Entries in "Intellectual Property" ( for this category only)

Verdict Over Digital Music Theft

I guess I will have to watch this story and related developments with more interest. Some how I missed that a Case Western Reserve University student was being pursued by the music industry.

The story shares the verdict against a Minnesota woman. She must pay $1.92 million for 24 songs. It also points out a Case student is being sued as well.

Patent Searching Basics Class

For the Case community...
Looking for patent information and do not know where to start? Consider participating in the CaseLearns class called "Patent Research: Basic Search Techniques" at 2 p.m.,Tuesday, October 30 in the Kelvin Smith Library. This course will introduce simple patent terminology and basic search techniques. Register on the CaseLearns web site to participate.

Do Patented Items Make Money

Michael Fitzgerald (The New York Times, July 15, 2007) shares the views of lawyers, economists, and inventors on whether the current U.S. patent laws help or discourage innovation.

For example, James Bessen (lecturer at Boston University’s law school) has demonstrated that patent litigation costs are almost twice as high as the profits from the patented items. He is working on a forthcoming book that will document his findings and theories. Some researchers have suggested his profit estimates are too low.

The article also discusses solutions to modifying or demolishing the current patent system. For example, the USPTO is experimenting with public, open commenting to help patent examiners.

Copyright Explained the Disney Way

What a great way to demonstrate and explain fair use.

SAE Publications Board to Review Digital Rights Management Controls for Education

SAE International’s Publications Board temporarily will suspend full activation of Digital Rights Management (DRM) controls as applied on the Society’s Digital Library of technical papers for licensees at colleges, universities and other academic institutions. See full story for more information.

Case is Strong in Licensing Revenue

Case Western Reserve University led Ohio universities, hospitals and research institutes by collecting $29.4 million in licensing revenues over the last three years, almost more than all other institutions in Ohio combined, according to the recently released U.S. Licensing Survey for fiscal year 2005 by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM).

[VIA: CASE DAILY, March 27, 2007]

Patent Fetcher

Patent Fetcher is another one of those sites that retrieves U.S. patents for you and allows it to be downloaded as a single PDF document. It is one of the various free services that allows a user to bypass the USPTO's one-page-at-a-time-TIFF patents.

C-SPAN Reduces Copyright Restrictions (for benefit of bloggers)

Confessions of a Mad Librarian notes that C-SPAN has reduced its own restrictions on copyright. The new policy reduces restrictions on its coverage of federal activities, so bloggers and other sites can use the material "to increase the political dialogue".

Blogs are starting to change the information and copyright landscapes for future users. I think Web 2.0 will have lasting ramifications on copyright.

Google Snippets Still Illegal in Belgium

The Library Journal has reported that a Belgian court upheld the earlier ruling that Google "snippets" of Belgian newspapers in Google News violated Belgian copyright laws.

[VIA: Library Journal Academic Newswire, February 15, 2007]

U.S. Patents - 2006 in Review

Michael White at The Patent Librarian's Notebook summarized the results of 2006 in U.S. patents. He says 2006 was a record-breaking year for patents and pre-grant publications.

What Does Copyright and DMCA Mean in Virtual Environments?

A CNET News.com virtual interview with Anshe Chung, the Second Life's biggest land owner, was sabotaged by animated penises and pictures of the avatar's owner Ailin Graef. I guess this is the virtual world's equivalent of red spray paint on furs.

The incident may have long lasting ramifications in respect to copyright. The video of the virtual attack has been posted to YouTube and Google video. Snapshots have been published in newspapers. Graef has claimed copyrights violations under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) for those that have used the images of her avatar.

In the Second Life environment, no one argues against the fact that each person owns the copyright on anything they create. The media sources are claiming "fair use" for sharing the video. The CNET News.com article relates it to the same thing as a news cameraman filming an incident and the TV news showing it on the evening news.

I am in agreement with this theory. The virtual world is no different than the physical world. If you hold a press conference, video and/or pictures of the activity will be and should be shared. It appears Graef (Chung) is abusing DMCA in this situation.

