Patent Law Treaty Legislation

President Obama signed the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act.  The Act amends federal patent law to implement the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs and the Patent Law Treaty. It will take effect one year from the date of enactment.

Under the Hague Treaty, any person who is a U.S. national, or has a domicile, habitual residence, or real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in the United States, can file an international design application for international registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

This is good news for design patent applicants because it will allow them to file a single application with USPTO instead of separate applications in multiple countries, thereby reducing the time and expense. The Hague Treaty will also increase the term of design patents from fourteen years to fifteen years from grant.

The Patent Law Treaty aims to harmonize and streamline formal procedures for patent applications and patents among signatory countries. Thus, the Act revises U.S. patent application procedures with respect to filing dates, fees, and surcharges for fees, oaths, or declarations and claims submitted after the filing date to bring them in line with international norms.

The most significant change for U.S. applicants is that utility application will now be given a filing date even when submitted without claims. The Act also authorizes the USPTO to establish procedures to revive an unintentionally abandoned patent application and accept an unintentionally delayed claim for priority.

How Can I Help?

The new treaty will offer another tool for protecting our clients’ intellectual property in foreign countries. For more information about all of the other options available to you or your business, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

 

Peeping Tom’s in space.

It seems that scientists have been peeking under the covers of the Universe again.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the Australian equivalent to NASA, has been using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) radio telescope to detect the raw material used for making the first stars in galaxies that formed when the Universe was just three billion years old.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/96/Narrabri_LGA_NSW.png

ATCA, located near Narrabri, NSW, is one of the only telescopes in the world that can perform this type of detection.  The radio telescope has both the sensitive and it is tuned to the right wavelengths to detect the raw material scientists are interested in finding.

ATCA has been looking for cold molecular hydrogen gas, H2.  It is believed that this gas is the raw material for making stars.  Making things even more difficult, H2 can’t be detected directly but only by observing a ‘tracer’ gas, carbon monoxide (CO), that emits radio waves indicating the present of H2.

Scientists have been using ATCA to study a massive, distant structure, called the Spiderweb, that is more than ten thousand million light-years away (10,000,000,000,000ly).

One team of scientists found at least sixty thousand million (60,000,000,000) solar masses of cold molecular hydrogen gas over a quarter of a million light-years (250,000ly), speculate that the cold molecular hydrogen is the star forming fuel for the region.  They also estimate that there is enough hydrogen in the region to form stars for the next 40 million years.

Using ACTA and the newly operational Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile, scientists can look for more of the H2 and make new discoveries from the distant past of the Universe.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

U.K. Copyright law update part 2.

Yesterday I discussed the new changes in copyright laws in Great Britain.  Today, we are going to review how this change might affect your rights.

Although there is no such thing as an “international copyright” that automatically protects your work throughout the world.  There are more than 160 countries that have ratified a treaty intended to accomplish the equivalent of an “international copyright.”  Generally, if a work is protected in the U.S. it is protected in most countries because the U.S. is one of the signatories to the Berne Convention, copyright treaty, that is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, signed into law on April 25th, includes rules covering orphaned works.  An orphan work is a copyrighted work where the copyright owner cannot be contacted. Under the new Act it is feared that any unscrupulous person (ie. recited in many articles as greedy giant American corporations) will just not bother to find copyright owners and take their work.  Similar rules had already been removed from an earlier bill, in response to complaints from photographers, who interpreted it as a rights grab.

The current law is a framework that specifies what considerations the final regulations must cover, such as who can qualify as a license granting body and where the money raised from such licenses will go.

Viscount Younger of Leckie, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, has said there will be consultation to determine the fine details and that ‘the provision for orphan work licensing will be construed restrictively by the courts.’

The Royal Photographic Society and the British Copyright Council are among those meeting Viscount Younger in June to discuss these details.

So what does this mean for you?  Many in Britain have started referring to the Act as the ‘Instagram Act’ because of the laxness of the Act allows for abuse of  images posted to that social network, among others.

So if you are posting images to Instagram, Flickr, Facebook etc…, there is the potential that your work may be used commercially without your permission or compensation.  Under the Act, commercial exploitation of images where information identifying the owner is missing, are placed into what’s known as “extended collective licensing” schemes.  Because  most digital images on the internet today are orphans, the metadata is missing or has been stripped,  millions of photographs and illustrations may have been put into an extended collective licensing scheme without your knowledge.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help to protect your copyrighted work here or abroad, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Back from Heaven.

The three Chinese taikonauts (astronauts) arrived safely back on Earth on Tuesday, completing the longest manned space mission in the Chinese history.

The Shenzhou 10 spacecraft (“Divine Vessel”) touched down at 8:08 p.m. EDT Tuesday (0008 GMT), capping a 15-day mission to China’s orbiting Tiangong 1 lab module. The spacecraft landed in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, where the local time was 8:08 a.m. on Wednesday.

