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Symbols, Systems, And Software As Intellectual Property: Time For Contu, Part Ii?, Timothy K. Armstrong May 2018

Symbols, Systems, And Software As Intellectual Property: Time For Contu, Part Ii?, Timothy K. Armstrong

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

The functional nature of computer software underlies two propositions that were, until recently, fairly well settled in intellectual property law: first, that software, like other utilitarian articles, may qualify for patent protection; and second, that the scope of copyright protection for software is comparatively limited. Both propositions have become considerably shakier as a result of recent court decisions. Following Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014), the lower courts have invalidated many software patents as unprotectable subject matter. Meanwhile, Oracle America v. Google Inc., 750 F.3d 1339 (Fed. Cir. 2014) extended far more expansive ...


Why The Copyright Act Expressly Preempts State-Level Public Performance Rights In Pre-1972 Recordings, James Fahringer May 2018

Why The Copyright Act Expressly Preempts State-Level Public Performance Rights In Pre-1972 Recordings, James Fahringer

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Over the past several years, two former bandmates in the 1960s rock group, The Turtles, have initiated several lawsuits against the popular music streaming services, Pandora and Sirius XM, arguing that the band owns common law copyrights in the sound recordings of its songs, and that these state-level copyrights grant the band an exclusive public performance right in its sound recordings. If accepted, this argument has the potential to significantly distort federal copyright policy because states would not be constrained by any of the balancing features of the Copyright Act, including Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbors for Internet ...


Paypal Is New Money: Extending Secondary Copyright Liability Safe Harbors To Online Payment Processors, Erika Douglas Nov 2017

Paypal Is New Money: Extending Secondary Copyright Liability Safe Harbors To Online Payment Processors, Erika Douglas

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has shaped the Internet as we know it. This legislation shields online service providers from secondary copyright infringement liability in exchange for takedown of infringing content of their users. Yet online payment processors, the backbone of $300 billion in U.S. e-commerce, are completely outside of the DMCA’s protection. This Article uses PayPal, the most popular online payment company in the U.S., to illustrate the growing risk of secondary liability for payment processors. First it looks at jurisprudence that expands secondary copyright liability online, and explains how it might be applied to ...


Jailbreak!: What Happens When Autonomous Vehicle Owners Hack Into Their Own Cars, Michael Sinanian Apr 2017

Jailbreak!: What Happens When Autonomous Vehicle Owners Hack Into Their Own Cars, Michael Sinanian

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Autonomous and connected vehicles (ACVs) are a transformational force for humanity. It is highly likely that some owners of ACVs will circumvent their vehicle software to expose unauthorized functionality, known as “jailbreaking”. This would trigger copyright liability, the extent of which would be dependent upon the copyright system’s various rulemaking processes and common law interpretations. This note explores the world of software “jailbreaking”, with its roots in smartphone unlocking, and extrapolates that to ACVs. Some compelling (and at times dangerous) scenarios are contemplated, and recommendations are made for consumers, technologists, manufacturers, and policy makers.


Branded: Trademark Tattoos, Slave Owner Brands, And The Right To Have "Free" Skin, Shontavia Johnson Jul 2016

Branded: Trademark Tattoos, Slave Owner Brands, And The Right To Have "Free" Skin, Shontavia Johnson

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Though existing for several millennia in various cultures, body modification through tattooing is becoming more popular in the United States. Twenty percent of Americans have at least one tattoo, and among Millennials this number grows to almost forty percent. As the popularity of tattoos has increased in recent years, so too have questions revolving around concepts of intellectual property and the plausible limitations of any rights stemming therefrom. This Article addresses the implications, for both the tattooist and the tattooed, of using trademarked designations as tattoos. Neither the courts nor Congress have definitively answered the question of how traditional trademark ...


Patent Privateers And Antitrust Fears, Matthew Sipe Jul 2016

Patent Privateers And Antitrust Fears, Matthew Sipe

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Patent trolls are categorically demonized as threatening American innovation and industry. But whether they are a threat that antitrust law is equipped to deal with is a complex question that depends on the particular type of patent troll and activities they engage in. This Article looks specifically at privateer patent trolls: entities that acquire their patents from operating entities and assert them against other industry members. In the particular context of privateering, antitrust law is almost certainly not the proper legal solution. Privateering does raise significant issues: circumventing litigation constraints, evading licensing obligations, and raising the cost and frequency of ...


