Tag: United States

Intellectual property portfolio management

This is an era where intellectual property rights (IPRs) simply cannot be ignored. Such intangible assets – including trademarks, patents and industrial design – are becoming an even more prominent axis around which business strategy revolves. As an example, multinational technology and consulting corporation International Business Machines (IBM) has acquired the most United States patents …

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How privacy law affects medical and scientific research

Many companies and organizations do business on the Internet or are engaged in scientific research and development, with many of the latter in the health care area. These are the kinds of entities who need to worry about privacy – of their customers, users, patients, and subjects – and take steps to properly secure or …

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Mashups & copyright law

The bright lines of the real property based view of copyright are being blurred by technology. In 1991, Mr. Biz Markee was found liable for infringing Mr. Gilbert O’Sullivan’s copyright in his song, Alone Again (Naturally), when Mr. Markee used an unauthorized sample in his rap song entitled Alone Again. Had Mr. Markee used Mr. …

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Trademarks & Collaborative Communities- Hacking the Law

Open source software projects and other collaborative communities are built on the principle that information should be shared and remixed. Some of these projects have grown to have widely recognized names and logos. However, collaborative communities that wish to have legal protections for their name or logo face a difficult challenge: trademark law expects some …

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Property rights and the human body

A Canadian court made headlines this month when it decided, as a preliminary matter, that human tissue removed from the body for diagnostic medical tests is “personal property” that belongs to the hospital where the procedure was performed. The case was a medical negligence action brought against two doctors by the estate of Snezana Piljak, …

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Biometrics: A developing regulatory landscape for a new era of technology

James Bond and Ethan Hunt have been using facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, and optical readers for years on the silver screen. In the real world, the use of technology that identifies unique physical characteristics of individuals (“biometrics”) is rapidly becoming more prevalent. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security uses facial scanning to identify potential …

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Fair use: A balancing test

Fair use may not be what you expect. Whether or not you are within the boundaries of fair use depends on the facts of your particular situation. What exactly are you using? How widely are you sharing the materials? Are you confining your work to the nonprofit environment of let’s say, a university? To determine …

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Applying the patent exhaustion doctrine to self-replicating technology

Few patent cases in recent years have provoked as much public outcry as Bowman v. Monsanto Co. (pdf). The case concerns Monsanto’s right to control harvesting and replanting of subsequent generations of its patented, genetically modified Roundup Ready seed. But that discord did not extend to the Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously (in a single …

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Intermediary liability on the internet

Ashley Hurst, a partner at the London office of the law firm Olswang LLP recently gave a presentation followed by a Q&A session at the Center for Internet and Society on the liability issues being faced by US-based internet intermediaries in Europe, noting in particular the contrasting position in respect of copyright and defamation. Ashley …

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Court: Website that encouraged posting of copied content not liable for copyright infringement

A federal court in Arizona dismissed copyright infringement claims in which the Ripoff Report — an online consumer complaint posting forum — contended that its competitor, ComplaintsBoard.com, “encourage[d] and permit consumers to post content that has been exclusively licensed to” the Ripoff Report’s owner (Xcentric Ventures, LLC v. Mediolex Ltd., No. 2:12-cv-00130 (D. Ariz. Oct. …

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