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Just because you used a computer doesn't make your idea new.

We hold that the claims at issue are drawn to the abstract idea of intermediated settlement, and that merely requiring generic computer implementation fails to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.
...
We must first determine whether the claims at issue are directed to a patent-ineligible concept. We conclude that they are.
The United States Supreme Court has ruled 9-0 [pdf], invalidating many but by no means all software patents, in Alice v CLS Bank. [more inside]
posted by atbash on Jun 19, 2014 - 57 comments

"[R]oyalty stacking is not merely a theoretical concern"

A working paper (short(er) overview from FOSS patents; full 69 page paper in pdf) by an Intel in-house counsel and two WilmerHale lawyers has recently been published analyzing royalty demands for smartphone components. Using publicly available data, the authors estimate "potential patent royalties in excess of $120 on a hypothetical $400 smartphone--which is almost equal to the cost of [the] device's components". [more inside]
posted by daniel_charms on Jun 2, 2014 - 34 comments

I'd like a dumb grande wuppy duppy latte, extra hot, please

On Friday, a Starbucks opened in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. There is something a bit "weirdly off-kilter" about this location according to one customer. In particular, everything there, including the store name has the word "dumb" in front. The store is claiming parody-based fair use exemptions to intellectual property law, and so far, the (non-dumb) Starbucks appears not to have responded. In case you want to pick what you want before hand, their menu of dumb drinks is posted on Twitter.
posted by saeculorum on Feb 9, 2014 - 152 comments

Patent Trolls Generating Negative Karma

Yoga International, publishers of a similarly-titled magazine, recently migrated to an all-online content. As part of their new technology platform, they have been providing online yoga instruction utilizing a visual recording of a standard yoga classroom set-up. YogaGlo, providers of on-line yoga classes, sent Yoga International a cease-and-desist letter claiming that their recently filed patent application covers the type of view being filmed for an on-line yoga class, and that Yoga International is in violation. [more inside]
posted by scblackman on Sep 26, 2013 - 21 comments

Capturing America

In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2013 - 16 comments

"Our preferred policy solution is to abolish patents entirely"

"The historical and international evidence suggests that while weak patent systems may mildly increase innovation with limited side effects, strong patent systems retard innovation with many negative side effects."   "innovations leading to the creation of a new industry .. is seldom, if ever, born out of patent protection and is instead the fruit of a competitive environment."  — Boldrin and Levine. The Case Against Patents. J. Economic Perspectives. (huffpo)
posted by jeffburdges on Feb 6, 2013 - 84 comments

Baby Got Brooms

Quirky (previously) is a design and manufacturing website for inventors. In 2010, one of their users, Bill Ward, came up with an idea for a dustpan called the Broom Groomer with a comb-like edge for cleaning off all the dustbunnies and stuff that builds up on your broom. Turns out, gadget company OXO came out with a very similar design in 2012 called the Upright Sweep Set. Last week, the folks at Quirky staged a protest and paid for a billboard that accused OXO of ripping off their design. OXO responds on their blog with a mini-lesson on patents and international intellectual property rights.
posted by 23skidoo on Jan 27, 2013 - 77 comments

By securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

Current copyright law does not merely distort some markets – rather it destroys entire markets. (PDF) [more inside]
posted by dsfan on Nov 17, 2012 - 97 comments

The quality of ownership is not what it was in yesteryear.

On October 29, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., a conflict about “first-sale doctrine”. The doctrine, which has been law in the U.S. since 1908, allows people to buy and then subsequently sell items (books, furniture, electronics, dvds, etc.) without needing additional permission from the copyright holder. Supap Kirtsaeng came to the United States from Thailand to study mathematics and attempted to save money by having his family purchase textbooks in Thailand and ship them to him. After reading up on the first-sale doctrine, Kirtsaeng began to sell these textbooks to others on eBay. He made $37,000, before he was sued by John Wiley, a textbook publisher. A jury found his copyright infringement to be willful. He was ordered to pay $75,000 per work for a total penalty of $600,000. He appealed, and lost at the 2nd Circuit.