 

The trio, Nie Haisheng, Wang Yaping (the second Chinese woman in space) and Zhang Xiaoguang performed a variety of experiments aboard the Tiangong 1, the Heavenly Palace.

 

The Shenzhou 10 launched June 11 and landed 14 days later.  Like the Russian space program, the Chinese land their craft on land.  The mission was China’s fifth human spaceflight.

Congratulations to the Chinese space program on a job well done.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

U.K. Copyright law update.

The United Kingdom has relaxed many of its copyright laws, that have been criticized as “archaic.”  The changes will impact a number of mediums, including computer games, paintings, photographs, films, books, and music.

Under pressure from various sources, including a report entitled “Modernising Copyright,” that was prepared in response to the Hargreaves Review of IP and Growth, commissioned by the Prime Minister and published in May 2011.  In the report, Professor Ian Hargreaves concluded that “The UK’s current system is falling behind what is needed, especially in the area of copyright.” He recommended that the UK needed “an approach to exceptions to copyright which encourages successful new digital technology businesses both within and beyond the creative industries.”

After consulting with a number of stakeholders in the intellectual property community, the U.K. government agreed stating that: “Bringing the law into line with ordinary people’s reasonable expectations will boost respect for copyright, on which our creative industries rely, making the intellectual property framework fit for the 21st century is not only common sense but good business sense.”

Below is a brief summary of the changes under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, signed into law on April 25th:

  • Private copying – to permit people to copy digital content they have bought onto any medium or device that they own, but strictly for their own personal use such as transferring their music collection or eBooks to their tablet, phone or to a private cloud;
  • Education – to simplify copyright licensing for the education sector and make it easier for teachers to use copyright materials on interactive whiteboards and similar technology in classrooms and provide access to copyright works over secure networks to support the growing demand for distance learning handouts for students;
  • Quotation and news reporting – to create a more general permission for quotation of copyright works for any purpose, as long as the use of a particular quotation is “fair dealing” and its source is acknowledged;
  • Parody, caricature and pastiche – to allow limited copying on a fair dealing basis which would allow genuine parody, but prohibit copying disguised as parody; and
  • Research and private study – to allow sound recordings, films and broadcasts to be copied for non-commercial research and private study purposes without permission from the copyright holder. This includes both user copying and library copying;
  • Data analytics for non-commercial research – to allow non-commercial researchers to use computers to study published research results and other data without copyright law interfering;
  • Access for people with disabilities – to allow people with disabilities the right to obtain copyright works in accessible formats where a suitable one is not already on the market;
  • Archiving and preservation – to allow museums, galleries, libraries and archives to preserve any type of copyright work that is in their permanent collection which cannot readily be replaced; and
  • Public administration – to widen existing exceptions to enable more public bodies to share proactively third party information online, which would reflect the existing position in relation to the use of paper copies.

Not all the changes have been met with approval,however, there are some questions to the availability of “orphaned works,” under the act.

I will discuss how this can affect your copyright in Great Britain tomorrow.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just advice regarding how best to protect your ideas and your brand, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Giga-Pixels to explore Mars

My dreams of high-definition astrophotography have already been realized by NASA’s Curiosity rover.

The rover took over 900 images using the rover’s mastcam.  The Mastcam can take high-definition video at 10 frames per second.  There are actually two cameras on the mast.

The telephoto Mastcam, or “Mastcam 100” has a 100-millimeter focal-length, f/10 lens with a 5.1° square field of view that provides enough resolution to distinguish a basketball from a football at a distance of seven football fields, or to read “ONE CENT” on a penny on the ground beside the rover.

Its other camera is the “Mastcam 34” and has a 34 mm, f/8 lens with a 15° square field of view.

Both of the cameras take 1200 x 1200 pixel (1.4 Megapixel) images using a 1600 by 1200 CCD detector. But each pixel of the CCD detectors are different size. Both cameras can acquire high definition 720p video at 10 frames per second.

The images where then were painstakingly stitched together to produce the first billion plus pixel view of the surface of Mars.  The 1.3 Gigapixel 360 degree image is available for everyone to view with pan and zoom here. If that is too much for you to handle, a scaled down version is available for download here.

“It gives a sense of place and really shows off the cameras’ capabilities,” said Bob Deen of the Multi-Mission Image Processing Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “You can see the context and also zoom in to see very fine details.”

The CCD camera that I currently use takes 8.3 Megapixel images, so I could possible stitch together something similar, but I don’t think I have the same zest for doing it like this all sky photo.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

New Satellites!

Satellite Offices that is.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is moving full steam ahead with its efforts to open four satellite offices. The America Invents Act requires the agency to establish at least three regional USPTO satellite locations by September 2014 as part of a larger effort to modernize the U.S. patent system.

The Detroit office opened this summer and currently employs 51 patent examiners and 10 administrative judges. It is on pace to have more than 100 patent examiners and 20 administrative patent judges on board by the end of its first year of operation, according to the USPTO.

