about trolls. And I think we all imagine how terrible it would be to have to deal with such creatures. In the world of patent law, patent trolls are very real and just as difficult to defeat as those in fairy tales. A patent gives the inventor property rights over the invention for a certain period of time, essentially creating a limited monopoly. This monopoly allows the inventor to charge other parties for use of their invention, thus incentivizing the creation and sharing of new ideas.Troll copy

While a clear cut definition of patent trolls does not exist, many would agree patent trolls can be described as any person or entity that does not produce the patented product or method, but charges a licensing fee to other entities that are possibly infringing on the patent or patents. A simplified example of how a patent troll is as follows: Company A (the troll) owns a patent for a widget bud does not produce said widget. When Company Be starts producing the widget (or even an arguably similar widget), Company A would demand that Company B pay a licensing fee for the widget (or face more expensive litigation). In this way, Company B is paying a “toll” to produce the product.

It is common for patent trolls to have a portfolio of patents in which they enforce. The portfolio is created when the patent troll buys patents with the sole purpose of increasing their portfolio to widen their scope of enforcement (and therefore more licensing fees). The patent trolls enforce the portfolio by sending a demand letter or providing a threat of a lawsuit against the infringers, forcing the accused to pay the fees.

Many of these patent trolls use low quality patents to collect money from companies or people that can’t afford to defend themselves in court. Many times, just the threat of the cost of litigation forces the entity to pay the troll. This extortion-like practice should be an easy fix, right? Laws could be enacted that prohibit any party from enforcing a patent if they do not produce the product. However, a solution to this problem is not that easy.

The reason fixing this problem is complicated is due to the uncertainty of what constitutes a patent troll. The definition given above is very broad, and would include institutions such as universities. Universities are awarded many patents, as such institutions are a large hub for innovation in our society. Yet universities fail to produce products from the patents. Broad sweeping legislation would eliminate universities from enforcing patents, which may limit funding for future research or have other unproductive results.

While no solution exists, Congress is currently working on passing a bill that will balance the need to eliminate unwelcomed patent trolls against the societal gains by some organizations that participate in this practice. Patent troll legislation is currently in Congress. The legislation does not broadly eliminate patent trolls, but instead tries to curb the organizations that abuse the patent system. Some of the way the bill attacks patent trolls is by increasing the requirements to file a patent lawsuit. Also, the legislation may limit the amount of discovery, reducing the cost of litigation. Lastly, it is proposed that the losing side must pay attorney fees for the side that wins. Some people believe these measures will disincentivize patent trolls from bringing frivolous lawsuits and encourage smaller entities to defend themselves in litigation.

While no overarching rule against patent trolls is plausible, the proposed solutions discussed will perhaps reduce such behavior. I believe one of the easiest ways to dampen the effect of patent trolls is to eliminate forum shopping. Because patent lawsuits can be filed almost anywhere in the United States, patent trolls can select friendly courts. A glaring example is the “rocket docket” in East Texas. It would be relatively easy to remove forum shopping, thus creating a roadblock for patent trolls to obtain their goal. While I understand the elimination of forum shopping is not the end-all in patent trolls, it would be a quick, effective step in the right direction. And while it may be a little longer until laws go into effect, one thing is clear – patent trolls must be evicted from under the bridge.

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Happy Birthday to…Who? A Famous Tune’s Copyright Clash


For using the song “Happy Birthday” in a documentary about the song’s origins, Warner/Chappell Music Inc. (“Warner”) insisted that Good Morning to You Productions (“Good Morning”)  pay a $1,500 licensing fee.  If you think that having to pay to use the song “Happy Birthday” is odd, you’re not alone.  Rather than pay for the license, however, Good Morning decided to sue Warner on the basis that Warner has unlawfully collected millions of dollars in licensing fees for the distribution, performance, and reproduction of the song.  More specifically, Good Morning is seeking a declaratory judgment that “Happy Birthday to You” has been in the public domain since 1922.  They also want to prevent Warner from claiming copyrights or collecting licensing fees related to the song, and to return fees collected from 2009 onward. If Good Morning loses, the copyright will remain enforceable until it expires in 2030.

