Strengthening the Distinction Between Copyright and Trademark: The Supreme Court Takes a Stand

By: Jessica Bohrer Until recently, the question of whether §43 of the Lanham Act prevented the unaccredited copying of an un-copyrighted work was an open one. However, in Dastar v. Twentieth Century Fox, the United States Supreme Court speaks directly on this issue, emphasizing the distinction between copyright and trademark protections and cautioning against “misuse or overextension” of trademark protections into areas traditionally covered by copyright or patent law. This iBrief assesses the importance of such line drawing and explores the implications of this decision. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 2003 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0023

Are We Legislating Away Our Scientific Future? The Database Debate

By: Dov Greenbaum The ambiguity of the present copyright laws governing the protection of databases creates a situation where database owners, unsure of how IP laws safeguard their information, overprotect their data with oppressive licenses and technological mechanisms (condoned by the DMCA) that impede interoperation. Databases are fundamental to scientific research, yet the lack of interoperability between databases and limited access inhibits this research. The US Congress, spurred by the European Database Directive, and heavily lobbied by the commercial database industry, is presently considering ways to legislate database protections; most of the present suggestions for legislation will be detrimental to scientific progress. The author agrees that new legislation is necessary, but not to provide extra-copyright protections, as database owners would like, but to create an environment wherein data is easily accessible to academic research and interoperability is encouraged; yet simultaneously providing database owners with incentives to produce new databases. One possibility would be to introduce standardized compulsory licensing of databases to academics following an embargo period where databases could be sold at free-market prices (to recoup costs). Databases would be given some sort of intellectual property protection both during and after this embargo in return for a limiting of technical

Students, Music and the Net: A Comment on Peer-To-Peer File Sharing

By: David L. Lange As most of the public now know, the recording industry has lately filed civil suits alleging copyright infringement against hundreds of individual defendants across the country, many (I think most) of them college students and campus hangers-on. Hundreds more such suits are said to be in the offing. The nature of the infringements? Peer-to-peer file sharing via the Internet: a kind of piracy, to use the term favored by the industry, or downloading, as it is generally thought of by the students themselves – but from either perspective, the practice of recording music from the Net while making it available in turn to others, using any of a growing number of computer programs designed to make the practice work. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 2003 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0021

A Putative Inventor’s Remedies to Correct Inventorship on a Patent

By: Campbell Chiang Inventorship is a required component of patents issued in the United States, and the penalty for filing a patent with incorrect inventorship is harsh: possible invalidation of the entire patent. This iBrief explores the background on inventorship in the United States patent system, and various remedies such as 35 U.S.C. §116, 35 U.S.C. §256, and interference proceedings in correcting errors in inventorship. This iBrief will then discuss the usefulness of these various remedies to a putative inventor who was left off the inventorship of a patent. Download Full Article (PDF) Cite: 2003 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0020