LEGAL THOUGHTS

This blog contains our personal opinions on topics that interest us.

USPTO and Java 8 update 171 build 11

On my Macintosh, I received a notice that there is an updated version of Java -- Java v8 update 171 build 11 (released on April 17). Because I now am accessing the USPTO website using Java Web Start (see my post on connecting to the USPTO with Web Start), I'm not concerned about installing updates. #uspto #java

The end of the [monkey] road. And slamming the door.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals finally issued its decision in the infamous Naruto - Monkey Selfie case (see case opinion). The Court of Appeals didn't have to issue this decision because the parties had settled (see NPR link), but it denied the parties motion to dismiss the case (see April 14 Order). The Court of Appeals decided that animals -- other than humans -- do not have standing to sue for copyright infringement because they cannot own a copyright (see case opinion, at 15-18). Taken to its logical conclusion, this decision means that other non-human created works are not protectable under copyright law. For example, paintings by elephants (see Mother Nature Network article), or

#MAGA

Making America Great Again. Or, at least clean, using a Swiss manufactured laundry detergent. #trademark

They did what with a IOT thermostat?

This is almost too crazy to believe -- and it sounds like something out of a movie. In 2017, a casino's high-roller database was stolen via an internet of things (IOT) connected thermostat for a fish tank in a lobby (see Washington Post article; Mashable article) Putting aside, the pure ingenuity of the hackers. This episode again demonstrates the need for better security in IOT devices, and for businesses to take a broader view of potential attack vectors. Image by wilgengebroed and licensed under cc by 2.0 #security

Riffles potato chips

I found these potato chips in Austria. Made me think of Ruffles potato chips. #trademark

Warranty void if ...

Have you ever seen one of those "warranty void if ..." stickers on your consumer electronics? Did you know that those stickers generally are worthless because they violate the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq.). The MMWA prohibits tying a consumer product warranty to using another article or service identified by brand, trade or corporate name (15 U.S.C. § 2302(c)). In other words, if you buy an Apple product, Apple cannot say that you have to use Apple repair services otherwise your warranty is void. Apparently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finally saw one of those stickers. It recently sent out letters to six companies warning them that their versions of that stic

Vicks cough drops

I bought these throat lozenges in Germany. Did you notice the branding? They kept certain trade dress elements: the curved shape at the top, and the green triangular shape behind the brand name. But, they tweaked the brand name from "VICKS" to "WICK". This change makes sense because the letter "V" in German has a "F" sound, and the letter "W" in German has a "V" sound. #trademark #tradedress

Everything is about branding - even fonts

Netflix just designed a new font -- Netflix Sans (see link to Techspot article). Why? Probably because using the Gotham font was costing it millions of dollars a year. And, as a bonus, by creating their own font, they add another layer of branding to their platform. - Image is a free Wix.com image #trademark

Spielberg and IP clearances

Over the weekend, the movie Ready Player One opened. The movie is a smorgasbord of references to films, TV shows, games and toys; and each of those references had to be cleared for use in the the movie. Clearing all of those references might have been impossible, but the movie had an ace in the hole -- Steven Spielberg. His presence helped Warner Brothers clear the rights to a lot of intellectual property, and eventually they cleared about 80% of the material they wanted (see link to LA Times article). Image is free from Wix.com #trademark #copyright

Data scraping. Maybe not so safe in California.

Our prior post (see link), examined a recent order that permitted a business to continue to scrape publicly available information from LinkedIn. In that decision, the court examined whether the business violated the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. § 1030, and the declaratory judgment plaintiff's California Unfair Competition Law claim, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq. A more recent decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals examined whether the violation of a website's terms of use could constitute a violation of California's Comprehensive Data Access and Fraud Act (CDAFA), Cal Penal Code § 502(c). See Oracle v. Rimini, Nos. 16-16832 and 16-16905 (January 8,

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