The history of the song dates back over a century.  The tune that would eventually evolve into “Happy Birthday” was originally titled “Good Morning to All,”  and later, “Good Morning to You.”  Written in 1893 by Mildred and Patty Hill, the song was originally used to greet Patty’s kindergarten students in Louisville, Kentucky.  In 1924, “Good Morning to You” was published in a songbook with “Happy Birthday to You” printed as an optional verse.  Assumed by many to be part of the public domain, the song appeared in Broadway shows and was Western Union’s first singing telegram in 1933.  In response to such widespread use, a third Hill sister established legal copyright to Mildred and Patty’s song in 1934.  The song was then published by the Clayton F. Summy Co. (“Summy”) as “Happy Birthday” in 1935.  Summy held the copyright until 1988, when Summy was purchased by Warner.  At the time, the copyright was valued at $5 million.

On June 13, 2013, Good Morning filed a class action on behalf of “Happy Birthday” licensees dating back to 2009. Several evidentiary battles took place prior to the filing of cross-motions for summary judgment.  No ruling was made on the cross-motions, and Judge King instead ordered both parties to submit evidence addressing the claim that Patty Hill abandoned her copyright.  Investigating this claim was fruitful for the plaintiffs–they filed an ex parte application to supplement the record with new “smoking-gun” evidence that had been “mistakenly” withheld during discovery.  They claim that this evidence indicates that any copyright which may have existed expired long ago, and that as a result, the song belongs in the public domain.

The key document that the plaintiffs uncovered was a 1927 publication of “Happy Birthday” that was expressly authorized by Summy.  However, Warner argued that the document does not necessarily prove that the song belongs to the public, and at most, creates an issue of fact.  Further, Warner argued that settled Ninth Circuit precedent requires a divestive publication, characterized by an “overt act of abandonment,” in order for “Happy Birthday” to enter the public domain.  The plaintiffs responded with several examples of Patty’s conduct which, taken cumulatively, indicated that she abandoned any claim to the song’s lyrics.  Warner argued in response that Patty’s sister, Mildred, was a co-author who never abandoned her rights to the song, and that any inaction on her part is insufficient to show abandonment.


The abandonment theory of copyright has, whether intentionally or not, permitted a single entity to profit from licensing a song that rightfully belongs in the public domain.  Art, music, dance, and other forms of expression are undoubtedly interwoven into the fabric of society, and as a society that appreciates their cultural value, we should facilitate their entry into the public domain.  Although the legal apparatus of copyright protects creators from misappropriation, if not outright theft, of their expressive capacity, there is point at which a particular art form’s meaning dissociates from the original creator, and becomes part of the public consciousness.  Such is the essence, for better or worse, of living in a society that embraces and promotes expression.  Is this not an effect for which the concept of “public domain” is designed to address?  Should we not maintain a vibrant public domain in order to prevent culturally significant art forms from being controlled, monopolized, and profited off of by a single entity?

The beauty of art is that it has the capacity to evolve from individual expression to collective appreciation.  Something as small and ordinary as a kindergarten tune can grow into a permanent fixture common and beloved by all mankind.  Rather than thinking of public domain works as “orphan works” that have been “abandoned,” we should consider them as a fundamental source of human expression.  What playwright can honestly say that he was uninfluenced by Shakespeare?  Where would modern science be without the inspiration of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells?

“Happy Birthday” has been considered “far and away” the most popular song of twentieth century.  It is one of the few remaining folk songs that is passed on from generation to generation with no diminished impact.  Performed publicly and privately on innumerable occasions, it has cemented itself as a permanent fixture in the one holiday we all have in common.  To allow such a foundational part of our lives to generate thousands of dollars in licensing fees for a single entity is unacceptable.  Warner should not be permitted to collect another fifteen years’ worth of royalties on a song that is as universal as “Happy Birthday.”  If something so pervasive doesn’t belong in the public domain, then I don’t know what does.

9/30/15 UPDATE: On September 22, 2015, Judge King ruled that Warner/Chappell’s copyright is invalid. See the METAfeed for more information.

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Beam Me Up, Your Honor?

teleportRecently, I came across an article on Lawyerist.com entitled “Is Digital Court the Wave of the Future?” The article takes the position that improvements to Internet speed will eventually enable judges, lawyers, and interested parties to seamlessly hold court via digital videoconferences, but I’m not sure that this is such a good thing.

Not only does the author conclude that digital court is possible, he also maintains that digital court is preferable to modern, in-person proceedings. The notion seems shocking to me, and since the article was written in 2010, I did some research to determine whether anyone else had considered this topic. Having found nothing, I will address the arguments made by the author and introduce my counterpoints in favor of keeping hearings and court in its current state.

