Obituary for the Jade Rabbit.

China’s state media made it official.  The jade rabbit rover is no more.

Lunar dust, which is probably more than even a Swifter(r) could handle, has been blamed.

china-national-space-administration-logo

However, the Chinese space agency has learned a lot about what it takes to go to the moon and to survive on the Lunar surface.  There are more missions planned and as I have said before space is dangerous.

– 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

Some Trouble For The Jade Rabbit.

China’s Jade Rabbit Moon rover is in trouble.  A week ago, Chinese state media reported that the rover had “mechanical control abnormality.”

Later the Xinhua news agency quoted officials that the rover was having problems because of the moon’s “complicated lunar surface environment.”

Contrary to popular belief, failure is an option in space exploration.  About half of all lunar missions attempted have failed.

Luna 2 Soviet moon probe.jpg

Starting with the Soviet Lunar 2 and currently ending with the Jade Rabbit, our closest neighbor isn’t all the easy to reach.

It seems like such a short distance (astronomically) of about 240,000 miles (384,000km).  But once you arrive (if you arrive), there are a lot of hazards to contend with.

There are potential meteor strikes, solar winds, solar radiation and, probably the worst of all, the lunar dust.

As you can see from the NASA graphic above, lunar dust is nasty stuff that will get into everything.  Although attempts to repair the Jade Rabbit will continue, it will probably be another week before there is enough sunlight to power the rover’s systems enough to see if repairs are possible.

Meanwhile, Chinese space enthusiasts using Sina Weibo (the Chinese version of twitter) quickly started posting comments and await news.

One person wrote: “Whatever happens, we must thank Jade Rabbit. When our generation tells stories to our children, we can confidently say: ‘There really is a Jade Rabbit on the moon!'” referring to the Chinese folktale about a rabbit on the Moon.

I’ll keep you posted on the status of the Jade Rabbit.

– 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

USPTO Announces Access to Chinese Patent Documentation Via New Global Patent Search Network

In contrast to yesterday’s story, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently announced the launch of the Global Patent Search Network. Accessible via the USPTO website, the new database allows users to search and retrieve Chinese patent documentation.

According to the USPTO, the data available includes both full text Chinese patents and English machine translations. Users can currently search documents including published applications, granted patents and utility models from 2008 to 2011. The USPTO has indiacted the network will periodically be updated with more current data.

A recent blog post touted the benefits of the Global Search patent Network. “This new search tool delivers to the public, as well as our patent examiners, an additional source of foreign patent collections. Furthermore, the immediate availability of English machine translations will effectively address the language barrier and allow for quick analysis of the relevancy of the prior art while reducing the need for costly human translations. Machine translation technology can sometimes generate awkward wording, but it provides an excellent way to determine the gist of the information in a foreign patent.”

The initial launch of the Global Patent Search Network features only Chinese patent documentation. However, the USPTO plans to incorporate additional foreign patent collections in the future. Interestingly, the Global Patent Search Network is the first patent-related initiative to use cloud technology.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, 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

Its Raining … China.

Although the Chinese Space Agency successfully launched the Yutu rover to the Moon this month there was some, er, fallout from the launch.

http://www.cinaoggi.it/images/stories/attualita/2011/aprile/space-debris/space-debris-001.jpg

A few pieces of the launch craft fell back, and onto, the country.  The US and other space launching countries tend to build these facilities near the coast so that the debris fall into the ocean, away from populated areas.

The Chinese, however, decided to build their launch facilities far inland (most probably due to military paranoia about prying eyes and ears).

Sometimes, the pieces falling back to Earth injure or kill people.  In one instance about 50 people died as a result of a failed launch.

Additionally, China is adding to our already staggering amount of space junk.  Although the US and the former Soviet Union are to blame for most of the junk orbiting the planet, China seems to be playing catch-up.  With China, India and other countries planning space launches along with all the commercial space ventures just starting, we need to figure out how to deal with the debris.

