January 2008

Question by C. J. Roberts at oral argument in Quanta v. LG, earlier this week:

we’ve had experience with the Patent Office where it tends to grant patents a lot more liberally than we would enforce under the patent law. (Transcript, p. 49, January 16, 2008).

The issue in Quanta is whether the licensed sale of components used in a patented invention exhausts the patent owner’s patent rights. The comment by Chief Justice Roberts was a reference to the Supreme Court’s decision in KSR Int’l v. Teleflex, Inc., which has been widely understood to have made it more difficult to obtain new patents and defend existing patents.

The Patent Office has been widely criticized for issuing unworthy patents. Do you think anyone there is paying attention?… Read the full article

David Byrne has published an interesting article in Wired on the various business models in the music industry, and how the Internet and digital music is changing those models and offering artists more opportunities.

David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists – And Megastars

Where there was one, now there are six: Six possible music distribution models, ranging from one in which the artist is pretty much hands-off to one where the artist does nearly everything. Not surprisingly, the more involved the artist is, the more he or she can often make per unit sold. The totally DIY model is certainly not for everyone – but that’s the point. Now there’s choice. . . .

Recommended reading.… Read the full article

Amazon Caught in Common Settlement Trap

by Lee Gesmer on January 16, 2008

If you’re in the middle of a trial, don’t tell the judge that you’ve settled the case unless you absolutely, positively mean it. Amazon fell into this trap in its recent litigation with Basis Technology, a Massachusetts linguistics software company. On the third day of trial over a dispute arising out of a contractual relationship the parties informed the judge that the case had been settled. The judge ended the trial, but the settlement agreement that the parties then attempted to negotiate for signature foundered over the calculation of Amazon’s minority stock ownership in Basis, an important element of the settlement. After the dispute was brought to the attention of the trial judge she examined the negotiations and held that the intention of the parties had been to settle. She ruled that all of the material terms of the settlement had been agreed upon, and that Amazon’s objection to the stock calculation was a “post hoc objection” insufficient to derail the settlement.… Read the full article

Life: What A Concept

by Lee Gesmer on January 15, 2008

Edge has posted as a free online publication the complete transcript of this summer’s Edge event, Life: What a Concept! as a 43,000- word downloadable PDF book.

This is a transcript of an event that took place at Eastover Farm in Bethlehem, CT on Monday, August 27th, 2007. Invited to address the topic “Life: What a Concept!” were Freeman Dyson, J. Craig Venter, George Church, Robert Shapiro, Dimitar Sasselov, and Seth Lloyd. These scientists are some of the most visionary scientific thinkers in the world. Warning: this is heaving going ….

Click here to download the pdf file.

Read the full article