Intellectual Property - Legal Technology - Technologist
Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Recently in Intellectual Property Category

Remember back in the early days of the Internet, when websites came in three simple sizes and no one talked back to their elders? Once upon a time all you had to know was .com, .org, and .edu -- maybe a co.uk if you were worldly. Those days have long gone.

Today, there's domain suffixes for every whim and fancy, from .ninja to .xxx. Soon, there will be .law. Here's how you can become a dot law'er, along with a quick look at the shadowy Internet bureaucracy that controls dot everything.

Michelle Lee took over as head of the United States Patent and Trademark Office three months ago and has already started to effect changes. Lee, who was the first woman to hold the position of USPTO Director, promised to use her experience in tech, science, and the law to change the way the Office operates.

Some of those changes are starting to go into effect, as the patent office begins to update its technology, implement open data initiatives, and to reach out beyond Washington, D.C.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has made a name for itself as a watchdog of online privacy, defender against government surveillance, and strong critic of intellectual property abuses. The nonprofit, self described as "defending civil liberties in the digital world," is no stranger to litigation. It often acts as plaintiff or amici in strategic litigation. But it seems like it may be a defendant, as the group has been sued for the very first time.

A lawyer who was the subject of an EFF "Stupid Patent of the Month" blog post has sued the group, claiming it defamed him as both an attorney and an inventor. EFF's monthly shaming called out the attorney-inventor, Scott Horstemeyer, for not only making stupid patents, but being connected to a notorious patent troll. The post caused Horstemeyer to cry foul -- and defamation.

John Deere to Farmers: You Own Your Tractors -- Kind Of

DRM has reached the farm, according to an article published last month in Wired magazine. John Deere, long-time manufacturer of indispensable farm equipment, argued against a proposed exemption to copyright law made on behalf of John Deere equipment owners -- excuse me, licensees.

Farmers want the legal authority to circumvent software restrictions built into John Deere equipment. John Deere says that's not cool.

Music Streaming Service Grooveshark Goes Belly Up

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Grooveshark, once home to 35 million users, has officially shut down under the pressure of $17 billion in lawsuits from music labels that claimed the eight-year-old company infringed on their music and allowed users to do the same.

If the Napster case defined the boundaries of the online music store for the 2000s, Grooveshark will define the streaming music player for the 2010s -- an era where even digital sales are giving way to online streaming.

People don't give the Library of Congress enough credit.

It's the largest library in the world, with more than 838 miles of bookshelves and 160 million items. It's got everything from the first known book published in the New World, to some of the only remaining copies of American silent films. And its collection grows by the day, gaining 15,000 new items each day -- primarily because it's the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.

The Library knows that none of its information is useful if it can't be ... used. To that end, the Copyright Office has put out a handy new tool for any one working in copyright law. Their new Fair Use Index search tool allows you to pull up relevant cases in a snap -- leaving you more time to spend reading something really interesting.

Nasty Response Letter Helped Life360 Win Patent Infringement Trial

"Dear Piece of S---," began a response from Life360 CEO Chris Hulls to a demand letter from a company that wanted him to license their technology. (You can guess what three letters the dashes are subbing for.)

That letter was introduced by AGIS in a jury trial against Life360 for infringing on patents related to calling people who appeared on a map. It turned out, reported Ars Technica, that Hulls' testy language may have helped him secure a verdict of noninfringement.

Federal Judge: Kim Dotcom Forfeited All His Stuff

You remember Kim Dotcom, right? The larger-than-life Internet entrepreneur from New Zealand, via Germany? The guy who changed his last name to "Dotcom" and made a mint operating the website Mega Upload? The U.S. government alleged Mega Upload wasn't the "digital locker" Dotcom claimed it was, but rather a website that encouraged -- and paid for -- the sharing of infringing content.

It was actually both of those, but the case has gone on because the United States wants to try him for violating U.S. law; New Zealand hasn't extradited him yet.

Here's a new idea: He's a "fugitive" because he refuses to extradite himself.

Apple Liable for $533M in Infringement Against Patent Holding Co.

Apple suffered quite a setback Tuesday, when a federal jury handed down a $532.9 million verdict against it, in favor of patent licensing company Smartflash LLC. Smartflash claimed that Apple's iTunes software infringed on patents it held relating to downloading files from the Internet.

A look at the allegedly (or, I guess, not "allegedly" anymore) infringing patents, however, reveals that the only thing Smartflash patented is more of the same business method patents that the Supreme Court struck down in Alice v. CLS Bank.

Drone Maker to Prevent Its Drones From Flying in D.C.

After a drunken federal employee flew a drone over the White House lawn, the drone's manufacturer "announced that a new, mandatory firmware update would help users comply with" an FAA regulation that Washington, D.C., is a no-fly zone.

Of course, by "help users comply," the company -- DJI -- means that the new firmware will unilaterally disable drones' ability to fly within the no-fly zone.