Homography of Inventorship: DABUS and Valuing Inventors

By: Jordana Goodman On July 28, 2021, the Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience (“DABUS”) became the first computer to be recognized as a patent inventor. Due to the advocacy of DABUS’s inventor, Dr. Stephen Thaler, the world’s definition of “inventor” has finally fractured – dividing patent regimes between recognition of machine inventorship and lack thereof. This division has sparked many scholarly conversations about inventorship contribution, but none have discussed the implications of a homographic inventorship. This Article addresses the implications of international homographic inventorship – where countries have different notions and rules concerning patent inventorship – and the consequences for failing to understand the divergences that could result in patent invalidation. This Article adds to the literature by addressing Thaler’s tireless inventorship advocacy, highlighting that Thaler uses his position of privilege to argue for inventorship acknowledgement of his machine and simultaneously to relinquish his own inventorship recognition. To emphasize, there is no existing caselaw except the DABUS case where a potential inventor has argued for the acknowledgement of another inventor and simultaneously relinquished their own recognition – whether that unacknowledged inventor was human or not human. Thaler’s advocacy amplifies the need for continued conversation regarding closing the

Professor Brandon Garrett on Exposing the Flaws in Forensics

By Brendan Clemente This past March, Duke Law’s Professor Brandon Garrett released his newest book, Autopsy of a Crime Lab: Exposing the Flaws in Forensics. Professor Garrett founded the Wilson Center for Science and Justice and studies the use of forensic evidence in criminal cases. Brendan Clemente, Duke Law & Technology Review’s (DLTR) Managing Editor, sat down with Professor Garrett to discuss the book. Thank you for joining DLTR to discuss your new book, Autopsy of a Crime Lab: Exposing the Flaws in Forensics. What made you want to delve into this topic in this book? My introduction to forensics came after law school. I took evidence in law school, for which I am glad now that I am now teaching it. We did not cover expert evidence. I did not take law and science classes, and I went to law school having turned away from math and science, like most of us lawyers do. When I was in practice, I worked at a civil rights firm where there were two types of cases one could gravitate toward: police brutality cases and wrongful conviction cases. I told the partners I wanted to work on the police brutality cases. The wrongful

Food for Thought: Intellectual Property Protection for Recipes and Food Designs

By: Kurt M. Saunders and Valerie Flugge As any chef will tell you, cooking and food preparation is a creative, sometimes innovative, endeavor. Much thought and time is invested in selecting ingredients, developing the process for preparing the dish, and designing an interesting or appealing look and feel for a food item. If this is true, then it should come as no surprise that recipes, food designs, and other culinary creations can be protected by various forms of intellectual property, namely: trade secrets, design and utility patents, trade dress, but usually not copyright. This article considers how intellectual property law has been applied to protect recipes and food designs, along with broader issues relating to how these rights may overlap and their implications for competition. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 19 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 159

Tribal Lending After Gingras

By: Max King   Online payday lenders pose serious risks for consumers. Yet, for years, these lending companies have skirted state regulation by pleading tribal sovereign immunity. Under this doctrine, entities that are so affiliated with tribal nations that they are “an arm of the tribe” are immune from suit. Without comprehensive federal regulation, tribal sovereign immunity has served as a trump card at the pleading state for online payday lenders. The Note argues that change may be on the horizon. In the recent decision Gingras v. Think Finance, the Second Circuit held that the Supreme Court’s holding in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community permitted injunctive suits against tribal affiliates, acting in their official capacity off reservation, based on state law. If other courts adopt the Second Circuit’s reasoning, states and consumers will be far better equipped to tackle online payday lenders. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 19 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 122

Look What You Made Her Do: How Swift, Streaming, and Social Media Can Increase Artists’ Bargaining Power

By: Emily Tribulski Music and technology have always been intertwined and recently the developments of streaming and social media have opened the door for artists to elevate their place in the music industry. The growth of social media engagement is undeniable and in 2016 streaming platforms led to the music industry’s first earnings increase in fifteen years, with double digit gains each year since—a change to the status quo that cannot be ignored. The technological moment provided by streaming and social media gives lesser-known artists, especially when they are backed by superstars, a unique opportunity to challenge traditionally label friendly record deals. These technologies provide artists with the ability to grow their fanbase and increase their bargaining power before reaching the negotiation table with a label—giving them more leverage to maintain ownership of their music and receive more artist friendly contracts. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 19 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 91

Ben Grunwald on Solving ”The Wandering Officer” Problem

By Ben K. Grunwald Last month, as Derek Chauvin’s trial began for the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Duke Law Professors James Boyle and Ben K. Grunwald discussed “The Wandering Officer” problem, the common phenomenon in which law enforcement officers get fired at one law enforcement agency to be rehired at another while continuing to engage in the same conduct that got them fired in the first place. During this back and forth, which has been edited for length and clarity, the professors talk about Grunwald’s recent Yale Law Journal article with Professor John Rappaport from the University of Chicago on the issue and the policy proposals most likely to promote police accountability and other social reforms in the United States, but particularly in Black communities and other communities of color. You wrote a fascinating 2020 Yale Law Journal article, with Professor John Rappaport from the University of Chicago, called The Wandering Officer. Could you describe what a wandering officer is and what the goal of the study is? A wandering officer is a police officer who is fired by one law enforcement agency and then gets hired by another. The most famous example is Tim Loehman, who—just a few

A Fresh Start: Surveillance Tech and the Modern Law Firm

By: Titus R. Willis The legal community is rapidly evolving: firms are more beholden to clients than ever, associates are growing more competitive with one another, and younger firm employees are more willing than ever to subject themselves to surveillance from their employers. These evolutions come alongside a boom in surveillance technology. Tech companies now provide services that can track every keystroke a lawyer makes on a company computer, analyze the content of their computer screens, or even develop algorithms to measure employee productivity. How does the modern law firm respond to these new technologies? How do they weigh their obligations to clients with the privacy considerations of their employees? This Note examines these key questions and makes a comment about the honor of the legal profession along the way. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 19 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 75

Keeping Up With China: CFIUS and the Need to Secure Material Nonpublic Technical Knowledge of AI/ML

By: Anthony Severin Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies will shape societies by the values they are programmed to respect. In part because of anti-competitive Chinese practices such as forced transfers of intellectual property (IP), companies based in the U.S. have lost the ability to compete in several fields. To avoid losing competitiveness in AI/ML sectors, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) should promulgate rules blocking Chinese investors from acquiring ownership interests in U.S. companies when that ownership would allow access to material nonpublic technical knowledge of AI/ML. Such a categorical blacklist approach will limit forced transfers of IP and increase the influence of American values on the development of AI/ML technology. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 19 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 59