Patent Reform Act Is Considered By U.S. Senate

I.     Introduction
        Robust protection for intellectual property is one of the chief engines for economic growth in the United States.  Patents, copyright and trademark laws provide vigorous, reliable protection for US intellectual property, which is valued at more than $5 trillion by the Commerce Department.  [1]  With regards to patents, most commentators and interested parties agree that at least some type of modification or reform is necessary.

        Patent reform is expected to reemerge as a major topic of debate in early April 2008, when the Senate debates amendments to S 1145, the Patent Reform Act.  The House of Representatives already passed HR 1908, their version of the Patent Reform Act, on September 7, 2007.   [2]  Both bills include several major changes to various aspects of the patent system, including how patents are awarded and challenged.   [3]  Legislators and interested parties consider the “big

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Varying Intellectual Property Regimes: The Reception of Gray Market Goods in the United States and the European Union


consumers agree that intellectual property law is essential to ensure
that creators of inventions, ideas, designs, services and the like are
rewarded for their creativity and to promote the continuation of such
creations.[1] In order to grant creators with the incentive to continue
creating, such creators must be equipped with the satisfaction of
knowing that their creations will not be transformed into cheap
imitations which will inevitably compete with their own original
creations. Intellectual property is a field in which only the most
innovative thrive. While imitation is often considered the most sincere
form of flattery, it is doubtful that inventors will continue to
introduce the same number of creations at exponentially high rates,
knowing that their unique innovations may be reintroduced into the same
market to compete with their original goods within a short period of
time. The protection of intellectual property is at the forefront of

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Google Defends Its Trademark From Genericide

I.     Introduction.

Over the last decade, Google has quickly risen to dominate the internet search arena.  The company’s rapid ascension is marked by a corresponding rise in the value and recognition of the Google trademark.  In that time, Google has attached its name to an increasingly wide-range of products and services, such as Google News, Google Maps and Google Images.  On occasion, Google has also manipulated its trademark into easily recognizable derivatives, such as its web mail service Gmail.  Google also alters its primary trademark on major holidays, adding playful cartoon flourishes to its recognizable search page. 

But manipulations of the Google name, such as Gmail, are an anomaly in Google’s stable of trademarked products names.   As the company matured, it shied away from playful variations of “Google” in favor of building the strength of its primary brand.  Towards that end, in April 2007, the company changed the name

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Google’s Book Search Library Project Faces Copyright Challenges

I. Introduction

Google’s stated mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”  [1]  As part of that mission, the Google Book Search Library Project is scanning and organizing printed books from dozens of libraries. By digitizing these books and making them available online, the Google Book Project will potentially benefit academic research around the world by increasing accessibility to rare and remote volumes. Google plans to make its entire digital library searchable as part of its primary search engine, reaping profits from its current advertisement structure. However, the Project has drawn opposition from some publishers, librarians and academics for a variety of reasons, including threats to copyright, scan quality and search biases.

II. Background

In late 2004, Google announced an extension of its Google Print program, which assisted publishers in “making books and other offline information searchable online."  [2]  Through its Print program, Google

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RIAA Advances the Legal Battle Against Piracy

I. Introduction

The Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) recent victory over alleged file-sharer Jammie Thomas represents the latest step in their lengthy and costly legal campaign against online music piracy. Since its 1999 lawsuit against Napster [1], the RIAA has been engaged in non-stop litigation against a variety of alleged infringers, from centralized distribution networks to decentralized peer-to-peer networks. “In September of 2003, the RIAA adjusted their legal strategy and began to sue individuals suspected of sharing music files online.”  [2]  Barring a successful appeal, the verdict against Thomas potentially sets several  legal precedents favorable to the RIAA.



II. Background

The launch of Napster in 1999 touched off the RIAA’s recent blitz of lawsuits against a wide assortment of file-sharers and copyright infringers. Prior to Napster’s 1999 launch, only sophisticated computer users engaged in extensive file-sharing. The release of user-friendly Napster quickly popularized the

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Of Pirates and Patents

I.  Introduction

Biopiracy is an accusation that has been leveled at multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations that engage in the practice of traveling to biologically-diverse third-world countries, accumulating traditional or indigenous knowledge about native wildlife, and patenting the "discoveries" as their own.  This article will examine the validity of biopiracy claims and how some have reacted to suspicions of unscrupulous business practices.

