Trade secrets are an alternative to patenting, but they come at the cost of the various protections that the government gives to patent holders. Or perhaps not. Jeanne Fromer argues, the government provides many protections that go above and beyond what may be necessary to protect trade secrets from the most obvious forms of theft, such as corporate espionage.
A new article in Science finds that while the share of total R&D spending by the government has shrunk relative to that of the private sector, nearly 30% of patents granted rely in some way on government-funded research.
News and Commentary
Writing for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cory Doctorow recounts the tale of Lexmark’s use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)’s anti-circumvention provisions to stop rival companies from refilling ink cartridges for its printers. How? Because the software used in ink cartridges included a password to communicate with the printer and the software was copyrighted. However, a court ruled in the early ’00s that while the software itself could be copyrighted, it didn’t fall under anti-circumvention law when it was used as a password.
The Chinese company Huawei, the target of much criticism from U.S. firms and politicians alike, has almost 90,000 patents in its portfolio, including over 11,000 granted in the U.S.
An interesting development from the Osaka G-20 meeting: Chinese President Xi Xinping made a promise that, beginning next year, he will strengthen enforcement against those who infringe on intellectual property and “compensate those who have suffered losses.”
Taylor Swift’s “worst nightmare” is coming true. Media mogul Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings is acquiring Big Machine Label Group, which holds the rights to Swift’s earlier works. Braun was once Kanye West’s agent during Ye’s famous feud with Swift, leaving her “musical legacy…in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.”
Ed Sheeran has been involved in a legal dispute as to whether or not his “Thinking Out Loud” is an infringement on Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On.” However, this case has been postponed until the ruling in a similar case involving Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Spirit’s “Taurus” comes out.