IP News

  • Feb 11: U.S Inventors’ Day 2023

    Dear IP News fans,

    As of February 11, a very Happy U.S. Inventors’ Day to all of the inventors (and future inventors, and potential inventors) out there!

    Inventors’ Day is on the calendar to celebrate the genius behind design, and recognize the huge contribution inventors and their inventions make to our nation and to the world. Yes, it’s a real thing, I promise; census.gov says so. The U.S. observes it on February 11th, Thomas Edison’s birthday, but some other nations have their own Inventors’ Days or similar on other days of the year.

    One great way to celebrate is to learn some history about inventors and contributions. Here are some resources:

    That last one is a friendly reminder that one of the main public goods of patent protection is that we the people get to read all about cutting edge inventions, learn stuff, and get inspired! Just type in a search term, find a patent document about it, and that could even be how YOU start to invent the next big thing! Yes you!

    Happy Inventors’ Day, everybody!

    #NationalInventorsDay #InventorsDay

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  • State of Kentucky and University of Kentucky clash over Trademark Similarity

    Happy Thursday, this is IP News by the IP Society, bringing you all the most interesting Intellectual Property related news we can find time to blog about!

    Today’s gem: a fun story that doubles as an interesting look at how Trademark applications work.

    The state of Kentucky and the University of Kentucky recently made the news by squabbling over the state’s attempt to trademark the Mark “Team Kentucky”, which has been a slogan in the state’s Covid-related public health messaging, for emblazoning on clothing such as face masks, t-shirts, sweats, hats, and more.

    The University of Kentucky already owns the registered trademark “Kentucky” for putting on clothing, such as those t-shirts, hats, and so forth everyone gets at their college bookstore, and has for a long time (registered in 1997). When “Team Kentucky” was published for opposition — which is when the USPTO publishes a routine announcement of all applied-for Trademarks that are about to register, so that anyone with a legit reason to object to one of them has a chance to speak up before it’s final — the University of Kentucky did exactly that, and argued that the state’s “Team Kentucky” Marks were too similar to the University’s “Kentucky” Mark. Note that excessive similarity to somebody else’s Mark in the same commercial niche (such as clothing) is one of the main reasons Trademark Applications get rejected; shoppers’ being able to reliably know who they’re buying from and not get confused by unfairly-similar-looking brands protects both consumers and businesses, and is a key reason for the existence of Trademark protection.

    We first found this news story mentioned in the August 27 issue of The Week (listed under “Only in America”), and there is also an Associated Press article about this same dispute. Trademarks, including these, are publicly available for lookup in the Trademark Database on the USPTO website; so we also looked it up ourselves.

    The opposition proceeding is ongoing.

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  • Techdirt’s Mike Masnick interviews “two of the most respected legal scholars” about Google vs. Oracle

    “When two of the most respected legal scholars (@PamelaSamuelson & @marklemley) team up to write a journal article about a court ruling,” — as Mike Masnick (@mmasnick) Tweeted — “you read it”!

    So here’s that highly-recommended journal article, so you can read it.

    Mr. Masnick also invited the two authors on his “TechDirt” podcast for an interview.

    This article and interview are about the ramifications of the Google vs. Oracle Supreme Court case, which this blog discussed a few years ago. The implications of this landmark ruling on copyright protection in the case of shared codebases such as Java API’s are far from clear, but these two respected legal minds, from Berkeley and Stanford Law respectively, and many others, are on the case.

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  • Cory Doctorow on Copyfraud

    Happy Friday again, IP News fans!

    Our other find today is from the blog of author, activist, and journalist Cory Doctorow, who recently penned this intelligent article on how some people are gaming systems of automated IP protection enforcement, such as the one on YouTube, and how this harms creators of actual content.

    Here’s the link; enjoy.

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  • IP News: How Tech Loses Out over at Companies, Countries and Continents

    Happy Friday, IP News fans!

    Our latest IP News find is a transcript of a recent presentation by entrepreneur and software developer Bert Hubert, found on his website, which raises some really well-considered and interesting points about the practicalities of innovation and technology as implemented in a globalized economy where ‘everything is outsourced’

    We found it a fascinating read, and we hope you do too; here’s the link.


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  • Goodwill and Trademarks

    Find of the day: a blog post by one of our favorite IP bloggers, David Lizerbram & Associates, on what Goodwill is and how it relates to Trademarks.

    They articulate this key aspect of trademark law very well, including making the point that one may not be able to sell a trademark without also selling the goodwill, and even the business, already attached to that trademark.

    Read their article here!

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  • Supreme Court Sets New Graffiti Mural Protection Precedent

    For your IP Law News Story of the day, check out this one from fall of 2020, when the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal, thus effectively cementing a landmark ruling in favor of the protection of graffiti murals.

    Gerald Wolkoff owned a derelict warehouse, which he struck an agreement with local graffiti artists to use as a legal canvas for graffiti paintings. The warehouse/canvas became known as 5Pointz, and attracted painting talent from around the globe. Then, one morning in 2013, Wolkoff quietly had 5Pointz whitewashed, later saying it was to avoid a ‘protracted, painful destruction’ of all the art when he knocked down his warehouse to build luxury apartments on the lot instead. The artists of 5Pointz were outraged, and took him to court.

    Some people may not immediately consider graffiti murals to be a kind of Intellectual Property, but any creation affixed to a permanent medium is considered IP enough for copyright protection. Good IP laws and precedents protect the fire of creativity by enshrining the rights of artists, inventors, and other people who create new things.

    Check out this article about the situation from the New York Times.

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  • IP News: The Real Difference Between Google and Apple

    Here’s some cool IP News we found to share with you all: this group is mapping USPTO database data (which is publicly available online) to find patterns in the patent data of tech companies.

    Check it out, right here!

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  • Santa Cruz Tech Beat Interviews IPS Founder Patrick Reilly

  • USPTO Rolls Out Expedited TM Examination For Covid-19 Goods & Services

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced a new program last week that offers expedited examination for Trademarks having certain goods and services listings related to Coronavirus or Covid-19. This might allow businesses offering goods or services currently critical to public health to make their products available to the public that much faster.

    Here’s the press release by the USPTO.

    Attorney David Lizerbram’s blog offers a take on the new program here, including a break-down of how it all works. Check it out here!

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