Tonya Evans (Widener University Commonwealth Law School) – Moderator
Darrell Mottley (Banner Witcoff)
Shontavia Johnson (Drake University Law School)
Kevin Jordan (JP Morgan Chase)
Summary – Our panelists will discuss a variety of hot topics and recent developments in patent, trademark, and trade secret law, including:
The internet of things as an emerging technology/industry, and related IP and regulatory issues
Intersection between the First Amendment and Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act regarding registration of immoral, scandalous, or disparaging trademarks, including the impact of trademark cases
Overview of trade secret law and its viability as an alternative means of IP protection
CLE Info: The NBA IP Law Section is looking into obtaining CLE accreditation in the following jurisdictions: CA, GA, IL, NY, TX, and VA. For questions regarding CLE accreditation, please contact Bill Barrow (wbarrow[at]mayerbrown.com).
Cost: This webinar is free for NBA IP Law Section members and costs $30 (plus processing fees) for non-members.
PROF NOTE: The Register of Copyrights, Maria A. Pallante, released a report on February 5, 2015 regarding Internet music regulation summarized below:
The United States has the most innovative and influential music culture in the world, but much of the legal framework for licensing of music dates back to the early part of the twentieth century, long before the digital revolution in music. Our licensing system is founded on a view that the music marketplace requires a unique level of government regulation, much of it reflected in statutory licensing provisions of the Copyright Act. The Copyright Office believes that the time is ripe to question the existing paradigm for the licensing of musical works and sound recordings and consider meaningful change.
There is a widespread perception that our licensing system is broken. Songwriters and recording artists are concerned that they cannot make a living under the existing structure, which raises serious and systemic concerns for the future. Music publishers and performance rights organizations are frustrated that so much of their licensing activity is subject to government control, so they are constrained in the marketplace. Record labels and digital services complain that the licensing process is burdensome and inefficient, making it difficult to innovate.
While there is general consensus that the system needs attention, there is less agreement as to what should be done. In this report, after reviewing the existing framework and stakeholders’ views, the Copyright Office offers a series of guiding principles and preliminary recommendations for change. The Office’s proposals are meant to be contemplated together, rather than individually. With this approach, the Office seeks to present a series of balanced tradeoffs among the interested parties to create a fairer, more efficient, and more rational system for all.
As I prepared for my Copyright & Trademark class this morning, I needed to pull the text of one of the sections of the Copyright Act. So I surfed on over to Copyright.gov to access the full text of the Act when I bumped into an odd-looking notice page.
Without really looking at the text, I figured my browser had auto-completed the last URL I’d visited at the site so I typed in copyright.gov myself and hit send. The odd-looking notice page appeared again and there it was … an official notice that due to the government shutdown the Copyright Office is closed:
Despite the Copyright Office closure, the United States Patent & Trademark Office remains open … at least for several weeks! It’s hardly a silver lining but not all agencies are impacted in the same way.
The USPTO notice reads as follows:
During the general government shutdown that began October 1, 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will remain open, using prior year reserve fee collections to operate as usual for approximately four weeks. We continue to assess our fee collections compared to our operating requirements to determine how long we will be able to operate in this capacity during a general government shutdown. We will provide an update as more definitive information becomes available.
Should we exhaust these reserve funds before the general government shutdown comes to an end, USPTO would shut down at that time, although a very small staff would continue to work to accept new applications and maintain IT infrastructure, among other functions. (Should it become necessary for USPTO to shut down, details of the agency’s plan for an orderly shutdown are available on page 78 of the United States Department of Commerce’s shutdown plan, available here.)
On October 31, 2011, The Copyright Office on released an Analysis and Discussion Document about the intersection of copyright law and the mass digitization of books made infamous by the likes of Amazon and Google Books. The Report titled “Legal Issues in Mass Digitization” is intended to facilitate further dialogue among the various interest-holders; namely copyright holders and content providers, third-party companies wishing to exploit literary artistic works and the general public.
The Analysis & Discussion Document notes the legal issues, possible resolutions (including both legislative and voluntary market-response approaches). It also sets forth issues to consider which should be factored into any determination of the appropriate policy for the mass digitization of books.
The Copyright Office will hold a public hearing on June 10, 2011, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The hearing will be conducted to assist the Copyright Office in its study for Congress on marketplace alternatives to the statutory licenses for the retransmission of over-the-air broadcast signals. Further details on the hearing will be announced by early May. More info at Copyright.gov.