No Google Snippets in Belgium

Google has lost a court case in Belgium to include "snippets" of newspaper articles in Google News. In the U.S., publishers have been asking Google to index more content in order to push subscriptions and pay-per-view purchases. I guess Google needs to walk a real interesting tight rope.

[VIA: Library Journal - Academic Newswire, September 28, 2006]

Continue reading "No Google Snippets in Belgium"

Fourth Annual Inventors Forum - Patent Law 101

The Technology Transfer Office will present the second seminar of the 4th annual Inventors Forum speaker series on Thursday, October 12th, 2006 at 4:00 PM in Wolstein Auditorium. The seminar, titled "Patent Law 101 (and 102, 103, and 112)" will feature J.T. Kalnay, attorney with the law firm of McDonald Hopkins Co., LPA and Mr. Don Brown, CEO of Arteriocyte, Inc.

If you would like to attend this seminar, please RSVP at the Inventors Forum website by clicking the link below:

WHO: CASE Technology Transfer Office
WHAT: Fourth Annual Inventors Forum - "Patent Law 101 (and 102, 103, and 112)"
WHEN: Thursday, October 12th, 2006, 4:00-5:00PM, A reception will follow the seminar from 5:00-6:00 PM with refreshments
WHERE: Wolstein Auditorium, Wolstein Research Building

USPTO Bans Wikipedia

Business Week (9/4/2006 Issue 3999, p12) has reported that the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) will no longer accept Wikipedia entries as "accepted sources of information". I am wondering why the practice was allowed in the first place.

The Patent Librarian conducted his own analysis to see how much the practice was utilized.

[VIA: The Patent Librarian's Notebook, September 10, 2006]

The Case community can find various sources of the Business Week article from the E-Journal Portal.

Connecticut Legislators Are Fighting Back Against Textbook Publishers

This comes at no shock to anyone that has ever bought a textbook:

Government analysts say the price of textbooks has risen at twice the annual inflation rate since 1986.

Boston.com News has reported that Connecticut legislators are trying to fight back against textbook prices.

Legislators are considering legislation that will require publishers to inform professors of all books available on a particular subject, how long they will remain on the market and the wholesale price they charge to bookstores. It would also allow Connecticut students to purchase their books the first week, even if financial aid has not been finalized.

4th Annual Inventor's Forum Speaker Series at Case

Case's Technology Transfer Office will present the first installment of the fourth annual Inventor's Forum speaker series. This year's series will kickoff at 4 p.m. Thursday, September 14, in the Wolstein Auditorium in the Wolstein Research Building. The topic will be "Technology Transfer 101." Speakers are Michael Haag, director of biomedical licensing, and Mark Smith, professor of pathology. For additional information or to RSVP, call 368-6104 or go to the Inventor's Forum Web site at http://ora.ra.cwru.edu/techtransfer/pages/forum.htm.

Patent Granted to Blackboard Will Face Challenges

Blackboard Inc. has been awarded a patent making claims that it created some of the basic features of the software that powers online education. Others argue that the patent covers principles that were obvious to everyone. Will virtual education or Blackboard be rattled by this development?

United States Patent: 6,988,138 (PDF Download)
January 17, 2006
Internet-based Education Support System and Methods

A system and methods for implementing education online by providing institutions with the means for allowing the creation of courses to be taken by students online, the courses including assignments, announcements, course materials, chat and whiteboard facilities, and the like, all of which are available to the students over a network such as the Internet. Various levels of functionality are provided through a three-tiered licensing program that suits the needs of the institution offering the program. In addition, an open platform system is provided such that anyone with access to the Internet can create, manage, and offer a course to anyone else with access to the Internet without the need for an affiliation with an institution, thus enabling the virtual classroom to extend worldwide.

Alcorn; Robert L. (Arlington, VA), Cane; Daniel E. (Washington, DC), Chasen; Michael L. (Washington, DC), Chi; Timothy R. (Fairfax, VA), Gilfus; Stephen R. (Woodbridge, VA), Perian; Scott (Washington, DC), Pittinsky; Matthew L. (Washington, DC)

Assignee: Blackboard Inc. (Washington, DC)

Appl. No.: 09/608,208

Filed: June 30, 2000

Employers Blogging

The New York Times (May 25, 2006) looked how corporations are addressing the blogging habits of new interns or employees. Public relations and trade secrets are always in jeopardy with the ease of internet publishing.

