Legality of Embedding Copyrighted Material Challenged

This article provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of federal court cases that consider the legality of embedded copyrighted materials on third party website. Per a Ninth Circuit case from 2007, “the practice of embedding (or “framing”) content from an external source within [a] site – so that customers can see what the third-party has posted – does not involve a reproduction nor a public display,” and is therefore lawful. However, a district court case from last month in New York concluded that embedded material may indeed constitute a public display, and would therefore be illegal. The article proceeds in an excellent discussion on the law of copyright in this space and contemplates normative questions that consider the challenges that would be presented if embedded material on the internet were found to violate copyright law.

Patent Trolls Recede as Threat to Innovation

This article by the NY Times is about the effects of the America Invents Act of 2011 and how Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group will affect innovation. The issue in this case is whether the taking of private property is something only a court can do, and not a patent office.

This article argues that stringent intellectual property laws are doing little to encourage real innovation and entrepreneurship. These laws could also prevent pharmaceutical companies from charging exorbitant fees from their exclusive rights to formulations that they tweak before the initial patent runs out.

Biotech Entrepreneurship

Although prior to the Myriad Genetics case, this short piece talks about the high risks involved with entrepreneurship in the field of biotechnology. The high investment and lack of predictability of the outcome of the research make it difficult for new ventures in this field.

The Myriad Genetics ruling made me think how much more difficult it can be for companies to keep up doing research related to human DNA without the insurance that it will be patent protected. This article shows how unpredictable it has been to bring a DNA patent claim before the USPTO.

At least for Myriad, the Supreme Court decision does not seem to have affected its financial health, according to its latest fiscal report.


Biotechnology Patents Are Not Dead!

This article gives a nice overview over the development of the Supreme Court’s position on the patentability of biotechnology since Chakrabarty in 1980. While it points out that the Supreme Court has stripped back some eligible subject matter, in particular with its decisions in Myriad and Sequenom, it concludes that patent protection remains a valuable part of a biotechnology company’s business strategy.

The article also presents arguments pro and against stronger patent protection in this area based on a economic rather than moral approach. It points out that proponents of stronger patent protection fear that the elimination of entire categories of patentable subject matter “reduces or eliminates the incentive to invest in development of new treatments and diagnostic methods.”

But on the other hand, others believe this development fosters competition and increases “development of next-generation treatments resulting from modification of naturally occurring molecules.” This group also argues that the trend in the diagnostic market, anyway, is toward using information technology and data mining platforms.

The STRONGER Patents Act-the End of Patent Trolls?

This article discusses the Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience (STRONGER) Patents Act, introduced in the House of Representatives on last Tuesday, March 22.

Title II of the Act closely follows the language of the 2015 TROL Act and specifically addresses the problem of patent trolls.

The Act:

  • Defines “demand letters which are sent by patent owners in bad faith, including when the letter sender has no right to pursue civil action or otherwise makes misleading statements about the infringement allegations;”
  • “empowers the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce against bad faith demand letters as an unfair or deceptive act violation;”
  • “and preempts any state law which expressly governs the transmission or contents of communications related to the assertion of patent rights.

However, the act does not, in my view, effectively address the issue that many patent trolls are holders of valid but questionable (for example because very broad) patents. It seems difficult to me to establish a standard that puts these patent trolls on fair notice of when they are allowed to enforce their patents and when they are sent in bad faith.

How China Is Emerging as a Leader in Global Innovation and IP Rights

Recently, China hosted the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions. At this prominent global gathering on science, technology, and innovation, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emphasized the strength and importance of entrepreneurship and innovation in China. He cited that 14,000 new companies are registered daily in China, and pointed to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s 2017 Global Innovation Index, where China ranks 22nd overall and 1st among middle-income economies. This image of China as an emerging global leader in entrepreneurship stands at odds with China’s common stereotype as a land of copycats and intellectual property thieves. The answer lies in the gradual strengthening of Chinese intellectual property rights (IPR) over the past three decades as explained in this article.


Startups & the Mid-west

The first state I think of when I think about technology/innovation and entrepreneurship/startups, I think of the west coast or the east coast (but most of the time it’s specifically California). The Mid-west is probably the last place I would think of. Today, I found an interesting article that talks about the relationship between the Mid-west and startups. This article breaks down which cities in the Mid-west fosters the most startups, how much money is being invested each year in startups in the Mid-west, and how many deals are struck here. It looks like the Mid-west is experiencing some of the same growths patterns as the rest of the country.

Ocean Trash Shoes??

This article talks about Adidas’ initiative to save the world–one shoe at a time. In the last two years, Adidas has sold more than 1 million shoes that are made of trash from the ocean. This shoe made from recycled materials is one of many methods that companies use to appeal to the environment conscious Millennial.  Apparently each pair of shoes uses 11 recycled water bottles, which are found in the laces, and other parts of the shoe.

These companies are not necessarily the ones coming up with this innovative way of creating shoes and saving the environment at the same time. With Adidas, it’s Parley. And with Timberland, it’s Thread.

With the success of Adidas , Nike has now hopped on board with a Flyweather partnership. Will this trigger a domino effect of widespread fashion sustainability? Or is it just a trend to get into our pockets?

Let’s Change the (Legal) World

This article reiterates the conversation we had a couple weeks ago. Even though the legal industry has been pretty stagnant when it comes to innovation, there are methods for that push for innovation.

Here, the author recognizes that law firms need to change the way they operate. The article highlights the introduction of Chief Innovation Officers (CINO) to spearhead the much needed improved business model.