Weblog Entries: Intellectual Property

Paying the Mafia? Intellectual Property Insurance

With the proliferation of open source software, the risks of unknowingly infringing a third party’s intellectual property have become alarmingly large. For example, infringing code produced by Developer A (and released under an open source license for distribution, such as the GNU General Public License (‘GPL’)) may be found and innocently used in a project by Developer B, who then delivers the finished product to Client C.  Read more »

Eminent Domain for Intellectual Property?

This interesting article on Prospect explores the possibility of state-sanctioned seizure of private intellectual property rights for the purpose of lowering pharmeceutical costs:  Read more »

Biotech Companies Settle Royalties Lawsuit against Columbia University

Cambridge, Mass.-based biotechnology companies Genzyme Corp. and Biogen Idec Inc. have settled their lawsuit against Columbia University over the school's rights to royalties on drug-making research from the 1970s. Genzyme and Biogen Idec, which claimed that the university tried to illegally extend lucrative patents that had expired, said the agreement will allow them to continue selling drugs to treat multiple sclerosis and Gaucher disease based on Columbia-developed technology.  Read more »

Employee Intellectual Property Agreements May Effectively Amount to Non-Competes

Alan Wexelblat writes, 'Most of us, particularly in the high tech biz, sign agreements regarding intellectual property with our employers. Simple versions of these agreements state that whatever the employee develops that is related to the company's business is assumed to be company IP. More restrictive agreements may lay claim to anything developed on company time or equipment. Since this includes email discussions, such a clause can be far-reaching.  Read more »

Public Domain Dead in 35 Years, Says Lessig

tcd004 writes 'Lawrence Lessig, in an article on the Foreign Policy site, predicts that the public domain will die a slow death at the hands of anti-piracy efforts.'

The danger remains invisible to most, hidden by the zeal of a war on piracy. And that is how the public domain may die a quiet death, extinguished by self-righteous extremism, long before many even recognise it is gone.

Originally by Zonk at Slashdot: Your Rights Online, 8:38 PM  Read more »

Morality lessons from today's youth: 'p2p is leagal its already bought its in the air'

The following letter was sent from a K12 school account in a southern US state. It illustrates the problems facing both paid legal download services, such as Apple's iTunes Music Store and Napster, and the RIAA's attempt to combat the illegal download services.…

Originally by The Register - Internet and Law: Digital Rights/Digital Wrongs, 9:52 PM

FIPR warns of danger of criminalising IP breaches

Let's keep things civil

The British government is trying to use its presidency of the EU to push through a European directive would give police more powers to act against copyright infringers than they currently have to deal with suspected terrorists, according to the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR).…

Originally by The Register - Internet and Law: Digital Rights/Digital Wrongs, 9:52 PM  Read more »

EU to follow Google's lead with online library

Our heritage, but whose net?

Google's internet library project will face competition from Yahoo!, but also from a less predictable rival: the European Commission announced its own plan on Friday. And it has an advantage: if copyright laws interfere with its plans it can change the laws.…

Originally by The Register - Internet and Law: Digital Rights/Digital Wrongs, 9:52 PM  Read more »

Consumer body bemoans harsher Euro IP laws

Copyrights and responsibilities

UK quango the National Consumer Council (NCC) has called on European Commission legislators to take a fairer stance on consumer intellectual property rights.…

Originally by The Register - Internet and Law: Digital Rights/Digital Wrongs, 9:52 PM

Yahoo! follows Google into print minefield

No explosions, yet

Unlike Google, Yahoo! has set off into the book scanning minefield without detonating any explosions. But that might be because it hasn't, as yet, gone near a mine. Yahoo!'s own book scanning plans went public today with the announcement of the Open Content Alliance, of which it is a founding member.…

Originally by The Register - Internet and Law: Digital Rights/Digital Wrongs, 9:52 PM  Read more »

Small Firms Considering IP Convergence

Small and midsize businesses are rapidly waking up to the potential of IP convergence to deliver cost savings and boost business efficiency, newly published research claims.