While there are differences in laws among jurisdictions, from a legal perspective, he said, it is generally accepted that companies have the right to impose controls on their employees' use of computers and other equipment used for communication.

(VIA: Slashdot, May 25, 2006)

Google & ACS Trademark Case

According to CNET News.com, the Google Scholar trademark case ends with the American Chemical Society.

ACS, which was founded in 1876 and claims to be the world's largest scientific society, sued Google in 2004. The suit claimed that the free "Google Scholar" journal-search service unfairly competes with ACS' "SciFinder Scholar," which appears to be more comprehensive but charges a fee.

Grads to Rewrite Engineering Theses

Here is an update to one of my earlier posts. It appears that the students accused of plagiarism will be given a chance to correct their mistakes. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (July 21, 2006), a majority of the 37 students have agreed to the terms as established by Ohio University.

Japanese Science Directory

Science Links Japan is a topically arranged directory of online information resources for science and technology in Japan. Japan's scientific and technical information (STI) scattered across or isolated on the Internet have been collected and categorized under major topics. The Website aims to provide ease of access to Japan's STI for non-Japanese researchers, policy makers and many others who need Japan's STI.

Most of the contents come from information generated/compiled in the public sector, such as the government, universities, R&D institutes and STI institutes.

Science Links Japan has been compiled with a sharp focus on URL resources available in the English language. URL resources available only in the Japanese language also have been selected from the viewpoint of comprehensiveness and importance.

Fragile Digital Data

According to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (June 7, 2006), humanity in the next 3 years will produce more data than in did in the past 1,000 years. Concerns of future data format and degradation are of great concern to many institutions, such as the Council on Library and Information Resources, the National Archives, IBM, and the Library of Congress. See full article for further discussion.

(Full Article VIA: George Mason University's History News Network)

Study Shows Corporations are Watching Your Email

A recent study reported by Wired News (June 2, 2006) shows that a third of big companies monitor email content. What surprised me was that inappropriate content and attachments were not the main corporate concerns. The companies are monitoring to prevent confidential information from being released.

Top 100 Technology Products

PC World (July 2006 issue of PC World magazine; Online: May 31, 2006) released its annual 100 Best Products of the Year. The top two were the Intel Core Duo and the AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core. Others highlights in the top ten included Craigslist.org, iPod Nano, Google Earth, and YouTube.com.

(VIA: TVC Alert Research News, June 1, 2006)

OU Engineering Plagiarism

Plagiarism panel recommends firing two OU professors

Associated Press, June 1, 2006

Two Ohio University faculty members should be fired for allowing cheating in an engineering graduate program, a university committee said.

The committee, formed to investigate plagiarism in master's degree theses, recommended dismissal Wednesday for the chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and another unidentified faculty member.

Read the full story (Akron Beacon Journal) for more details.

Engineering School at Ohio U. Investigates 44 Cases of Alleged Plagiarism by Graduate Students
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Volume 52, Issue 27, Page A9 (March 10, 2006)

Ohio University is investigating 44 possible cases of plagiarism by current and former engineering graduate students, all of which were discovered by a former graduate student who believes professors there have fostered a culture of cheating...

The Case community can access the full article from the E-Journal Portal. Several of the sources have a one month embargo before the article is available.

Fuel Cell Mixes with Porn Company for Pseudo IPO

Here is an interesting way to quickly get to an initial public offering. A company that creates a membrane for methanol fuel cells used the old shell of a porn company to quickly go public.

From: CNET News.com Future Tech Blog, March 17, 2006

Promoting Copyright Management & Access

John Ober in Facilitating open access: Developing support for author control of copyright (C&RL News, April 2006, Vol. 67, No. 4) discusses the role librarians have in promoting and supporting copyright management within their organizations. He discusses educational aspects and managing institutional repositories.

