Abstract: Since its institution in 2011, inter partes review has caused considerable disruption in the intellectual property world, with some industry players questioning the process’ constitutionality. One of these players is Dublin-based pharmaceutical company Allergan, Inc., which asserts that it is unfair to force patent owners to defend their USPTO-granted patent rights before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”), a non-Article III sanctioned forum. Central to this debate is the question of whether patents confer private or public rights. This article discusses both sides of the dialogue over inter partes review constitutionality, and postulates that the process is likely unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is set to rule on whether inter partes review is constitutional this year.
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Abstract: The Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) was passed with bipartisan support in 2016 to federalize trade secret protection. Previously, only states could authorize these types of suits, leading to dissimilar outcomes as a result of different state laws. Because it is still in its infancy with very little precedence, federal courts have continued to gloss over the significance of the DTSA and address trade secret cases using state law alone. The heavily publicized case involving stolen trade secrets between two prominent technology companies, Waymo v. Uber, has given the court a chance to assert the relevance of the DTSA as a federal body of law encompassing trade secrets, but again it seems to have failed to pay heed to the issue. However the outcome of Waymo v. Uber comes out, one thing is for certain: it will have a far-reaching impact on both the future of trade secrets and the interpretation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act.
Abstract: Non-competition agreements are subject to much debate in the realm of American trade secret law, and this debate is magnified when taken in the context of employment in major technology hubs across the United States. The overwhelming success of Silicon Valley, California technology firms, where non-competition agreements are generally unenforceable, has sparked conversation over whether enforceability in other states is impeding innovation in other major technology hubs. The Massachusetts legislature is attempting to address this issue with two major bills on the enforceability of non-competition agreements in the Commonwealth, which as Massachusetts’ presence in the technology industry continues to grow, could place technology firms in the Seaport Innovation District in a more advantageous position against their Silicon Valley competitors.
Abstract: In the midst of heydays of social media, a social media user will inevitably face a product or service endorsement post in his/her social media feed or thread page. However, in the endorsement post, it is quite rare to see disclosure information as to whether the social media endorser has some kind of commercial relationship with the product manufacturer or service provider. On September 7, 2017 the FTC issued its first ever legal action against individual social media endorsers for posting endorsement posts without revealing their commercial relationship with the service providing company. This action by the FTC indicates its growing intention to strictly regulate over-flooding deceptive endorsement posts in various social media platforms.
Abstract: Virtual reality (“VR”) technologies allow users to experience three-dimensional, multi-sensory environments (“virtual worlds”). This new and rapidly-developing technological platform is promising, but does not come without legal challenges. Issues regarding copyrights for virtual worlds and creations within those worlds can be expected. This article involves an exploration into potential application of copyright law to virtual reality technologies, focusing on what might be protected by copyright, potential infringement challenges, and how enforcement of these copyrights might play out for both users and developers.
Abstract: President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative in his 2015 State of the Union address, a research effort to find treatments that are tailored to specific genetic profiles and characteristics. This personalized and context-specific treatment approach will require big data analysis of patient outcomes and their genetic sequence, which must then be accessible and comprehensible to caregivers. The initiative must therefore be able to reconcile genetic data, demographic information, and health information, in the electronic health record. To achieve data interoperability, the organizations engaged in the initiative must confront questions of data privacy, standardize data exchange, and incentivize the adoption of data-sharing technology.
Abstract: Alternative medicine has made its way to the forefront of medical innovation, changing the way both doctors and patients approach complex health issues. Patenting medical inventions promotes advancement by increasing the exchange of vital information. This crucial benefit to society is particularly important for patients suffering from chronic illnesses who are dissatisfied with conventional medicine. Though the patent system requires that patented inventions are “useful,” there is no guarantee that the product is effective or even safe to use. The medical field must grapple with this trade-off between the benefit of new treatments made easily available to people who desperately need relief, and the potential that expensive, ineffective, and unsafe products are placed in the market. This issue is brought to light for patients with Lyme Disease who have turned to the patented treatment, UVLrx. UVLrx is a therapeutic light system that delivers various wavelengths of ultraviolet light to a patient’s bloodstream, with the intent of killing bacteria and diseased cells. Some argue that this futuristic treatment has the potential to change a person’s life, while others contend that it is an expensive and risky waste of time.
Abstract: Imagine riding across the country in the comfort of your own car and from it, admiring the country’s most beautiful cityscapes, beaches, natural forests, and mountain ranges without even having to get behind the wheel. Imagine not having to spend countless, frustrating hours trying to brake in response to the dozens of cars weaving in and out of the lanes around you, and instead, being able to catch up with friends and family over drinks, meals, and movies while your car drives itself. None of this is too good to be true. Many car manufacturers like Ford and Toyota are racing to develop the first fully autonomous vehicle by 2020.
Abstract: From info-economic point of view, the growing kinds of interactions between producers and consumers have occupied a large extent of commercial dialogues. The way by which a trade dress as an example of trademarks could promote the quality of an info-commercial system is our first question. At the same time, we know that the trademark law system, each of word mark and trade dress plays its own communicational roles based on laws which govern each of lingual and visual systems of communication. However, as a matter of fact, assimilating the concepts “trademark” and “trade dress” has invariably been posing the fundamental question of determination of “distinctiveness”. In this article we have tried to analyze and streamline the question of distinctiveness of trade dress based upon semiotics. Reaching at the conclusion that in terms of distinctiveness trade dress should be treated as a “pre-occurred” and explore-able event in relation to consumers not as a “presume-able” matter in relation to trade dress itself.
Abstract: The two largest individual shareholders in the smartphone industry, Samsung and Apple, have engaged in patent litigation that includes ten countries and millions of dollars in damages. Both companies have tried to get the other’s product pulled from the market with very limited success. In the United States, Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. has progressed all the way to the Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”). The SCOTUS has not heard a patent design case in 120 years which signals the increasing importance technology and its implications are playing in our society.