Originally by NewsFactor Network, 10:01 PM

Nanomedicine Raises Intellectual Property Concerns

The term "nano" has come to signify quick, tiny and cutting-edge. Similarly, nanotechnology represents science at the cutting edge, as it converges with biology, medicine and information technology. One area of research expected to generate revolutionary contributions is cancer nanotechnology. The application of convergent technologies to cancer is creating more effective methods of detection, treatment and prevention, as well as raising a host of intellectual property issues.  Read more »

A Survey of the State of IP

An anonymous reader writes "This week's Economist has a number of stories in its survey of the state of IP (link to lead article), written from a balanced, business-oriented perspective.  Read more »

Gamer Pays $100 000 for Virtual Property

A gamer has paid $100 000 for a virtual space resort in the massive multiplayer online role-playing game Project Entropia. The "real estate" was sold in a three-day auction.

Originally by NewsFactor Network, 9:56 PM

Intellectual Property Rights to be Reviewed in UK

'Chancellor Gordon Brown announced on Friday that he has commissioned an independent review into intellectual property rights in the UK. Andrew Gowers, former editor of the Financial Times, will lead the review.'

Originally by The Register - Internet and Law: Digital Rights/Digital Wrongs, 2:33 PM

Windows XP End User Licence Agreement: Decyphered

The Microsoft Windows XP End User Licence Agreement (‘EULA’) is a classic example of abstruse drafting. In being so generalised, and endeavouring to cover all possible uses and jurisdictions — from Australian high school students to Chinese nuclear power plants — it isn’t the most accessible document to the general public.  Read more »

Apple Computer v Apple Music: Two Bad Apples or Apples of Our Eyes?

Apple Computer (maker of the Macintosh computer systems) and Apple Corp (the music publisher founded by The Beatles) have been fighting over the right to use the Apple name and logo since about the mid 1980s. At the time, the companies reached a settlement that permitted Apple Computer to maintain its name and logo, providing it did not enter the music business or conduct any record sales or distribution.  Read more »

Free IP Australia seminars

IP Australia in conjunction with the Australian Innovation Festival are running free intellectual property commercialisation seminars in Brisbane (on 30 May 2006), Melbourne (on 31 May 2006) and Sydney (on 1 June 2006).

Originally by CCH Australia, 2:23 PM

Compulsive Impulses Convulse

A Senate committee reviewing proposed changes to Australia’s intellectual property laws has urged the federal government to reconsider the section that adds a competition test as another ground on which a compulsory patent licence can be obtained.

Originally by CCH Australia, 9:22 PM

Film studios enjoyed record profits during 2008

According to The Hollywood Reporter, film studios have posted record earnings for calendar year 2008. Around 1.36 billion cinema tickets were sold in the United States during 2008, compared to 1.4 billion tickets in 2007. Ticket prices rose an average of 4.7 per cent, resulting in a 2 per cent increase in overall net profits. Ars Technica has the details:

Despite the MPAA’s continuing battle against film pirates and even a French group’s warning that piracy could kill the industry, domestic box offices are doing better than ever. Both blockbusters and not-so-blockbusters propelled record-setting revenues to an estimated $9.78 billion in 2008, with ticket price increases and films from Warner Bros, Paramount, and Sony drawing captivated audiences. …

Warner Bros. topped the list of successful studios this year with The Dark Knight, which collected $531 million and became the second highest-grossing theatrical release in history. … Knocked from its first place throne in 2007 to second place this year was Paramount, grossing $1.6 billion and garnering a 16.4 percent market share. The summer release of Iron Man was Paramount’s most successful for the year, collecting $318.3 million. … Sony took third place among studios, bringing in $1.28 billion and claiming a 13.1 percent market share. Hancock was Sony’s leading star with $228 million at the box office.  Read more »

UK internet disconnection scheme unlikely to proceed; file-sharers, ISPs rejoice

According to an interview in The Times with David Lammy MP, the United Kingdom government is retreating from an earlier plan to sever the internet connection of those who repeatedly share or access copyright materials on P2P networks. Instead, rumour has it that the government is considering a download levy — perhaps similar to the one recently adopted in the Isle of Mann — to be administered by a new ‘rights agency’. Little is known at this stage, but this sounds like a commonsense result and potentially a positive development for ISPs, artists and consumers:

Speaking ahead of the publication of a report on the future of Britain’s digital industries, Mr Lammy said that there were very complex legal issues wrapped up in enforced disconnection. He added: “I’m not sure it’s actually going to be possible.” …

The ISPs believe that new business models and greater public education will help to solve the problem. They oppose any solution that involves new regulatory burdens being imposed on them. The Government, with the support of the music industry, favours a co-regulatory resolution, under which both parties agree to a code of conduct which is backed up by a regulator, such as Ofcom.

