Monday, September 11, 2017

Now inter-app permissions gets claimed by a patent troll

Electronic Frontier Foundation points out another “stupid patent of the month” this time, apparently from JP Morgan, about a mobile app merely asking permission to hook up with another app.
Electronic Frontier Foundation has a story by Daniel Nazer, Aug. 31, here

Since I am in the middle of a probable home sale and condo purchase, all cash, I’m attracting mail offering bridge loans.  One piece came from JP Morgan.   

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Podcasting saved from the patent trolls

Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that it has won a case against a company, Personal Audio, that had threatened podcasters with patent lawsuits. The ruling came from a 3-judge panel for the Federal Circuit in Washington.

EFF had raised money for “save our podcasters” litigation and showed that speakers had podcasted for years before the company applied for the patent.

That such a threat could have been made against ordinary podcasting is indeed shocking. 

Will it have to raise money to save Section 230 from the Backpage mess?

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

People are filing trademark applications for slurs with no commercial intent

Abbey White of Vox Media reports that people are filing trademark applications for symbols and “bad words” normally associated with racism or hate speech, after a US Supreme Court ruling in June regarding “The Slants”, story here June 20, new Vox story here.

The article says that it is not required that an approved mark go into immediate commercial use.  I had thought that this was required.  It would be a disturbing situation indeed if the ability to make money from a brand affected its approval in a contested case.  There is also a good question as to whether common words with political meaning (like my book series or something like Anderson Coopers “Keeping Them Honest”) ought to be recognized as a legitimate wordmark for trade, limiting who can use it to first-come or to the most economically powerful.  

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

KU law professor examines patent litigation according to "patent value"

I earned my M.A. in Mathematics from the University of Kansas in Lawrence in early 1968 (before entering the Army). 

Here’s a curious article by a patent law professor at KU seeming to counsel were patent holders can litigate, according to the value of their patents.  East Texas is most favorable to “high value” patents. I hope this isn’t an encouragement for deliberate patent trolling. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Boy in Texas seeks patent for device warning police child is in a hot car

An 11-year-old buy, Bishop, in McKinney, TC (north of Dallas on US 175 – Experian is located there now) has invented a device to sense when a child or pet is left in a hot car and that will call police.
NBC News has the story here  and it was on nightly news tonight.

This certainly sounds like a good and valid use of patent, and a patent will be applied for.
The article also explains the psychology of forgetting a child in a car – competing parts of the brain.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Supreme Court rules that the "commercial" First Amendment protects "disparaging" trademarks in "Slants" case (also would apply to Redskins football)

The Supreme Court ruled, 8-0 (Gorsuch was not yet seated) that the USPTO cannot refuse to register trademarks just because a minority group (or suspect class) finds it disparaging.

Robert Barnes has a detailed analysis in the Washington Post today here.
The case is about an Asian-American rock group called the “Slants” that tried to trademark its name, bringing back stereotyped slurs from the days of the Vietnam war. The case is named Matal v. Tan.

Some sources criticize the opinion as saying that the “Bill of Rights is about making money”.  Maybe trademark law really is. That idea could put domain names for efforts not sufficiently commercial at risk, if challenged by others who think that the same wordmarks could make money, employ people, and even pay for health insurance (the Trump effect).

This would mean that the Washington Redskins will be able to trademark their team name (again) and probably won’t do a name change.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Patent claims on notification of customers of delivery

Electronic Frontier Foundation reports on a case “” against “Shipping & Transit LLC” in a news story here.

The plaintiff claims a patent relating to the reporting of the status of delivery vehicles.  This would seem to jeopardize the normal online access to information on packages you have ordered, at least to a home (maybe not to a UPS store).
It’s hard to see how this could be a real patent unless it is a specific smartphone or web application.