Saturday, February 18, 2017

Patent trolls still can take advantage of forum shopping; Trump in China (is no Nixon)


Patent trolls and patent owners can take undue advantage of forum shopping, according to a story on Electronic Frontier Foundation by Daniel Nazer this morning.    And the federal circuit in Washington DC, which is supposed to have the technical expertise in patent and trademark, has not been allowing defendants to choose their home field for jurisdiction (for “Home field advantage”).   The relevant case is Pabst v. Xiliinx. 



The Hill this morning has a major story by Nikita Vladimirov about the Trump organization’s trademark activity in China, an apparently obvious source of conflict of interest.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

EFF slams patent that matches music with lyrics and comments "automatically"


Electronic Frontier Foundation, in its column “Stupid Patent of the Month”, in an article by Daniel Nazer, discusses a patent from CBS Interactive, “Song Discussions”, that offers a supposedly automated way to match music with lyrics and user comments.  CBS Interactive is part of the familiar CBS broadcasting corporation (e.g., "60 Minutes")  .

I actually have some composed music which could be matched with lyrics (one is a setting of Psalm 133, which I just discussed on Wordpress recently).  I guess I’d better be careful about any automated tools.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

SCOTUS hears oral arguments on Slants case


The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday regarding the trademark application of the Asian American band calling itself the Slants.

  The Los Angeles Times, in a story by David Savage, reports that justices appeared divided on whether denying a trademark because the government did not like the message amounted to discrimination.   The government is still interfering with the speech itself.  But it could interfere with the practical ability to make money from commercial use of the name.  The case could affect the Washington Redskins trademark application.

The case is Lee v. Tam, with SCOTUS transcript here

Friday, January 06, 2017

"The Agency Names of Naming Agencies": Assigning domain names is a competitive sport


The Igor Naming Agency emailed a story and link tonight to a blog where it discusses how companies should choose name for themselves, or for their services or products.  The same ideas would apply to movie or book titles, movie or book series (which can be trademarked) and domain names, which, as we know, can be closely related to trademarks.

The post is called “The Agency Names of Naming Agencies”, here.

It says to look at the names of the competition, and that naming is a competitive sport.

The categories are “Functional”, “Invented”, “Experiential”, “Evocative”.  (Not “functionable”.)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

SCOTUS will hear case on forum shopping in patent litigation


The Supreme Court has agreed to take a case that will determine whether plaintiffs in patent cases may continue the practice of “forum shopping”, choosing any federal circuit in the country (which is often in East Texas, which has a climate more favorable to plaintiffs).  Defendants want the cases to be held in larger courts more favorable to most businesses.



The Washington Post carried the Dec. 14 AP story today on p A14.   The case will be Kraft v. RC Heartland.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Can a story about the Amish and the election itself be a "trademark violation"?


Vox technology writer Timothy B Lee tweeted this story about the American Amish Brotherhood and its alleged role in helping throw the election to Trump in swing states, on ABC here. The title is “The Amish in America commit their vote to Donald Trump, mathematically guaranteeing him a victory”, dated Nov. 8.

But Lee asks, how is the story still online, and says “it’s a blatant trademark violation, for starters”.  I don’t get that.  How can a news story by itself be a trademark violation?  A domain name, yes.  A book or movie title that copies an existing franchise, yes.  But a news article?

The story sounds credible.  I often drive in this area, at least in Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Asian band's trademark claim, to be reviewed by SCOTUS, could vindicate Washington Redskins


The case Michelle K. Lee v. Simon Shiao Tam seems to mirror the case of the Washington Redskins trademark application.  The Supreme Court said Sept. 29 that it would review a Federal Circuit finding that the Lanham Act, which would deny the Asian rock band the name “the Slants”, is unconstitutional. The Quartz story is here.


I do remember the phrase during the Vietnam war, as applied to the Viet Cong, especially by people who didn’t want to be drafted.