Is the Line Between “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give It Up” Really That Blurry?

By Laura Fleming When Robin Thicke sang, “I hate these blurred lines” in his latest song, “Blurred Lines,” he probably wasn’t talking about the blurry line between his hit single and Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” Thicke released his song this past summer, while Gaye, now deceased, released his song in 1977. Gaye’s heirs are currently accusing Thicke, along with “Blurred Lines” co-writers Pharrell Williams and “T.I.” Clifford Harris Jr., of copyright infringement in a California court.

Large Databases of Customer Information are…a Target

By: Geoff Wills On December 19, 2013, Target Corporation confirmed that it was aware of unauthorized access to payment card data impacting any Target customer that made credit or debit card purchases in its U.S. stores. The data breach occurred between November 27, 2013 and December 15, 2013. Target’s press released acknowledged that approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts might have been impacted. As news broke and the issue was investigated, that number has now increased to 70 million customers, and includes online shoppers. The cyber attack on Target is the second-largest retail cyber attack in history, and has resulted in investigations by state prosecutors and Attorneys general. It has also resulted in numerous complaints filed across the country by individuals, all vying for the ever-elusive “class action” status.

Destruction of Federal Circuit Claim Construction

By: Erin Phillips On October 1, 2013 the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the patent case Highmark, Inc. v. Allcare Health Management Systems, Inc. to decide whether a district court’s exceptional-case finding to award attorney’s fees was entitled to deference by the Federal Circuit. Although on its face the implications of a judgment in favor of deference seem to reach only the most exceptional cases, the possible effects on patent claim construction are monumental. A decision in favor of deference could spark a major reduction in power for the Federal Circuit.

Navigating the Bitcoin Minefield: Legal Considerations for Venture Capitalists

By: Ashley Jacoby This October a Norwegian man made international headlines after he reportedly opened his wallet and discovered an unexpected $850,000. Four years ago, Kristopher Koch decided to invest approximately $22 in the virtual currency Bitcoin while researching encryption online. In April 2013, extensive media coverage on this trending peer-to-peer digital currency reminded Koch of his otherwise forgettable investment. Although Koch struggled to remember the e-password for his encrypted Bitcoin wallet, his efforts paid off; his small investment in 5,000 coins in 2009 enabled Koch to buy an upscale apartment in Osolo with a fraction of his earnings.

IBM Accuses Twitter of #PatentInfringement

By: Kelly McIntosh In the days leading up Twitter’s initial public offering (IPO) , a lawsuit was bound to arise. IPO’s are “the first sale of stock by a private company to the public.” The theory is that a company being sued and approaching their IPO date, would want “minimize risks” and possibly settle, which is great news for a claimant since a profit is almost guaranteed.

New Zealand and the Changing Definition of an Invention

By Jared Pottruck After nearly five years of debate, New Zealand’s legislature voted during the last week of August 2013 to adopt the Patents Bill, which will no longer permit the granting of patents for computer software. While software that currently holds patent protection will be untouched by the new law, going forward, new computer software will not be able to receive patent protection from the New Zealand government. However, new software will be able to receive patent protection if it is simply providing a means to “implement a patentable process” or is part of a piece of improved hardware and the software is the means to achieving that improvement.

Reblog My New Ink! A New Conduit for Tracking Infringers

By Megan Conravey Tattoos have been a part of human culture for thousands of years. Throughout history and in different cultures, tattoos have had many meanings, conveying status, love, religion, ideas, and even punishments. In many Ancient societies, tattooing was common among all members of a culture. However, as tattooing evolved, a subculture emerged that left tattooing available to only a certain type of person. In this tattoo culture, tattoo artists prided themselves on the original artwork they produced.

Facebook Cares About Your Privacy…But Not Really

By: Justin McHugh Facebook has once again changed its privacy settings. In the battle for privacy, Facebook users are slowly yet surely losing. Facebook has recently announced that it will be removing a privacy feature that allowed users to limit who could search for them on the social network. Specifically, Facebook will be removing a privacy setting that limited whether users could be found when other people typed their names into Facebook’s search bar. In its defense, Facebook claims that only a very small percentage of users were using the limited search setting.

From “Here Ye, Here Ye” to #guilty

By Jarrid E. Blades

Once upon a time, the outcome of court proceedings were reported by a person swinging open the doors of the courthouse and announcing to the townspeople the verdict.  We have come a long way from this form of communication.  As long as we are connected to wireless or cell service, we can receive up-to-the-second updates during court proceedings.

Can Large Companies Own Human Genes? The Supreme Court Says No…Yes…Well Maybe…It Depends.

By Tyler P. Hite This summer the Supreme Court handed down a unanimous 9-0 decision invalidating Myriad Genetics’ patent of the human genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 found in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), but validating Myriad’s genetic patents of synthetically created composite deoxyribonucleic acid (cDNA). The Court’s reasoning hinged upon the fact that human genes found in DNA are “naturally occurring” and thus not eligible for patent, even though isolating human genes from DNA severs naturally occurring chemical bonds, thus altering but not re-creating anything new. cDNA, which the court deemed to be synthetically created from DNA by lab technicians, is created from naturally occurring DNA through a process which splits the DNA double helix and allows lab technicians to isolate specific genes for study, manipulation, and use. The Supreme Court’s decision allows for the patent of human genes that are deemed “not naturally occurring,” even though “the nucleotide sequence of cDNA is dictated by nature, not by the lab technician.”