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'Inventor of Email' Sues Techdirt to Prove It

The supposed inventor of email has sued a blogger website that doesn't believe he invented it.

Techdirt, an irreverent blogsite about changes in government policy, technology, and legal issues, reported in a series of stories that Shiva Ayyadurai falsely claims to have invented email. Ayyarduri, who copyrighted "Email" and trademarked "The Inventor of Email," has sued Techdirt for defamation.

In a $15 million complaint filed in federal court, the plaintiff alleges that Techdirt and its founder Michael D. Masnick have damaged his reputation by publishing false stories saying Ayyarduri was a liar and a fake "who's basically staked his entire life on the misleading to false claim that he 'invented' email." They defend that they have a First Amendment right to express their opinions.

Do Couples Need Prenups for Their Ideas?

In a survey of 1,600 lawyers by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more than half of the respondents saw an increase in millennials requesting prenups. Instead of focusing on alimony and inherited cash, millennials want to protect intellectual property such as software, apps and technologies that are only ideas.

"Millennials are getting older and richer," Randall Kessler, a family lawyer, told Bloomberg BNA. "Prenups used to be for old money, but now prenups do different things, like safeguarding intangible property."

Criminal Charges for Porn-Trolling Lawyers

At what point did these attorneys realize they were crossing the line? Did they even know what line they were crossing?

Paul R. Hansmeier and John L. Steele may have suspected they were doing something wrong in 2010 when they started their porn-trolling operation through Prenda Law. They set up shell companies to buy copyrights for pornographic movies, uploaded those movies to file-sharing websites, and then threatened to sue people who downloaded the movies.

Or maybe Hansmeier and Steele realized they had crossed the line when they made their own movies to upload in their enterprise. According to court records, the attorneys went to porn conventions in Chicago, Las Vegas, and Miami, where they hired actors and "produced multiple short pornographic films."

Certainly, they knew it was wrong in 2013 when U.S. District Judge Otis Wright sanctioned them for defrauding the court. Prenda Law, filing about one third of the copyright claims in the federal system at the time, was abusing it.

But the Prenda Law lawyers may not have known until now that the line they crossed would lead to jail.

Today's Billion Dollar Patent Question: Who Owns CRISPR?

Biotech is on the cusp of curing genetic disorders, curing aging, making disease-resistant crops, and giving us superhuman designer babies. If any of these miraculous promises come true, it will likely be thanks to CRISPR, the revolutionary gene editing technique. The billion dollar question is: who owns CRISPR?

On the one hand, there's UC Berkeley biochemist Jennifer Doudna, who first filed a patent application describing the CRISPR-Cas9 method and its application to bacteria.

On the other hand, there are the teams at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University who extended the biotechnology to mammals. Synthetic biologist Feng Zhang and the Broad Institute teams made CRISPR work on human cells, too.

With potentially billions of dollars in future licensing at stake, neither side has conceded the others' patent claims. And so the judges at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office are deliberating over the biggest patent battle since Edison's time.

Samsung won a significant (one might say explosive) victory in the Supreme Court today, as the Court ruled that Samsung did not need to pay Apple the entirety of its profits, nearly $400 million, from phones found to be infringing on the rival phone maker's design patents.

A jury found in 2012 that several Samsung smartphones had infringed on Apple's design patents, particularly in their rectangular shape, rounded edges, and similar displays. The cost to Samsung was to be all the profits from the phone -- originally more than a billion dollars, then reduced to $399 million in damages. That was going too far, the Supreme Court ruled today, holding that the relevant "article of manufacture" for determining damages need not be the entire phone, but may be only its component, infringing parts. When it came to telling courts how they should determine the proper article of manufacture, however, the Court was mum.

Two great things are better together, right? Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Green eggs and ham. Green eggs and ham and Captain Kirk.

Well, that last one may be going a bit far, at least according to Dr. Seuss Enterprises. The company is currently suing the creators of "Oh, the Places You'll Boldly Go!" a mash up between Dr. Seuss's works and the Star Trek universe that, according to its authors, was meant to combine "two of the most beloved creations in history in a joyous celebration" -- or, if you're Dr. Seuss Enterprises, to rip off their intellectual property through the "slavish copying" of protected works.

Donald Trump was elected president on Tuesday and many are just now starting to look closely at what a Trump administration might be like, for the Supreme Court, for businesses, and for intellectual property law and technological innovation.

Here's what we know, what we don't, and what might be in store.

Robots are humans too, right? Well, not exactly. But as artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to advance, some are arguing that the resulting technology could deserve basic rights -- a recognition of a sort of "electronic personhood."

In Europe, at least, the idea is getting some traction. A recent draft report by the European Union's Committee on Legal Affairs calls for the consideration of whether robots may be entitled to legal rights -- and how to hold them civilly liable should autonomous robots injure others.

Who Owns the Creation of an Artificial Intelligence?

This question is becoming increasingly relevant every day: who owns the product of an artificial intelligence?

Why, the owner of the machine, of course. But is that answer really quite so obvious? After all, who owns the machine if the machine itself is difficult to define? And even more curious, can an intelligence be owned? And should it?

LinkedIn, the Facebook for resumes, has filed suit in the Northern District of California against 100 unnamed individuals accused of using bots to scrape information from its website. The suit accuses the Doe defendants of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a federal anti-hacking law.

The lawsuit comes just barely a month after the Ninth Circuit expanded the reach of the CFAA, ruling in two cases that the CFAA could criminalize unauthorized password sharing and could impose civil liability for misusing a social network. The LinkedIn suit, though, could seek to push the reach of the CFAA even further.