Libraries should be clear and honest about the logic of our advocacy, too, which seems to be: Faculty copyright retention is a necessary precondition for developing new forms of dissemination that (possibly) allow restructuring of some of the economic patterns to be more sustainable. Or, more bluntly, copyright retention and subsequent grants of use (might) reduce/remove (some) economic barriers to acquiring content for research/teaching.
For one thing reader and author visits to IR create a point-of-use opportunity, and usually a specific need, to educate scholars about copyright management, and ensure that they do, in fact, have the right to deposit their work. And while IRs can be promoted as a way to serve the scholar and library interests mentioned above, to be used IRs have to strive for unusually good related services.

Have you read the MySpace Terms & Conditions?

Someone just pointed out to me some of the terms and conditions that users of MySpace agree to.

6. Proprietary Rights in Content on MySpace.com.
1. By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, profiles, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, "Content") on or through the Services, you hereby grant to MySpace.com, a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services. This license will terminate at the time you remove such Content from the Services. You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Services or otherwise have the right to grant the license set forth in this section, and (ii) the posting of your Content on or through the Services does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person. You agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owing any person by reason of any Content posted by you to or through the Services.

As a librarian that has spent time in a corporate library so I was previously immersed constantly in patent and copyright law, and someone that strongly believes in negotiating your rights to your intellectual property before publishing or selling, I was shocked by these terms. First, it does protect users from others users copying, selling, or otherwise distributing their artwork, writing, pictures, music, etc. BUT, MySpace can profit from your creations in any way it see fit.

Ask yourself - how comfortable are you with MySpace having the ability to use an entry from your blog, taking one of your pictures, or sharing your music in an advertisement on its front page or in other marketing methods?

Would an artist or writer have less power to negotiate with a publisher or producer if their materials were already up on MySpace? Even though MySpace's rights are non-exclusive, can this hurt you in developing other alternatives? It may if the producer does not care for MySpace.


FreePatentsOnline.com provides fast, free access to all U.S. patents and patent applications, partial European data, free PDF downloading, free account features, and more. In addition, a user can can establish a free account that allows for saving searches, creating portfolios of documents, saving comments on documents, and getting notified when new patents of interest are published.

FreePatentsOnline.com is a great alternative to the single page Tiff downloads at the USPTO web site.

Universities and Patents

Chemical & Engineering News highlights the annual list of U.S. universities receiving the most patents for inventions by the United States Patent & Trademark Office. University of California ranked #1 for the 12th year in a row with 390 awarded patents. MIT was 2nd with 136 patents. See USPTO press release for more information.

Patent Search Guides

The Patent Librarian (Michael White) has created two guides to assist in patent searching: U.S. Patent Classification - Classes by Title and U.S. Patent Number Guide.

From Michael White:

Both guides are based on the laminated "quick study" guides sold in college bookstores and shops. The classes by title guide is simply an alphabetical list of current US classes. The group symbols that appear after each title are based on the placement of the class or its subclasses in the "Classes Within the U.S. Patent Classification Arranged by Related Subjects," which is part of the manual of Classification. Cross-reference classes are also noted.

The patent number guide is compiled from many sources including the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, USPTO web site, WIPO standards, Official Gazette and National Archives publications.

Is Open Source Increasing?

Steve Hardin in The Open Source Movement Gains Ground (Bulletin, February/March 2006, American Society for Information Science and Technology) highlighted the opening plenary session of the 2005 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science & Technology conducted by Matthew J. Szulik, chair, CEO and president of Red Hat.

People who work for Red Hat are doing so because they have the opportunity to see their work improve society. They’ve challenged the notion of “product.” They view software as a service.
(Originally shared on ResourceShelf, March 1, 2006)

Scientific Publishing, the Internet, & Copyright

Andrew Kantor (USA Today, 3/23/2006) highlighted the major issues facing scientific publishing and the role the Internet has played.

Lets look further at the state of scientific publishing...

First, the procedure of traditional publishing is flawed from the eyes of libraries. An author freely gives their article to a publisher, and the publishers sells it at a profit. The author's library than purchases the content that was originally available within the organization. The author may have signed over full rights of the article to the publisher, thus the library has to pay for something that should have been available internally for free.

What advantages are provided by traditional publications? Basically, you are looking at name recognition and a system of distribution. I think it is fairly obvious how the Internet is changing those systems.