Mr Lammy, who has begun a big consultation entitled Developing a Copyright Agenda for the 21st Century, said that there was a big difference between organised counterfeiting gangs and “younger people not quite buying into the system”. He said: “We can’t have a system where we’re talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms. People can rent a room in an hotel and leave with a bar of soap — there’s a big difference between leaving with a bar of soap and leaving with the television.”

He said he hoped the memorandum of understanding would mean that the Government did not have to apply “the heavy hand of legislation”.  Read more »

Senator Conroy criticises ongoing iiNet defence, breaches separation of powers

Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, has issued a stinging attack on iiNet’s position in Roadshow Films Pty Ltd & Ors v iiNet Ltd. Speaking at the CommsDay summit in Sydney yesterday, Senator Conroy described iiNet’s defence as something which ‘belongs in a Yes Minister episode’ — ironic, given that Conroy is himself the spitting image of Jim Hacker MP (case exemplar: ‘but Tony, publishing the blacklist would defeat the purpose of having a blacklist!’). Conroy opined:  Read more »

Melbourne game pirate convicted of commercial copyright infringement

According to The Age, a fellow University of Melbourne alumnus has been convicted of three counts of commercial copyright infringement and fined $20 000 for running a duplication lab in (wait for it) his mother’s basement:

Jeffrey Lim, 28, converted the ground floor of his parents’ Doncaster home into a work office that held six hard drives, a computer flat screen, three printers, three DVD burners, three computer towers, four scanners and various printer cartridges.

Hmm, sounds like my living room, sans the printers. Lim apparently sold various console games for $4 each using an online mail order website. Ms Tickey for the Crown relied on a tipoff from a PwC investigator and evidence from a police raid of the premises:

The man, who deposited $714 in to Lim’s account, later found that none of the 138 Playstation2 games he received displayed any genuine features.

Gosh, how unexpected! $5 games turn out not to be originals. Unsurprisingly, Lim pleaded guilty. Mr Simpson for the defence argued in mitigation that the piracy business emerged after ‘repeated but failed attempts’ to gain employment in the computer industry. Guess a Melbourne BSc isn’t what it used to be.

Individual to be prosecuted for domain name 'theft'

A number of news agencies are reporting that Daniel Goncalves, a 25 year-old law firm technician, is being prosecuted for the ‘theft’ of domain name P2P.com:


Attorney Paul Keating told DNN that most cases of domain theft recovery that he has dealt with have been complicated at best. The real problem stems from the fact that domain names aren’t considered property. “The laws do not specifically identify domains as property. That has been the subject of various court decisions. Not all courts have issued consistent decisions. For example, bankruptcy courts have no difficulty treating domains as property. The IRS treats domains as a form of intellectual property and allows amortization along the lines of a trademark though over a shorter period,” Keating said. Further complications come in to play when we look at the rulings in different states. “California is believed to treat them as property after the Sex.com case but that was a federal decision interpreting California law. The Eastern District of Virginia (where the Verisign registry is headquartered) clearly holds domains to be the subject of a license and thus not property. I have been involved in various state-level cases seeking recovery of stolen names or trying to specifically enforce a domain purchase agreement in California and the courts have always honored the claim.”  Read more »

Latest novelty trade mark in Russia: ;-)

In a move as bold as it is legally questionable, Superfone, a Russian mobile advertising company, has applied for a trade mark in respect of the characters ‘;-)’ (a winking emoticon). According to the certificate of grant, the registration applies to classes 35, 38 and 41. It’s unclear whether it extends to any territories beyond the Russian Federation.

Here’s what purports to be a copy of the application:

“I want to highlight that this is only directed at corporations, companies that are trying to make a profit without the permission of the trademark holder,” he said in comments to NTV.

Companies will be sent legal warnings if they use the symbol without his permission, he said.

“Legal use will be possible after buying an annual licence from us,” he was quoted by Kommersant as saying. “It won’t cost that much - tens of thousands of dollars.”  Read more »