Posts in Business

Sorry, Your NFT Is Worthless: The Copyright and Generative Art Problem for NFT Collections

If you follow Reese Witherspoon on Twitter, you may notice she has been tweeting about non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, a lot. She currently features an NFT as her Twitter profile picture (abbreviated “pfp” for those in the know). In October 2021, Witherspoon became a partner in an NFT art collection called World of Women, or WoW, which was created and illustrated by the artist Yam Karkai. Through an auction-style bidding process, the WoW collection is currently available on OpenSea, one of the largest NFT marketplaces. As of publication, an individual WoW NFT auction starts at around 7 Ethereum (ETH), the cryptocurrency used to purchase on OpenSea, which currently equates to approximately USD 20,000.

Patent vs. Trade Secret Strategy: A Four Factor Decision Framework

Patents and trade secrets are both valuable assets that companies can utilize to protect their innovations and establish competitive advantages in the market. Strategic IP portfolio development and management leverages both patents and trade secrets where they are most effective with the goal of maximizing protection while minimizing costs.

Bipartisan Groups of Administration Officials, Senators, Voice Opposition to New Joint Policy Statement on SEPs

Friday, February 4, marked the deadline for submission of comments on the latest iteration of the Joint Department of Justice (DOJ)-U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)-National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Policy Statement on Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary FRAND Commitments. The request for comments came on the heels of President Joe Biden’s July 2021 Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which asked the three agencies to review the 2019 statement. In perhaps one of the most surprising submissions, a bipartisan group of former presidential administration officials jointly commented that the new version of the Policy Statement is “disconnected from the realities of SEP licensing,” “unbalanced,” and would “disadvantage the United States on the global stage.”

Senate Judiciary Moves Open App Markets Act Forward

On February 3, during an Executive Business Meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) proposed several amendments on the markup of S. 2710, the Open App Markets Act. The bill would apply existing U.S. antitrust law under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act or the Clayton Act for enforcement actions against companies that engage in anticompetitive practices in app stores, such as requiring app developers to use a favored in-app payment system for accessing consumers through that app store.

Latest Cases from the NAD on Environmental Claims Provide Helpful Practice Tips for Marketers

From consumer goods to cutting-edge industries like blockchain and crypto, consumers want more environmentally-friendly solutions. And advertisers, in response, are rushing to tout their sustainability-focused corporate missions and product solutions. In recent decisions, Butterball, Georgia-Pacific, and Everlane, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provided useful and detailed guidance on how advertisers can support sustainability claims and avoid making unqualified general environmental benefit claims that could mislead consumers. In addition to marketing lawyers, brand owners and trademark counsel alike should also be on the lookout for overreaching environmental marketing claims.

Lessons From Theranos and the Trade Secret Defense

What a strange and compelling story. Brilliant young inventor conceives revolutionary machine, raises staggering amounts from investors, is fawned over by the press for a decade, then crashes to earth on revelations of faked demonstrations and technology that doesn’t work. When I learned of the recent jury verdict, I naturally turned over in my mind how all this could have happened to such a well-meaning person as . . . John Ernst Worrel Keely. Okay, you were expecting someone else. But since you may not have heard of Keely, let me fill you in and explain the role that secrecy played in one of the country’s most elaborate and long-running scams. I assure you that the Theranos investors wish they had boned up on Keely’s operation.

Billion Dollar Code Brings to Life the Nasty Patent Battle Over Google Earth

A new crime drama, The Billion Dollar Code, is a fascinating breakthrough mini-series that illustrates the legal challenges of inventions and inventors in a world where technology giants can refuse to acknowledge the source of ideas they do not control. The popular four-part Netflix mini-series achieves uncanny success not only in depicting an epic legal battle but doing it over four plus hours in German with subtitles and an abundance of algorithm detail and trial preparation. It is reminiscent of Chernobyl, HBO’s award-winning series that turned the complex series of events and failures, both technical and human, leading to a nuclear core meltdown into award-winning entertainment.

