Sunday, July 07, 2019

EFF calls "suggested reading material" in a search box a stupid patent; what about YouTube?

Back in April 2018, EFF had reported one of the stupidest patents yet – suggesting reading material on a website, story

Of course, one wonders if this is inherently similar in some way to YouTube’s following with a next video, which is a trick that some channels depend on for revenue.

But apparently the patent discussed in the article, affecting retailers, is nothing more than a search bar. I tried the Zumiez search bar and couldn’t see what it did that is original.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

SCOTUS allows morally "subversive" trademarks: new controversy between and airline and Walmart

The Supreme Court has struck down a ban on trademarking “immoral” or “scandalous” words or symbols, probably including names like the Washington Redskins for sports teams.

The action had been brought by a clothing designer Erik Brunetti for a proposed name called “FUCT”. The decision went 6-3.   (Story by Nina Totenberg, NPR).

The link to the opinion is here. 
The decision might make it easier to trademark common phrases and words, which might matter in the future for my own “doaskdotell”.  I am aware of controversy, although not related to this case, over the trademark for “Subverse” where I know some of the folks.

There is also a controversy now between “JetBlue” (an airline) and “JetBlack”, a Walmart service (CNBC).

Viva Frei analyzes the Court's opinion and notes that the Lanham act covered the expression of ideas, and that the Court invited Congress to write narrower legislation that protects ideas. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Bicycle supply company hit by trolls defying "Alice"

This is surely one of the most egregious patent trolling cases I have ever heard of. Rock Pepper, owner of Elevengear, which makes products for competitive and recreational cyclists, was pursued by Eclipse IP (now called Electronic Communications Technologies LLC) for infringing on several patents having to do with such a mundane office activity as message delivery.

Electronic Frontier Foundation has a detailed story here

The business was saved by “Alice”, a decision that Congress is trying to undo.
In 2008, there was another cyclist in Seattle who was falsely accused of running a “spam blog”. I remember that case.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Congress wants to make trolling easier by not allowing examiners to segregate out common language (Section 101)

Alex Ross from Electronic Frontier Foundation advises that a draft bill to revise Section 101 of the Patent Act would not allow examiners to segregate portions of a claim that are generic functions and already pre-existing technology.

This would encourage more trolling and silly patents (like my database SQL methods for identifying backstories embedded in a novel outline or screenplay – theoretically something that a company like Final Draft could perfect).

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Patent details should not be kept secret (the Uniloc and Apple case)

Here is another problem: some patent details are kept secret from the public and small businesses, and trolls then suddenly ambush businesses with litigation and demands for settlement.

Alex Moss (of Electronic Frontier Foundation) discusses the history of Uniloc, which has tried to collect fees from Apple (a large company, for a change), but Apple convinced a federal judge (Alsup) that sealing documents related to a patent or how an invention works, was improper.

As for my other “innovation”, I’ll start mapping my novel plot this summer with a database key system (on Microsoft Access) to keep track of the backstories and which character knows which fact about which backstory at any given point.  Maybe that could become a “stupid patent of the month” if I wanted it to. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Tim Pool describes an international issue with his Subverse channel

Tim Pool is running into an international trademark issue with his Subverse channel, because of a company in the UK associated with porn, it sounds like.

The best way to understand this is just to watch his video and let him explain what is going on.

I could discuss my own history with my own “brands” if he likes.  People did ask questions of me back in the late 1990s, and there were some bizarre battles then (as over the “Epix” brand and a theater in Oregon).
The use of common words and “made up words” for video channels and domains is controversial and more troubling in international trademarks (or North American including Canada) than has been considered here. 

I personally would not be confused by a brand name with a similar name for something else.  Usually I have no problem with this.  

I'll follow this closely.

Update:  April 15

There are a lot of pundits weighing in on this now.  Generally the scuttlebutt is that the two sides should mediate. Rekieta Law interviews Tim on a livestream. 

Friday, April 05, 2019

More possible futures of my "do ask do tell" wordmark

I just wanted to continue the discussion of my use of the “do ask do tell” wordmark string (from the blog post on March 5).

I do believe that the mark would be effective for a motion picture production company (or distribution company), especially for documentary or issue-oriented film. (Yes, Participant Media already is a good example.  So is Annapurna.)
I could be effective for an indie media company that emphasizes balancing both video and blog or text content, with some books and films, maybe especially short issue-oriented films,  It should help visitors “connect the dots” among different issues and should be fairly centrist politically, and probably stay away from identarianism.  Of course, you could add publishing topical books by other indie authors as a small press into the mix, but it won't be "identarian".