Blawg Review #289
Welcome to another Autumnal Edition of Blawg Review, hosted this week by the Patent Baristas. We’re always glad to have people over to visit so grab a piping hot spiced latte and we’ll see what’s been going on around the blogosphere.
This week we honor Inventors’ Day (German: Tag der Erfinder), which is celebrated in the German-speaking countries Germany, Austria and Switzerland on November 9, the birthday of inventor and Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr. Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, was an Austrian-born American actress.
Though known primarily for her film career as a major contract star of MGM’s “Golden Age”, she also co-invented an early technique for frequency-hopped spread spectrum communications in 1942, a key to many forms of wireless communication.
Composer George Antheil and Lamarr submitted a patent application for a secret communication system in June 1941. On August 11, 1942, U.S. Patent 2,292,387 was granted to Antheil and “Hedy Kiesler Markey”, Lamarr’s married name at the time. This early version of frequency hopping used a piano roll to change between 88 frequencies and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or jam.
The day was proclaimed to encourage people towards their own ideas and for a change to the better and to remind people of forgotten inventors.
Without further ado, here is this week’s review, in no particular order:
Venkat Balasubramani writes over at the Technology & Marketing Law Blog about Holding on to a Domain Name to Gain Leverage in a Business Dispute Can Constitute Cybersquatting — DSPT Int’l v. Nahum.
At BlawgIT, Brett Trout writes about the AMP v. USPTO (Myriad) case in U.S. DOJ Reverses Policy – Now Argues Genes Should Not be Eligible for Patent Protection.
On Houston’s Clear Thinkers, Tom Kirkendall ponders the view of cancer as tenaciously persistent and able to regenerate after apparently disappearing — driven by a specific cell type lurking within the cancer that is capable of dormancy, growth and infinite regeneration – a cancer “stem cell” in The Cancer Sleeper Cell
Shamnad Basheer, at SpicyIP, writes about inadequate access to the patent system itself. This bottleneck ends up engendering more inequity, as it prevents poor “informal” innovators from partaking in the benefits offered by the patent system. Informal Innovators and Fostering More Access to the Patent System.
Walter Olson is Overlawyered writing about a nonprofit in suburban Chicago that encourages its woodworker members “to craft and donate wooden Christmas toys to less fortunate children.” After donating upwards of 700 toys a year in the past, it will have to discontinue the program in future since it can’t afford the third-party testing required under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. “The law that stole Christmas”
Stephanie West Allen’s idealawg shows the Benefits of Contemplative Practice for Lawyers with Talks from The Mindful Lawyer 2010.
The irrelevance of law firm “knowledge management” ~ good piece on the people responsible for bad law firm contract templates and whether law firm “KM just needs to be scrapped at law firms altogether.”
The the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) looks at a jury this week that awarded $1.5 million in statutory damages ($62,500 per recording) to the record label plaintiffs in Capitol v. Thomas-Rasset. The case has repeatedly made headlines as the first action against an individual accused of illegal file-sharing to make it to the trial stage. As the litigation proceeded, however, the case (as well as another individual filesharing case, Sony v. Tenenbaum) has taken on new importance by shining a light on the irrationality of copyright remedies.
Enrico Schaefer at The Greatest American Lawyer ponders whether there are tremendous interests in preserving the “old way” of doing things within the legal profession — that “OLD WAY” being to preserve the good ol’ boys network primarily designed to keep citizens and prospective clients and clients in completely in the dark concerning legal services. The American Bar Association apparently formed a working group “on the implication of new technologies.” Is the ABA Trying to Kill Lawyer Blogs, Facebook Profiles, Twitter Updates, Forum Posts and Lawyer Websites?
Basically, the ABA has put together a panel to take a hard look at online marketing in its myriad forms and provide some guidance. The fear is that this panel will end up regulating the use of the internet by lawyers and make it harder for the small firms to compete with the larger ones. Do you think this is a “RED ALERT” moment? Adrian Dayton has more at ABA, Social Media and a time to panic?
IpKat ponders the strength of the link between trade marks and innovation in the effect that the brand often provides an aspirational statement that may, itself, induce a firm to innovate – the example given was Gillette’s trade mark “Gillette: the best a man can get”. Furthermore, reputation, as bottled in the brand itself was a spur to innovation as goodwill required topping-up from time to time, and you could do this by creating better products – innovating.
Bob Ambrogi’s Lawsites looks at the possible revival of the Peer To Patent pilot project, an innovative collaboration between the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and the Center for Patent Innovations at New York Law School’s Institute for Information Law and Policy. The pilot, which ran from 2007 to 2009, used crowdsourcing and the power of the Internet at large to help vet applications for business-methods and software patents. Project that Crowdsources Patent Review Gets a Second Life.