Rent-Seeking And Inter Partes Review: An Analysis Of Invalidity Assertion Entities In Patent Law, W. Michael Schuster Jul 2016

Rent-Seeking And Inter Partes Review: An Analysis Of Invalidity Assertion Entities In Patent Law, W. Michael Schuster

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

This Essay is the first analysis of a recent entrant on the patent landscape: the Invalidity Assertion Entity (IAE). IAEs engage in rent-seeking by demanding payment from patent holders in exchange for not attempting to invalidate their patents through administrative action before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The response to IAEs has been uniformly negative. Reflexive proposals have been raised in Congress (unsurprisingly) to terminate the IAE business model. In contrast to the common response to IAEs, this Essay discusses how profit-driven IAEs may generate socially beneficial externalities and why legislating to end the IAE business model is ...


Plausible Pleading In Patent Suits: Predicting The Effects Of The Abrogation Of Form 18, Kyle R. Williams Jul 2016

Plausible Pleading In Patent Suits: Predicting The Effects Of The Abrogation Of Form 18, Kyle R. Williams

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

On December 1, 2015, amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure took effect. The changes included, among other things, the abrogation of the Appendix of Forms, which contained templates for summons, complaints, answers, and other litigation documents. Prior to its abrogation, Form 18—a template for a “Complaint for Patent Infringement”—was widely utilized by patent plaintiffs in crafting infringement complaints. Form 18 was created during the Conley pleading regime, when conclusory allegations were generally sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. Accordingly, the sample allegations in Form 18 were conclusory and bare-bones in nature. Under Conley, plaintiffs who ...


Before Mayo & After Alice: The Changing Concept Of Abstract Ideas, Magnus Gan Jan 2016

Before Mayo & After Alice: The Changing Concept Of Abstract Ideas, Magnus Gan

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Mayo v. Prometheus and Alice v. CLS are landmark Supreme Court decisions which respectively introduced and then instituted a new, two-step patent-eligibility test. Step One tests the patent claims for abstractness, while Step Two tests for inventive application. This new test was so demanding that in the one-year period after Alice was decided, over 80 percent of all challenged patents had one or more claims invalidated. In fact, at the Federal Circuit over the same time period, only one recorded case of a successful Alice defense exists—DDR Holdings v. Hotels.com. This note explains DDR’s success as an ...


The Effect Of The 1886 Berne Convention On The U.S. Copyright System's Treatment Of Moral Rights And Copyright Term, And Where That Leaves Us Today, Samuel Jacobs Jan 2016

The Effect Of The 1886 Berne Convention On The U.S. Copyright System's Treatment Of Moral Rights And Copyright Term, And Where That Leaves Us Today, Samuel Jacobs

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

The 1886 Berne Convention was the most influential copyright related treaty for over a century, and provided important minimum substantive protections for authors. Key provisions included the establishment of the principle of National Treatment, the abolishment of formalities in order to receive copyright protection, a required copyright term of life of the author plus fifty years, and most offensive to the U.S. copyright system, the mandate that signatories provide authors non-economic moral rights. Despite the international importance and widespread acceptance of the Berne Convention, the U.S. did not join the Convention for over one hundred years, making it ...


The Cost Of Confusion: The Paradox Of Trademarked Pharmaceuticals, Hannah Brennan Oct 2015

The Cost Of Confusion: The Paradox Of Trademarked Pharmaceuticals, Hannah Brennan

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

The United States spends nearly $1,000 per person annually on drugs—forty percent more than the next highest spender, Canada, and more than twice the amount France and Germany spend. Although myriad factors contribute to high drug spending in the United States, intellectual property law plays a crucial and well-documented role in inhibiting access to cheaper, generic medications. Yet, for the most part, the discussion of the relationship between intellectual property law and drug spending has centered on patent protection. Recently, however, a few researchers have turned their attention to a different avenue of exclusivity—trademark law. New studies ...


Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Lucrative Fandom: Recognizing The Economic Power Of Fanworks And Reimagining Fair Use In Copyright, Stacey M. Lantagne Jun 2015

Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Lucrative Fandom: Recognizing The Economic Power Of Fanworks And Reimagining Fair Use In Copyright, Stacey M. Lantagne

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Fan culture, in the form of fan-created works like fanfiction, fanart, and fanvids, is often associated with the Internet. However, fandom has existed for as long as stories have been told. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories inspired a passionate fandom long before the age of the Internet. Despite their persistence, fanworks have long existed in a gray area of copyright law. Determining if any given fanwork is infringing requires a fair use analysis. Although these analyses pay lip service to a requirement of aesthetic neutrality, they tend to become bogged down by unarticulated artistic judgments that hinge ...


