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Category Archives: Patent and Trademark

Supreme Court says generic domains like booking.com can be trademarked

ars technica: “The US Patent and Trademark Office erred by finding the term booking.com was too generic for trademark protection, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. Trademark law prohibits anyone from registering generic terms that describe a class of products or services. Anyone can start a store company called “The Wine Company,” but they can’t use trademark law to stop others from using the same name. When the online travel giant Bookings Holdings sought to trademark its booking.com domain name almost a decade ago, the US Patent and Trademark Office concluded that the same rule applied. Booking Holdings challenged this decision in court. The company pointed to survey data showing that consumers associated the phrase “booking.com” with a specific website as opposed to a generic term for travel websites. Both the trial and appeals courts sided with booking.com, finding that booking.com was sufficiently distinctive to merit its own trademark—even if the generic word “booking” couldn’t be trademarked on its own. Trademark law declines to protect generic terms in an effort to promote competition. If a company could trademark a word like “booking” or “wine,” it could interfere with competitors who want to accurately describe their products in the marketplace. That would give companies that trademark generic terms an unfair advantage…”

The Covid-19 Vaccine Should Belong to the People

The Nation – The US government has the authority under existing law to break patent monopolies. “…The idea that some people would not receive a vaccine was once unthinkable. In a now legendary story, Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine in 1955—and then gave it away for free. An interviewer once asked Salk who owned… Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Consider Whether Web Addresses Using Generic Terms May Be Trademarked

CRS Legal Sidebar via LC – Isn’t It Generic: Supreme Court to Consider Whether Web Addresses Using Generic Terms May Be Trademarked – June 2, 2020: “What can be trademarked? On May 4, 2020, in its first telephonic oral argument ever, the Supreme Court heard arguments addressing this question. Generally, trademarks protect the goodwill that… Continue Reading

10 Million Patents – United States Patent and Trademark Office

10 Million Patents – United States Patent and Trademark Office – “Patents through history. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued patent number 10 million on June 19, 2018. This milestone of human ingenuity perhaps exceeds even the Founding Fathers’ expectations when they called for a patent system in the Constitution to “promote… Continue Reading

How Patent Abuse Could Hurt the Fight Against the Pandemic

Slate – Scientific research that is funded by the public should be available to the public. “Scientific research that is funded by the public should be available to the public. That commonsense principle is no more apparent than in the middle of a public health crisis. And for the most part, researchers and journal publishers… Continue Reading

Amazon files patent for tech to identify you using the veins in your hand

USA Today: “What if you could pay for your groceries using your veins?  Amazon filed a patent for technology that could identify you by scanning the wrinkles in the palm of your hand and by using a light to see beneath your skin to your blood vessels. The resulting images could be used to identify you… Continue Reading

Computers have an unlikely origin story: the 1890 census

FastCompany – David Lindsay Roberts – “The inventor of punched cards, which led to the first computers and companies like IBM, was aiming to solve a gnarly problem at the time: data collection for the census…The U.S. Constitution requires that a population count be conducted at the beginning of every decade. This census has always been charged… Continue Reading

Who Profits From AI? It’s Getting Harder to Find Out

Bloomberg: “As companies from IBM to Samsung Electronics Co. to Halliburton Co. scramble to find the next great invention using artificial intelligence, they may hit a roadblock when trying to patent their ideas. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is making it increasingly difficult to obtain legal protections for inventions related to AI, a field… Continue Reading

Facebook Filed A Patent To Calculate Your Future Location

BussFeedNews: The methods described in three Facebook patent applications use your historical location data — and others’ — to figure out where you’ll go next. “Facebook has filed several patent applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office for technology that uses your location data to predict where you’re going and when you’re going to… Continue Reading

The Story of the American Inventor Denied a Patent Because He Was a Slave

The Story of the American Inventor Denied a Patent Because He Was a Slave, Paleofuture (Aug. 28, 2018) Brian L. Frye “The world of invention is famous for its patent disputes. But what happens when your dispute wasn’t with another inventor but whether the Patent Office saw you as a person at all? In 1864, a… Continue Reading

Court Vacates Injunction Against Publishing the Law

EFF – Win for Public Right to Know: Court Vacates Injunction Against Publishing the Law – Industry Groups Want to Control Access to Legal Rules and Regulation: “San Francisco – A federal appeals court today ruled that industry groups cannot control publication of binding laws and standards. This decision protects the work of Public.Resource.org (PRO),… Continue Reading