General

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

For instance, many countries would like to set up space stations and mine various materials such as water, gold, platinum, and rare earth elements from the moon. In 1979, the UN proposed the Moon Agreement, which would allow countries to carry out this goal by essentially setting up an international regime to govern the feasible exploitation of the moon’s resources. However, only 11 countries have ratified it, and some of the most important countries in the history of space exploration – US, China, and Russia- have yet to ratify this Agreement.

Many people believe that the world should approach extracting resources from Earth’s Moon in the same way that the US has approached extracting resources from asteroids. In 2015, Congress passed the SPACE Act, which allowed private American companies and citizens to keep space resources that were not biologically alive (minerals, metals, ore, elements, and other natural resources), which they extracted from celestial bodies (predominantly asteroids and deep space moons). The goal of this type of “space mining” is to sell the resources from these celestial bodies to companies that will use the resources to fuel other space operations from Earth. However, space mining is not the only area of space colonization where the laws have yet to be firmly established.

Space debris is another area where both countries and companies may face liability. There are more than 500,000 pieces of space debris floating around Earth’s orbit, and over 166 million objects floating around between 1 mm to 1 cm in size.  Currently, the Outer Space Treaty (the “Treaty”) has established that each launching nation is responsible for the space debris damage they cause. Under the Treaty, each launching nation owns both its space property and its debris in perpetuity. However, the laws concerning space debris liability may need to be revisited due to the large increase in space debris and the dangers arising from such an increase. Current laws require permission from the owner of the space debris to remove the debris. However, James A. Vedda, a senior policy analyst, believes that the laws should be amended to allow for the quick and efficient removal of space debris by non-owner parties. Luckily, Article XV of the Outer Space Treaty does allow for amendment of the Treaty by any state party to the Treaty.

Thus, as space technology advances, we must update our space laws to address the consequences of such advancements and expansions into space.  It would be wise for the law to address such things as disposal of space junk and interstellar mining rights before we start sending Earth’s population out into space to colonize the unknown.

Golzar Yazdanshenas is a second-year law student at Wake Forest University School of Law. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and several minors, including a minor in Science Technology & Law from Virginia Tech. Upon graduation, she intends to practice in both corporate and intellectual property law. 

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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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 »

NC Sets Sail for the Supreme Court: “Blackbeard’s Law” and Modern Day Piracy

By: Killoran Long

https://pixabay.com/photos/naval-battle-ship-sailing-vessel-3195409/ At the beginning of this year, a North Carolina videographer escalated a copyright fight with the State of North Carolina to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rick Allen, co-owner of Fayetteville based Nautilus Productions, LLC, is alleging the State of North Carolina and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources are guilty of copyright infringement regarding images related to the recovery of the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge (“QAR”) was Blackbeard’s flagship vessel and was commandeered and then used by the infamous English pirate to conduct his activities during the early 1700s. While Blackbeard operated from the eastern coast of the American colonies, down to the West Indies, he is particularly notorious throughout North Carolina history for his exploits along the coast. It was believed that Blackbeard ran the QAR aground off the coast of Beaufort, North Carolina in the summer of 1718, which was confirmed in 1996 when a private research firm found the wreckage. Continue reading »

Mozilla v. FCC, The New Net Neutrality Case

By: Daniel Norton

On February 1st, 2019, the D.C. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case Mozilla Corp. v. FCC. The premise of the case is that Mozilla, and several other interested parties, have sued the FCC over the Restoring Internet Freedom Order’s reclassification of internet services as information services rather than telecommunications services under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. A telecommunications service is one that transmits unaltered information while an information service is used for “generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information.” This classification is important as the D.C. Court of Appeals has held that the FCC cannot enforce net neutrality against Internet Access Providers if they are classified as telecommunications services, but they can if the IAPs are classified as telecommunications services. The 2015 Open Internet Order classified IAPs services to be telecommunications while the 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order reclassified IAPs services as information services. Continue reading »

Opportunity Zones: An Opportunity for Investors to Give Back

By: Samantha Moench

The Trump Administration enacted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “TCJA”) on December 22, 2017. It is claimed to be one of the most aggressive tax reforms in history. Not only did it change the tax brackets and taxation of corporate tax incentives, but it also introduced a new innovative tax incentive designed to encourage investment in economically distressed areas throughout the United States. Continue reading »

How Netflix Risks the Genericization of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” Trademark Through Its Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Hit

By: Melissa Lawrence

Chooseco, maker of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books popular in the 1980s and 1990s, sued Netflix over its interactive adult film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. Chooseco’s lawsuit concerns Netflix’s use of its trademark “Choose Your Own Adventure,” a mark registered both in the United States and internationally. In its complaint, Chooseco demands both injunctive relief and damages in the amount of $25 million or Netflix’s profits from the film, whichever are greater.   Continue reading »

Symposium Spotlight: Camille Stell

By: Jason Gonzalez

On March 8th, 2019, the Wake Forest Journal of Business & Intellectual Property Law will be hosting Camille Stell, current President and CEO of Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services to join Pegeen Turner on a discussion of how attorneys can integrate technology in their everyday legal practice.

Camille began her legal profession after graduating from Meredith College and worked as a paralegal for 10 years with Young Moore & Henderson PA. In addition to her work as a paralegal, Camille has worked with North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, as a Business Development Manager with Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman, and she has served as the Chair of the Raleigh City Group, Legal Marketing Association.

Camille was a past contributing member to the NBCA Transitioning Lawyer Commission and was the chair of the NCBA Law Practice Management Section. In September of 2011, Camille was honored with being named one of 25 distinguished individuals who have bettered the legal profession through their community involvement by North Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly Leader in the Law” award.

Finally, Camille currently sits on the Pro Bono Resource Center Advisory Board. This board is comprised of 18 professionals throughout North Carolina that serve as the front-line focus group for all pro bono initiatives, and as a means to outsource pro bono resources and communications to the state of North Carolina.

Camille has traveled throughout North Carolina sharing her experience and expertise in the legal community and the legal technology sector and the Wake Forest Journal of Business & Intellectual Property Law is honored to have her join us.

Symposium Spotlight: Pegeen Turner

By: Jason Gonzalez

Pegeen Turner is the current President of Legal Cloud Technology. Legal Cloud Technology is a leader in Information Technology consulting services geared towards small and medium size law firms in North Carolina. Pegeen and her team know the rigors and demands of maintaining a digital infrastructure required of modern-day firms and assists firms of all sizes to utilize their in-house technology to create a state-of-the-art law firm.

As a graduate of James Madison University – College of Business, Pegeen has extensive experience as an IT director of numerous large law firms and currently sits as the Co-Chair of the Small Firm & Technology Section of the North Carolina Bar Association.

Pegeen will join Camille Stell of Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services and lead a panel discussing how attorneys can continue to integrate technology in their law practice at the Wake Forest Journal of Business & Intellectual Property’s Spring 2019 Symposium.