Patents

The Legal Implications of 3D Printing in the Fight Against COVID-19

By: Alyssa Valdes

3D Print of a SARS-CoV-2

3D print of a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle

 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical equipment and other essentials have run out of supply, paving the way for 3D printing to alleviate these supply shortages. The increased need for certain products, such as masks, face shields, and ventilator valves, has led to a gap in supply and demand. Owners of 3D printing technology have stepped in to produce more of these products and prevent further spread of COVID-19, but their acts of kindness come with some potential risks.

Continue reading »

COVID-19, Compulsory Licensing, and the Battle Between Health and Economy

By: John Stevelinck, Jr.

pixabay.com

At present, there have been over 2.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 100,000 COVID-19 related deaths in the United States. As a result, efforts to develop a vaccine are in full swing, placing the U.S. Government in a unique situation when it comes to patent rights.

Continue reading »

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?

Continue reading »

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 »

The Conflict Between 3D Printing and Patent Law

By: Daniel Norton

zmorph-multitool-3d-printer-1221521-unsplashIn the past, science fiction books and television shows toyed with the idea of “replicators” and “matter compilers.” The idea was that people would be able to produce the tools or objects they needed in any given situation from the comforts of their own homes or starships. Mere decades after this idea was considered a fantasy it has become a reality as Americans have increasingly begun using 3D printers to create tools and objects they need from the comfort of their own homes. But the advent of 3D printers has not brought about the utopian freedoms things like Star Trek indicated. Instead, 3D printing technology has created entirely new challenges for the US patent system to grapple with.

The creation of an object using 3D printing is known as additive manufacturing. This process involves a 3D printer applying a given material in thin layers on top of each other to create an object dictated to it by a computer-aided design (CAD) file. While this ability was first created in the 1980s, it has exploded in popularity over the past few years due to the advent of “home” 3D printers. Continue reading »

Veblen, Schumpeter, and employee inventors: lessons from the US and Germany

By: Neal Orkin, Guest Writer*

(This article first appeared in the December 1990 issue of Managing Intellectual Property.  It remains relevant today.)

Why should bright and innovative youngsters want to enter engineering and science when the incentives are so small?

Neal Orkin, inventor of ‘Orkinomics’, looks at this question through the eyes of Veblen and Schumpeter and explains why so many US patents are now being granted to foreigners.

“Competitiveness” is the new buzzword that we Americans use to fend off those damned foreigners who “steal” our technology or trade “unfairly”.  While erudite authors and smug commentators – those Captains of Competitiveness – speak in terms of such euphemisms as better education for workers, labour-management cooperation, and new far­sighted management, we lose sight of one of the basic causes of our competitiveness problem – rewards and recognition for creative engineers and scientists. Continue reading »

Don’t Pay the Tool: Artificial Intelligence is a Creative Tool, Not a Creative Entity

By: Daniel Norton, Summer Blogger

https://pixabay.com/en/anatomy-biology-brain-thought-mind-1751201/In the past decade, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) has been used to create artistic works as well as news articles. For example, A.I. has created works which can imitate famous artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, as well as generating articles for newspapers like The Washington Post. These recent innovations have led some people to ask whether A.I. should be eligible to receive a copyright for its creations. Current Copyright Law does not classify A.I. works as copyrightable creations, however, A.I. might one day achieve a level of intelligence to warrant such accreditation to be protected under United States Copyright Laws.

Since 1973, it has been the official policy of the United States Copyright Office to deny any copyright claims if the work was not created by a human being. In fact, The Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices states that in order for a work to be eligible for copyright protection, it must be “created by a human being.” In one instance, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals seems supported the requirement that a human must be the creator for a work to receive copyright protection. In the case Naruto v. Slader, the court denied the monkey, Naruto, standing to bring an action under the Copyright Act. This holding from one of the primary goalsof Intellectual Property Law: to benefit society by incentivizing innovation by allowing creators and innovators the right to profit from their creations for a set period. Continue reading »

President Trump Selects Pro-Business Nominee With Experience in Intellectual Property

By: Whitney Hosey, Editor-in-Chief

On Monday, July 9, President Trump announced his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. The nominee, the Honorable Brett Kavanaugh, has served as a federal appeals court judge since his appointment by President George W. Bush in 2006. In that time, Judge Kavanaugh has “written almost 300 opinions.” Among those opinions are several involving both business law and intellectual property law.

On the business end of things, Kavanaugh has consistently ruled in favor of businesses in pivotal cases. For example, in Verizon New England Inc. v. NLRB, Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion overruling the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) decision in favor of an employees’ union. Instead, the Court determined that the union had violated a collective bargaining agreement with Verizon by “displaying pro-union signs in their vehicles.” On the whole “Kavanaugh is considered pragmatic.” The biggest business law and telecom related case which may come before the High Court is determining “whether a proposed nationwide class of consumers can sue Apple, Inc. for allegedly monopolizing the iPhone app market.” The lower court has already granted the plaintiffs standing on the anti-trust claims, whether Kavanaugh would choose to overrule that determination is unclear. Continue reading »

Who has the Power?

By: Hannah Fry, Summer Blogger

With growing environmental awareness, more technology is being developed to harness what at one time would have been considered a useless commodity. Renewable energy in the form of solar power and wind power have been at the forefront of technological advancement. While water has always been an essential resource, updates to age-old methods of utilizing falling water have revolutionized hydropower.

Hydropower operates by capturing the kinetic energy of falling water passing through a dam to generate electricity by utilizing a turbine to transfer the kinetic energy into mechanical, then into electrical via a generator. The amount of electricity a hydropower plant can generate is directly related to the volume and distance the water falls. The further the water falls and the greater volume of water that passes through the turbine the more electricitycan be generated. As hydropower’s popularity as a reliable and renewable form of energy increases, the updates and new technology associated with hydropower raises questions of ownership which ultimately results in delays of licensing and regulatory approval of hydropower facilities. Continue reading »

Are American Institutions the Breeding Ground for Intellectual Property Theft?

By: Phillip Jester, Summer Blogger

https://pixabay.com/en/computer-security-padlock-hacker-1591018/A recent White House report accused China, the world’s second-largest economy, of engaging in aggressive “acts, policies, and practices that fall outside of global norms and rules.” The report highlights a new threat posed by China: the presence of “Chinese Nationals” serving as “Non-Traditional Information Collectors” at American universities.  The White House alleges that the Chinese State has created educational programs which encourage science and engineering students to master important military technologies in order to share such technologies with Beijing.

More than 100 American universities currently collaborate with Confucius Institutes, educational organization that are sponsored by China’s Communist Party.  Lawmakers and intelligence officials are now speaking out against the role of Confucius Institutes as possible “spying outposts.” In February, Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) Director Christopher Wray stated that Chinese spies are being planted in American schools in order to exploit “very open research and development” environments.  The exploitation of open educational environments may already be paying off.  Chinese Scientists returning from American laboratories have played a key role in the development of hypersonic glide systems, systems capable of penetrating any current missile defense. Continue reading »