Friday, March 31, 2006

So Was Google The Only One to Challenge the Subpoenas? The AP reports that "U.S. Demands Files From ISPs, Tech Firms." From the article: "InformationWeek magazine unearthed subpoenas that show the government also demanded information from at least 34 other companies, including Internet service providers such as Comcast Corp. and EarthLink Inc., security software firms and other technology companies."
More on the Apple Flap. The AP reports in "Lawyer: Apple trademark claim silly." From the article: "Attorney Anthony Grabiner said 'even a moron in a hurry' could distinguish between the computer company's iTunes online music business and a record company like Apple Corps." Reuters has more.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Watch as a Good Faith Defense Materializes Before Your Eyes... Reuters reports that " cracks down on copyrighted video." From the article: "The popular online video site, which lets users upload clips and share them with others, is blocking pirated TV and movies by limiting videos to no more than 10 minutes."
It's Unclear From the Article... but I wonder if one of the trademarks she assigned was her signature. If not, I'm not sure this ruling makes sense. Reuters reports that "Princess Diana's dressmaker loses fight over name." From the article: "In 1999, she launched a fight to get her name back after the company that bought her trademark started selling clothes under her signature. Media reports quoted her as saying she was heartbroken that people thought she had designed the garments."
Coverage of MercExchange Hearing. reports that "Justices Seem Divided Over eBay Patent Injunction Case." From the article: "One problem on the horizon for the case before the Court, noted several times by Roberts, is the fact that on review, the Patent and Trademark Office has invalidated all of MercExchange's patents involved in the case." Reuters has more.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Even More on MercExchange. The AP reports that "High Court Weighs in on EBay Patent Fight." From the article: "The case is one of several high-profile disputes that are calling attention to the nation's patent laws, which some critics - including, Yahoo! and Xerox Corp. - say need updating to keep up with rapidly changing technology."
How Did I Not Know About This Before Getting Dish Network? The AP reports that "Trial Over TiVo Patent Begins in Texas." From the article: "If TiVo wins [its case against Dish Network], it could collect millions in damages to boost its sagging financial performance and gain leverage to force cable operators to pay royalties for offering customers TiVo-like service. Analysts say the outcome also will affect the price of TiVo stock, which is up 38 percent so far this year." And something else I didn't know: the Rocket Docket has competition. From the article: "It was no accident that TiVo chose to file its lawsuit in an East Texas city of about 24,000 residents. The federal courts in Marshall and other East Texas cities are known for handling patent cases quickly — a boon to plaintiffs."
I Just Don't See the Likelihood of Confusion... Reuters reports that "The Beatles and Apple face off in court." From the article: "'Apple Computer can go into the recorded music business in any way they want. What they cannot do is use Apple (trade)marks to do it,' Apple Corps counsel Geoffrey Vos said in his opening presentation." The AP has more.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I Didn't Know this Case Was Still Going On. The AP reports that "It's Apple Vs. Apple in British Court." From the article: "Two legendary companies in the music industry are to meet Wednesday in a London courtroom to fight it out over what might be the world's most recognizable logo: A simple piece of fruit."
More on the MercExchange Case. Reuters reports that "High court to hear landmark eBay patent case." From the article: "The case is being closely watched to see if the high court will scale back the right of patent holders to get an injunction barring infringers from using their technologies."
More on the MercExchange Case. Reuters reports that "High court to hear landmark eBay patent case." From the article: "The case is being closely watched to see if the high court will scale back the right of patent holders to get an injunction barring infringers from using their technologies."

Monday, March 27, 2006

That's Got to be a Really Thin Copyright. USA Today reports that "Christian group backs off case against blog parody." From the article: "Exodus International initially claimed the altered image of one of its billboards by Justin Watt infringed its copyright. But Exodus is no longer pursuing the matter after Watt stopped using its 'watermark' logo, Exodus President Alan Chambers said." You can see the images at issue over at Marty's.
Seems Like a Loophole in eBay's VERO Program. If the IP holder doesn't respond to counternotices, should such notices actually count against the user? CNet reports that "'Warcraft' maker sued for blocking sales of unofficial guide." From the article: "Kopp filed counternotices protesting the infringement claims. Because the companies did not respond to the documents within 14 days, eBay was free under the DMCA to reinstate his auctions, which it did. But by November, eBay had accumulated enough takedown warnings from the companies to warrant suspending Kopp's account. He restarted his sales under a new username, which quickly earned suspension, too." Marty has links to the complaint and his thoughts on the case here.
Um, wow. The AP reports that "NSA Might Listen to Lawyer Calls." From the article: "'Because collecting foreign intelligence information without a warrant does not violate the Fourth Amendment and because the Terrorist Surveillance Program is lawful, there appears to be no legal barrier against introducing this evidence in a criminal prosecution,' the department said in responses to questions from lawmakers released Friday evening."
Cybersquatters Always Trying to Stay One Step Ahead. reports that "Cybersquatters Try New Tactics." From the article: "These days, cybersquatters seek to register a star's domain before that person becomes famous, and then develop a business relationship with the new celebrity, offering website hosting or design work."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

