LEGAL THOUGHTS

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

Why Skype background blur didn't work

Earlier this year, Skype added a new feature -- background blur (see link). I've been trying to get the feature to work on my iMac without any luck. I just figured out why. The background blur feature requires your computer's CPU to support Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2) (see link), and CPUs supporting that set of extensions were not released until 2013 (see link). Thus, my iMac from 2011 (which works fine) does not support AVX2 and cannot background blur. Image by Momentmal on Pixabay. #technology

A Genius Move for Assembling Products

Last month I blogged about how the BILT mobile application is a huge improvement over the traditional paper instruction manual. This month, I want to describe a genius improvement to assembling a product. I always hated opening a package and finding a parts bag filled with screws, washers and nuts. Not only do you have to keep track of all of those parts, but eventually, you have to hold the nut to the product and try to thread the screw into the nut. Someone at Weber must have had the same issue because they came up with a brilliant fix. They preinstalled the nuts. #technology

If it looks too good to be true...

The stock photography website Unsplash has been pushing the message that its photographs are ready to be used for commercial purposes. To support that messaging, its landing page states "The Internet's source of freely useable images." This is great. You can use the images for free. When you click on the Unsplash license, the summary states All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible. Given this summary, you would rightfully believe that the photographs were ready for commercial use. But, no

Such Fine Looking Teeth

Earlier this year, I blogged about how a U.S. District Court found that photos of before and after photographs of teeth by a dentist were not copyrightable because they were not sufficiently original. Well, hold your horses. The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the District Court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the infringer (Pohl v. MH Sub I LLC, No. 18-13233, May 1, 2019) (Opinion mirrored on Mega.nz) and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with the opinion. The Court of Appeals determined that the District Court failed to construe the evidence "in the light most favorable to Dr. Pohl and draw every justifiable inference in his favor" (Opinion at

Car Dealership

I was in Tempe Arizona recently when I drove by this structure. It reminded me of a matchbox automobile parking garage. However, it is not a garage. It is a nine-story tall car vending machine for the Carvana dealership. Instead of sprawling out across a large parking lot, the dealership stores the most frequently purchased cars in this vertical building. A customer purchases a car online, and then comes here to pick it up. Image used with permission by Burns Photography. #technology

Happy Fourth of July

In 1814, Francis Scott Key saw the American flag flying over Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor after a British naval bombardment during the war of 1812. Inspired by that sight, he wrote a poem the Defence of Fort M'Henry. The words to that poem were set to music and the Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the U.S.A. was created. The first verse of the Star-Spangled Banner O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night

Starting August 3rd, Foreign trademark applicants need to have a US attorney

On July 2nd, the USPTO published a rule that requires foreign trademark applicants have a US attorney representing them before the USPTO (see Federal Register link) and the rule will become effective August 3, 2019. This rule is very similar to many other countries which require foreign applicants have local attorneys assisting them. In Japan, applicants who do not reside or are not domiciled in Japan must appoint a representative in Japan through which they will correspond with the JPO. In the EU, foreign applicants must appoint a local representative to correspond with the EU IPO. The USPTO hopes this rule will achieve three goals: 1. To ensure the accuracy of submissions to the USPTO 2

"Trademark Rights"

Last month, I blogged about an interesting trademark - a smiley face on cookies. This month, I have another interesting trademark. Off-White LLC filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Rastaclat and The Finish Line alleging infringing of its common law trademark rights to quotation marks (Off-White LLC v. Rastaclat LLC et al, Case 2:19-cv-03518, C.D. Cal, April 29, 2019) (a copy of the Complaint is on Mega.nz). Off-White alleges that its use of quotation marks around terms has become a source-identifier, and therefore the Defendants' use of quotation marks around terms infringes its rights. This will be interesting to see how the Defendants respond to the allegations, and how much t

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