News, Views and Muse

The Law of Superheroes addresses some ‘critical’ IP issues

Dennis Crouch of Patently-O reviews  The Law of Superheroes, by James Dailey and Ryan Davidson. Fittingly published by Gotham Books, one chapter of the book takes a look at IP issues as they relate to our favorite comic book characters, answering such questions as:
  • Does Batman's use of Wayne Enterprises' advanced technologies to stop crimes (at night) negate patentability?  And,
  • Does Spiderman infringe any genetic engineering patents?

 “Tebowing” now a trademark

A devout Christian, Tim Tebow, 2007 Heisman Trophy holder and current back-up quarterback for the NY Jets professional football team, often drops to one knee (with fist to forehead) to honor God during football games. This act has become known as “Tebowing,” and now Tim Tebow owns the trademark.

As reported in the Washington Times, “apparently the trademark is not solely on the term to Tebow, but on the pose as well. You don’t have to call it “Tebowing” to be subject to Tim’s approval. “

NCAA sued by former players for antitrust violations

Former football and basketball players are seeking damages from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); video-game maker Electronic Arts; and Collegiate Licensing Co., saying their names, images and likenesses were used illegally.

The USA Today reports plaintiffs allege that the “defendants violated anti-trust law by conspiring to fix at zero the amount of compensation athletes can receive for the use of their names, images and likenesses in products or media while they are in school.

Roger Noll, an economics professor emeritus at Stanford, an expert witness for the plaintiffs, calculates football and men's basketball players from two of the major college conferences could be entitled to share more than $160 million from live broadcast revenue from 2009-10 alone.

Apple has a design patent for its glass staircases

Apple’s patent strategy is not confined to innovative smartphone design and technology. Apple’s 2003 patent D478,999 S is a design patent for its glass staircase, which appears at a number of its stores from New York to Paris.

CBS News tries to balance the coverage on tech patent wars

A CBS News article lists five myths perpetuated by news coverage of the technology patent wars:
  1.  Is this a new phenomenon? No, numerous infringement lawsuits filed by famous inventors Eli Whitney, Thomas Edison, and others.
  2. Does Apple hold all of the patent cards? As discussed often in IP Value Wire, Apple has a relatively weak position with respect to utility patents, which may explain their prominent role in the Nortel patent auction.
  3. Are patent claims are unassailable fortresses? If litigated, there is a higher probability a claim will be invalidated than upheld.
  4. Are so-called patent trolls the cause of most of the patent litigation today? In 2011, an estimated 40% of the patent infringement litigation can be sourced to patent trolls.
  5. Does the current system stifle innovation? If the number of patent filings is any indication, the answer is no.

Undercapitalized inventors still have a chance to get patent protection

To date, the USPTO has successfully helped create four pro bono programs across the nation and is partnering with other IP law associations to help an additional 10 get started by the end of 2013. Individuals and businesses interested in applying for pro bono patent assistance should visit the FCBA’s pro bono website, which includes request forms for applicants and patent attorneys interested in volunteering for pro bono patent assistance.

WSJ reviews Double Entry, by Jane Gleeson-White

In 1494, Franciscan friar Pacioli published a 600-page encyclopedia titled "Summa de Arithmetica." Toward the end of the first volume there is a brief section called "Particulars of Reckonings and Writings," which includes the first treatise on double-entry bookkeeping.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, according to the author, what might seem unimaginable now, double-entry bookkeeping was “greeted by the kind of ecstatic commentary normally reserved for scientific discoveries. Goethe referred to it as ‘among the finest inventions of mankind.’”