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Category Archives: Intellectual Property

The Seizure of Jewish Intellectual Property Ahead of World War II

Library of Congress – Copyright Creativity at Work: “The following is a guest post by Marilyn Creswell, information resources assistant at the University of Michigan Law School. She served as Librarian-in-Residence at the U.S. Copyright Office from July 2020 to April 2021. [h/t Mary Whisner]

As the United States enters the Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, we remember the many hardships Jewish people have overcome. In this blog we specifically explore the lesser-known area of intellectual property (IP) leading up to and during World War II. Beginning in 1933, the Nazi German state began pressuring Jewish business owners to sell their businesses far below market value. By 1938, a majority of Jewish-owned businesses were already sold or out of business when this process, called Aryanization, became compulsory after Kristallnacht.1 As part of the seizure of businesses and personal property, the ability of Jewish people to benefit from their intellectual property was also severely restricted. A 1939 executive order required all Jewish men to add “Israel” as a second name and women to add “Sara.”2 This made it easier for Nazi officials to deny intellectual property registrations and renewals to Jewish applicants, cutting them off from the IP system.3 While the loss of IP rights pales in comparison to the horrific death tolls during World War II, its loss is another indignity the Jewish people suffered and source of wealth extracted at the hands of the Nazis…”

Russia says its businesses can steal patents from anyone in ‘unfriendly’ countries

Washington Post: “Russia has effectively legalized patent theft from anyone affiliated with countries “unfriendly” to it, declaring that unauthorized use will not be compensated. The decree, issued this week, illustrates the economic war waged around Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as the West levies sanctions and pulls away from Russia’s huge oil and gas industry. Russian… Continue Reading

Publicizing Corporate Secrets for Public Good

Morten, Christopher, Publicizing Corporate Secrets for Public Good (February 13, 2022). University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 171, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract= “Federal regulatory agencies in the United States hold a treasure trove of valuable information essential to a functional society. Yet little of this immense and nominally “public” resource is accessible to the public.… Continue Reading

The Grammarly tradeoff: Is better writing worth exposing business data?

Protocol: “Writing tools including Grammarly use data from users to train their AI. Some businesses, especially those making products or software, worry it puts their intellectual property at risk. People using writing assistants at work might love sending polished emails to colleagues or crafting smarter company social media posts. Their company’s IT and legal teams… Continue Reading

A Cheese by Any Other Name: The Legal Challenge over “Gruyere”

In Custodia Legis: “On December 15, 2021, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia upheld an administrative decision finding that, in the United States, “gruyere” is a generic term for a type of cheese, and therefore ineligible for legal protection through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Gruyère is a geographic… Continue Reading

USPTO launches new Patent Public Search tool and webpage

“The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a new Patent Public Search tool that provides more convenient, remote, and robust full-text searching of all U.S. patents and published patent applications. Based on the advanced Patents End-to-End (PE2E) search tool USPTO examiners use to identify prior art, this free, cloud-based platform combines the capabilities of… Continue Reading

Legal Matters: The Legal Context of Health Informatics in Global Pandemics

Kaplan, Bonnie, Legal Matters: The Legal Context of Health Informatics in Global Pandemics (November 12, 2021). Kaplan, B. Legal Matters: The Legal Context of Health Informatics in Global Pandemics, Context Sensitive Health Informatics: The Role of Informatics in Global Pandemics, eds. R Marcilly, L Dusseljee-Peute, CE Kuziemsky, X Zhu, P Elkin, Am- sterdam: IOS Press,… Continue Reading

Intellectual Property in the New Technological Age: 2021 – Chapters 1 and 2

Menell, Peter S. and Lemley, Mark A. and Merges, Robert P. and Balganesh, Shyamkrishna, Intellectual Property in the New Technological Age: 2021 – Chapters 1 and 2 (July 11, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3884159 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3884159 “Rapid advances in digital and life sciences technology continue to spur the evolution of intellectual property law. As professors… Continue Reading

What Happened to Amazon’s Bookstore?

The New York Times – “A 2011 thriller was supposed to cost $15. One merchant listed it at $987, with a 17th-century publication date. That’s what happens in a marketplace where third-party sellers run wild. John C. Boland was poking around the Amazon bookstore when he saw the science thriller “Hominid” for sale at dizzying… Continue Reading

After COVID boom, ebook aggregators face licensing questions from Congress

Verge: “A Democratic senator launched an investigation into how publishers license ebooks to libraries on Thursday, calling on nine major ebook aggregators to provide details on the licensing agreements they make with libraries. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), along with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), sent letters demanding that aggregators like Overdrive and EBSCO provide them with… Continue Reading

Beginning 2022 Apple will send you parts and tools to fix your iPhone and Mac at home

TechCrunch: “…The company just announced Self Service Repair, a new program designed to let users perform common repairs on devices at home. Through the program, users with damaged devices will be sent “Apple genuine” tools and components — same as the ones they use at the Genius Bar. The company will also be offering up… Continue Reading