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  • May 18th, 2016 @ 4:00pm

    Re: uhm, how?

    The patent has not been granted. As indicated in the article, above, it is an application.

    It does set forth a method for accomplishing the result, so unless there is some art out there, it'll probably get through the USPTO in one form or another.

  • May 9th, 2016 @ 4:30pm

    (untitled comment)

    uBlock works against ads on both Forbes and Wired, but the sites don't seem to realize I'm using a blocker (whereas with AdBlock they did).

  • Apr 18th, 2016 @ 4:56pm

    (untitled comment)

    The Author's Guild said today that the Courts focused too much on the public benefit of what Google was doing, and then said this:

    "The price of this short-term public benefit may well be the future vitality of American culture...."

    A bit of hyperbole there!

  • Mar 24th, 2016 @ 1:30pm

    (untitled comment)

    This isn't really a role for the courts, who are supposed to be with "cases and controversies." Doesn't seem like there's even a basis for a Declaratory Judgment at this point. Why doesn't Murphy research (or have researched) the copyright registration and renewal data to get an idea of whether the underlying work is still protected. If that comes back favorably, then you take the risk of proceeding and having to deal with the trust.

  • Mar 23rd, 2016 @ 8:19am

    (untitled comment)

    The trademark suit is far-fetched, no doubt. This quote from the article misses the mark, though:

    "Here's a fun thought experiment: precisely how many times would the average person have to hit themselves in the head with a hammer before they found themselves standing before a Land O Lakes spinner bait lure trying to decide if it was actually a stick of butter?"

    They wouldn't have to think the lure was butter, they'd just have to be confused about whether the dairy products and the fishing tackle have the same source of origin (i.e. ultimately stem from the same company). That's also a stretch, and I doubt there are many dairy companies that dabble in fishing tackle or vice-versa. But it's the source of the products, not confusion about the identity of the products themselves, that is the issue. The court was right in its assessment of this.

  • Mar 11th, 2016 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re:

    A lot of those registrations are probably for merchandise leveraging the popularity of the movies. Toys, board games, video games, clothing, replicas of movie props, etc.

  • Mar 11th, 2016 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: comment

    Yeah, could be geographically dependent. I haven't heard it used a lot in the States as a generic term, even growing up with the books and RPGs, and then later with the popularity of the movies. It could be that elsewhere in the world it is used more commonly.

  • Mar 11th, 2016 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re: Re: comment

    Only thing I can spot is this:

    "This is nearly the definition of when a term either becomes generic in nature or too broad to deserve wide trademark protection. In naming their company, the Whittakers weren't thinking about Tolkien. Hobbit meant "short person" to them, not "race of people from the The Lord of the Rings universe."

    To the extent you're saying that their subjective view of what the word means is what's important with respect to genericism, that's wrong (I don't think that's what you're saying, but maybe that's what this other guy is talking about). If a person's subjective understanding of a term, or their intention in using it, was the key with respect to genericism, that would be problematic. The question is whether the term has actually become generic in common usage. I think it would be pretty hard to make the case that "hobbit" is so widely used as a name for short people that it has become a word that is generic for "short people."

  • Dec 30th, 2015 @ 8:54am

    (untitled comment)

    This sort of design patent should be ineligible under 35 USC 171. You can't get a design patent on an image, for example (a print, or a painting, or something like that, in and of itself). But as soon as computer UI elements are claimed along with the computer, they become allowable. It's bad policy.

  • Dec 30th, 2015 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re:

    The slider is functional in and of itself, but the design patent only covers the look of it. You could get a design patent on the handle of a hammer, for example. You aren't patenting a hammer, but the look of your particular hammer.

    Still, this should be ineligible.

  • Dec 11th, 2015 @ 11:09am

    (untitled comment)

    Yeah, hopefully this won't survive a motion for summary judgment. Trade Dress doesn't look anything alike and Trader Joe's isn't using the registered trademark.

  • Oct 5th, 2015 @ 3:41pm

    (untitled comment)

    Patent attorneys have to have a technical background. They're usually engineers, but are also chemists, biologists, physicists, etc. They know what integers are. This sounds like a legal argument that was thought up well after the fact to try to distinguish the language in the patent, and not a very good argument.

    As noted in the post, you can define your own terms in a patent application. But you have to be explicit about what you're doing, and that you're not using the term in its ordinary sense. Also, you have to be explicit at the time you FILE the patent application, because the patent specification has to have a clear statement that you're redefining a term. You can't even do it a couple of months later when the patent is already pending.

  • Sep 17th, 2015 @ 12:44pm


    Yep. He could even run into some trouble at the trademark office, because for a 1(b) (intent to use) filing, you have to affirm that you have a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce. His public statements appear to demonstrate that he never did.

  • Sep 17th, 2015 @ 12:38pm

    (untitled comment)

    He should set up an account on one of those online sites where you can sell shirts, hats and stuff with custom wording or logos on them. Just keep the store active so that anyone who wants can order shirts from him with the registered names.

    I suspect that even if he is only able to stop other people from selling shirts with just those names on them, the school won't be happy about it :)

    The school will still probably have the name of the actual institution in its use (maybe dominant, maybe not), so an infringement case still might be hard to sustain, but if the school knows that it also can't stop him selling shirts and other apparel with the name on it, doesn't that reduce the value to the school?

  • Jan 16th, 2015 @ 9:43am


    I wouldn't call it a cop-out. It's just a statement of the law. The Constitution is a document intended to define the boundaries of government power. In general, some kind of "state action" is required if you want to bring a Constitutional claim.

    But just because something isn't in the Constitution doesn't mean it can't be addressed. We have federal law for that (that's why we have the Civil Rights Act, for example; if you discriminate in your business on the basis of race you aren't violating the Constitution, but you are violating Federal law).

    I agree we shouldn't tolerate it, but the fact that it isn't a Constitutional issue doesn't mean we have to tolerate it. We need Federal legislation in place that addresses these matters.

  • Dec 22nd, 2014 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re:

    Same here. I haven't had cable TV for over four years now. It's not a problem for me.

  • Dec 2nd, 2014 @ 3:34pm

    (untitled comment)

    I agree with the vast majority of the criticism of St. Louis and STL County police in handling not only the Rams incident, but the whole Michael Brown case.

    But this post is a bit bizarre, in that there is no threat from the police to look the other way if the Rams are threatened, and I don't even think that was a reasonable interpretation of what was said.

    The guy goes from the First Amendment comment to talking about who it is who patronizes the NFL. Seems pretty clear the First Amendment comment was about no longer patronizing the NFL or its partners, an even encouraging others to refrain from doing so. The idea that it is a threat not to protect the Rams is a huge stretch...basically just creating a sensational blog post out of nothing.

  • Sep 26th, 2014 @ 12:31pm


    Roca Labs can't violate anyone First Amendment rights because they're a private party and not the government. However, they're asking for government action here against the speech they don't like, and that has First Amendment implications.

  • Sep 26th, 2014 @ 12:31pm


    Roca Labs can't violate anyone First Amendment rights because they're a private party and not the government. However, they're asking for government action here against the speech they don't like, and that has First Amendment implications.

  • Sep 26th, 2014 @ 8:45am

    (untitled comment)

    They need to start sanctioning attorneys who bring actions that they know, or should know, are unenforceable and basically just there to spend the defendant into submission.

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