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No Monkey Business: Animal selfie raises serious questions about copyright ownership

Who is the legitimate owner of a selfie taken by a monkey, but positioned by a nature photographer? Is it the intellectual property of the animal or the photog? A novel law suit filed recently by PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), the animal rights advocates, asserts that a macaque monkey, Naruto, should be […]

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Reporter: Patent system failed heart valve inventor

One of the biggest obstacle to inventors today may the system created to protect them. Research cardiologist Tory Norred thinks so.   In a recent post on IP Watchdog, excerpted below, I summarize how investigative reporter Scott Eden skewers the U.S. patent system in the July-August Popular Mechanics article, “How the U.S. Patent System Got So Screwed […]

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Raymond P. Niro, pioneering patent litigator, is dead at 73

Raymond Niro, a highly successful patent litigator who represented primarily inventors and other plaintiffs, passed away on August 9 at the age of 73. It was reported that he was in ill-health and died of heart failure while vacationing in Italy. IP Law 360 described him as a “pioneering intellectual property attorney and who often […]

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Four timely events kick-off September IP conference season

September is back-to-school for kids. For IP rights followers it is back to keeping up with the myriad changes in law and value. At least Four conferences – in New York, Silicon Valley and Tokyo – are worthy of serious consideration. Two of them are offer IP CloseUp readers a discount on registration. On September […]

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Taylor Swift assists recording artists, Apple Music, and (even) herself

Taylor Swift, a pop star with sufficient power to move mountains, succeeded in moving an equally resolute object last year: Apple Music’s position on paying royalties to recording artists.  A year later it is unclear if was the musicians, Apple, or Swift who benefited the most. A Wall Street Journal op-ed last week reminded us that there are […]

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Patents are rights, not privileges; Jefferson story is “historical myth”

Is it any wonder why patents are widely despised and holders mistrusted? Patents and other IP rights have been caught in the perfect storm of anger towards the government, the entitled, and ideas too complex to fathom on Instagram. Patents are difficult to explain and uncertain in nature. To many people they represent inscrutable and insurmountable barriers […]

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Shares of patent licensing cos were off in 2Q after a torrid start to year

After a record-breaking first quarter, public IP company shares (PIPCOs) under-performed most stocks versus the S&P 500 index in the second quarter. Following a five-year leading return of 13.1%, vs. 0.8% for the S&P 500, the PIPX IP Sector Index of 13 patent licensing stocks fell in the second quarter -4.4% vs. a 1.9% gain […]

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A record number of major holders were granted far fewer US patents

Many significant tech companies experienced dramatic declines in US patent grants, fueling speculation about the reasons why.  While total patent grants were virtually flat, according to USPTO data, down just 53 patents from 326,032 to 325,979, and utility patent grants and applications were up, many top US holders received significantly fewer US patent grants in 2015. […]

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Musicians want fairer streaming fees; inventors want patent licenses

In a digital world, fair compensation for creative expression or new ideas, like music and inventions, requires more determination than ever. Intellectual property piracy has become an insidious problem, affecting a wide range of  individuals and industries, including recording and technology. The effect of low payment – as opposed to no payment – has been […]

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Enganging IP book for students is free via iBooks or PDF, $.99 Kindle

The US intellectual property system is the envy of nations everywhere. Despite this, confusion reigns about what are patents and other IP rights, and whom do they serve. A new book has been published that makes it easier for college students and non-IP professionals, including inventors, engineers and investors to understand how IP rights work […]

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Symantec acquires Blue Coat, a leading IPR filer with a $289M loss

Cybersecurity firm Blue Coat Systems has decided to opt-out of an initial public offering and sell itself to software security leader Symantec for $4.65 billion.  What has not been widely reported in the press is that Blue Coat, a relatively small cybersecurity company with a loss of $289 million in 2015, is a leading filer of […]

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“All Prior Art” algorithm won’t stop bad patents or actors

Stopping new inventions dead in their tracks by making them “automatically” unpatentable might sound like a good idea to some. However, programming a computer to disclose an endless combination of dubious inventions is more effective at stopping bad patents in theory, not practice. At least that is what three experienced patent attorneys told me recently. […]

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