Happy Constitution Day! Last year I wrote a piece discussing the relationship between the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and intellectual property rights. In summary, while intellectual property rights are a generally good idea and absolutely within the scope of Congress’ power, they are most certainly not individual rights which the government has an affirmative obligation to protect.
News and Commentary
A post on the Library Futures website discusses their new paper on the framework for controlled digital lending (CDL). The paper discusses the benefits of controlled digital lending and how it can make library resources not only go further–by expanding the reach of the works they have in their collections–but how it expands access to works and fosters better relationships between libraries and the communities which they serve.
In PatentlyO, Dennis Crouch discusses what could become the sequel to Google v. Oracle: SAS Institute v. World Programming Limited. Here, WPL obtained copies of the SAS software and cloned it. SAS sued for copyright infringement, and the district court found that the software interface used in question was not eligible for copyright protection. Crouch points out that while the case is very similar to Google v. Oracle (they both deal with software interfaces and code reimplementation), the question of eligibility for copyright protection is front-and-center, where SCOTUS dodged it in Google v. Oracle and ruled on fair use instead. Crouch also discusses parties who have weighed in on the case, which relates to what is “most aptly described as a programming language that consists of a set of functions & options that the plaintiff calls “input formats” used to produce formatted reports.”
The Tax Foundation’s Elke Asen discusses European “patent boxes.” Patent boxes are one of many ways European countries subsidize R&D (including patents themselves) where income derived from eligible intellectual property is taxed at a lower rate. I have written about patent boxes previously, and found them lacking as a significant booster of innovation.
The question of the ability of AI to earn a patent has been decided in federal court, with District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruling against the owner of the AI called “DABUS”, Stephen Thaler. The decision largely followed my previous argument against his case based on the definition of the word “inventor” under the Patent Act.
In Pro-Market, Alden Abbott discusses how market-oriented reforms, not just antitrust enforcement, to make the pharmaceutical industry more competitive and pharmaceuticals more affordable are necessary. He makes a number of recommendations, including the need to more closely scrutinize the anticompetitive role patents play.