The Library Journal notes that if the Supreme Court rules against Kirtsaeng, it could mean the end of public libraries. Marketwatch warns that it means the end of resale as we know it. Hollywood Esq. does the most cogent job of putting this IP fight in perspective of other IP fights before the Court.
posted by dejah420 on Oct 9, 2012 - 213 comments

Manufacturing Company Becomes a Design Firm, Rips Off Designers?

Boingboing has the short version of a sad story in which some young independent designers have an unexpectedly successful Kickstarter for a novel idea for a pen. Young designers turn to Joiga, an American-Chinese manufacturing firm that "minimizes the risk of turning an idea into a market-ready product." Joiga underdelivers, causing massive delays for the designers. One year later, a new "men's gift" company offers a bad copy of the designers' pen made with the same plans at the same factories. The sad and sorry punchline? The manufacturing company and the men's gift company are run by the same guy, Allen Arseneau. Long version at Notcot.
posted by cloudscratcher on Aug 23, 2012 - 52 comments

You wouldn't steal a policeman's helmet

SurfTheChannel.com: A Very British Miscarriage Of Justice is a [long - here's an Ars Technica summary] account of the MPAA's investigation of SurfTheChannel's owner Anton Vickerman and the ensuing court case. It was published on http://surfthechannel.com/, but that's now down and given English libel law it probably isn't coming back up. It is, frankly, a harrowing read, although FACT argue to the Guardian that much of what was stated is biased.
posted by jaduncan on Aug 17, 2012 - 70 comments

HTTP 112 – Emergency. Censorship in action.

Does HTTP need a status code for censorship? Perhaps [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jun 10, 2012 - 99 comments

If More Gyms Had Sword Fighting Classes....

"I'm in a nondescript warehouse in Seattle, to which I've traveled so that award-winning science fiction novelists can demonstrate how they could cut me in half if they felt like it." i09 Talks to Neal Stephenson about working on the multi-author IP-experiment *thing* The Mongoliad and sword fighting as a heart-healthy hobby.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 3, 2012 - 29 comments

"If robots had a religion, I think this would be it,"

Vote Pirate! Notes from a Pirate Party conference. "I grew up on the Internet. … I sort of consider myself a citizen of the Internet. I'm very attached to it. I'm almost more from the Internet than I am from Massachusetts." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 14, 2012 - 16 comments

More free trade IP bullshit.

Australia hosts secret trade agreement negotiations this week in Melbourne This Thursday, behind closed doors in Melbourne, representatives from nine countries will take up discussions once again on an ambitious, comprehensive trade agreement for the Asia-Pacific region. Negotiators from Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Vietnam, Malaysia, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore will pore over draft treaty text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, an agreement to cover all aspects of commercial relations between the countries, from competition and customs to e-commerce, rules of origin and labor, from textiles and apparel to telecommunications and intellectual property. The intellectual property chapter for the TPP will lay out lengthy, highly detailed, coverage of all aspects of IP enforcement and protection between the nine countries.
posted by wilful on Feb 28, 2012 - 11 comments

Internalise This Deep Wisdom

You will never kill piracy and piracy will never kill you.
posted by Sebmojo on Feb 4, 2012 - 216 comments

China radically increases patent filings

China became the world's top patent filer in 2011, issuing 58% of global intellectual property filings. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 23, 2011 - 49 comments

Medical Patents

Prometheus Labs v. Mayo Clinic has the potential to make decision procedures about medical treatment patentable. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 8, 2011 - 29 comments

Never believe any copyright over five

Amelia Andersdotter of Sweden's Pirate Party (Piratpariet) will finally become the youngest ever member of the European Parliament this December. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 25, 2011 - 19 comments

On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

American Censorship Day is an internet protest against the oft-renamed Stop Online Piracy Act. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 14, 2011 - 39 comments

Don't Worry. We're From The Internet.