More Than Bric-A-Brac: Testing Chinese Exceptionalism In Patenting Behavior Using Comparative Empirical Analysis, Jay P. Kesan, Alan Marco, Richard Miller Jan 2015

More Than Bric-A-Brac: Testing Chinese Exceptionalism In Patenting Behavior Using Comparative Empirical Analysis, Jay P. Kesan, Alan Marco, Richard Miller

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Although many developing economies are increasingly influencing the global economy, China’s influence has been the greatest of these by far. Once hindered from competition by political and economic restrictions, China is now a major economic player. As China’s economic might has grown, so too has the demand for intellectual property protection for technologies originating from China. In this article, we present a detailed empirical study of Chinese patenting trends in the United States and the implications of these trends for the global economy. We compare these trends to patenting trends from earlier decades. Specifically, we compare Chinese patenting ...


Patent Punting: How Fda And Antitrust Courts Undermine The Hatch-Waxman Act To Avoid Dealing With Patents, Rebecca S. Eisenberg, Daniel A. Crane Jan 2015

Patent Punting: How Fda And Antitrust Courts Undermine The Hatch-Waxman Act To Avoid Dealing With Patents, Rebecca S. Eisenberg, Daniel A. Crane

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Under the Hatch-Waxman Act, patent law and FDA regulation work together to determine the timing of generic entry in the market for drugs. But FDA has sought to avoid any responsibility for reading patents, insisting that its role in administering the patent provisions of the Hatch-Waxman Act is purely ministerial. This gap in regulatory oversight has allowed innovators to use irrelevant patents to defer generic competition. Meanwhile, patent litigation has set the stage for anticompetitive settlements rather than adjudication of the patent issues in the courts. As these settlements have provoked antitrust litigation, antitrust courts have proven no more willing ...


Pay-For-Delay Settlements In The Wake Of Actavis, Michael L. Fialkoff May 2014

Pay-For-Delay Settlements In The Wake Of Actavis, Michael L. Fialkoff

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

“Pay-for-delay” settlements, also known as reverse payments, arise when a generic manufacturer pursues FDA approval of a generic version of a brand-name drug. If a patent protects the brand-name drug, the generic manufacturer has the option of contesting the validity of the patent or arguing that its product does not infringe the patent covering the brand-name drug. If the generic manufacturer prevails on either of these claims, the FDA will approve its generic version for sale. Approval of a generic version of a brand-name drug reduces the profitability of the brand-name drug by forcing the brand-name manufacturer to price its ...


Judicial Capacities And Patent Claim Construction: An Ordinary Reader Standard, Greg Reilly May 2014

Judicial Capacities And Patent Claim Construction: An Ordinary Reader Standard, Greg Reilly

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Patent claim construction is a mess. The Federal Circuit’s failure to provide adequate guidance has created significant problems for the patent system. The problems with claim construction result from the Federal Circuit’s inability to resolve whether claim terms should be given (1) the general, acontextual meaning they would have to a skilled person in the field; (2) the specific meaning they have in the context of the patent; or (3) some combination of the two. The claim construction debate largely overlooks the generalist judges who must implement claim construction. This Article fills that gap, concluding that existing approaches ...


Patent Misuse And Antitrust: Rebirth Or False Dawn?, Daryl Lim May 2014

Patent Misuse And Antitrust: Rebirth Or False Dawn?, Daryl Lim

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

This Article examines how two recent cases, F.T.C. v. Actavis and Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises Inc. could affect both the equitable defense of patent misuse and the patent-antitrust interface more generally. It begins by tracing the history of patent misuse and its reformulation into an “antitrust-lite” doctrine by the Federal Circuit. This Article presents new empirical data confirming this reformulation, and unveils the surprising influence of the Seventh Circuit and the Chicago School on that reformulation. The Article then explores Actavis and Kimble. It explains why Actavis will catalyze more antitrust challenges when patent rights are exercised, and ...


