Idea Theft: Frivolous Copyright-Lite Claims, or Hollywood Business Model?

by K.J. Greene –  

Two facts regarding idea theft in the creative context are undeniable—first, that idea misappropriation claims against Hollywood studios and television producers are rampant, and second, that the hodge-podge legal regime surrounding idea submission claims is in disarray. Institutional entertainment industry players, such as major Hollywood studios, dismiss idea theft claims as fake and frivolous, a kind of “copyrightlite” claim brought by unsuccessful wannabe writers and producers. In contrast, non-established creators seeking entry to the elite and lucrative world of Hollywood tell another tale—that of an industry that relies on the creative ides of outsiders, and fleeces idea submitters as a routine business practice. Some of these practices no doubt feed into the narrative that represents Hollywood “as a dangerous place for filmmakers with vision and integrity and many filmmakers believe that it is important to stay out of the Hollywood studios entirely in order to maintain their artistic independence.”

Developing DROP Discipline: Training and Testing Operators of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

by Henry H. Perritt, Jr. and Eliot O. Sprague –  

This is the third in a series of articles about drones by the co-authors. The first, Drones, introduces the subject and explores the technologies that makes microdrones so useful and so inexpensive. It provides an overview of technological, economic, political, and regulatory issues that the second article and this one explore more deeply. The second article, Law Abiding Drones, argues that the character of microdrones justifies simplified regulation as consumer products, with automated flight control and safety systems that make flying them easy, compared with airplanes and helicopters. This article focuses on the question of operator qualifications. It does not repeat the details of its overview of microdrone potential, the subject of the Vanderbilt article, or the analysis of microdrone control systems, the subject of the Columbia article. The three articles complement a number of magazine articles written by the co- authors.

The Intersection of Patents and Trade Secrets

by Michael R. McGurk and Jia W. Lu –  

An old retort in politics is “You’re either a Democrat or a Republican!” Likewise, the counterpart retort in Intellectual Property for companies back in the day was “You’re either a patent company or a trade secret company!” Patents and trade secrets are the only two forms of intellectual property that protect information—patents protect patentable (innovation) information, while trade secrets can protect patentable information and any other information providing economic value to the holder. In fact, it is not uncommon for patents and trade secrets to protect the same information. However, the bodies of laws governing each are far from similar. This paper explores the different origins, developments, protections, and consequences of patent and trade secret law to show their differences and numerous similarities. Not only are they substitutes for each other, but they are also complements of each other. This paper highlights a number of factors and considerations a company should evaluate when choosing between patents and/or trade secrets to protect its information.

Trolling for an NPE Solution

by Jared A. Smith and Nicholas R. Transier –  

An all-out war is being waged against patent trolls in every corner of the government. But why? To answer that question, this note considers a wide range of laws, rules, decisions, and other measures being offered up as a solution to the “troll problem.” In doing so, this note seeks to identify the potential issues with various proposed “solutions,” including their impact not only on patent trolls, but also, arguably more importantly, on the patent system as a whole. Finally, this note concludes with a set of recommendations meant to combat the most insidious patent trolling tactics, while protecting the integrity of the patent system and the value of individual patent rights.

Using GATT-TRIPs to Improve Development Opportunities: A Proposal for Central America

by Cecily Anne O’Regan & Patrick T. O’Regan –  

Given the geographic and natural resource advantages that countries in the Americas have which will likely shape the business and trade climate in the 21st century, accelerating the development process for developing countries in the region takes on new significance for all involved. This work assesses ways in which Central American countries can use compliance with GATT-TRIPs and TRIPs-plus bilateral agreements to promote their economic development. The first section describes current approaches to IP protection in Costa Rica and El Salvador. The final section goes on to propose regional strategies and legal changes, which are GATT-TRIPs compliant that could potentially make the region more attractive for foreign direct investment.

View this file in PDF format.

Neutering Net Neutrality: What Verizon v. F.C.C. Means for the Future of the Internet

by Alexander Hurst –  

Few things are as ingrained in Americans’ daily lives as the Internet. A one-stop source for information, communication, and entertainment, the Internet has, for many, supplanted the old media that came before it such as books, telephones, fax machines, and television. Yet the Internet is an incredibly nebulous thing, a network of various private networks the regulation of which is currently even more amorphous. A recent decision of the D.C. Circuit, which has national effect, has rendered the traditional model of the Internet subject to upheaval. The fundamental principle in question, so-called “net neutrality,” stands for the idea that Internet providers must treat all traffic equally. Blocking and preferential treatment of certain Internet content providers (websites) was disallowed under the now-vacated regulatory regime of the F.C.C.’s Open Internet Order. The crucial concern addressed by this Article is how Internet providers are now essentially free to force various services and websites like Netflix and even Google to pay a fee if they want to be made available for subscribers of the Internet provider’s service, a cost which is likely to be passed on to consumers.

View this file in PDF format.

Are Prior Art Citations Determinative of Patent Approval?: An Empirical Analysis of the Strategy Behind Citing Prior Art

by James H. Richardson –  

This paper analyzes the impact of prior art citation by inventors on examiner citations and upon the time to patent approval. Using two discrete datasets comprised of extensive filing data, this analysis presents conclusions regarding the impact of applicant citations on filing, and uses these conclusions to extrapolate to a broader analysis of filing strategy with respect to prior art citation. Specifically, applicants who systematically under-cite prior art stand to benefit. Though the time from filing to approval does not vary greatly with applicant citations, the time spent by the examiner on filling in prior art does. As such, applicants who cite less stand to have less time spent by the examiner during the application process on substantive evaluation, than on researching prior art.

View this article in PDF format.

Fair Use in the Classroom; A Conundrum for Digital User-Generated Content in the “Remix” Culture

by Samantha Von Hoene  –  

The age of digital media has broadened the ability of consumers to access, create, manipulate and reproduce content with great ease and speed. With these advances in technology comes the growing trend of user-generated content, which involves a wide variety of media that is created by consumers and end-users. While this user-generated content has allowed creativity to flourish, and has in part led to the creation of the “remix culture,” many copyright concerns have arisen from this growing trend.

Distributive Injustice and Organ Transplant Waitlists

by Huma Zarif –  

Organ transplantation has been a life-saving treatment option for many who require this intervention due to organ failure. However, there are many legal and ethical considerations regarding allocation of this limited resource. Some of these issues were brought to the forefront in the highly publicized cases of Steve Jobs, Sarah Murnaghan, and Javier Acosta. These were instances where it appeared that in getting their transplants, these individuals obtained an unfair advantage over others on the waitlist. When a resource is as scarce as an organ for transplantation, equitable distribution policies are integral to a just allocation system.

The Conflict Between the FDA’s Pre-Launch Activities Importation Request Program and the Hatch-Waxman Act

by Alex Cheng and Matthew Avery   –  

In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the Pre-Launch Activities Importation Request (PLAIR) program.  The FDA exercises its enforcement discretion under the guise of the PLAIR program to permit drug manufacturers to import unapproved drugs into the United States so the manufacturers can expedite their commercial launches when they finally receive official FDA approval.  But the ability to import unapproved finished drug products into the United States ahead of anticipated FDA approval conflicts with certain provisions of the Hatch-Waxman Act that permit brand-name companies to use permanent injunctions to prevent the importation of generic equivalents of their drugs before patent expiration.  This article analyzes the conflict between the PLAIR program and the Hatch-Waxman Act and discusses solutions to the conflict.

View this article in PDF format.