Our very own Patent Baristas asks, “Will you patent my DNA please . . . ?”
Although this is an over-my-head post that looks brilliant if only I had time to read it thoroughly, Brett Trout at the 271 Patent Blog quotes Donald Chisum where he cogently points out that most of the problems pertaining to patentable subject matter can be attributed to the Supreme Court’s decision in Benson, and that the decision “served no one’s interest . . . Its ambiguity allowed software patent proponents to subvert any bar that software patent opponents desired [and] also deterred legitimate inventors of software-implemented inventions from applying for patent protection.”
Our friends at Securing Innovation prove that there’s no such thing as an idea that is too stupid to patent. Too obvious, maybe, but too stupid? Don’t be silly. [Ed. note: Umm...it's a stick.]
One for insiders . . . managing outside counsel . . . an audio interview for readers whose eyes are tired at the Wired GC.
One you’ll love for the headline alone: when art imitates life; suing for defamation in fiction. The Citizen Media Law Project notes that the mere fact that a novel is labeled a work of fiction will not automatically insulate its author and publisher from a suit for defamation. Even if names or events are changed, libel in fiction is actionable if acquaintances can recognize the real-life individual in a character that is depicted in a defamatory manner.
As holidays approach, time to start thinking about new year’s resolutions at Brains on Purpose.
A view of law school debt on the other side of the pond from Charon QC, a UK law blog. As Nicholas Green QC said…“This seems to me to be one of the major issues of the day and one which the profession needs to grapple with sooner rather than later.”
Ernie the Attorney offers a cautionary tale on free wi-fi. A new Firefox add-on, dubbed “Firesheep,” lets “pretty much anyone” scan a Wi-Fi network and hijack others’ access to Facebook, Twitter and a host of other services, a security researcher warned today.
An interesting view of law firms’ contributions to losing candidates at the Legal Pad. Larry Sonsini, the chairman of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati was among Meg Whitman’s biggest individual backers from the law firm community in her bid for California governor — which she lost in Tuesday’s election to Jerry Brown.
Point of Law highlights the post-election clout-fate of trial lawyers.
When is larry lessig NOT calling for radical overhaul ~ our favorite legal innovator at Freedom to Differ.
Law profs venture past their comfort zone — online teaching — welcome to 2010 PrawfsBlawg!
Settle It Now, a negotiation blog thinks an a**hole is not a person but a behavior, not one person but two ~ thoughts on the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear at Settle it Now.
Charon QC’s ongoing satirical series centering on the Muttley Dastardly firm continued recently with this meditation on the state of legal education in the UK and a meeting of the firm’s board. “Law firms need to be ‘porous, virtual, multi-sourced, adaptable and agile”. – These words were spoken by the Linklaters’ head of strategy and business transformation Rupert Egerton-Smith
The extraordinary prosecutorial misconduct of Christopher Parakilas prompted both an extraordinary remedy from the Connecticut Supreme Court and a pair of extraordinary legal posts from Gideon at A Public Defender and Ken at Popehat.
The copyright status of “Happy Birthday” comes up from time to time online and off; it’s been discussed more than once at TechDirt and Mike Masnick had occasion to mention it again as an example of copyright shenanigans and overreach.
A flurry of discussion over the past few weeks in criminal defense circles concerning a proposal to “strike” from the courts of particularly bad judges has focused on the proposer’s anonymity, motives, or thoughts. Mark Bennett focuses his contribution to the discussion on the merits of the plan — and find that there really aren’t any, in an unsparing post.
Kashmir Hill discusses a suit seeking to stay the use of full body scanners by the TSA; amongst the more interesting claims is that the official use of the machines violates the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act.
Tim Kevan’s Baby Barista offered a bit of insight this week when he was on the receiving end of his mentor’s legendary “Scales of Justice” argument in a case they contested against one another.
Elie Mystal was somewhat disdainful of a class gift offered by this year’s graduates of Brooklyn Law; he seemed unsure which was more lame — the quote from A League of Their Own or the class’ expressed hope that the plaque would become a good luck talisman for future students.
Asked to write a memoir for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Ilya Somin shared the results with us; it’s well worth your time to read.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s edition of Blawg Review. Nothing herein should be construed as an endorsement of any product or service. The decision on any inclusion (or not) in the review was completely arbitrary and capricious. Past performance does not guarantee future returns.
Thanks for dropping by and visiting our place. We’ll meet at your place next time.
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