Intellectual Property

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Guy Sues Legal System Again

Just the one in Illinois, at least for now. According to the Madison Record (thanks, Dave), Aaron Wemple has sued the Illinois State Bar Association and all of its members, alleging that … well, that it and they have done and/or are doing…


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U.S. Pat. No. 8,782,827: Infant Soothing Device

Via Improbable Research, here's the latest of what turns out to be a fairly large number of infant-soothing-device patents, or as the abstract describes it: A device to assuage distressed infants via an adjustable vertical motion combined with an adjustable orientation….


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Copyright Office Weighs in on Monkey Pictures

In the draft of its new “Compendium,” the U.S. Copyright Office has stated that it will not register works created by animals. The “human authorship” requirement isn’t new, but the specific example of “[a] photograph taken by a monkey” is:…



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U.S. Patent App. No. 20140159444: Airline Passenger Torture Device

The application calls it "Seating Device Comprising a Forward-Foldable Backrest," but I like my name better. The inventor describes the alleged motivation thusly (my annotations below): [T]o increase the number of cabin seats [and thus profit], the space allotted to…


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After Bar Fight, Cubs Are Fed Up with Unofficial Mascot

The Sun-Times reports today that the Chicago Cubs are suing five people who have allegedly been posing as a Cubs mascot near Wrigley Field, engaging in "mascot-like activities" and trying to charge people for photos. They take turns doing this—I didn't…


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Pi Trademarked (Sort Of)

Looks like it's safe to go back to using the symbol for pi on t-shirts, at least for now. Someone whose initials are P.I. managed to get the symbol (followed by a period) registered as a trademark, and where there's…



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PTO Rules “Redskins” Trademark Is Derogatory

When used in connection with the sale of pork rinds. Why, is that term used in some other very public way in association with a good or service of which you were thinking? Surely not. The Washington Post reports that the U.S….


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Ninth Circuit: The Shape of a Hookah Can’t Be Copyrighted

O'SCANNLAIN, Circuit Judge:     We must decide whether the shape of a hookah water container is entitled to copyright protection. That is (minus the footnote explaining what a "hookah" is) the first paragraph of today's decision by the U.S….