Patently-O Bits and Bytes

By Dennis Crouch

  • Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law has released a paper detailing “Twelve Reasons for Concern” with the proposed European Unitary Patent Court. Their concerns are categorized within the themes of (1) complexity of the regime, (2) imbalances in the system, and (3) lack of legal certainty for investments in innovation. /media/docs/2012/10/MPI-IP_Twelve-Reasons_2012-10-17_final3.pdf. The tone here is more of constructive criticism of the approach rather than an outright rejection of the idea. The photo of Max Planck (shown to the right) was taken just after he learned of the unitary patent system. Annsley Merelle Ward has more about the UK perspective on Unitary Patent Enforcement as part of her regular excellent IPKat coverage.
  • Malibu Media v. John Doe 16, 2:12-cv-02078 (E.D. Pa. 2012). There is a tremendous amount of unauthorized distribution of pornographic videos through various internet channels such as BitTorrent. In recent years, porn copyright holders have been fairly successful in convincing many file-sharers to settle cases. Unauthorized file sharing is much more likely to be seen as deviant behavior if the files being shared are pornographic. And so the settlements are largely for the purpose of keeping that activity hidden from public view. In this case, various anonymous Johns in Eastern Pennsylvania were sued for using BitTorrent to share the motion picture known as “Anneli Leila Menage a Trois.” It is a fairly easy process these days to identify the IP addresses of BitTorrent users. Malibu has opted to pursue its case against just one defendant who is still labeled John Doe 16 in what the court is calling a “Bellweather trial.” Trial is scheduled for early next spring.
  • “Copyright troll” stories are being chronicled by dietrolldie
  • Missouri is known for many things, including the South Butt parody apparel. In 2010 the company seemingly won the trademark lawsuit brought by the North Face. However, as part of the settlement, South Butt agreed to get permission for further parodies of North Face. Thus, when they started a new Butt Face line of clothing, the North Face filed and has won a contempt motion. In the consented court order, South But has agreed to stop its further attempts to bully the classy apparel company. Yes, you can sign away your fair use rights.

14 thoughts on “Patently-O Bits and Bytes

  1. According to the Consent Judgment of Contempt (Docket No. 117 of 09-CV-02029), Winkelmann, his father, and “Why Climb Mountains, LLC” have to disgorge $65,000 previously paid to them by The North Face.


  2. That paper would sound a lot more authoritative had it come from the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. You don’t mess with the Kaiser.

  3. Ned, not sure why you think this is cryptic. It’s quite simple actually – review the commitments we have made in our international agreements against the suggestions you are making for change. If your suggestions conflict, note such.

  4. I am suggesting that any suggestions you make take into account the legal obligations we have already signed up for.

    You might want to review again the Golan v Holder case…

  5. Parody? Nope.

    Fair use? Nope.

    In the settlement agreement, did North Face actually admit or acknowledge that infringer’s product was a parody or defensible under the fair use doctrine?

  6. Don’t forget impacts of international law and treaties we have committed to.

    (A little thing called formalities can quickly gut your ideas)

  7. The internet has really undermined a copyright paradigm that originally was largely based the printing press and making copies on a particular machine. I think it might be time to pause and reconsider the whole topic in view because copyright infringement and freedom of speech are now so intimately linked when the internet is involved. The internet has become a public resource, like a public BB, where anyone can upload or download anything.

    I was recently reading a book written by Vernor Vinge, a four-time Hugo winner, who talked of automatic debiting of one’s account for use of copyrighted materials in his award winning book set in the near future, Rainbows End. link to

    I think that might be worth exploring. The technology is extant, I think. It could involve mandatory copyright registration to take advantage of the automatic debit. In exchange, the government could give you a code you could embed in your proprietary content that would trigger the debit.

    Pattern recognize software could also be programmed to recognize a registered work.

    But, if one does not register or take steps to protect his works, I think we should completely abandon any idea of enforce copyright protection on the internet.

  8. According to a certain Monty Python character, 2 is actually followed by 5, not 2.

    Pretty sure Monty Python stands for the proposition that 5 is right out.

  9. “Their concerns are categorized within the themes of (1) complexity of the regime, (2) imbalances in the system, and (2) lack of legal certainty for investments in innovation.”

    According to a certain Monty Python character, 2 is actually followed by 5, not 2.

Comments are closed.