Markets And Patent Enforcement: A Comparative Investigation Of Non-Practicing Entities In The Unitedstates And Europe, Stefania Fusco Jan 2014

Markets And Patent Enforcement: A Comparative Investigation Of Non-Practicing Entities In The Unitedstates And Europe, Stefania Fusco

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Is it true that non-practicing entities (NPEs) are primarily a U.S. phenomenon? Over time, several definitions of NPEs have been presented. They range from research institutions that hold patent portfolios for their inventions but do not develop and commercialize any products, to IP asset management firms whose exclusive business is asserting patent claims to collect significant fees from companies operating in certain industries. The latter are also referred to as “patent trolls” and have been the subject of significant debate as to their role in the innovative process in different fields. NPEs are a relatively new phenomenon. Studies have ...


Jurisdictional Limits Of In Rem Proceedings Against Domain Names, Michael Xun Liu Jan 2014

Jurisdictional Limits Of In Rem Proceedings Against Domain Names, Michael Xun Liu

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

In 1999, Congress passed the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) to combat “cybersquatters” who profited by registering domain names that were confusingly similar to established trademarks. Under the ACPA, trademark owners have a specific cause of action against domain name registrants accused of cybersquatting. Moreover, the law gives U.S. courts in rem jurisdiction over trademark infringing domain names registered to parties that are not subject to personal jurisdiction. Over the past decade, proceeding in rem against domain names has proven to be an effective strategy for trademark owners. While many companies have used the ACPA against cybersquatters, others have ...


Dilution At The Patent And Trademark Office, Jeremy N. Sheff Jan 2014

Dilution At The Patent And Trademark Office, Jeremy N. Sheff

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

This Article undertakes the first systematic investigation of trademark dilution in registration practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). The Article consists of three distinct descriptive empirical analyses. In the first, I present a new hand-coded dataset of all 453 Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) dispositions of dilution claims through June 30, 2014, and report that dilution has been necessary to the PTO’s refusal of exactly three registrations in over a decade. In the second part, I apply algorithmic coding of the recently released PTO Casefiles Dataset to demonstrate that concurrent registration of identical marks to ...


Predictability And Nonobviousness In Patent Law After Ksr, Christopher A. Cotropia Jan 2014

Predictability And Nonobviousness In Patent Law After Ksr, Christopher A. Cotropia

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

In KSR International Co. v. Teleflex, Inc., the Supreme Court addressed the doctrine of nonobviousness, the ultimate question of patentability, for the first time in thirty years. In mandating a flexible approach to deciding nonobviousness, the KSR opinion introduced two predictability standards for determining nonobviousness. The Court described predictability of use (hereinafter termed “Type I predictability”)— whether the inventor used the prior art in a predictable manner to create the invention—and predictability of the result (hereinafter termed “Type II predictability”)—whether the invention produced a predictable result—both as a means for proving obviousness. Although Type I predictability is ...


After Myriad: Reconsidering The Incentives For Innovation In The Biotech Industry, Daniel K. Yarbrough Jan 2014

After Myriad: Reconsidering The Incentives For Innovation In The Biotech Industry, Daniel K. Yarbrough

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

35 U.S.C. § 101 allows a patent for “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” Recently, the Supreme Court issued several key decisions affecting the doctrine of patentable subject matter under § 101. Starting with Bilski v. Kappos (2011), and continuing with Mayo Collaborative Services, Inc. v. Prometheus Laboratories (2012), Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics (2013) and, most recently, Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International (2014), every year has brought another major change to the way in which the Court assesses patentability. In Myriad, the ...


Holding Up And Holding Out, Colleen V. Chien Jan 2014

Holding Up And Holding Out, Colleen V. Chien

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Patent “hold-up” and patent “hold-out” present important, alternative theories for what ails the patent system. Patent “hold-up” occurs when a patent owner sues a company when it is most vulnerable—after it has implemented a technology—and is able wrest a settlement because it is too late for the company to change course. Patent “hold-out” is the practice of companies routinely ignoring patents and resisting patent owner demands because the odds of getting caught are small. Hold-up has arguably predicted the current patent crises, and the ex ante assertion of technology patents whether in the smartphone war, standards, or patent ...


A Material World: Using Trademark Law To Override Copyright's First Sale Rule For Imported Copies, Mary Lafrance Jan 2014

A Material World: Using Trademark Law To Override Copyright's First Sale Rule For Imported Copies, Mary Lafrance

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

When the Supreme Court held that the first sale rule of copyright law permits the unauthorized importation and domestic sale of lawfully made copies of copyrighted works, regardless of where those copies were made, copyright owners lost much of their ability to engage in territorial price discrimination. Publishers, film and record producers, and software and videogame makers could no longer use copyright law to prevent the importation and domestic resale of gray market copies, and therefore could no longer protect their domestic distributors against competition from cheaper imported copies. However, many of these copyright owners can take advantage of a ...