On October 18, Wired embedded a reporter with both Anonymous and the #Occupy movement, calling both "a new kind of hybrid entity, one that breaks the boundaries between “real life” and the internet, creatures of the network embodied as citizens in the real world." The first entries in Quinn Norton's ongoing special report: Anonymous 101: Behind the Lulz were posted today. Coverage from Wired's other special report, Occupy: Dispatches from the Occupation are already online. NPR: Members Of Anonymous Share Values, Aesthetics [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 8, 2011 - 43 comments

Nomen est Omen

The U.S. House of Representatives has drafted their version of Senator Leahy's Protect IP Act, renaming the bill the E-Parasites Act. Among other changes discussed previously, the bill now makes internet service providers and websites liable for activities of their users that infringe upon copyrights, effectively overturning parts of the 13-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
posted by jeffburdges on Oct 27, 2011 - 120 comments

"Big Bang" in Belarus

Watched every episode of the "Big Bang Theory" and still want more? There's always Belarus's unauthorized copy of the show, titled "The Theorists".
posted by reenum on Oct 13, 2011 - 94 comments

What if Tim Berners-Lee Had patented HTML?

Francis Gurry, the Director of the UN's WIPO, claims the web would have been better if Tim Berners-Lee had patented HTML and licensed it. He does so on camera and in front of shocked members of the Internet Society and CERN. Ironically, exactly this thought experiment came up for the web's 20th birthday on this August 6th.

For a more rigorous perspective, three Boston University School of Law faculty have shown that lawsuits by non-practicing entities, aka patent trolls, have cost technology companies half a trillion dollars of lost wealth over the past two decades, with little benefit to small inventors, instead reducing the incentive to innovate. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Oct 9, 2011 - 80 comments

Over Netanyahu’s Shoulder: A (Telephoto) Analysis of the Prime Minister’s U.N. Speech Edits

Photographer Mario Tama positioned himself over Netanyahu's shoulder at the UN General Assembly, and photographed hand-written edits he made to his speech. Here's what he saw. (via The Browser)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 29, 2011 - 18 comments

ACTA

The once-secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) slouches toward signing on Saturday. ACTA is expected to raise constitutional issues in the U.S., raise soverenty issues in the E.U., give copyright holders extensive powers to impose DRM and identify alleged infringers, and increase health risks worldwide. In addition, the U.S. has launched the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) to obtain what copyright provisions were stripped from ACTA. (see michaelgeist.ca, techdirt, or slashdot) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Sep 28, 2011 - 44 comments

Software patents in Europe

Europe's 'unitary patent' could impose software patents warns RMS. German courts have recently moved towards software patents upholding a patent on the automatic generation of structured documents in a client-server setting, i.e. XML, HTML, etc. (recently : the U.S. patent war)
posted by jeffburdges on Aug 22, 2011 - 31 comments

Parent reform? LOL

Is patent reform even possible? [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Aug 4, 2011 - 106 comments

When Patents Attack

When Patents Attack. The team at PRI's This American Life and NPR's Planet Money bring you an hour long look into the growing "Mafia War" around software patents. Diving into the corporate filings, patent acquisitions, and office locations of Nathan Myrhvold's Intellectual Ventures and it's shell companies, Laura Sydell and Alex Blumburg uncover a disturbing protection scheme which threatens to undermine the competitiveness of the US tech industry[pdf]. [more inside]
posted by Popular Ethics on Jul 28, 2011 - 123 comments

COICA Round Two

Senator Leahy's Protect IP Act would require that U.S. ISPs impose an 'internet death penalty' upon domain after merely a preliminary injunction from a U.S. court that suspects the site of being 'dedicated to infringing activities', even if the domain's owner had never been notified and was not subject to U.S. jurisdiction. There is concern that the legislation would fragment the DNS system and facilitate DNS spoofing by obstructing DNSSEC (pdf). There is also an open letter opposing the bill signed by 108 Law Professors who study intellectual property law. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jul 24, 2011 - 29 comments