II.  Background

The Patent Act focuses on rewarding innovation in the useful arts to encourage the progress of science.  One requirement for patent eligibility is proof that the invention be novel.  If an invention was either known or used in this country, or patented or described in a printed publication in the US or a foreign country, then the subject matter of the patent application is considered to be "anticipated" as information already in the public domain, and not a scientific advancement. [1]

But what if the invention … Read the rest

Google’s AdWords Faces New Litigant

I. Background

Google currently derives most of its revenue from its AdWords and AdSense advertisement programs.  [1]  Through its automated AdWords, Google sells advertisement space, with prices based on either cost-per-click or cost-per impression. Google enables advertisers to closely target potential customers through “keyword advertising,” where advertisers bid on keywords for their ad campaigns. Keywords can be single words such as “tennis,” or phrases such as “tennis lesson” and “tennis racquet string."  [2]

When an advertiser wins a keyword, Google displays their ads anytime that keyword is used. AdWords gives advertisers a high degree of customizability, such as options to associate specific ads with specific keywords, and options to display and bold keywords within ads.  [3]  Ads and keywords can be assigned based on a number of factors, such as the type of website, and the location of the viewer as determined by their IP address. Advertisers can also

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When Pretend Money Has Real Value: A Study of Virtual Property in Online Gaming

The increasing availability of broadband Internet has led to the popularization of virtual worlds.  As of September 17, 2007, Linden Research, Inc. ("Linden Lab") boasted 9,562,490 "residents" in Second Life, an Internet community modeled after real world environments and mimicking real life interactions. [1]  Those who are more interested in escaping reality can happily immerse themselves in Paragon City, where a mere $29.99 membership and a $14.99 monthly fee allows an online gamer to battle villains and connect with other players as a spandex-clad superhero in NCsoft's "City of Heroes" ("CoH"). [2] Market analysts predict that online games will yield $11.5 billion of revenues worldwide in 2011 at a 25.2 percent compound annual growth rate. [3]  Virtual worlds have become the newest medium in which Internet denizens explore, play, and interact.

A virtual economy is present in most virtual worlds.  An inhabitant of the world can exchange many kinds of … Read the rest

Securing IP Interests Means Securing a Future for Your Business

        Starting a new business can be a scary venture, especially for an inexperienced entrepreneur. [1] However, adhering to one little known business fundamental can help make the process run as smoothly as possible. [2] Specifically, securing one's intellectual property ("IP") interests from the start can secure a solid future for a new business by ensuring more funding from venture capitalists and investors. [3] IP traditionally includes patent, trademark, copyright and trade secrets, all of which can be protected with the right legal knowledge or competent attorney. [4] This article explains the four types of IP interests, their advantages and disadvantages and the benefits of securing them during the start-up stage of new businesses. 
          When venture capitalists consider funding a business, the deciding
factor in whether to invest often rests with the availability of IP
interests like trade secrets.[5] A trade secret is defined as, “a
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The Business of Surveillance: Balancing Concerns Over Ubiquitous Technology

Since the events of September 11, there has been increased concern regarding security.  To address these concerns, many private and public companies have looked to using various “ubiquitous” technologies to provide surveillance and security services.  For example, the global video surveillance industry has seen a boost in growth.  Joe Freeman, president of J.P. Freeman Co. Inc., expects the $7 billion global video surveillance industry to almost double within the next few years. [1]  As the market for ubiquitous technologies continues to grow and then technology itself improves, some critics grumble that we are ensuring our security at the expense of privacy.

A technology that has come under scrutiny when discussing privacy is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).  RFID draws its foundation in the barcodes and UPC codes found on many products in use today.  A reader sends a radio signal to a RFID tag or transponder.  The RFID tag responds to

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