The author’s first point is that federal courts already use an electronic filing system (you can look on PACER), and that electronic advocacy is the next logical step. He discusses the various advantages of e-filing, including the cost savings aspects as well as noting that some state courts are also considering e-filing. In a similar vein, the author also points out that some courts permit lawyers to appear by phone and that depositions may also be taken by phone or through video conferences.

Next, the author mentions that a number of non-dispositive motions typically involve only the presiding judge and the attorneys for the interested parties. He then asks his readers if there is really any need for the necessary parties to be in the same room since the judge would still be allowed to ask questions in a digital hearing, and the attorneys could still scrutinize one another to look for weaknesses.

The author’s final point concerns the financial benefits to converting the courtroom to a digital platform. In short, no travel means fewer expenses for lawyers and judges, and no physical presence means there would be no need for security or bailiffs, all of which would act to drive court costs down and increase the citizenry’s access to the justice system.

The author concedes that the upfront costs of purchasing super-fast Internet (when it becomes available), high definition cameras, and outfitting offices (and judges’ chambers) to be online conferencing-capable would be expensive, but he is adamant that firms and clients will save money in the long run. He also acknowledges that digital courtrooms could make adjudication less formal, which may lead to sloppy lawyering; and he similarly recognizes that converting the courtroom to a digital platform would prevent the sort of public access to hearings and trials that the public usually enjoys. Ultimately, the author concludes that the positives outweigh the negatives, and he asserts that digital court may be arriving sooner than later.

I agree that it is important for lawyers to mitigate costs, especially in the wake of the Great Recession. Folks deserve access to the legal system, and legal fees should not act as a barrier to legal services. However, I think the author’s position relies too heavily on cutting costs and places convenience above practicality.

Let us begin with costs. In the introduction to the article, the author says that Google has been working on a fiber optic network that would increase Internet speeds by a hundred fold. Now, the article was written four years ago, and since that time Google has gotten Google fiber up and running in a few cities. Only residential pricing appears to be available, but the price is significantly higher than AT&T, who currently offers high-speed Internet for $25 a month, and Comcast, who charges $40 a month for high-speed Internet.Admittedly, I am not an economist, and I do not know what formula, if any, is used to calculate the increase in price as Internet speeds rise, but I find it difficult to believe that an such a superior product will not fetch a premium price–not to mention that video-conferencing equipment is remarkably expensive. Perhaps large firms will benefit enough from reduced travel to offset these costs, but it seems unlikely that boutique firms and solo practitioners with fewer clients will realize such compensation. At the end of the day, any increase in costs for the attorney will lead to an increase in costs for the client.

I also take issue with author’s position that there is no difference between arguing in person and doing so via videoconference. I spent last summer working for a judge, and I am currently working for another. I have had the opportunity to observe several full-scale trials and countless hearings, and attorneys are on an island when they are in the courtroom. Even if an attorney has been to a particular court before and argued before a particular judge, the courtroom is the judge’s domain, and an attorney is on his own once the proceeding begins. The courtroom is a great equalizer in that every attorney must rely on his own preparation and wit to advocate for his client. Eliminating that level playing field may create too great an incentive for abuse and sloppy lawyering, which will lead to potential inefficiencies in the justice system and cause harm to clients.

My final criticism is predicated on a hypothetical, and that is what if videoconferences are permitted in lieu of actual trials? The accused is guaranteed the right to confront his accuser in court, which is an emotionally powerful encounter for both parties. Is the accused exercising his right to confront his accuser and the witnesses brought against him if he is never in the same room as those people? Such insulation for the accuser could even lead to an increase in false-accusations or false testimony from witnesses who do not have to cope with face-to-face interaction. Additionally, how would such a system work with jury trials? Must all the jurors report to a particular location to then sit together to essentially watch a television program-like proceeding? Too little of the real thing produces the risk that the proceeding does not feel real at all, which once again will harm clients.

I am part of the generation that grew up with the Internet. I use the Internet everyday for a variety of purposes, but I do not think that an Internet platform should replace the courtroom. I think that the risk of abuse, sloppy lawyering, and the deprivation of due process are significant enough that they outweigh any cost-savings argument. Technology will undoubtedly change the legal profession, but the courtroom should remain sacred.

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What is the Role of Intellectual Property?

President Obama originally released his Strategy for American Innovation: Driving Towards Sustainable Growth and Quality Jobs in 2009, and has since issued several updates. However, the core theory remains the same:

Capture“The key to our success – as it has always been – will be to compete by developing new products, by generating new industries, by maintaining our role as the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation. It’s absolutely essential to our future.”

