Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Twitter and famous people with the same names

Thoughts and Prayers Don't Save Lives (40369207261) (cropped)

I know there has been a humorous identity battle on Twitter between Parkland activist David Hogg, and a great kid in North Carolina who calls himself the “real David Hogg”, wins a college scholarship and has a year done already while he works as a grocer and delivers groceries to seniors asked to stay home for Covid.

But now, the (activist “good at protesting” and die-in-s) David Hogg renames his Twitter name after a mass movement to which literally he could not belong to, as here. 

It isn’t something I would do.  People have court battles over other people using their own names as domain names online.  David Hogg #1 has “diluted” his own individual name for the common good? He even finds it necessary to declare his male pronouns. That's how far political correctness has come. 

The law, of course, doesn't really care that much about feelings and emotions or even solidarity. 

One other thing: David Hogg #1 and #2 have more in common personally than they realize. But you could say that about Nick Sandmann and the Plaid Shirt Guy.  Political identities have less to do with underlying personality than you think. 

Wikipedia picture of Parkland protest (click for attribution). 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Hoeg Law explains that "legal largesse" is usually not OK with trademark issues, compared to copyright

I decided to put this on the Trademark blog, HoegLaw’s “Suzy Lu, Copyright, and the Law’s Problem with ‘Reactions;”.

Hoeg discusses reaction channels and the “largesse” of original content creators on YouTube to allow these without DMCA takedown claims or disturbances because in some business situations allowing them makes sense as a kind of pseudo “advertising”.  It’s a little bit “mob-like”.

The reason this matters for trademark is a little indirect.  If you hold a trademark to something, you need to act to protect the mark.  So if you published a series of books with a catchy name and catchy characters, and someone else came along and did the same thing with the same characters even to make fun of your work, you would have to act.

In screenwriting courses (like Tyler Mowery’s “Practical Screenwriting”) there is mention of the idea of “flipping the premise” of a well known story to create a new idea for a plot that will still seem straightforward and maybe promising to studios. (That has to do with flipping heroes and villains or introducing some kind of edgy moral ambiguity.) But in a movie or book series (more than one, as in a typical Hollywood movie franchise, or, say, Harry Potter) characters are usually trademarked. So you have to make up your own, and make them significantly different in name and description and setting from the original.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

USPTO has extended paperwork deadlines due to coronavirus

On April 28, the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) has extended certain patent and trademark deadlines from March 31, 2020 to June 1, 2020, due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak. USPTO link here. 

The World Trademark Review compiles notices for all countries, and advises that applications between March 27 and March 31 were not covered by this announcement.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Publicly funded research should lead to more "public" patents, an argument (look at remd

Elliot Harmon, from Electronic Frontier Foundation, has a major piece in Slate arguing that we need essentially a kind of creative commons for patents, when the research is funded by the public and addresses a major public emergency, like COVID-19. 

There are mixed results so far on trials, with negative reports very recently from China, for remdesivir.  But there are very strong anecdotes in the US that it has worked.
Gilead had at one time insisted on monopoly status for this drug (statnews).

Monday, April 20, 2020

So could obsolete technology hide trademarks and patents for trolls?

So why do I share a video “The Weird Typewriter-Computer Hybrid: Smith Corona PWP-3200”? from around 1981 on a blog about trademark?  The device remained available until 1993 (about when the WWW was becoming available).

Remember what computing was like in the early 80’s?  I had a Tandy Radio-Shack TRS-80 (with a 64-character screen) in the alcove of my Dallas apartment (Harvey’s Racquet – long since completely remodeled).

But back in 1979 the company I worked for had a Lanier word processing system for specifications written by analysts, and it cost $15000.

Note that the hybrid typewriter-computer had a “word erase” function with is a registered trademark with the ®.  -What I wonder now is, what if someone tries to offer the same function on a modern system.  Will some patent troll or trademark holder who grabbed it for old hardware make a claim?
It sounds all too tempting as a cash cow.

There are lots of cute but obsolete technologies with their own trademarks and patents.  Remember the old plugboards for accounting systems before modern mainframes in the 1970s?

Picture: old Apple, around 1981, at Smithsonian;  19th century typewriter at Smithsonian. Jack Andraka's Facebook page has a picture of a homemade computer keyboard for a cat (pet), to keep the cat from interfering with work-from-home during social distancing.  Is that a good idea for a patent?  Probably. But not as lucrative as a medical test or new medication, given what is happening.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

"Global Patent Race for a Covid-19 Vaccine", in NLR

The  National Law Review offers a number of important articles on trademark and patent with regard to Covid-19, and one of these is “The Global Patent Race for a Covid-19 Vaccine”, March 24. 

The article discusses both a large number of possible vaccines and possible treatments.
China has been filing “defensive” patent claims for Remesdivir, according to the article.
I’ve sent the email offering some links to EFF, which will probably have some articles.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Apparent patent troll compromises research for COVID19 blood test

Forest Group’s Labrador Diagnostics has sued a strartup BioFire after buying up Theranos patents that might resembled the defendant’s BioFire technology. BioFire is attempting to develop blood tests for (antibodies for) the SARS-Cov2 virus and fighting COVID19 

This is a potentially serious case where apparent patent trolling interferes with necessary work to counter the coronavirus pandemic.

Theranos’s founder Elizabeth Holmes had been indicted on wire fraud charges.
Iam-media (paywall) has a detailed account.