Miscellaneous IP Nuggets #6

  • The USPTo has announced an exhibit highlighting the patents and trademarks of Steve Jobs. Located at the atrium of the Madison Building at the Patent Office’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, the exhibit features more than 300 patents in which Jobs was named an inventor. The exhibit was created and designed by InventNow, Inc. a non-profit group fostering creating and invention.
  • There is an interesting article in Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog concerning attempts to trademark the term “Occupy Wall Street”. As has been reported elsewhere, several people have filed applications for this mark. Now the Trademark Office will have to decide to whom it should award the mark. None of the applicants are using the mark in commerce, so the rule is to give it to the applicant who applied first. The applications were submitted within a few hours of eah other. One applicant who applied three hours after the first applicant stated that he searched the Trademark Office website and did not find a pending application… which just goes to show the limitations of a trademark search.
  • The new Amazon Kindle tablet computer has already come under fire for alleged patent infringement.  A company called Personal Audio, LLC, which was successful against Apple, has filed law suit against Amazon for infringement of its “Playlist” patent.

Worldwide Licensing Revenues Estimated at $180 Billion

According to a recently published report by the World Intellectual Property Organization, worldwide royalty and licensing revenues amount to an estimate $180 billion per year. The report concludes that growing demand for such rights is stimulating innovation in business. According to the report, royality and licensing revenue was only $2.8 billion in 1970 and $27 billion as late as 1990.
The report notes that intellectual proptery (IP) “allows firms to control which knowledge to guard and which to share so as to maximize learning – a key element of modern open innovation strategies.”
While the traditional model has been for IP to be largely developed in the richer countries, the fastest growth in IP is now coming from the less developed countries. The reports asserts that the gap between richer and poorer countries is narrowing.

Hidden Heroes

An interesting exhibition has opened at the Science Museum in Londen called “Hidden Heroes”. The exhibit celebrates those every day objects that most people take for granted. Examples include the paper clip, pencil, clothes pin, and the tea bag. My personal favorite in terms of simplity and usefullness is the rubber band which was patented in Britain in 1847 by Stephen Perry.

The complete list of items in the exhibit are as follows:

Pencil Corkscrew
Reflector
Air Bubble Film Ball Point Pen Clothes Hanger
Paper Clip Lego
Condom
Wall Plug
Ear Plugs Tin Can
Snap Fastener
Facial Tissue Bottle Cap
Coffee Filter
Sticky Notes
Lip Stick
Beverage Carton Zipper
Thumb Tack
Cable Tie Multipack Carrier
Baby Pacifier
Adhesive Tape Umbrella Velcro
Flip Flops Safety Match Tupperware
Adhesive Bandage Tea Bag Folding Yardstick
Ring Binder
Light Bulb Clothes Pin
Shipping Container Rubber Band
Egg Carton Carabiner
Thermos Flask Chop Sticks

Girl Beaten for “Copyright Infringement”

While we do not condone illegally downloading songs from file sharing sites, one father in Texas took it a bit far when he discovered his 16-year old daughter downloading from Napster.

In a secretly taped video that has since gone viral on YouTube, the father, a Texas Family Court judge, is seen using a belt to beat his daughter “into submission”. It shows Ms. Adams, now 23, crying and trying to defend herself. It opens with the judge saying, “Go get the belt. The big one. I’m going to spank her now”.

The judge, who will not be prosecuted due to the statute of limitations running, has since declared, “In my mind, I haven’t done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing.”