Little Shop of Horrors closed (but not for renovation)

"On Saturday June 18, 2011, representatives from the licensing agency came to watch our production. I met them before the show and explained the reasons behind my actions and that I understood the consequences. The cast was also prepared. We could have restored the production to the original script, we could have canceled the show and left them to wonder, we could have faked a medical emergency or technical failure – believe me, all of these scenarios crossed my mind. In the end, we chose to be honest and share the production we had created." Artistic director Nick A. Olivero writes an open letter to the theatre and arts community discussing the recent forced closure of his show, Little Shop of Horrors, at San Fransisco's Boxcar Theatre Company. [more inside]
posted by Thin Lizzy on Jul 1, 2011 - 127 comments

banning smoking advertising

Australia, already a leader in tobacco sales restrictions, is seeking plain packaging for all cigarette packaging, forcing a fight with Big Tobacco. Other governments around the world watch interestedly, as arguments revolve around intellectual property rights and spill-over effects. An astro-turf group has been formed to protest "on behalf of retailers". Meanwhile, the Federal Opposition maintains it's links to the tobacco industry. (previously)
posted by wilful on Feb 20, 2011 - 66 comments

Don’t make me steal

Don't Make Me Steal - a Digital Media Consumption Manifesto.
posted by Artw on Feb 4, 2011 - 107 comments

The Palestine Papers

Al Jazeera has obtained a large volume of official documents concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The confidential files, to be released in the coming days, were shared with The Guardian.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jan 23, 2011 - 112 comments

The good, the bad and the prolific moderator.

At the Bartos Theater, in conversation with Henry Jenkins, these speakers [Yochai Benkler and Cass Sunstein] don’t so much square off as share their hopes and fears for the emergence of online democracy. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Dec 6, 2010 - 7 comments

Piracy Funds Fashionistas

Stop Fashion Piracy! Senator Chuck Schumer and ten co-sponsers have introduced the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (Govtrack). Similar to legislation from previous Congressional sessions, this would extend copyright protection to fashion designs. Currently, the fashion industry does have trademark protection, which allows legal recourse for designers and brands to go after counterfeiting, but designs and concepts are free to be imitated. The bill has the support of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the American Apparel and Footwear Association. This is the cumulation of a multi-year effort to extend copyright protections to fashion designers (that included sidestops where they tried to co-opt Michelle Obama into their efforts and where one of the top fashion copyright proponents gets caught copying other people's designs), and would change an industry that historically has worked within a dramatically different culture from other creative industries. [more inside]
posted by Weebot on Aug 10, 2010 - 53 comments

Maybe next time you shouldn't rationalize your theft with a "manifesto"...

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has shut down nine websites in connection with an ongoing crackdown on internet film and TV piracy. The sites seized are Movieslinks.tv, Planetmoviez.com, ZML.com, Thepiratecity.org, Filespump.com, TVShack.net, Now-Movies.com, NinjaThis.net, and NinjaVideo.net. The feds also seized related Paypal accounts and bank accounts as part of the operation. Ninjavideo was the most notorious of the group, and its admin, Phara, went so far as to record a manifesto in praise of internet piracy.
posted by Pastabagel on Jul 1, 2010 - 197 comments

"F**k Michael Powell. Let him sue us."

Home Depot was having an issue with employees cutting their fingers off while sawing wood for customers. Michael Powell invented a safety device that Home Depot then copied without Powell's permission. Today, Powell won a $25 million judgment in federal court. [more inside]
posted by reenum on May 12, 2010 - 141 comments

Breathair Oxy-Zone

Teresa Nielsen Hayden dismantles the latest claims of plagarism leveled at JK Rowling's Harry Potter series.
posted by Artw on Feb 21, 2010 - 110 comments

A secret treaty is bad news? I'm shocked! shocked!