Structure From Nothing And Claims For Free: Using A Whole-System View Of The Patent System To Improve Notice And Predictability For Software Patents, Holly K. Victorson Jan 2014

Structure From Nothing And Claims For Free: Using A Whole-System View Of The Patent System To Improve Notice And Predictability For Software Patents, Holly K. Victorson

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

No uniform or customary method of disclosure for software patents is currently employed by inventors. This Note examines the issues that develop from software patent claims disclosed at various levels of abstraction, and the difficulties encountered by courts and the public when investigating the contours of the software patent space. While the courts have placed some restrictions on the manner in which software inventions are claimed, they are easily bypassed by clever patent applicants who desire to claim the maximum scope of their inventions. In the long run, however, a large “patent thicket” of overlapping and potentially overbroad inventions will ...


District Courts Versus The Usitc: Considering Exclusionary Relief For F/Rand-Encumbered Standard-Essential Patents, Helen H. Ji Jan 2014

District Courts Versus The Usitc: Considering Exclusionary Relief For F/Rand-Encumbered Standard-Essential Patents, Helen H. Ji

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Technological standards allow manufacturers and consumers to rely upon these agreed-upon basic systems to facilitate sales and further invention. However, where these standards involved patented technology, the process of standard-setting raises many concerns at the intersection of antitrust and patent law. As patent holders advocate for their patents to become part of technological standards, how should courts police this activity to prevent patent holdup and other anti-competitive practices? This Note explores the differing approaches to remedies employed by the United States International Trade Commission and the United States District Courts where standard-essential patents are infringed. This Note further proposes that ...


Getting Down To (Tattoo) Business: Copyright Norms And Speech Protections For Tattooing, Alexa L. Nickow Dec 2013

Getting Down To (Tattoo) Business: Copyright Norms And Speech Protections For Tattooing, Alexa L. Nickow

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

What level of First Amendment protection should we afford tattooing? General public consensus formerly condemned tattoos as barbaric, but the increasingly diverse clientele of tattoo shops suggests that tattoos have become more mainstream. However, the law has struggled to adjust. The recent proliferation of municipal near-bans on tattooing has brought tattooing to the forefront of First Amendment debates, with cases such as Anderson and Coleman leading the way toward recognizing tattooing as pure speech. Tensions between formal and informal copyright norms in the tattoo industry further highlight the collaborative and expressive nature of the artist-customer relationship and its resulting products ...


Interactive Methods And Collaborative Performance: A New Future For Indirect Infringement, Josh Rychlinski Dec 2013

Interactive Methods And Collaborative Performance: A New Future For Indirect Infringement, Josh Rychlinski

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

An individual is liable for patent infringement if he infringes one or more patented claims either directly under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a) or indirectly under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) or § 271(c). In 2012, the Federal Circuit clarified its interpretation of § 271(b) and § 271(c) in the case of Akamai v. Limelight. However, the court failed to address issues of “divided” direct infringement, where two or more entities combine and together complete each and every step of a method claim, but no single entity does all of the steps. This Note walks through the history ...


Tollbooths And Newsstands On The Information Superhighway, Brad A. Greenberg Dec 2013

Tollbooths And Newsstands On The Information Superhighway, Brad A. Greenberg

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Countering the perception that speech limitations affecting distribution necessarily reduce access to information, this Essay proffers that copyright expansions actually can increase access and thereby serve important copyright and First Amendment values. In doing so, this discussion contributes to the growing literature and two recent Supreme Court opinions discussing whether copyright law and First Amendment interests can coexist.


Wag The Dog: Using Incidental Intellectual Property Rights To Block Parallel Imports, Mary Lafrance Dec 2013

Wag The Dog: Using Incidental Intellectual Property Rights To Block Parallel Imports, Mary Lafrance

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Federal law grants owners of intellectual property rights different degrees of control over parallel imports depending on the nature of their exclusive rights. While trademark owners enjoy strong control over unauthorized imports bearing their marks, their protection is less comprehensive than that granted to owners of copyrights and patents. To broaden their rights, some trademark owners have incorporated copyrighted material into their products or packaging, enabling them to block otherwise lawful imports in contravention of the policies underlying trademark law. A 2013 Supreme Court decision has significantly narrowed the importation ban of copyright law, but there may be pressure to ...