There is Such a Thing? The AP reports that "Jay Leno Wins Round in Photo Lawsuit." From the article: "The appeals court cited an exception to the law regarding use of photos for comedic purposes."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Is this Yahoo!'s Response to Different European Standards Regarding the Sale of Keywords? Otherwise, it doesn't really make sense... BoingBoing reports in "Yahoo: if you use our ads, you have to block non-US visitors." From the article: "When I spoke with a Yahoo rep on their Publisher Support line, they said I could block either the ads or the pages, but said over and over again that they 'couldn't and wouldn't' give me any information on how to accomplish such a task. The rep finally told me that I should just firewall or block off 'everything but the US' to keep the Yahoo ads from being seen by anyone outside the US. I'm sure their intent is to block only the ads, but they wouldn't hazard even a suggestion as to the best way to do this. Their 'solution' was basically to block off the rest of the world."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My Money's on Remand. reports that "Supreme Court Tackles Patentability of Scientific Phenomena." From the article: "'What was made by man here?' Justice Antonin Scalia asked repeatedly, referring to the Metabolite patent at issue in the case. The patent is for a test that signals serious vitamin B deficiencies in patients by measuring levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, in body fluids. But the patent also covers the basic correlation in nature between elevated levels of homocysteine and the vitamin B deficiency that makes the test effective." (Full disclosure: my firm is involved in this case.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Odd to Put this Provision in a Copyright Bill. Rather than an antitrust bill. Bloomberg reports that "France's Parliament Approves Copyright Bill, Open Music Formats." From the article: "France's parliament voted in a copyright bill that would be Europe's first legislation forcing companies such as Apple Computer Inc. and Microsoft Corp. to make music downloads playable on all portable digital players."
An Interesting Question. A friend passed this along. The New York Times asks "Why Do So Few Women Reach the Top of Big Law Firms?" From the article: "Although women certainly leave firms to become more actively involved in child-rearing, recent detailed studies indicate that female lawyers often feel pushed into that choice and would prefer to maintain their careers and a family if a structure existed that allowed them to do so. Some analysts and many women who practice law say that having children isn't the primary reason most women leave law firms anyhow; most, they say, depart for other careers or for different ways to practice law."
Does the Federal Circuit Need Chemistry Majors? Howard asks "[i]s the determination of whether a thing is a salt or an acid a question of law, or a question of fact?" in his post on a recent Federal Circuit opinion here.
Why You Should Talk to the Marketing Folks Before Sending a C&D... Reuters reports that "Showbiz unsure if YouTube a friend or foe." From the article:
However, the relationship between this Internet upstart and Hollywood isn't as adversarial as you might assume. For every corporate lawyer firing off angry letters to YouTube, there are two more executives exploring potential partnership opportunities -- maybe even an outright acquisition.

What's more, YouTube execs claim that these conflicting legal and promotional imperatives often unknowingly emanate from the same company.

'There's been a few examples of marketing departments uploading content directly to the site, while on the other side of the company their attorney is demanding we remove this content,' YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley says.

