Paying for Ebola(.com)

Nickolas Galendez : October 29, 2014 7:38 pm : METAfeed

ebola1

With all the fear mongering going on in the media regarding the Ebola virus (quick, everybody panic!), why not profit from it?

Businessman Jon Schultz wants to do just that.  He bought the domain name Ebola.com for $13,500 in 2008 and now wants to sell it for $150,000. By speculating what the new potential-epidemic-of-the-month will be, Schultz’s goal is to turn his earlier purchase into cash money. (Schultz also owns the domain names birdflu.com and H1N1.com, for example.)

Now, of course, I’m not aware that “Ebola” is, or can be, a registered Trademark, which would make  Schultz’s actions subject to the 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d) (the Cyberpiracy prevention provision created by the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act). However, the issue is whether, as a legal or policy matter, Schultz (and others) should be allowed to make money this way? Are there any problems with hoarding disease-domain names to profit from?

Read more about Schultz and Ebola.com here

 

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Hitting Patent Trolls Where it Hurts $$$$$

Jewell Briggs : October 28, 2014 3:10 pm : METAfeed

This past Spring Attorneys from Intellectual Property firm Harness Dickey (http://www.hdp.com/) were successful in obtaining a 9-0 Supreme Court ruling in Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc.,134 S. Ct. 1749 (U.S.2014). In Octane, the Court expanded the ability of the district courts to award attorneys. The Court rejected the application of a rigid rule, and thereafter, allowed for a case-by-case fact specific determination of what constitutes an exceptional case so to induce the rightful awarding attorney fees. Hence, district courts now have more flexibility in determining whether a patent troll claim, which is most often a weaker patent claim, is worthwhile. Or in the alternative, whether to mandate the repayment of attorney fees reducing the payout that those who bring the patent troll type cases desire.

Read more at: http://legalnewsline.com/news/252876-ip-lawyer-u-s-sc-ruling-has-become-a-viable-tool-in-battle-against-patent-trolls

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Apple Pay Has Finally Arrived! And It Has Competition?

Garrett Busch : October 28, 2014 1:19 pm : METAfeedTech & Internet

Maybe Apple Pay is what the American credit card companies have been waiting for all this time. Over a year ago, before I’d even contemplated a trip to Europe to experience it first hand, my dad showed me an article about how out-of-date the magnetic strip technology is that is used by Visa, Mastercard, and the rest of the card companies here in the U.S. This may not be the exact article my dad suggested I read, but an article I found saying “the United States has one of the worst payment systems in the entire world, inviting fraud and increasing hassles for anyone who wants to exchange money,” pretty much summed it up. Read more about the inadequacy of our traditional payment system here.

mobile-payment

But the dawn of a new payment day might finally be upon us. Introducing…. Apple Pay. Apple Pay was first introduced into use last Monday to many consumer’s delight as they could finally stop worrying about carrying methods of payment. However, only one week into use, Rite Aid and CVS Pharmacies have ceased accepting Apple Pay as a method of payment. Luckily for the consumer, as of now at least, the reason is not security. Instead it appears that there is competition on the horizon for Apple. In the not-too-distant future, many merchants themselves will look to enter the mobile pay market, but unlike Apple Pay, they do not have anonymity at their core. Ultimately, it appears there are still some kinks to be worked out and likely a battle among giants to be waged, but one thing that appears certain is that the United States’ payment system is finally getting some much needed renovation. Read more about the technology and impending competition here.

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Should Fashion Be Copyrightable or Patentable?

Jennifer Manns : October 27, 2014 9:07 pm : METAfeed

spike-and-eyeball-dressThe current state of fashion in the realm of intellectual property is tenuous. A fashion house is free to trademark the logo or name of its fashion line, but cannot so easily protect the clothing it produces.

Patent law protects useful and functional innovations, while Copyright protects creative works of expression that exist in a fixed medium. Unfortunately, most judges have found that fashion exists somewhere between patent and copyright and as a result, the design of a piece of clothing cannot be protected in the way that the trademark on the clothing’s tag can be. The typical argument against patenting fashion is that patenting the designs would inhibit the productive and innovations in clothing. The typical argument against copyrighting fashion is that fashion is clothing which, at its essence, is functional and utilitarian, and thus not a form of expression but a functional garment meant to keep humans covered and warm.

The problem here is that the courts seem to be viewing fashion through the lens of an anthropologist studying early man. Clothing no longer exists solely for the purpose of keeping us warm. It has evolved into one of the most common forms of self-expression and is at the heart of a person’s individuality. Copyright law is the vehicle by which creative expressions are protected. The arena of fashion also now includes avant-garde pieces (as seen in the photograph above), which can hardly be considered wearable pieces and definitely do not fulfill any utilitarian purpose. The creators of fashion are artists, who express themselves by creating works of art that just happen to be displayed on a person’s body. The creative nature of fashion outweighs any incidental utility of the garment. Fashion creators should be rewarded for their efforts with the security of a copyright.

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Apple Wins Lawsuit Against Patent Troll

Jennifer Manns : October 25, 2014 4:38 pm : METAfeed

Apple is the latest company to fall victim to patent trolls. Patent trolls are companies that buy patents for the sole purpose of collecting license fees from possible patent infringers, but do not actually manufacture patentable goods. GPNE, a patent holding company, claimed that Apple infringed on two patents that originated in the era of pagers and were continuations of patents that were originally filed in 1994. This week, a jury determined that Apple did not infringe on either of these patents.