Kantor looks at several changes that are developing already. For example, the open access publishing movement, as demonstrated by the Public Library of Science.

Coming across this article was perfect timing. Kenneth Crews, Director of the Copyright Management Center just spoke at the Kelvin Smith Library on Tuesday, April 4th. He expressed how copyright laws are driven by international pressures, money, and many other factors. He pushed hard for authors to manage their copyright rights in order to meet the needs of their organizations and themselves well into the future. It is the one time, during author to publisher negotiations, that publishers can be convinced to change their ways.

(Originally shared on Open Access News, March 23, 2006)

EPIC 2015 - Future of Media

EPIC 2014 has been circulating on the web for some time now. This flash movie really forces someone to think about media and communication well into the future.

Notice there is the old 2014 version that was actually pretty close on some of its early predictions and a newer, improved 2015 version.

Do You Need an Electronic Lab Notebook?

The Scientist (March 1, 2006) explores the reasons why electronic lab notebooks are finding their way into academia and why they are becoming more of a necessity than an option.

RIAA Avoids College Students Again

The Chronicle of Higher Education on the Wired Campus Blog (February 28, 2006) reported that the recording industry filed another group of 750 lawsuits, but still avoided campus-network users.

7 Million U.S. Patents

UPDATE: The Patent Librarian reports that the U.S. has issued patent 7,000,000 on February 14, 2006 to DuPont.

The Patent Librarian blog tells us that next week the United States may be issuing patent number 7,000,000. Michael White also looked up the topics and years of the patents issued on the first few million landmarks.

What is most impressive is how long it takes to issue this many patents and how fast patents numbers are growing. Take a look.


Creating Book from a Blog

Watch a 4-minute video about a company called Blurb that provides a free computer application that takes content from a blog and creates a book. The company makes its money when you decide to physically publish.

Trends from the Entertainment Industry -Translate to Libraries?

Aaron Shaffer brought my attention to a very interesting article, called The Long Tail (Wired Magazine, Issue 12.10, October 2004). Most of us believe that the entertainment industry is driven only by the hits, probably due to all the award shows, rankings, etc. The "long tail" is all of the other albums, songs, movies, and books that account for a super large volume of sales if provided to the public. Examples like Amazon, Rhapsody, NetFlix, and eBay show that people are interested in and will buy the non-#1 materials if the resources are available to see reviews, get recommendations, and have easy access.

I think this article has long reaching consequences on libraries. First, what role does copyright have in the development of future library resources and services? I believe the intentions of copyright, that "Congress shall have the power to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries" (U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8), is very important. As copyright protection limits are continually increased in length, are will still protecting "progress" or just monetary interests? Someone would argue that economic numbers demonstrate progress, but are we using this measure at the death of future educational, cultural, and scientific discoveries? Just look at the article I shared on the KSL Reference Weblog for an example.

It appears that the "long tail" examples also counteracts the statements by book and journal publishers that open access materials would mean death to their sales. The article showed that increased access, free or very cheap, only boosted sales drastically. As people gained access, they always wanted more and more.

I think in libraries we are seeing a similar fate with Google and other Internet resources. While people are going to Google first for their questions, it results in only more questions and curiosity. The type of questions I see in the library are becoming more complicated in nature and more inquisitive on the user's part.

I think the academic libraries in Ohio have been very lucky with OhioLINK. It has allowed individual libraries more freedom (i.e. money) to maybe focus on what could be considered items that fall into the "long tail." In addition to consortia, libraries need to find the other processes that allow users access to everything and anything. It appears CASE is headed in the right direction with the increasing amount of electronic resources and collections, such as Digital Case.

Annual List of Top 10 Organizations Receiving Most U.S. Patents

On January 10, 2006, the United States Patent & Trademark Office released the Annual List of Top 10 Organizations Receiving Most U.S. Patents. International Business Machines Corporation was #1.

(Courtesy of the ResourceShelf, January 11, 2006.)

Observations on Blogging

I subscribe to Planet Case, Blog@Case Comments, and various RSS feeds from Case blogs and other blogs from several subject areas (library & information science, technology, engineering, etc). I am surprised by some of the activities I have seen on some blogs.