Monday, March 20, 2006

So Who's Reading This? Geeklawyer points to this article about the perils of Google for a job seekers. A note to anyone researching me: If your search spelled my first name wrong, I am *not* a school teacher in Alabama. (Although I must cop to some of the hits for the misspelled version of my first name, but I'll let you guess which ones.)
Who Knew? Apparently someone on MySpace goes by the moniker nerdlaw. Just so there's no confusion, my name is not Waldo, and I am not a 23 year-old male living in Minnesota. (And how can Waldo be in my extended network when I don't even *have* a MySpace network?)
They Sit in the Fish Bowl so You Don't Have to. Reuters reports that "Final chapter looms in 'Da Vinci' copying case." From the article: "'In this case, Brown has used HBHG with the intention of appropriating the work of its authors,' Rayner James said. 'He and/or Blythe has intentionally used HBHG in order to save the time and effort that independent research would have required.'" Of course, historians do this to each other all the time. If you're claiming that your work is historical fact, can you really complain if some of the same facts end up in other works.
Sounds Better than the Initial Reports. Reuters reports that "Google wins partial keywords victory." From the article: "'To the extent the motion seeks an order compelling Google to disclose search queries of its users the motion is denied,' Ware wrote."
So is Google Obligated to Provide Search Services? Seems to be where this claim is headed... Reuters reports that "Kinderstart sues Google over lower page ranking." From the article: "A parental advice Internet site has sued Google Inc., charging it unfairly deprived the company of customers by downgrading its search-result ranking without reason or warning."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Not all that Surprising. Reuters reports that "Judge dismisses Google copyright case." From the article: "Parker's original 72-page complaint had argued that Google was responsible for anonymous Web postings attacking him in Usenet newsgroups that Google archives on its computers and via the newsgroup and general Web search systems it offers."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bit of a Non Sequitur. reports that "Azul Sues Sun to Protect Itself." From the article: "'Sun seems to be in disbelief that a young, privately held company can independently create such industry-defining technology. Azul has been forced into this legal process as a last resort.'" Of course, as the article states that Sun's claim were for patent infringement, not copyright infringement, independent creation isn't really a defense...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Guesses on How Much Productivity Will Go Down this Week? The AP reports in "Greetings, Earthlings! -- from Google Mars." From the article: "On Monday, Google Inc. expanded its galactic reach by launching Google Mars, a Web browser-based mapping tool that gives users an up-close, interactive view of the red planet with the click of a mouse."
That was Quick. The AP reports that "Judge to force Google's hand." From the article: "U.S. District Judge James Ware did not immediately say whether the data will include words that users entered into the Internet's leading search engine."
Guess the Feds Don't Like eBay as Much as BlackBerry. reports that "Feds Side Against eBay in Patent Case." From the article: "In a Supreme Court brief supporting MercExchange, the U.S. Solicitor General said that an appeals court did not err when it ruled an injunction was in order against eBay, reversing a district court decision to not impose an injunction." (Full disclosure: my prior firm represents MercExchange.)
A Chance for Patent Lawyers to be the Life of the Party? Wired reports in "Finding Humor in Meat Patents." From the article: "To date, Wright said he has incorporated patent material into routines performed at comedy venues in New York City, including The PIT, an improv theater, and noted that his acts have been well-received. He's working on a longer presentation to market to professional groups, possibly as comic relief during conferences. It will include jokes and the unintentionally comic illustrations that often accompany patent applications."
Google Back in Court. Reuters reports that "Google set to defend challenge to US subpoena." From the article: "Analysts said the Google case shows it is only a matter of time before the U.S. government may seek access to individual Internet records, just as federal agencies already can do for library or medical records." The AP has more.

Monday, March 13, 2006

This Could be an Interesting Development... reports in "Copycatfight - The rag trade's fashionably late arrival to the copyright party." From the article: "The Council of Fashion Designers of America is meeting with members of Congress tomorrow to gather support for a bill to offer copyrightlike protection to clothing designs. While European Union law already contains similar provisions, the CFDA proposal would be a substantial change to the existing American framework. The proposed bill would, for the first time, prevent anyone from copying an original clothing design in the United States and give designers the exclusive right to make, import, distribute, and sell clothes based on their designs."

Friday, March 10, 2006

Tales from the Sandbox. Reuters reports in "Verbal fireworks as Da Vinci Code case nears end." From the article:
After Leigh's cross-examination ended surprisingly quickly, Judge Peter Smith closed the second week of the case by pointing out that a character in The Da Vinci Code actually refers to the 1982 book.

The name of the character, Sir Leigh Teabing, is in fact an anagram of the names of the two claimants.

'In the first place it damns us with faint praise,' said Leigh, adding he found Teabing's reference to the book 'patronising.'

Smith countered that an explanation for this may be that Teabing was a patronising character in the book.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Da Vinci Code Copyright Case Underway. Reuters reports in "Author Brown back in court for Da Vinci Code case." From the article: "As Brown's side concedes, the name of one character in The Da Vinci Code, Sir Leigh Teabing, is an anagram of Leigh and Baigent, and Teabing refers to their work in the narrative. But it adds that Brown took his research from a number of sources."

Monday, March 06, 2006

Didn't Expect that One to be Unanimous. Reuters reports that "Court upholds campus military recruiting law." From the article: "A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that universities that get federal funds must allow military recruiters on campus, even if their law schools oppose the Pentagon's policy prohibiting openly gays and lesbians from serving."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Surely Playboy's Lawyers Knew Better than This. E!Online reports that "Alba Plays Hardball with 'Playboy'." From the article: "Despite Alba's flat-out rejection, her lawyer alleges that Playboy went ahead and obtained a publicity photo of the Into the Blue star under false pretenses by telling Columbia Pictures that the actress had approved the use of the photo, which then wound up on the cover of the bunny-eared publication."
8-0. reports that "High Court Patent Ruling a Victory for Big Business." From the article: "The decision Wednesday said that a patent on a product does not automatically mean that the patent holder has market power of the type that would trigger an antitrust 'tying' violation. Tying occurs when a seller conditions its sale of one product on the purchase of another product."