The Obama administration's proposed internet sections of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) have been leaked, the analysis says it's very bad. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 4, 2009 - 78 comments

The Monster at the End of This Beer

Last month, the makers of Monster Energy Drink (Warning: Flash, Ads) sent a cease and desist letter (PDF) to Rock Art Brewery, makers of The Vermonster beer. Brewer Matt Nadeau plans to fight back, even though such a fight would be nasty, time consuming, and very, very expensive. [more inside]
posted by robocop is bleeding on Oct 14, 2009 - 79 comments

Who owns The Man?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a criticism of Burning Man, LLC's Terms and Conditions, saying that the automatic rights assignment to BMOrg for photos & video taken during the event is "creative lawyering intended to allow the BMO to use the streamlined “notice and takedown” process enshrined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to quickly remove photos from the Internet" and that this is corrosive to our freedom of speech. Burning Man responds.
posted by scalefree on Aug 14, 2009 - 123 comments

WTO, the US and Antigua - a love story

USA ♥'s AntiguaZookz
posted by bigmusic on Jul 16, 2009 - 10 comments

Can't pirate, the IP Czar will eat me

The Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act has added a whole other dimension to the term "copyright infringement." Sponsored by the US entertainment industry, it allows seizure of assets before the accused is found guilty and the creation of a new executive branch led by an "Intellectual Property Czar" who would report directly to the President on IP crimes--similar to the Drug Czar of the War on Drugs. Financial penalties for copyright crimes have increased dramatically. More information here, and a summary of critiques here. Is this a useful addition to the War On Copyright Infringement or just more bureaucratic red tape?
posted by schroedinger on Oct 14, 2008 - 45 comments

Obligatory accreditation system for IT security products

Give us your secrets. The Chinese government plans order foreign manufacturers to reveal information about their digital products, a Japanese newspaper reported on Friday. It will introduce rules requiring foreign firms to disclose secret information about digital household appliances and other products from May next year, the Yomiuri Shimbun said, citing unnamed sources. If a company refuses to disclose information, China would ban it from exporting the product to the Chinese market or producing or selling it in China, the paper said. [more inside]
posted by caddis on Sep 22, 2008 - 38 comments

Free the Amazon One-Click! Long Live Open Source Genes!

“I actually ran it by a number of colleagues who teach administrative law and constitutional law,” Professor Duffy said, recalling his own surprise at finding such a fundamental and important flaw. He thought he must have been missing something. Law prof notices that every US patent approved since 2000 was approved unconstitutionally and thus are all probably invalid. Looks like he may be right. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on May 7, 2008 - 49 comments

Girl fight

Barbie vs Bratz: Mattel sues MGA, claiming the Bratz designs were created by a Mattel employee and smuggled to its rival.
posted by Artw on May 5, 2008 - 40 comments

Se necesita una poca de gracia

"I mean he quite literally -- and in no way do I exaggerate when I say -- [Paul Simon] stole the songs from us." [more inside]
posted by Sys Rq on Apr 19, 2008 - 75 comments

Scrabble vs. Scrabulous

Toymakers Hasbro and Mattel claim that the popular online game Scrabulous (available on Facebook) infringes on the trademark for the board game Scrabble. They have not yet filed suit, but have asked Facebook to desist in its alleged infringement. Scrabulous is one of the top ten plug-ins on the site, developed by brothers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla in Calcutta, India. "There has been speculation that the challenge to Scrabulous had been launched as Hasbro and Mattel prepare their own online version of Scrabble." Electronic Arts holds the license to the electronic rights to Scrabble. Facebook users are rallying to save the game. [more inside]
posted by ericb on Jan 17, 2008 - 94 comments

Moan My IP

Sexy girls moaning your IP address. (probably NSFW)
posted by mr_crash_davis on Aug 22, 2007 - 36 comments

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