The USPTO also recently announced that its Dallas-Fort Worth regional satellite office will be located in the Terminal Annex Federal Building in Dallas.

In Denver, the General Services Administration is completing renovations on the new office space, while a temporary office has been set up for Board judges and senior leadership.

The Silicon Valley office is purported to be in Menlo Park. Until the office is ready, the USPTO plans to secure a temporary space to get operations up and running.

The USPTO’s progress on these satellite offices is good news for patent applicants. In addition to making the USPTO ore accessible, the offices and the additional staff are also expected to ease the backlog of patent applications and speed up the approval process.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just advice regarding how best to protect your ideas and your brand, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Update on PTAB and Prior Art Submissions

Based on initial numbers, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is pleased with the response to two key provisions of the America Invents Act. 

The USPTO has received 88 PTAB submissions, 73 for inter partes reviews and 15 for covered business method reviews. The numbers suggest the program will meet FY 13 expectations, and further that officials have recognized that “momentum is building.”

Inter Partes review is a new post-grant (after a patent has issued) proceeding created by the America Invents Act (AIA) for challenging a patent. Inter Partes Review replaces and improves upon Inter Partes reexamination. Inter Partes Reviews are typically used by those involved in or threatened with patent litigation because the process is significantly faster and less expensive than litigation. Inter Partes Review is a particularly useful tool against trolls and patent owners with extensive continuation portfolios.

The USPTO received 270 prior-art submissions from third parties, which also met the agency’s expectations. The leading art group receiving submissions, TC 3700, includes many software-related inventions such as those found in electronic gaming devices and medical equipment. However, almost all art groups are recieving prior art submission, and it was noted that the “AIA is indeed supporting the patent system broadly.”

There are a lot of good points being made with this new program:

  • First, they demonstrate that the public finds valuable the new ways to interact with the USPTO.
  • Second, they will contribute quickly to improved patent quality.
  • With the PTAB proceedings, valid patents will be upheld while addressing those that may require correction.
  • With prior art submissions, examiners will be able to consider public submissions and ensure high quality work during the review process.

How Can I Help?

For more information about how you or your company can benefit from the new procedures available under the AIA, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

 

SPACE!

This post is specifically for my niece Jennifer (she is an artist, and a good one at that).  Anyway, the title of this post is also the name of a new art exhibit here in California.

The show is being held at Gallery 1988: West.

Opening the show opening had special guest Bobak Ferdowsi, a NASA systems engineer at JPL who is best known as “Mohawk Guy” after he was captured with his star spangled Mohawk during Curiosities landing on Mars.  Let’s face it, he does rock the look.

The show runs through Saturday, July 20, closing on the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.  So if you are in the area, check it out, you might end up with some new artwork for your home or office.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

California Judge Blocks Release of Alleged Hobbit Knockoff

There will only be one film featuring “Hobbits” this holiday season. A California judge recently granted Warner Brothers a temporary preliminary injunction to halt the release of Age of the Hobbits, low-budget takeoff of its much-anticipated The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

The trademark infringement lawsuit highlights Hollywood’s growing problem with “mockbusters,” which are cheaper parodies of major films that often have titles very similar to major releases. In this case, the court agreed that Age of the Hobbits presented a likelihood of confusion among consumers who wish to see the film based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel.

The defendant, The Global Asylum, Inc., was scheduled to release its film three days before the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The Global Asylum movie is about a recently discovered species of pre-historic humans that lived in Indonesia, which are called “hobbits.” While the story lines may differ, Warner Brothers’ lawsuit alleges that Global Asylum infringed its trademarks with regard to the title, design and promotional materials. Among other marks related to the film, the studio holds a registration of the word “Hobbit” in “printed matter, namely posters, art prints, postcards.”

California federal Judge Philip Gutierrez agreed, granting Warner Brothers’ request to block the film’s release. Even though the use of the term “Hobbit” in a movie title is not registered, the court still found that the mark is distinctive and has developed a secondary meaning in the marketplace. The court placed significant weight on survey results showing that nearly 50 percent of respondents associated the term “Hobbit” with the trademark holder, finding it was “persuasive evidence that the Hobbit Marks have acquired secondary meaning.”

With regard to the likelihood of confusion, the court acknowledged that Warner Brothers “cannot claim exclusive rights to fantastical images of swords, mythical creatures, and the like….” However, the court concluded that when viewing the imagery in the posters in connection with the use of the term ‘Hobbit’ in the title “one is immediately struck by the[] similarity” between the two images.

“The majority of factors weigh in favor of a finding of likelihood of confusion, and no factor weighs against such a finding,” he concluded. “Moreover, the finding is particularly strong on the three factors that courts have found to be the most important, especially in the context of the Internet: similarity of the marks, relatedness of the goods and use of similar marketing channels.”

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just advice regarding how best to protect your ideas and your brand, contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman