Google Applies for Patent for Vision Enhancement Device Injected Directly into the Eyes

Google has recently submitted a patent for a device injected directly into the eye. The device contains storage, sensors, a radio, a battery and an electronic lens and is powered wirelessly from an “energy harvesting antenna.”

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Intellectual Property Protections in Space

There is a lack of certainty when it comes to intellectual property rights in outer space.  Space Law is generally uniform in its application while intellectual property law varies from country to country. What happens when a patent is infringed in outer space? Currently, nothing as patent laws apply only within the territory of the granting country. And because the standards of copyright infringement vary from country to country there is an additional uncertainty of what artistic expression is protectable in space.  This is an area of the law that will require attention as our presence in space grows. 

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Are Tattoos Works of Art under Copyright Law?

LeBron James’ tattoo artist recently filed suit against the makers of NBA2K16 claiming that their use of the tattoo in the video game constitutes copyright infringement. The Plaintiff asserts that LeBron James is a “medium of expression.”  But whether a live body qualifies as a medium of expression is unsettled.  One would argue that the person exhibiting the tattoo should have some right to allow the use of that tattoo in conjunction with that person’s likeness.  And if a tattoo is given copyright protection could the artist enjoin the destruction or alteration of that tattoo on a person’s body? 

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Entrepreneurial Advice from Some of the World’s Leading Renaissance Men

Successful entrepreneurs like Elon Musk say it is not failure that most people regret, but inaction.

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Can Software Be Patented? The Patent Landscape Post Alice v. CLS

The recent US Supreme Court decision of Alice v. CLS Bank has specificed a Section 101 framework in which software patents must now be examined.  The court has enumerated two questions that must be asked in a software patent:

1. Does the claim merely cover an “abstract idea”?

2. Is there an (additional) “inventive concept” that turns this idea into a patentable application of the abstraction?

This decision does not eliminate the possibility of software patents but certainly leaves their patentability uncertain and open to challenge.

The recent case of Motio Inc. vs. Avnet Inc. has provided one example of how to circumvent this issue.  In that case the court found the that the “inventive concept” was an “automated agent” eligible for patent protection.

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Canadian Company Secures Patent for Space Elevator

Thoth Technology of Ontario, Canada recently secured a patent for a space elevator.  The device would extend 12 miles above the earth’s surface, allowing materials to be transported to and from space.  The company estimates that an elevator of this nature could save more than 30 percent of the fuel of a conventional rocket.

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Is a 3D Printed Organ a “Human Organism” under Patent Law?

As 3D printing technology improves, the potential for printing human organs is becoming a reality… but are human tissues and organs patentable under the law?  The America Invents Act (AIA) clearly prohibits the patenting of any claim “directed to or encompassing a human organism.”  The question becomes whether a 3D printing of tissues and/or organs constitutes a human organism. In the past, patents have issued for organisms that are “non-naturally occurring” such as a bacterium that breaks down crude oil.  As technology improves this is sure to be a uncertain area of the law. 

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Google’s Library Project Found to be a Fair Use

Google’s Library Project offers digital versions of books sent to the project by libraries. Google has not secured permission to use these works by the copyright holders; however, only certain portions or “snippets” of each of the works is viewable to the users of the project.  Once a search term is entered, the service provides the user with a list of books containing the search terms along with the frequency of those terms in each book.   The Author’s Guild has been opposing this project for the past ten years and filed suit against Google for copyright infringement. In mid-October, the Second Circuit granted summary judgment for Google finding that the display of “snippets” constituted a fair use.