Return of the ‘Hold-Up’ Bogeyman: Analyzing the 2021 Draft Policy Statement on SEPs Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments (Part III)

In Part II of this series, we considered the language of a specific licensing commitment made to European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the prevailing law relating thereto. In this Part III, we consider the 2021 Draft Policy Statement with a particular view to highlighting its inconsistencies with the ETSI framework and the inapplicability of the hold-up narrative to the situation involving an individual United States patent. Despite its purported purpose of providing the agencies’ views on “remedies for the infringement of standards-essential patents (or SEPs) that are subject to a RAND and/or F/RAND licensing commitment”, the 2021 Draft Policy Statement does not take a clear position on this issue, instead merely stating the following (some might say “the obvious”):

D.C. Court Says FTC’s Antitrust Claim Against Facebook Can Proceed

On Tuesday, January 11, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied Facebook’s motion to dismiss a complaint brought against it by the U.S.  Federal Trade Commission (FTC), holding that the FTC had stated a plausible claim for relief under Section 2 of the Sherman Act. The FTC filed a complaint on December 9, 2020, asserting one count of monopoly maintenance under Section 2 of the Sherman Act. Facebook moved to dismiss both this case, and a related state case. The district court dismissed the Commission’s complaint but granted the FTC the opportunity to amend. Following a leadership change from when the complaint was initially filed, the FTC filed an amended complaint in August of 2021. L

One is the Loneliest Number: Analyzing the 2021 Draft Policy Statement on SEPs Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments (Part II)

In Part I of this series of articles, we provided an overview of the 2013 and 2019 policy statements that preceded the 2021 Draft Policy Statement. In this Part II, we consider the language of a specific licensing commitment made to European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and various legal pronouncements that have been made in relation thereto.

Patent Licensing is a Risky Business: Let the Market Strike the Balance

Patent licensing and technology transfer are cornerstones of modern economies, where the efficiencies of collaboration and division of labor do not require firms to be vertically integrated. The Wright brothers did not build commercial aviation, and yet commercial aviation was born thanks to the Wright brothers’ invention. Similarly, a car manufacturer can simply rely on communication technologies developed by telecom experts outside the automotive ecosystem to guarantee connectivity to its fleet and the corresponding massive economic benefits. This short article focuses on how risk – in the economic and legal sense – changes over time, and what this implies for patent licensing dynamics. Licensing negotiations are not static snapshots in time, they often evolve and change according to developing circumstances, case law, parties’ conduct, and many other factors.

New IP Monetization Models Will Rely Less on Litigation in 2022

From the perspective of the Intangible Investor, 2022 will be a year of new opportunities and transitional growth. IP business models will evolve, and risk and return calculations will become more reliable. In the decade since the America Invents Act (AIA) was enacted, patent licensing challenges have increased for many technology companies and independent inventors. The neutering of software, e-commerce and algorithm patents are at least partly responsible but, amazingly, software-related patents represent almost two-thirds of U.S. grants for the first half of 2021.

mRNA IP and Competitive Landscape: 2021 in Review – Part I, Update on Moderna, BioNTech, and CureVac

In April of this year, we provided a three-part series relating to the IP and Competitive Landscape for the mRNA market. In this post (Part I), we provide a 2021 year in review update on mRNA pioneers Moderna, BioNTech and CureVac, and in Part II, we profile Sanofi and other companies in the mRNA space and offer additional conclusions and outlook for 2022 and beyond.

Collaborative Patenting: The Future of IP and Innovation

Collaboration has invariably helped people to maneuver the most significant challenges and hurdles. Like all other human accomplishments, technology players have collaborated and enforced methodologies to avert any obstacles faced while creating innovation-driven sustainable businesses, to enable technology-driven societies. While innovation can be both an individual and collective endeavor, shaping the final consumer product/service demands collaborative innovation and coordinated policies and frameworks. 

Machine Learning Models and the Legal Need for Editability: Surveying the Pitfalls (Part II)

In Part I of this series, we discussed the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) case against Everalbum as just one example where companies may be required to remove data from their machine learning models (or shut down if unable to do so). Following are some additional pitfalls to note. A. Evolving privacy and data usage restrictions Legislators at the international, federal,…