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Full-Text Articles in Law

Certiorari, Universality, And A Patent Puzzle, Tejas N. Narechania Jun 2018

Certiorari, Universality, And A Patent Puzzle, Tejas N. Narechania

Michigan Law Review

The most important determinant of a case’s chances for Supreme Court review is a circuit split: If two courts of appeals have decided the same issue differently, review is substantially more likely. But practically every appeal in a patent case makes its way to a single court—the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. How, then, does the Supreme Court decide whether to grant certiorari in a patent case?

The petitions for certiorari in the Court’s patent docket suggest an answer: The Supreme Court looks for splits anyway. These splits, however, are of a different sort. Rather than consider whether …


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 copyright protection …


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 …


The "Broadest Reasonable Interpretation" And Applying Issue Preclusion To Administrative Patent Claim Construction, Jonathan I. Tietz Jan 2018

The "Broadest Reasonable Interpretation" And Applying Issue Preclusion To Administrative Patent Claim Construction, Jonathan I. Tietz

Michigan Law Review

Inventions are tangible. Yet patents comprise words, and words are imprecise. Thus, disputes over patents involve a process known as “claim construction,” which formally clarifies the meaning of a patent claim’s words and, therefore, the scope of the underlying property right. Adversarial claim construction commonly occurs in various Article III and Article I settings, such as district courts or the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). When these proceedings ignore each other’s claim constructions, a patent’s scope can become inconsistent and unpredictable. The doctrine of issue preclusion could help with this problem. The Supreme Court recently reemphasized in B & …


Intellectual Property In Experience, Madhavi Sunder Jan 2018

Intellectual Property In Experience, Madhavi Sunder

Michigan Law Review

In today’s economy, consumers demand experiences. From Star Wars to Harry Potter, fans do not just want to watch or read about their favorite characters— they want to be them. They don the robes of Gryffindor, flick their wands, and drink the butterbeer. The owners of fantasy properties understand this, expanding their offerings from light sabers to the Galaxy’s Edge®, the new Disney Star Wars immersive theme park opening in 2019.Since Star Wars, Congress and the courts have abetted what is now a $262 billion-a-year industry in merchandising, fashioning “merchandising rights” appurtenant to copyrights and trademarks that give fantasy owners …


The Uneasy Case For Patent Law, Rachel E. Sachs Jan 2018

The Uneasy Case For Patent Law, Rachel E. Sachs

Michigan Law Review

A central tenet of patent law scholarship holds that if any scientific field truly needs patents to stimulate progress, it is pharmaceuticals. Patents are thought to be critical in encouraging pharmaceutical companies to develop and commercialize new therapies, due to the high costs of researching diseases, developing treatments, and bringing drugs through the complex, expensive approval process. Scholars and policymakers often point to patent law’s apparent success in the pharmaceutical industry to justify broader calls for more expansive patent rights.

This Article challenges this conventional wisdom about the centrality of patents to drug development by presenting a case study of …