Up In Smoke: How Vaping Regulations and Bans May Detriment Small Businesses

By: Nathaniel Reiff

Vaping Pic

Once considered a healthier alternative to traditional cigarette smoking, vaping might be burning out in the United States. Recently, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker ordered a four-month ban on the sale of vaping products after declaring a statewide public health emergency. Governor Baker’s decision comes after 61 cases of lung disease, purportedly related to electronic cigarettes and vaping use, were reported in his state alone. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since September 17, there have been 530 cases of lung injuries across 38 states. The CDC has not identified any one company or vaping product as responsible for the deaths and injuries associated with the growing trend of alternative cigarette use. According to the New York Times, “Many of the illnesses have been linked to vaping mixtures with THC, the high-inducing chemical in marijuana.”

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Sharing Space…Literally.

By: Golzar Yazdanshenas

 

Space Debris

 

“We are going to build a road to space, and then amazing things will happen.” – Jeff Bezos

Lead CEO’s such as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Dennis Muilenburg are discussing building the necessary space vessels to make living outside of this world possible. However, space, like the high seas, is a tricky territory to navigate, since no one country has any actual rights over it or legal claim to it. So before we venture into discussions about future enterprises in space, it would be prudent to assess potential legal issues that may arise.

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Driverless Cars: Friend or Foe?

By: Golzar Yazdanshenas, Summer Blogger

 

Autonomous Vehicle

In a 2019 interview, inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk stated: “I think we will be ‘feature-complete’ on full self-driving this year, meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up, take you all the way to your destination without an intervention this year.” Many experts are skeptical of Musk’s predictions, claiming the technology needed to make fully autonomous cars is years away.

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Inception: The Future of IP in Virtual Reality

 

Picture1By: Aaron Johnston, Summer Blogger

From author Michael Crichton’s forward-thinking novel Disclosure to popular films such as Iron ManMinority Report, and Star Trek – science fiction has been predicting our future adventures in virtual and augmented reality for decades. Technology has advanced to make virtual and augmented realities believable and obtainable. Both virtual and augmented realities are likely to make a significant impact in the coming decade. The question is how will intellectual property law catch up?

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Tax and the Loss of Recession-Fighting Tools

Stock MarketBy: Dylan Ray, Summer Blogger

Economic activity, which reflects the balance between buying and selling assets, can be manipulated. In times of recession, with decreased economic activity, the government usually attempts to increase demand. For example, the Federal Reserve boosts economic activity, by reducing interest rates, in times of recession. Similarly, Congress can improve the economy, when it experiences a recession, by altering the tax regime and increasing capital investment. However, with the 2018 enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), Congress implemented aggressive depreciation provisions, which are no longer available to combat a forthcoming recession. Continue reading »

A Horrifying Prospect for Studios and Production Companies

By: Cameron Rush, Summer Bloggerfriday13th-3479595_640

Last fall, the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut issued a summary judgment opinion in the case of Horror Inc. v. Miller which could have far-reaching implications for the relationships between screenwriters, studios, and production companies. In a fight for control of the “Friday the 13th” franchise, the court sided with screenwriter Victor Miller, allowing him to reclaim the rights to the script under a provision of the Copyright Act commonly known as the “termination right.” Continue reading »

SCOTUS Patently Denies the U.S. Postal Service’s Personhood

By: Mary Jasperse, Summer Blogger

Mail

On June 10, 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that federal government agencies do not qualify as a “person” under the 2011 Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”) in Return Mail, Inc. v. United States Postal Service. Because of this, government agencies cannot challenge the validity of a patent via covered-business-method review (“CBM”), a type of post-grant patent review.

The AIA is thought to be the most significant reform in U.S. patents since the 1950s. Most importantly, it changed the U.S. patent system from first-to-invent to first-to-file. The AIA also created new mechanisms to challenge patents.

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California’s Consumer Privacy Act: An Underwhelming First Step

Picture1 By: Brian Lewis, Summer Blogger

“Senator, we run ads.” During his 2018 testimony before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s patronizing response to then-Senator Orrin Hatch’s rudimentary question illustrates the elusive nature of Facebook’s business operations. Nearly 70% of Americans use Facebook. Many Americans support regulating social networking sites to ensure their data are secure. For the supporters of social media regulation, the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) may not be the “model” regulation many claim it will be.

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Uh Oh, Opioids!

By: Mary Jasperse, Summer Blogger

Branded Oxycodone 10mg

In 2017, The New Yorker published an expose on the Sackler Family and their company, Purdue Pharma, that blew the top off of a modern American scandal. This entrepreneurial family became one of the wealthiest in America, amassing a net worth of over thirteen billion dollars in a matter of years. The key to their success has been OxyContin, an oxycodone pain medication chemically similar to morphine. Though no more effective than similar products, OxyContin became the brand leader through aggressive marketing and promotion from Purdue Pharma. As a result of this vigorous campaigning, annual prescriptions for OxyContin increased from 600,000 thousand to 6 million.

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Aurora: The Computer of the Future

By: Samantha Moench

On March 18, 2019, Argonne National Laboratory released more information about Aurora, “America’s next-generation supercomputer.” Intel has teamed up with the Department of Energy (“DOE”) to create the computer at Argonne’s lab facility which is estimated to cost upwards of $500 million. Cray Inc.—known for its 45 years of building the “world’s most advanced supercomputers” will be a sub-contractor on the deal. Together, Cray Inc. and Intel will work to construct “the fastest supercomputer in U.S. history.”  Continue reading »