Otherwise, the movie Gravity is going to become a reality.

– 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

China Cracks Down on Trademark Infringers

In the wake of several highly publicized cases, China has begun to crackdown on trademark infringers. China has long been criticized by other countries for not taking a tougher stand on intellectual property issues.

In response, China recently announced that its will amend its trademark laws to provide greater protection to international companies seeking to protect their brands. Under the proposed changes, trademark owners will have the right to prohibit others from registering their trademarks or from using similar ones, even if such trademarks are not yet registered. Under current law, the first to register often owns the mark even against other legitimate trademark owners who are first to use the mark in that country.

“The draft is intended to curb the malicious registration of trademarks,” the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The proposed changes are good news for U.S. and other foreign companies who often have difficulty protecting their brands in China.  Apple endured a protracted legal battle over the use of its iPad trademark, and ultimately settled the lawsuit for $60 million. Basketball star Michael Jordan also filed a lawsuit against Chinese sportswear company for using his Chinese name without authorization.

How Can I Help?

It can be difficult to protect your trademarks and other valuable IP rights overseas. I encourage you to consult with an attorney experienced in foreign intellectual property matters.  I have developed long-standing, close relationships with firms and experts worldwide so that I can offer you in-depth experience in foreign law.

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, domestic or foreign, including 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

Visitors to the Heavenly Palace

Three Chinese astronauts have successfully docked their Shenzhou-10 capsule with the Tiangong-1 space laboratory (“Heavenly Palace”) for a 15 day stay in in orbit. 

Chinese astronauts (from left) Wang Yaping, mission commander Nie Haisheng and Zhang Xiaoguang gesture as they prepare to board the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft in Jiuquan, China, on Tuesday.

The crew, pictured above, also includes Wang Yaping, China’s second female astronaut.  She will be practicing docking maneuvers between the Shenzhou-10 and theTiangong-1.  Wang is the China’s first teacher in space, in an analog to Christa McAuliffe.

These are the last astronauts to stay in the Heavenly Palace because it is running short on material to sustain it’s mission. Luckily, a new Heavenly Palace, the Tiangong-2, is being built to replace the current lab in the near future.  Interestingly, the Chinese are not abandoning the current Heavenly Palace, but intend to use it as a giant warehouse in the sky to help store material for their planned space station.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California. 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

Former Employee Sentenced for Trade Secret Theft

Yesterday, I told you about the DuPont trade secret case. Today, I would like to point out that employees can also be in voilation of state and federal trade secret law.

A former Motorola employee has been sentenced to four years in prison for trade secret theft. Hanjuan Jin’s sentence is one of the harshest in the history of criminal trade secret theft prosecutions.

The case sounds more like a spy novel. Jin was boarding a flight to Beijing when a U.S. Customs officer stopped her as part of a random check. The subsequent search revealed that Jin had $30,000 in cash and Motorola documents marked “confidential and proprietary information” in her carry-on bag.

As I have previously discussed, the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 criminalizes trade secret theft committed for personal benefit within the country or for the benefit of a foreign government. While the court did not find sufficient evidence to prove that the theft was intended to benefit the Chinese government, it did convict Jin of economic espionage under Section 1832.

As highlighted by the Chicago Tribune, U.S. District Court Judge Ruben Castillo emphasized the value of innovation during Jin’s sentencing. “In today’s world, the most valuable thing that anyone has is technology,” Castillo said. “The most important thing this country can do is protect its trade secrets.”

Protecting against trade secret misappropriation should not just be an important priority for the federal government, but for all businesses.

How Can I Help?

If you need help to keep your secrets or determining how best to protect your ideas, or know someone that can use my help, 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. 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

Should China Overhaul Its Patent System?

The European Chamber of Commerce in China is calling on China to make big changes to its patent system.  The Chamber states that the current Chinese patent system hinders the country’s ability to innovate and may be detrimental to foreign companies. The group released a report recommending a total of 52 changes.

