This Week in Intellectual Property, May 5th

This Week in Intellectual Property, May 5th

Rent Check

Brett Stephens has written a glowing profile of Gilead in which he critiques big Pharma’s critics, but these uncritical defenses ignore the very real criticisms against the pharmaceutical industry and could allow the industry to abuse the current crisis.


News and Commentary

Alex Tabarrok has an excellent post at Marginal Revolution about the decline in innovation funding as an example of the U.S.’s inability to build. Falling from a height of 12% of the federal budget in the mid-’60s, federal outlays on R&D is about 3% of the federal budget.

As DJs try to cope with the loss of work by doing what they do best over live-streaming services like Instagram live, they are hindered by copyright claims that end the stream, interrupting the flow and making the service they’re offering more difficult to provide.

The legality of museums allowing visitors to take photographs of exhibits and allowing users to post those pictures online is a difficult question, particularly considering differences in international copyright law, but cultural and societal questions about the museum experience may provide a better answer to such policies than the law.

The website Mashable was found to have not infringed on the copyright of photographer Stephanie Sinclair when it embedded a photograph Sinclair had uploaded from instagram. Because uploading to Instagram grants the site the ability to sublicense the photo, embedding by Mashable was permitted. This ruling, if adopted by future courts, will allow similar cases to be dismissed quickly compared to legal questions surrounding the more complicated “server rule.”

Here’s an interesting post on JD Supra about limits on the ability to copyright characters. The author Denise Daniels approached Disney about creating characters of different color to describe different moods, which Disney (allegedly) used to make the movie¬†Inside Out.¬†The court ruled that because the Daniels characters were underdeveloped, they were too abstract to be eligible for copyright protection.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has two excellent posts out recently. One discusses the important distinction between who is a “patent troll” and who is just an inventor asserting their patent rights. It includes a summary of the “trolling” business model, recognizing that trolls can often be smaller “independent” inventors or firms that buy their patents. This provides a good backdrop to EFF’s critique of the Inventor Rights Act, which grants certain benefits to inventor-owned patents that would be nonetheless destructive to the IPR process and make trolling much easier.

The National Law Review has a roundup of recent Supreme Court decisions related to intellectual property, including questions about the ability to appeal procedural PTAB decisions, and the ability of states to claim copyright protections over annotated sections of the legal code.

New Research

A new paper from the American Economic Journal examines a change to Canada’s R&D tax credit policy, finding an increase in R&D expenditures. This increase was larger for firms that took the credit as a refund because they had no tax liability to begin with.

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By |2020-05-12T09:29:30-07:00May 5th, 2020|Blog, Intellectual Property|