Friday, March 23, 2012

Someone tried to patent a common method of giving users their own subdomains


I noticed a story on EFF about patenting a method to assign subdomains, dating back to 2009, here    I company called IdeaFlood had tried to maintain a patent on this process.  

Subdomains are common in personal publishing services, such as blogspot, where a user-id is prefixed before the “dot” in the URL.  They were really common in the early days of Web 1.0, as AOL had used them in its (now disbanded) Hometown AOL personal publisher.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Can a pub taken on the name of a movie or book character safely?


Can a bar or restaurant be named after a movie or book character without trademark infringement?  In England, there is litigation over a pub named “The Hobbit”. 

I thought that in the US different lines of business could use the same name.  But entertainment companies often register workmarks in multiple lines of business for turf protection.

Here’s the story on AOL this morning (link).

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Patent trolls go after municipal governments


Now local governments are facing patent trolls, according to Electronic Frontier Foundation. A company named Arrival Star, owning the patent to a vehicle Notification System invented by Martin Kelly Jones, is suing a lot of local governments and the USPS for misuse (that’s hard to see since they must have paid someone for the service; they don’t try to sell it.

EFF’s story by Julie Samuels is here.

The USPTO record is here.