China-flag

Below is a short summary of several issues addressed in the report:

  • Patent quality. The report suggests that China’s progress in patent quality lags behind its rates of patent filings. According to the Chamber, “While patents are exploding in China and certain innovation is also admirably on the rise, this has not necessarily translated into a proportionate rise in patent quality and in some sense the strength of China’s actual innovation is over-hyped.”
  • Government targets. The report finds that patent targets imposed by the Chinese government may be hindering patent quality. It notes, “China has emphasized a range of quantitative patent targets, which while ambitious may not encourage quality let alone highest-quality patents and related innovation as efficiently and effectively as envisaged; in fact, they may actually discourage highest-quality patents and at worst may sometimes actually encourage development and filing of low-quality patents.”
  • Rules and procedures for patent application review. The report highlights a number of concerns regarding the Chinese patent process. It specifically notes the overly burdensome Confidentiality Review process for all foreign patent filings for inventions made in China’s territory. It calls on the Chinese government to limit what constitutes a solution that “relates to the security or vital interest of the State.”
  • Patent enforcement. The report emphasizes that patent rights in China are prone to abuse, stating one source that suggests that over 50% of patents in China are filed for the sole purpose of being used for retaliation and/or to first initiate litigation. “These concerns, where patents are used as first-attack and/or tit-for-tat weapons, make businesses reluctant to establish or expand operations in China, especially IP-based operations,” the report notes. Other concerns include difficult in securing preliminary injunctions, confusion regarding the country’s anti-monopoly law, and the submission of prior art.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China says it looks forward to a productive discussion with Chinese officials on the issues and recommendations discussed in its report.

How I Can Help

Protecting intellectual property overseas can be challenging.  As the world continues to shrink, the need for protecting your ideas and intellectual property abroad has grown.  If you or your company has foreign intellectual property issues or does business overseas, I can assist you in planning and protecting your ideas, here and around the world.   So, if you or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email 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.  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

How Much Does IP Theft Cost?

A new government reports sheds light on the impact of intellectual property theft on the U.S. economy. Counterfeiting and piracy erode the returns on innovation and slow economic growth because of the negative impacts on companies, consumers and governments, according to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.

The report notes that intellectual property infringement harms companies through lost revenue, the costs of intellectual property protection, damage to brands, and decreased incentives to innovate due to the fear of theft.  One estimate found that the average company lost $101.9 million in revenues and incurred costs of $1.4 million in identification and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

According to the report, the problem is getting worse. Investigations of foreign infringement of domestic intellectual property rights have risen in eight of the last ten years, from 17 cases in 2002 to 69 cases in 2011. In addition, the number of cases investigated by the United States International Trade Commission (U.S. ITC) has also grown dramatically, rising by 80.6 percent and 23.2 percent in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Other findings from the report include:

  • While the problem is worldwide, China accounts for the vast majority of pirated goods seized at the U.S. border.
  • Small businesses often lack the budget and resources to adequately defend themselves against IP theft or pursue enforcement actions when facing losses. While small businesses represent 79 percent of all U.S. businesses, only 10.5 percent have issued IP theft complaints.
  • Resolution of infringement complaints is also hampered by a lengthy process. Nearly one-third of all submitted cases to the U.S. ITC took over a year to resolve.

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The White House has released a high-level strategy paper on combating international intellectual property theft in an effort to reduce the theft of IP.  The report promises to leverage new counter-espionage laws, such as the The Foreign and Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act of 2012, which increased penalties for economic espionage and corporate trade-secret theft.

On the public-awareness front, the report points to government website stopfakes.gov, a consumer-information portal for spotting counterfeit products and learning about ongoing anti-theft initiatives.

How I Can Help

As this report highlights, IP theft and infringement can have a serious impact on U.S. businesses. If you would like to make sure you have the right protections in place.  I can help you in planning and protecting your ideas, here and elsewhere in the world.   So, if you or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email 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.  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