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Daily Archives: March 18, 2014

Are Prior User Rights Good for Software?

Vetter, Greg R., Are Prior User Rights Good for Software? (March 17, 2014). U of Houston Law Center No. 2014-W-1. Available at SSRN:

“The America Invents Act (“AIA”) gave modern patent law in the United States a general prior user rights defense. The patent right is enforced via infringement litigation, but enterprises sometimes obtain patents for defensive purposes. Alternately, an enterprise that does not pursue a patent for an invention may choose to use the invention under trade secrecy protection. However, trade secrecy protection leaves a prior user vulnerable because a later inventor may patent the innovation and enjoin the prior user from further use. Styled as an infringement defense for a “prior commercial use,” the AIA defense replaces a decade old “earlier inventor” defense that arose from a software system patent infringement case and applied only for business method patents. This article assesses the AIA’s prior use defense from the perspective of software technology in view of the contentious issues around software patenting. It concludes, first, that courts should interpret the defense, or congress should alter it, to ensure its efficacy for software. Facially, the defense suggests a manufacturing motif, although its applicability to commerce in software may be stronger than suggested at first glance. Second, this article assesses the potential impact of a prior use defense on intellectual property protection in software. Some have posited that, as a general matter, the defense may create an incentive to favor trade secrecy over patenting. Regardless of the strength of that logic for other technologies, it seems lacking for software. While the use of the defense for software patent infringement will depend on the defense’s efficacy, there is also the question as to the defense’s impact on software patenting. One potential impact is on defensive patenting. Will software firms engage in less defensive patenting if there is an efficacious prior use defense?”

Federal Drug Prosecutions Fall to Lowest Level in Over 13 Years

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: “The monthly count of federal prosecutions for narcotics/drugs offenses has reached its lowest level since May 2000. The latest available data from the Justice Department show there were 1,487 new prosecutions in this category in January 2014, down 7.8 percent from the previous month and down 11.5 percent from the year before.… Continue Reading

The Financial Capability of Young Adults – A Generational View

“An examination of data from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s National Financial Capability Study (State-by-State Survey) found that millennials are struggling financially. In particular, they exhibit a number of problematic financial behaviors, display low levels of financial literacy and express concerns about their debt. Within the millennial generation, females and minorities display signs of lower financial capability relative to males… Continue Reading

IMF – Sound Policy Design: the Efficient Way to Cut Inequality

“Growing inequality in recent years has put increased pressure on fiscal policy to redistribute income. While the question of just how much redistribution the state should do, in the end, rests with national governments, the design of the policies themselves has a critical bearing on their effects on efficiency and growth. The design of these growth-friendly,… Continue Reading

IMF – Redistribution, Inequality, and Growth

Redistribution, Inequality, and Growth. Jonathan D. Ostry, Andrew Berg, and Charalambos G. Tsangarides. February 2014. “Economists are increasingly focusing on the links between rising inequality and the fragility of growth. Narratives include the relationship between inequality, leverage and the financial cycle, which sowed the seeds for crisis; and the role of political-economy factors (especially the influence of the rich)… Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – Military Housing, Nuclear Command/Control, Missile Defense, Afghanistan, USPS, Capital Financing

MILITARY HOUSING: Information on the Privatization of Unaccompanied Personnel Housing, GAO-14-313:  Published: Mar 18, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 18, 2014. NUCLEAR COMMAND, CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATIONS: Review of DOD’s Current Modernization Efforts, GAO-14-414R: Published: Mar 18, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 18, 2014. REGIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE: DOD’s Report Provided Limited Information; Assessment of Acquisition Risks is Optimistic, GAO-14-248R: Published: Mar 14, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar… Continue Reading

The World Top Incomes Database

Economic and Social Research Council: “Select, retrieve and download the data and the notes to the series using the menu here. Ctrl+click (in Windows) or Cmd+click (in Mac OS) for selecting multiple contiguous or non-contiguous countries and variables. To download the complete database, tick ‘all’ countries, ‘all’ years, ‘all’ variables, and retrieve the data. Move… Continue Reading

Urgent action needed to tackle rising inequality and social divisions, says OECD

“Income inequality and social divisions could worsen and become entrenched unless governments act quickly to boost support for the most vulnerable in society, according to a new OECD report. Society at a Glance 2014 says that despite a gradually improving global economy, medium-term fiscal consolidation in many countries will pose challenges for tackling the social fallout from the… Continue Reading

Federal Reserve Statistical Release, March 6, 2014

Z.1 – Financial Accounts of the United States, Fourth Quarter 2013: “The net worth of households and nonprofits was $80.7 trillion at the end of 2013, about $3 trillion more than at the end of the third quarter. For 2013 as a whole, net worth increased $9.8 trillion, or 14 percent, driven largely by a $5.6 trillion increase in… Continue Reading

The National Atlas Will Be Removed from Service September 30, 2014

“This year we are combining the National Atlas of the United States withThe National Map to provide a single source for geospatial and cartographic information. This transformation is taking place to streamline access to information from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Geospatial Program. USGS budget austerity has compelled our organization to prioritize its civilian mapping… Continue Reading