  • Copying word for word materials written by others, which would be a violation of copyright
  • Copying all or a portion of a material written by others without citing the original source
  • Posting an item, allowing extensive discussion to occur in the comments section, and than changing the original post so the commentators look like idiots
  • Allowing commenting to occur, than deleting comments you do not agree with
  • Not linking to the source that you are commenting about, so others can form their own opinions
  • On and on...
Many bloggers probably do not think of actions like this, because it is so easy to cut-and-paste or press a delete button. Actions like this happen on web sites all of the time, but unless cached by Google, the WayBack Machine, or other services it might not be visible to the casual reader. Email holds more accountabilty, because once you send an item you cannot recall it. The blogosphere falls in between these two realms. Changes, deletions, updates, etc. on blogs probably go unnoticed all the time, unless the blog owner makes a statement in their entry. RSS feeds though increase the level of accountabilty of blogs. Once a subscriber receives a RSS item in their reader or aggregator, it is no longer in control of the original blog owner. If someone follows a certain blog closely, especially by utilization of RSS, the writer's habits, changes, or style of writing now have gained a history outside of the blog owner's control.

I like the Bloggers' Code of Ethics that was created by CyberJournalist.net. And in a related note, CyberJournalist shared the New York Times view on blogging.

The Patent Librarian

Michael White has started a new blog, called The Patent Librarian. The blog was started in November and I look forward to watching it grow. One of the neat features is Michael's posts that show just how busy the USPTO is during a given time period. His sidebar of patent links is also a great resource.

6th Annual Symposium on Intellectual Property

Sixth Annual Symposium on Intellectual Property
June 14-16, 2006

Sponsored by the Center for Intellectual Property at University of Maryland University College

"Copyright at a Crossroads: The Impact of Mass Digitization on Higher Education"

Two full days of seminars and discussions June 15-16.
Pre-symposium seminars the afternoon of June 14.

UMUC Inn and Conference Center
Adelpi, MD

Details forthcoming at http://www.umuc.edu/cip

Updated: Digital Millennium Copyright Act - Comments Are NOW Being Collected from January 4, 2006 through February 2, 2006

The LibraryLawBlog shares information about the current solicitation for comments about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The purpose of this proceeding is to determine whether there are particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be, adversely affected in their ability to make noninfringing uses due to the prohibition on circumvention of access controls.

Patent Information Users Group Annual Meeting (2006)

The Patent Information Users Group (PIUG) has put out a call for papers for its 2006 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, May 20-25. Formed in 1988, PIUG is a volunteer organization for patent information professionals dedicated to the improvement of the retrieval, analysis and dissemination of patent information worldwide.

One of the themes of this year's conference is the role of patents in academic research, teaching and technology transfer. In the last 20 years the number of patents granted to universities and public research institutions has increased dramatically. The National Science Foundation notes in its Science and Engineering Indicators 2004 that while the output of scientific publications has been relatively flat in the U.S. since 1992, the number of academic patents and citations to patents in scholarly articles has increased ten-fold. Although there is much debate on the value of patents as a means of disseminating scholarly research, patents are increasingly important to the worldwide academic community. This session will explore how patent information is being used by university researchers, instructors, librarians and technology transfer officers.

Possible topics include:

  • Patent information services and collections
  • Profiles of academic patent information users
  • Collaboration and cooperation between university libraries and tech transfer offices
  • Patent information education, training and tutorials
  • New tools and technologies for delivering patent information, e.g. in-house databases, RSS feeds, Blogs
  • Searching patents in literature databases such as SciFinder Scholar
  • Academic patenting, licensing and commercialization philosophies

I encourage you to submit a proposal for this or any other session. Instructions for submitting a proposal are at the end of this message. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about PIUG or the scope of the session. The deadline for submitting a proposal is January 30, 2006.

Thank you,
Michael White
Co-Chair, Patent Information in Academia - 2006 PIUG Conference

Michael J. White, Librarian for Research Services, BA, MLIS
Engineering and Science Library
Douglas Library Bldg., Room 516
Queen's University
93 University Ave., Kingston, Ontario K7L 5C4
(613) 533-6785 / (613) 533-2584 (fax)

Continue reading "Patent Information Users Group Annual Meeting (2006)"

Are Copyrights a Textbook Scam?

