PIPG Wine & Cheese Salon

Please join the Penn IP Group for a Wine & Cheese Salon to discuss some relevant and interesting IP issues. The event will be held tomorrow, October 20 at 4:30 in Gittis 213. PIPG members and interested students are encouraged to come out, discuss IP topics, and enjoy some cheese, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages. Prompts for tomorrow include the new Smith-Leahy America Invents Patent Act and IP issues related to Fashion Law (to get excited for the Spring Symposium). We hope to see you there!

Court Rejects Google Books Settlement

Last Tuesday, Judge Chin of the Southern District of New York threw out the Amended Settlement Agreement that Google had to agreed to with the Author's Guild and the various other plaintiffs involved in the a lawsuit regarding Google Books. The suit was originally brought by publishers and authors who were concerned with the potential for mass copyright infringement by Google with its creation of Google Books. The lawsuit was originally brought in 2005 after Google set up Google Books by working with various University libraries to scan countless texts which would then be made available on the internet. Google has maintained that their goal with Google Book is to better catalog books with a special aim at reintroducing out-of-text books to the general public. The problem with the program is that the copyrights on many of these scanned works have not run out.

Google and its adversaries proposed a settlement in 2008 that would allow Google Books to continue to be developed but that would insure the rights of publishers and authors were not forgotten. Under this plan, Google would pay the groups for the rights to the books and the authors and publishers would receive a certain amount of money made on book sales through Google Books. The settlement contained a default inclusion clause, meaning that authors that wished to be excluded from Google Books would have to explicitly opt out.

Judge Chin ended up throwing out this settlement because he found it to be inadequate, mainly it how favorable it is to Google. He noted the fact that author's must opt out and as well as how greatly it favors Google over its potential market competitors. It would have the effect of favoring Google over its competitors because if the settlement were to go through, Google would have legally recognized deals with any author to put their work on their website in the absence of an opt-out. Additionally, Google has a huge head start as it has been working on Google Books throughout the lawsuit and settlement. For more information and a copy of Judge Chin's decision on the issue see the following article from CNET.

Penn Intellectual Property Group Copyright Symposium

Next Tuesday (March 22nd, 2011), the Penn Intellectual Property Group will be holding its annual symposium at Penn Law School. All are welcome to attend, so if you find yourself in the Philadelphia area, please stop by. This year the symposium will be on copyright law, and there will be panels on content licensing on the Internet, open source law, and copyright and author issues. The schedule for the symposium is as follows:
Keynote Speaker (4:30pm - 5:00pm)
Ken Richieri (New York Times)
Content Licensing and Distribution on the Web (5:00pm - 5:50pm)
Roger Cramer (Selverne & Company)
Bruce Rich (Weil Gotshal)
Jeff Farmer (Limewire)
Open Source and Derivative Work (5:50pm - 6:40pm)
Aaron Williamson (Software Freedom Law Center)
Van Lindberg (Hayes and Boone)
Jay Westermeier (Finnegan)
Copyright and Authors - Three Unique Perspectives (6:40pm - 7:30pm)
Nina Paley (author and cartoonist)
Michael Boni (Boni and Zack)
Marcia Paul (Davis Wright Tremaine)
The symposium has been approved for 3 hours of substantive C.L.E credit.

Google v. Bing(?)

In recent news, you may have heard that Google operated a sting to catch Microsoft's search engine, Bing, copying Google's search results on Internet Explorer and implementing them in Bing's search results. To do this, Google created a specific webpage that would appear if words like “hiybbprqag” and “mbzrxpgjys” were typed into Bing. Bing is contesting the allegations of "copying" and says that it merely monitored users, a fair online practice according to Bing's Harry Shum. Bing doesn't deny that it monitors its users' browsing online, rather the search engine argues that it oversees all of the internet activity across the web, not just when Internet Explorer users search through Google.

This is called a clickstream, which Bing observes over time, tracking results of each user in the webpage's URL. This search signal, and not Google signal, is an aggregation of all the different searches that users perform, including those on other sites like Yahoo. To Bing, it is irrelevant if Google is a popular search, because the intention is not to solely perform a Google search. Bing can also show that only about 9% of the specific searches for nonsensical words that Google performed were found using Bing. Where does this leave the case? Well, Google has adamantly stood by its original purpose for bringing these search results to light, the engineers behind Google search believe that it is plainly unfair for Bing to copy any of its search results.

Given the extent of copied material, it seems less likely that Google will pursue a challenge in court. Instead, Google may choose to use these facts to further emphasize its prominence among search engines, allowing it to propel its image among users who may not be dedicated Google searchers.

For a more in-depth analysis of this case, please visit http://searchengineland.com/bing-why-googles-wrong-in-its-accusations-63279.

Dispute over the name "iPad"

Fujitsu began selling a device named, "iPad," in 2002 and is currently disputing the name of Apple's newest gadget.

The Japanese Company applied for a trademark for the name in 2003. Apple has until February 28th to announce whether it will oppose Fujitsu's claims to the name "iPad." To read more about the dispute, please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/technology/companies/29name.html?scp=3&sq=patent&st=cse

Battle over Copyright Royalties of the Gershwin Brothers

Nearly a decade ago, George and Ira Gershwin, known as the Gershwin brothers, fought to have copyright extended to their songs. Now, after their deaths, the heirs of these songwriting brothers are disputing over how to divide the royalties, which have come from the copyrighting of this music. Since the American royalties were previously divided equally between the brothers, there is no dispute regarding them. However, in the EU copyright law differs from US copyright law. Since, Ira Gershwin outlived his brother by about 40 years, there arises a problem with European copyright law. In the EU, the copyright of a lyricist and a composer are distinct. Furthermore, these rights expire 70 years after the death of the lyricist or composer, and the music then enters the public domain. Thus, since technically George’s copyright earnings on his compositions expired in 2007 in the EU, there is a dispute. Since Ira’s copyright of his lyrics is still effective, his estate still gains royalties from the use of his songs. Thus, Ira’s heirs believe they deserve foreign royalties on his lyrics.

For more on this story, please go to: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/arts/la-ca-gershwin1-2009nov01,0,6051370.story.