More clarity, or even deeper confusion? The Supreme Court has agreed to revisit software patents in the case of Alice Corp. v. CLS International. “A system of property rights is flawed if no one can know what’s protected. That’s what happens when the government grants 20-year patents for vague software ideas in exchange for making the innovation public.” [Gordon Crovitz, WSJ, quoted at Marginal Revolution; Daniel Fisher, Forbes]
Has the time come? (Roger Parloff, Fortune “Legal Pad”, Feb. 28).
- “At least for the moment, Defendants have shaken off this lawsuit” — court dismisses handwritten challenge to originality of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” [Lowering the Bar]
- After nastygram from George Orwell estate, seller withdraws t-shirts bearing slogan “1984 is already here” [The Guardian] But see comment below from reader Gitarcarver (episode attributed more to CafePress over-reaction than to estate’s letter);
- “Anne Frank’s Diary Now Has Co-Author, Extended Copyright” [Christopher Klein, History.com]
- “What the history of Eskimo Pies tells us about software patents today” [Charles Duan, Slate]
- University of California, Santa Barbara, has put online a gold mine of 10,000 early recordings from the cylinder era, which ended in the 1920s [Hyperallergic] But could there be a copyright snag even on material this old? [Brian Frye, Prawfsblawg]
- Judge says company must pay $684K for pursuing “exceptionally weak” patent case [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica]
- More: “That Irell & Manella would let itself get played by PETA for a stupid publicity stunt that serves no purpose other than to waste the court’s time…” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt; earlier on monkey-selfie case]
Patents for mobile technology have been receding somewhat from the sky-high values seen earlier amid intense litigation and legal developments may be among the reasons [Ina Fried, Re/Code]:
Over the past couple of years, more patents are being overturned as part of a more extensive post-grant review process at the patent office. Various court rulings have also made it harder to get injunctions on standards-essential patents. Finally, the Supreme Court set new limits in a key case over software patents, known as the Alice decision.
More on Alice v. CLS Bank here.
- “Our mangled patent system,” Cato podcast [with Eli Dourado of the Mercatus Center] Critique of federal circuit [Dourado at Cato Unbound]
- Since SCOTUS’s June decision in Alice v. CLS Bank, many courts have struck down software patents as too-abstract [Timothy Lee, Vox]
- Iqbal-Twombly principles as remedy for patent trollery? [Daniel Fisher]
- ISP resists mass copyright enforcement enterprise’s demand for customer list [DSL Reports]
- Win for Personal Audio in E.D. Tex.: “Jury finds CBS infringes podcasting patent, awards $1.3 million” [ArsTechnica]
- “Premier League Uses Copyright To Pull Down YouTube Video Of Professor Advocating For Stronger Copyright For Premier League” [Mike Masnick, Techdirt]
- A new leaf? “Silicon Valley’s Most Hated Patent Troll Stops Suing and Starts Making” [Business Week]
- “Conservatives awkwardly stumble toward tackling copyright” [Tim Carney, TechDirt, Cato forum last Thursday with Jerry Brito and Tom Bell, Mike Palmedo summary] Virginia Postrel on copyright reform [Bloomberg]
- More on ITU’s grab for Internet authority [Gordon Crovitz/WSJ, Jim Harper/Cato, CNet (unanimous resolution in U.S. House), earlier here, here, etc.]
- After software company sues China over infringement, hackers based in PRC nearly bring it down [Bloomberg]
- “Intel’s war with plaintiff’s lawyers who file M&A suits” [Nate Raymond, Reuters]
- Contrary to some imaginings, there’s no clear-cut contrast between “statutory” intellectual property law and “common-law” real property law [Adam Mossoff, TotM]
- “Tech’s 8 Most Fearsome ‘Patent Trolls'” [Biz Insider] Alex Tabarrok on the downside of software patents [Rev. Marge]
- Privacy law vs. e-commerce: At Calif. high court, Apple challenges online application of 1991 Song-Beverly law [Mercury-News]
- “A new target for tech patent trolls: cash-strapped American cities” [Joe Mullin, Ars Technica] Crowdsourcing troll control [Farhad Manjoo, Slate] “Why patent trolls don’t need valid patents” [Felix Salmon] “Why Hayek Would Have Hated Software Patents” [Timothy Lee, Cato] Et tu, Shoah Foundation? [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
- Cory King case: “Not Everything Can Be a Federal Crime” [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]
- “Ban on smoking in cars with young children clears Md. Senate” [WaPo]
- On religious exemption to birth control mandate, NYT wrestles with unwelcome poll numbers [Mickey Kaus]
- “Undocumented Law Grad Can’t Get Driver’s License, But Hopes for Fla. Supreme Court OK of Law License” [ABA Journal]
- Department of Justice launches campaign against racial disparities in school discipline [Jason Riley, WSJ via Amy Alkon]
- James Gattuso and Diane Katz, “Red Tape Rising: Obama-Era Regulation at the Three-Year Mark” [Heritage]
- Even before federal raid on Gibson, Lacey Act scared owners of vintage instruments: “I don’t go out of the country with a wooden guitar.” [Eric Felten/WSJ, AW, PoL, Trevor Burrus/Cato]
- Dear NYT contributor Bakan: getting your kids’ attention may not require overthrowing world corporate economy [Nancy French, NR “Home Front”] More: Sullum.
- “West Memphis Three” freed [Damon Root, Greenfield]
- Forest Labs case: after outcry, feds drop effort to force firing of drug company CEO not charged with wrongdoing [WSJ, WLF] Background: Charles Hooper & David Henderson, Hoover (“The FDA’s War on Drugs”), The Economist (“The government seeks to sack an innocent boss”, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Steve McConnell/Drug and Device Law, Josh Wright/Truth on the Market]
- Google paid dearly in smartphone deal for our dysfunctional patent system [Gordon Crovitz] “Google Should Publicly Oppose Software Patents” [Timothy Lee, Forbes]
- Lawyer’s suit: Kasowitz firm ignored his “superior legal mind” [Lowering the Bar, Above the Law]
- “In Chicago, You Need a License To Help Others Get a License” [Mark Perry]
The well-known venture capitalist Fred Wilson has his say. And Red Hat wants to enlist the public’s help in stopping the country’s allegedly most litigious patent troll by documenting prior art “on a user interface that has multiple workspaces. Hard to say just what they mean (which is often a problem in software patents), but it sounds a lot like functionality that pretty much all programmers and consumers use”.