In September 2005, Dean Baker wrote Are Copyrights a Textbook Scam? - Alternatives to Financing Textbook Production in the 21st Century, which was published by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

Some of the interesting points that should make you want to read the full 9 page document:

  • "A student working at a minimum wage job would have to put in nearly 170 hours of work each year, just to pay for her textbooks."
  • "Textbooks are only expensive because they are subject to copyright protection."
  • "Copyright protection in textbooks leads to enormous inefficiencies, just like any other government intervention in the

Acquiring Copyright Permission to Digitize and Provide Open Access to Books

In October 2005, the Council on Library and Information Resources and Digital Library Federation published Acquiring Copyright Permission to Digitize and Provide Open Access to Books. It is available in full text.

[About Council on Library and Information Resources]
CLIR is an independent, nonprofit organization. Through publications, projects, and programs, CLIR works to maintain and improve access to information for generations to come. In partnership with other institutions, CLIR helps create services that expand the concept of "library" and supports the providers and preservers of information.

[About the Digital Library Federation]
DLF initiatives change with needs; as some projects come to fruition or find new support, the DLF invests in others, staying flexible as a catalyst for experiment and change. For example, the DLF has promoted work on the following:

  • Digital library structures, standards, preservation, and use
  • Archives for electronic journals
  • Online collections for use in teaching
  • Internet services that expand access to resources of use to scholars
  • Assessments of the future roles of libraries.

Patent Application for Storylines Pending

It appears that potentially the United States Patent & Trademark Office and our court system may be deciding the future of literature, movies, and other forms of entertainment. A person has filed a patent application for a specific storyline.

The published application can be viewed at the USPTO web site.

See some on going commentary and discussion at Groklaw.

Supreme Court to Look at What can be Patented

The Supreme Court will hear the case of Laboratory Corp. of America (LabCorp) v. Metabolite Laboratories. The specific patent being questioned is US 4,940,658 (July 10, 1990), titled Assay for sulfhydryl amino acids and methods for detecting and distinguishing cobalamin and folic acid deficency.

Method for determining levels of sulfhydryl amino acids, particularly total homocysteine levels in samples of body tissue from warm-blooded animals, methods of detecting cobalamin and folic acid deficiency using an assay for total homocysteine levels, and methods for distinguishing cobalamin from folic acid deficiency using an assay for total homocysteine levels in conjunction with an assay for methylmalonic acid.

Depending on how the Supreme Court resolves this case, it may have substantial implications for the patentability of business methods and even of software. See this blog for more information and a legal perspective of what could happen.

Patent Searching Basics

Here is the link to the Research Guide I have created to help when searching for patents. At the bottom of the page, you will find a link to the CaseLearns workshop on Patent Searching Basics from October 2005.

Blogging & Copyright

Do you know that you could be breaking copyright with content in your blog?

ECommerce Times published an article on August 4th, 2005, called Bloggers Cautioned About Being Copy Cats. It provides a summary of some of the concerns about copyright as it relates to blogging.

USPTO Improves Process For Reviewing Patents

The Virtual Chase shared a link to a recent U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) press release describing timeliness and quality improvements in the patent examination process.

[TVC Alert, 1 August 2005, Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, http://www.virtualchase.com/tvcalert/transfer.asp?xmlFile=aug05/1aug05.xml]

Patent Reform Bill Introduced

As reported on the American Chemical Society web site, a patent reform bill (Patent Reform Act of 2005, H.R. 2795) has been introduced in the House of Representatives. The most drastic change introduced by the bill would change the United States patent system into a "first to file" rather than the "first to invent" system. The process of "first to file" is similar to the European and Japan systems.

U.S. Copyright Policies Enforced through Trade Agreements

I recently learned that trade agreements regularly include requirements for other countries to follow the same copyright laws that have been established in the United States. For example, a recent CNET news.com article, Copyright lobbyists strike again, reports that the new Central American Free Trade Agreement included various copyright restrictions and policies for enforcement.