Untitled This case is important in several ways. First, during the trial, Apple was barred from referring to GPNE as a “patent troll.” The restriction forced Apple to explain to the jury, without colorful language like “pirate” or “troll,” what it means for a company to only hold patents, rather than create patentable innovations. Second, the verdict is among the first in major patent troll cases and will provide precedent for future cases. The United States legislature has yet to address the issue of patent trolls in a concrete way, so cases like this that both define a patent holding company and end in a concrete verdict are important baselines for future laws regarding patent trolling.

 

More information on this story available at: Apple Slaps Down Patent Troll’s $94M demand

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Led Zeppelin Loses First Round in Lawsuit

Nichole Kazimirovicz : October 21, 2014 2:25 pm : Arts & EntertainmentIntellectual PropertyMETAfeed

Led Zeppelin Loses First Round of 'Stairway to Heaven' Plagiarism Lawsuit - US NewsAs some of you may already know, Led Zeppelin is being accused of copyright infringement.  The accusation is that the iconic song “Stairway to Heaven” stole the cords from a Spirit song.  Led Zeppelin lost round one of the law suit yesterday when they tried to challenge the lawsuit on grounds of jurisdiction, arguing that they had no ties to Pennsylvania and as such the Pennsylvania District Court didn’t have jurisdiction to hear the case.  The motion was denied by Pennsylvania District Court Judge Juan Sánchez with prejudice.

Read more about the lawsuit and the motion to dismiss here– Led Zeppelin Loses First Round of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Plagiarism Lawsuit – US News.

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Red Bull May Not Give You Wings…Apparently

Geoffrey Mcaleenan : October 20, 2014 9:17 pm : BeyondMediaMETAfeed

redbull-wingsEver heard the slogan “Red Bull gives you wings?” Many of us, hopefully, realize that the drink will not cause you to literally grow wings. But, according to Red Bull, downing the beverage will enhance consumers’ mental acuity and physical endurance, which might be due to the large quantity of stimulants and sugar in each can. However, some folks felt like the product didn’t deliver, and they filed a class action law suit against Red Bull for false advertising, which resulted in a $13 million settlement. The  plaintiffs argued that no scientific evidence verified that the energy drink increased either mental or physical performance, making Red Bull’s ads false and misleading.

What do you think about this lawsuit and the resulting settlement? Did plaintiffs really have a case, or was Red Bull engaging in some harmless puffery?

 

 

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Hasbro Claims Copyright to Scrabble Dictionary/Word Lists

Nickolas Galendez : October 16, 2014 5:41 pm : METAfeed

word-family-clip-art-writing7

Hasbro Inc., the owner of the copyright to numerous popular board games—Battleship, Candy Land, and Monopoly, to name a few—claims that it owns dictionary words! More specifically, Hasbro says that the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary and the Official Tournament and Club Word List, both published by Merriam-Webster, are protected by copyright law as original works of authorship. In sum, Hasbro dislikes the fact that Scrabble players have been disseminating and using these materials via certain online Scrabble computer programs without first obtaining (and paying for) a license.

As factual compilations (Scrabble-accepted dictionary words and their assigned point totals), do the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary and the Official Tournament and Club Word List possess the requisite originality to qualify for copyright protection under Feist? Read more on this issue here!

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Nike Files Trademark Lawsuit Against 31 Companies Allegedly Infringing Iconic Chuck Taylor Trademark

Matthew Peterson : October 15, 2014 4:43 pm : Arts & EntertainmentIntellectual PropertyMediaMETAfeed

converse-chuck-taylor-all-stars_1Nike is tired of the kids these days wearing “off-brand” Chuck Taylor’s, and has decided to take the matter into its own hands. The design of the Chuck Taylor Sneaker, originally made popular by Converse, was purchased by Nike in 2003 after Converse entered bankruptcy. Since then, numerous companies have produced models to emulate the iconic shoe. Accordingly, Nike has filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart, Ed Hardy, Ralph Lauren, and 28 others, alleging that each company has violated the Chuck Taylor trademark. Judge for yourself, or read more here.

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Do I Have Internet Addiction?

Garrett Busch : October 14, 2014 9:28 pm : Arts & EntertainmentMediaMETAfeedTech & Internet

Internet Addiction

I think most anyone finding their way to this blog could probably admit that at least once or twice they’ve spent a little too much time watching videos on YouTube, creeping on Facebook, or doing virtually anything they could to avoid actually being productive. Some of us may be spending more time doing these things than others, but…internet addiction? The age of the smart phone has made endless time spent on the web easier and easier, but at some point, a smart phone user just has to put the phone down. Realizing that some people out there may never want to disconnect, a short time ago Google came up with something new. Enter Google Glass.

Google Glass allows a user to dive head first into the web and truly live a permanently connected life. While I’ve never used Google Glass myself, the glasses allow a wearer to essentially have the equivalent of their cell phone (plus and minus a few specifics) right in front of their eyes all the time. This level of access to the web may have finally become too much for one Google Glass using member of the United States Navy. After checking into rehab for alcoholism, this serviceman had to give up his electronic devices, and that is when the symptoms of withdrawal set in. After extensive use of Google Glass on the job, once deprived of the device he continued to tap his temple as though he was turning the head’s up display on, became irritable, and even had dreams as though he were still wearing the glasses. While this clearly appears to be an extreme case of overuse, maybe it will be the signal some of us need to take a break for our increasingly connected lives.

Read more about the Navy serviceman’s story here: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/oct/14/google-glass-user-treated-addiction-withdrawal-symptoms

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