The heart of Intellectual Property (IP) is the development of new products, the generation of new industries, scientific discovery, and evolving technological innovation. IP rights were created to serve as a base incentive for the development of new products, the generation of new industries, scientific discovery, and evolving technological innovation. So in light of the recent economic events, the question becomes how can IP rights be used to ensure the future growth and success that President Obama calls for? How can IP rights be used to combat the economic challenges now faced nationally and abroad? Does the role of IP in the future differ from its traditional role?

IP rights encourage companies and individuals to invest, time and money, in the development of new products, the generation of new industries, scientific discovery, and evolving technological innovation by providing time-limited monopoly rights. This transaction is an exchange-for-bargain. The public reaps the benefits of the new inventions, but pays in the form of a limitation upon the free exchange of ideas and information because the inventor gains the time limited ability to exclude others from using, making, and selling their invention. Thus, IP focused companies inherently spend more funds on research and development because it is the company’s IP rights that gives the company value and creates profit.



Dr. Nam Pham of NDP Consulting compared 27 IP focused American companies with 27 non-IP intensive American companies and found that the IP driven companies hire more employees, of all skills levels, while the non-IP companies were cutting jobs. Moreover, the average wage for employees working for IP driven companies is 60% higher than counter-parts at non-IP companies. As such, President Obama has rightfully brought new light to the powers of Intellectual Property.

As new light is shined on IP, the traditional rationales for IP rights will stay the same; however, it need be recognized that we are entering into a new era of globalization. For the President to be successful in fulfilling the goals he outlined in his 2009 strategy release, reforms need be made in light of ongoing globalization, the statutory reforms of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act is evidence of such.

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Can Coca-Cola Trademark Coca-Cola Life Green?

Coca-Cola has recently begun selling Coca-Cola Life in the United States. Coca-Cola Life is a “mid-calorie”soda with a calorie count that falls between Diet Coke and regular Coke. Coca-Cola Life is sweetened with a mix of sugar and stevia leaf extract, resulting in a more natural soda that contains 60 calories per 20 oz bottle. The soda is sold in bottles with a bright green label. Solid green cans of Coca-Cola Life are currently available only in the United Kingdom. The green label is a significant departure from the Coke brand color scheme of Coca-Cola red and neutral colors of black and silver for its zero calorie sodas.

Coke life


Coca-Cola has a trademark on its signature Coke brand red color. According to Qualitex Co. Jacobson Products, a color can be trademarked if it constitutes a consumer’s recognition of a particular product. In the case of the Coca-Cola red color, a soft drink consumer would recognize a soda as Coke even if the only identifier was the signature red color.


Coca-Cola Life may help Coca-Cola increase its declining sales, but the green label may not receive the same protection as the red. Courts examine many factors in determining whether a trademark exists. Of these factors, whether or not the mark identifies the source of a product creates a baseline for a valid trademark. Coca-Cola has a strong trademark on the Coca-Cola red color and the two lower calorie Coke options, Diet Coke and Coke Zero, are marketed with neutral colors, silver and black. The average Coca-Cola customer will have no association with the green Life color and have not yet developed the same kind of immediate recognition that led to the USPTO registering Coca-Cola red as a trademark. The strength and consumer recognition associated with the color trademark of Coca-Cola red makes it unlikely that the green color of Coke Life will receive the same trademark protection.

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Homemade Copyright Infringement: Examining Etsy’s Copyright Policy

big_etsy_logo2Etsy, a website founded by iospace in 2005, serves primarily as an online marketplace for homemade, handmade goods. Anyone who makes goods at home can use Etsy to open a “shop” and sell those goods on the internet. A quick browse through Etsy reveals that nearly any article of clothing or home décor can be had for the right price. Scarves, shirts, shoes, signs, and stationary are all made available by hobbyists with the work ethic to create and market their own goods. Inherently, increased availability of handcrafted merchandise seems like a good thing, but what happens when these homemade goods are direct infringement on the established copyright of another manufacturer, author, or artist?

