The Competing Interests of Open Source and Patents, or Not?

Posted By: Aidan L. Clark

Copyleft_imageSome would say that open source software and protection of intellectual property rights, in the form of patents, could not exist in the same sphere. The idea behind open source software is to encourage innovation by the free exchange of code. The idea behind patenting software is to encourage innovation by granting the inventor a limited-in-time monopoly on their software. Both methods provide a way for the innovative technology to be introduced into the public domain. And with both methods, certain restrictions are placed on both the authors of the code, and those that wish to use it. Can open source software and patented software exists in the same sphere?

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Playing Whac-A-Mole with Internet Piracy: Where is it Headed, and Will it Ever Be Stopped?

Posted By: Rob Pollack

For years, the movie and music industries have been plagued by internet piracy through websites like The Pirate Bay, BitTorrent and Torrentz who have given users the ability to download and stream millions of their favorite songs and movies, right from their computer for free. Copyright protection has been evaded so well, that many companies are left scratching their heads about what to do next. The New York Times, in an article on the subject, described this process as like that of the game Whac-A-Mole, except in this game of Whac-A-Mole, the mallet is “heavy and slow,” and when it hits one mole, hundreds of others appear. Sadly, (or joyously, depending on which side you’re on), this has become the reality in the digital world we live in, and with the genesis of 3-D printing, you might want to buckle your seatbelt because it looks like internet piracy might not be going away for a very long time.

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Protecting Innovation

Posted by: Michael Avila

April 20, 2015

Page_37_Digest_of_United_States_automobile_patents_from_1789_to_July_1,_1899_closeupArticle I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution provides Congress with the power “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their writings and discoveries”. Through this statement the legitimacy of copyright and patent law was born, and the rights of these innovators were protected and codified under Title 35 of the United States Code. Recently the rash of so called “Patent Trolls” has reached epidemic levels has threatened this system and put many such innovators on the defensive as evidenced by Apple’s claim that they had been the target of over one hundred Patent Trolls in the three years preceding 2014. Continue reading

3D Printers and Pirating: Who Can Be Held Liable?

Posted by: Sam Knecht

April 20, 2015


The_Bukobot_Reprap_3D_Printer3D printing is an emerging technology that is being used to create a host of products such as prototypes, phone cases, models, artwork, shoes, and even firearms – just to name a few. As 3D printing becomes more widespread and both blueprints for and items manufactured by these printers are shared and sold in cyberspace, the potential for infringement of intellectual property rights grows exponentially. But who can be held liable? Continue reading

3D Printing and The Second Coming of Patent Law in Cyberspace

Posted by:  David Medina

April 18, 2015


The_Bukobot_Reprap_3D_PrinterIf you have kept track with technology lately, you’re bound to have seen something about 3D printing. 3D printing has been advertised as pretty much the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems. Cox cable services released a commercial advertising their internet services by talking about how 3D printing could revolutionize food. 60 Minutes ran an episode about how 3D printing is making America more dangerous. Well in addition to all of these amazing possibilities and scary doomsday scenarios we can add one more area in which 3D printing can change our world: legal enforcement in cyberspace.

For the past countless years, trademark, trade secret, and copyright have been the main tools through which someone protects their content online. 3D printing can change that calculus by reintroducing patent law into that arena. 3D printing has the ability to revive patent law as a viable legal alternative to prevent infringement of a protectable idea. Continue reading

Patent Litigation, Coming to a Podcast Near You!

Posted By:  Ryan Bethell

Image by Yagraph

Image by Yagraph

Hot off the heels of an $8,000,000 settlement with apple over a patent covering “Downloadable Playlists,” Personal Audio, a digital audio company in Texas, has set its sights on popular podcast producers. Personal Audio has asserted a patent pertaining to cover “how audio files are organized and downloaded on the internet,” over several popular podcasts producers, including Adam Carolla, who owns Carolla Digital, and hosts the most downloaded podcast in the world, The Adam Carolla Show. Not to be intimidated, Carolla is deputizing his listeners to raise social awareness about patent trolls, and is preparing to crowd fund a robust legal defense. Personal Audio’s attorney, Richard Baker says “We’re putting our effort into the larger people because there’s a larger return there,” but will the company ultimately regret their decision to anger some of the loudest and most influential voices in on the internet?

Personal Audio isn’t doing anything drastically different than the other so called “patent trolls” (a term to describe patents holders that litigate on patents that they own but do not use) have been doing since 2002, but jurors and voters may respond more favorably to podcast personalities than they are the corporations that are normally defending these suits. Neel Chatterjee, former counsel for Mark Zuckerberg and Partner in charge of intellectual property at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, dropped by the Adam Carolla show on November 21 to discuss his thoughts on the case, as well the state of patent litigation generally. Continue reading