News and Commentary
While the Tillis/Coons DMCA 2020 hearings aren’t coming back anytime soon, it’s important to remember that while many have always had an axe to grind in the context of copyright law, for many these hearings were just another opportunity to go after big tech.
And, it’s probably worth mentioning that Tillis and Coons, chair and ranking member of the Senate’s IP Subcommittee and champions of stronger patent rights, have received significant contributions from pharmaceutical companies to their campaigns.
A blog post from the National Bureau of Economic Research examines the beneficial effects of government R&D grants on high-tech startups. They find that after receiving a grant, firm wages increase significantly.
Here’s an interesting look at the world of online print-on-demand swag stores. It allows individuals to upload designs for t-shirts, mugs, or any other types of swags, but it exists in a legal grey area: the DMCA provides a shield to these online platforms, but many of the designs uploaded (and thus reproduced) by these companies are likely infringing on copyrights or trademarks.
Recent invalidity ruling from the PTAB appealed to and upheld by the Federal Circuit: Customedia Tech’s patents on storage space in a cable box for advertising purposes were found to be invalid. The mere allocation of storing space is not, in and of itself, an improvement on the functionality of a computer system.
If you’d like to see Richard Epstein stay in his lane, you can watch this debate between him and Mark Lemley on whether intellectual property is property, moderated by Adam Mossoff.
In some sorely-needed good news, the $2.8 million verdict against Katy Perry was overturned on appeal. As a matter of law, Judge Christina Snyder found that the individual elements copied (we can say copied and not “allegedly” copied, as the decision is purely a legal and not a factual one at this point) are not independently protectable.
As many corporations and individuals are stepping up to fight COVID-19, even publishers are ever-so-slightly loosening restrictions on their content for children’s books as a treat. You can read a list of changes made by publishers here.
In an interesting intersection of climate and copyright policy, the European Union is proposing to increase the right-to-repair as a tool to combat e-waste and pollutants that come from the production of new rather than the reuse of old equipment.
A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research examined the behavior of teams tasked with researching breakthrough innovations in exchange for the promise of a large prize or more incremental, low-payoff ones. Despite large incentives for breakthrough projects, many teams still opted to choose the lower-risk, lower reward projects.