This is precisely what happened to artist Daniel Foster. Foster, the founder of PIXSY—a website designed to alert artists to copyright infringement—was using his software to scan the web when he located one of his copyrighted photographs being used on a “homemade” mousepad offered for sale on Etsy. When Foster’s attempts to contact the culprit failed due to the nondescript contact information in the seller’s shop, Foster contacted Etsy directly. Etsy’s response indicated that it could not reveal the private information of its sellers. Specifically, Etsy’s privacy policy for sellers provides that “Etsy will not sell or disclose your personal information to third parties without your explicit consent.” Thus, Foster had no way of identifying who was stealing his work.

The obvious first question one may have about Etsy’s privacy policy is how can it blatantly protect copyright infringement? That answer derives from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which states that if a media distributor complies with the Act, the distributor cannot be sued for copyright infringement. Concisely, so long as Etsy responds to DMCA takedown requests from the artist and removes the protected material from its website, the artist cannot hold Etsy liable for copyright infringement. While that obviously stops the copyrighted material from being sold, it does not give the original artist recourse for the profits lost.

The second question is a bit more nuanced. Why would Etsy protect the sellers who are directly infringing on the copyrights of others? This answer is likely twofold. First, Etsy makes 3.5% on each item sold through its website. Thus, even though Etsy will comply with a DMCA takedown request, it can continue to profit off the sellers who are infringing the copyright of others but haven’t been caught yet. Second, because Etsy is profiting directly off of its sellers, it has a vested interest in protecting them from liability.

So what should copyright holders do to protect themselves from sellers on Etsy? Until the law is changed, it is probable that Etsy will be shielded by the DMCA. Intellectual property attorney and professional photographer Steve Schlackman suggests that artists should vigilantly enforce their rights by (1) consistently scanning the web for their copyrighted images and (2) making a proper DMCA takedown request. In addition to the aforementioned PIXSY, artists can use src-img bookmarking to keep track of their images across the web. Moreover, if a company like Etsy fails to comply with a DMCA takedown request, it fails to comply with the DMCA and opens itself to copyright liability. If this occurs, authors can seek a lawsuit or settlement against the company for copyright infringement.

Unfortunately, the DMCA allows companies like Etsy to profit from copyright infringing sellers while also protecting them from liability. While Etsy is a useful and valuable entity that allows hobbyists to showcase and benefit from their talents, it raises serious concerns about the scope of the DMCA and how that law continues to apply to “media distributors.” At this point, the law’s conflict with the interests of copyright holders is a policy decision. Do we value the access to handcrafted goods at the cost of copyright infringement? Or should we change the law to strongly protect copyrights while diminishing access to homemade merchandise? That’s a decision for the legislature, and a decision that you can influence.

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“If You Can Draw It, You Can Make It” — 3D Printing Under the Copyright Microscope

 Imagine a world where instead of buying your favorite pair of shoes or your favorite book or your favorite electronic product, you can just purchase a blueprint and print it over and over.

imagesWithin the past three decades, there have been at least three technological innovations that have radically transformed the way we perceive life and existence.  In the 1990s, the advent of the Internet revolutionized digital productivity in infinite ways.  The World Wide Web fundamentally altered every area of our professional, social, economic, and cultural fabric.  Similarly, in 2004, Facebook connected the world in an unprecedented manner and redefined social media.  Further, in 2007, the release of Apple’s first generation iPhone was a groundbreaking launch, revamping not only consumer electronic products, but also our social connectivity as a whole.

The question now is: what will be the next innovation to advance the future of technology? I have a cheeky feeling that it might be three-dimensional (“3D”) printing.

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Is the Cancellation of Redskins Trademark a Step towards Change?

untitledOn Wednesday, June 18, a United States Patent and Trademark Office tribunal cancelled the Washington Redskin’s trademarks. Because Native Americans groups are in the extreme minority in the United States, the removal of company and sports team trademarks that are disparaging to Native Americans has been a slow-moving process. This particular decision came after decades of outcry from Native American groups nationwide that argued maintaining the Redskins name and trademarks allowed the NFL to unfairly profit off of the denigration of Native American peoples.

