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2007-2008

Articles

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Does Information Beget Information?
Dennis S. Karjala

Date posted: 2-7-2007

Using the language of mathematics, Professor Polk Wagner has recently argued that the impossibility of fully appropriating the value of information in a rightsholder leads to the surprising conclusion that expanding the degree of control of intellectual property rights will, in the long run, increase the sum total of information not subject to ownership claims and therefore available as part of the cultural and technological base on which new growth and development can occur. Indeed, he claims that open information will grow according to the formula for compound interest, where the interest rate is 100% plus or minus a factor z supposedly related to creation incentives. This article demonstrates that Professor Wagner’s mathematical analysis is simply wrong and does not lead to any of the conclusions he reaches concerning the growth of open information. It also shows both the difficulties and the dangers of the lay use of the language of mathematics in resolving complex social problems even if one does the math correctly.

Topic: Patents & Technology

 

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Is Kelly Shifting Under Google’s Feet? New Ninth Circuit Impact on the Google Library Project Litigation
Cameron W. Westin

Date posted: 3-8-2007

The Google Library Project presents what many consider to be the perfect fair-use problem. The legal debate surrounding the Library Project has centered on the Ninth Circuit’s Kelly v. Arriba Soft. Yet recent case law presents new arguments for both sides of the Library Project litigation. This iBrief analyzes two Ninth Circuit district court decisions on fair use, Field v. Google, Inc. and Perfect 10 v. Google, Inc., and their impact on the Library Project litigation.

Topic: Patents & Technology

 

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Where Will Consumers Find Privacy Protection From RFIDs?: A Case for Federal Legislation
Serena G. Stein

Date posted: 3-8-2007

With the birth of RFID technology, businesses gained the ability to tag products with practically invisible computer chips that relay information about consumer behavior to remote databases. Such tagging permits retailers and manufacturers to track the purchases, identities, and movements of their customers. In the absence of enforceable regulations, society risks being subjected to an unprecedented level of Orwellian surveillance. This iBrief addresses consumer privacy concerns stemming from the proliferation of RFID technology. It discusses why tort law, state legislation, FTC guidelines, and proposed regulations are insufficient methods to alleviate consumer privacy concerns and suggests amending various federal privacy laws, thereby prohibiting the underlying RFID tracking behavior.

Topic: Patents & Technology

 

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Walking the Line: Why the Presumption Against Extraterritorial Application of U.S. Patent Law Should Limit the Reach of 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)
Jennifer Giordano-Coltart

Date posted: 4-12-2007

The advent of the digital era and the global market pose unique challenges to intellectual property law. To adapt, U.S. patent laws require constant interpretation in the face of rapidly changing technological advances. In AT&T Corp. v. Microsoft Corp., the Federal Circuit interpreted 35 U.S.C. § 271(f) in a technology-dependent manner in order to effectuate the purpose of the law with respect to global software distribution. However, the Federal Circuit failed to consider the presumption against extraterritorial application of U.S. law, and its decision now risks international discord and harm not only to the American software industry, but other U.S. industries as well. This iBrief critiques the lower court decisions in AT&T Corp. v. Microsoft Corp. in light of the presumption against extraterritoriality, and analyzes how the Supreme Court should apply the presumption in its review of the case.

Topic: Patents & Technology

 

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This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us—Or Is It? Reflections on Copyright, the First Amendment and Google’s Use of Others’ Content
David Kohler

Date posted: 6-11-2007

Using a variety of technological innovations, Google became a multi-billion dollar content-delivery business without owning or licensing much of the content that it uses. Google’s principal justification for why this strategy does not contravene the intellectual property rights of the copyright owners is the doctrine of fair use. However, over the last several years, some copyright owners began to push back and challenge Google’s strategy. Much of this litigation presents the courts with something of a conundrum. On the one hand, it is beyond dispute that Google’s services have great social utility. By organizing and making accessible an enormous volume of information on the Internet, Google facilitates broad access to a diverse array of material, a core value of the First Amendment. At the same time, Google’s actions do not always fit comfortably within traditional notions of fair use. In this respect, the Google cases present an opportunity to explore the relationship between copyright and the First Amendment; a subject that has received inadequate attention in the courts, and particularly the Supreme Court. How the apparent tension between the marketplace of ideas and the commercial marketplace is resolved may have significant impact on the development of Internet-based services designed to facilitate access to information, and this subject is the focus of this iBrief.

Topic: Patents & Technology

 

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A Budding Theory of Willful Patent Infringement: Orange Books, Colored Pills, and Greener Verdicts
Christopher A. Harkins

Date posted: 10-9-2007

The rules of engagement in the brand-name versus generic-drug war are rapidly changing. Brand-name manufacturers face increasing competition from Canadian manufacturers of generic drugs, online drug companies, and Wal-Mart® Super Centers deciding to cash in by turning a piece of the generic prescription drug business into a huge marketing campaign with offerings of generic drugs for four dollar prescriptions. Other discount drug providers are likely to follow suit in hopes of boosting customer traffic and sales of their generic drugs. Now, more than ever before, attorneys representing owners of pharmaceutical patents need to be creative with their damages theories to maximize recovery and help their clients recoup the investments in research and development necessary to bring new and innovative drugs to the marketplace. This article suggests a novel theory of willful infringement to assist a patent owner in recovering treble damages and attorneys’ fees.

Topic: Patents & Technology

 

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Encouraging Corporate Innovation for Our Homeland During the Best of Times for the Worst of Times: Extending Safety Act Protections to Natural Disasters’
Ava A. Harter

Date posted: 11-12-2007

This article first analyzes the innovative tort reform of the SAFETY Act and then argues for expansion of SAFETY Act type risk protection to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires. The SAFETY Act was drafted to stimulate the development and deployment of technologies that combat terrorism by providing liability protection. Applying the same type of legislation to natural disasters will provide a commensurate benefit of encouraging preparedness and development of technologies that could mitigate harms resulting from natural disasters. The Department of Homeland Security voiced a desire to increase the use of the SAFETY Act by private industry. This article argues that one way to increase the utility of the SAFETY Act and provide more value for the American public is for Congress to extend SAFETY Act protections, by amendment or new legislation, to cover risk related to national catastrophes.

Topic: Patents & Technology

 

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Operation Restoration: How Can Patent Holders Protect Themselves From Medimmune?
Stephanie Chu

Date posted: 11-27-2007

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in MedImmune v. Genentech shifts the balance of power in license agreements from patent holders to their licensees. This iBrief outlines the potential implications of the new rules on all stages of patent prosecution and protection. Further, it evaluates remedial contract provisions patent holders may include in future license agreements and how these provisions may mitigate the decision’s effects on preexisting commercial relationships.

Topic: Patents & Technology

 

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Domain Tasting Is Taking Over the Internet as a Result of ICANN’s “Add Grace Period”
Christopher Healey

Date posted: 12-13-2007

When a domain name is registered, the registrant is given five days to cancel for a full refund. While the purpose of this grace period is to protect those who innocently err in the registration process, speculators have taken advantage of the grace period through a process called "domain tasting." These "domain tasters" register hundreds of thousands of domain names and cancel the vast majority of them within the five-day grace period, keeping only those that may be valuable as placeholder advertising websites or to holders of trademark rights. This iBrief will outline the "domain tasting" process, analyze why it is a problem, and discuss solutions to the problem. Ultimately, it concludes that the five-day grace period is unnecessary because it serves little, if any, legitimate purpose.

Topic: Copyrights & Trademarks

 

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Is the Internet a Viable Threat to Representative Democracy?
David M. Thompson

Date posted: 1-22-2008

The Internet, despite its relatively recent advent, is critical to millions of Americans’ way of life. Although the Internet arguably opens new opportunities for citizens to become more directly involved in their government, some scholars fear this direct involvement poses a risk to one of the Constitution’s most precious ideals: representative democracy. This iBrief explores whether the constitutional notion of representation is vulnerable to the Internet’s capacity to open new vistas for a more direct democracy by analyzing statistics and theories about why voters in the United States do or do not vote and by examining the inherent qualities of the Internet itself. This iBrief concludes that the Constitution will adapt to the Internet and the Internet to the Constitution, such that even if there are advances in direct democracy, representative democracy will not be unduly threatened.

Topic: Media & Communications