Native American groups lobbied the USPTO for decades, arguing that the trademarked name “Redskins” and the Redskins’ Indian mascot are offensive racial slurs that also imply a false connection to Native Americans. See Kimberly A. Pace, The Washington Redskins Case and the Doctrine of Disparagement: How Politically Correct Must a Trademark Be?, 22 Pepp. L. Rev. 7, 13. The Washington Redskins is cited as one of most offensive professional sport team names because the trademark, unlike the marks of teams such as the Cleveland Indians or the Atlanta Braves, speaks more to a racial derogation of skin tone than a general reference to Native Americans. Continue reading

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Attack of the Clones

Dolly“The Sixth Day,” “Jurassic Park,” “Multiplicity,” and “The Island” are all popular movies that illustrate the real potential for cloning uses in our society. These movies were all released within the last twenty years and, at the time,  they were laughed at by many as being preposterous. After the recent scientific breakthroughs in the last few years, I assure you that less people are laughing now. Just as in “Jurassic Park,” where dinosaurs were brought back from extinction through reproductive cloning, in the not-too-distant future the main attraction at the zoo could be the once extinct wooly mammoth. In the future, a person in need of a liver, kidney, heart, or any other organ transplant could have spare body parts waiting for them, as in “The Island.” Maybe you just need six more of yourself to do the simple jobs in life like in “Multiplicity.” The potential for cloning is endless and scientists have only just begun to crack the surface. The possibilities stemming from cloning are limitless, but a giant roadblock may have recently been put in place when the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in  In re Roslin Institute genetic clones, such as Dolly, are ineligible for patent protection. 2014 WL 1814014 (Fed. Cir. 2014). The holding was based on the finding that the “claimed clones are exact genetic copies of patent ineligible subject matter.” Id.

The date was July 5, 1996 when Keith Henry Stockman Campbell and Ian Wilmut successfully developed the first ever cloned mammal, later known publicly as Dolly the Sheep. U.S. Patent No. 7,514,258 (the ’258 patent) for the somatic method of cloning mammals was granted to the Roslin Institute of Edinburgh in Scotland, but U.S. Patent Application No. 09/225,233 (the ’233 application), which claimed the products of the ‘258 patent, was rejected by the Patent Office under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for lack of patentable subject matter. The claims stated:

155. A live-born clone of a pre-existing, non- embryonic, donor mammal, wherein the mammal is selected from cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats.

164. The clone of any of claims 155-159, wherein the donor mammal is non-foetal.

Roslin appealed this decision to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board who affirmed the patent denial on Feb 7, 2013, but the decision was again appealed to the Federal Circuit. Roslin made a number of compelling arguments as this case was litigated. First, Roslin argued that the ‘233 application should be issued under Diamond v. Chakrabarty, where a patent for a genetically engineered bacterium was granted because it was not naturally occurring, was created under the sun, and was made by man. 100 S.Ct. 2204 (1980). Similarly, Dolly was not naturally occurring, instead being genetically created through the use of science and newly developed technology. The prevailing counterargument was that cloning a mammal constituted a natural phenomenon that did not possess markedly different characteristics from  the original organism it cloned. Therefore, the Court held that even if something can be said to be created by man, it is still not patentable the product is an exact copy of something that is naturally occurring. Roslin did not attempt to rebut this argument that the cloned products were not identical to the original organisms. Nothing is stated in the claims or specification that suggests the cloned products are distinct in anyway and the Court held that the ‘233 application failed under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because the claims were not patentable subject matter.

Although this landmark case was decided against allowing for the patents of cloned mammals, the overall purpose of a patent to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” should not be hindered. U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 8. By still granting of patents on cloning methods, there will be many more breakthroughs in this ever-growing field and these discoveries will still be protected.


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Copyright Cowboy – The Scott Wickberg Story [Part 5]


Scott Wickberg

Editor’s Note: This is part five of a five-part interview with Scott Wickberg, the first individual to be targeted by the RIAA for copyright infringement for sharing MP3s online. Scott’s story started with an early interest in music, which unfortunately progressed into the events that Scott discusses with Beyond Clause 8 in this interview. Today, Scott operates the vinyl tracking website SlyVinyl and digital marketing firm Wick Creative.

Click here to return to parts one, two, three, or four.

To listen to the audio for this part of the interview, click here.  

Beyond Clause 8: So, the big question in my mind: did you ever get your stuff back?

Scott Wickberg: (laughs) I got . . . some of it.  Obviously none of my computer [equipment], because the Oklahoma State [University] IT Department had a great time with that.  I guess, if I would have come to work with them I could have maybe used it again.  But, no, that pretty much was all gone.  I did end up getting the textbooks back. Great, thank you, it’s not like I haven’t already bought other ones, four months later.  That was really useful to me, to get those textbooks back, after the semester was ending.  I did get the guitar tuner back.  They had left it on so the batteries were out.  Which, of course, somebody had to turn it on to make sure there were no MP3’s inside of it.

BC8: Of course. (laughs)

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