Skip to navigation

Friday, April 26, 2002

Myths Debunked, With More To Come Eugene Volokh discusses common copyright misconceptions, and is contributing to a Cyberspace Law for Nonlawyers book. Will I have to May I burn the bar card to give it a read?

Speaking of Broadband On Monday this week I was working from home, so was there when Pacific Bell cold-called me about signing up for DSL. I've been an ISDN dinosaur for years as friends and colleagues have bemoaned their outings with high speed access. (See, e.g., Buzz.) I've turned down DSL before because of installation and reliability issues, and the thought of speed fluctuating with neighborhood use has kept me off cable. Satellites just seem more trouble than they're worth. So you're probably thinking I told the Pac Bell guy to remove me from the call list and that was that. He probably wishes I did. Instead, I cross-examined him into having to call his supervisor, who withstood the onslaught pretty well - though his responses had the ring of the saved sinner more than the telco rep (We know we really screwed this up before, but now we're Healed.). I had to give the guys a chance after all the talk of despair and redemption. The equipment's in the mail, so we'll see. I'm not disconnecting the ISDN any time soon.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

More "Complaints And Grievances" The samples alone are worth the visit.

Pardon me while I impersonate Andy Rooney for a moment 1) The Senior Class Trip. When exactly did this become a U.S. high school mainstay? I'm all for the broadening experience of travel, but kids today seem to be cruising the Bahamas, sashaying through Manhattan, etc. My most meaningful Class Trips were to Bob's Big Boy. 2) Junk Door Mail. We already contend with junk postal mail, junk email and telemarketers. Now this sort of thing ("Some cities require permits" - not mine, apparently). Just who told all the local retailers and service providers they could rubberband stuff to my front doorknob? The one I will read is the one offering to electrify the thing. 3) Cell Phone Call Forwarding. Oh, so now I can't leave the cell phone behind even if I want to? Great. (I have mixed feelings about this last one. My real gripe is I was so out of it I didn't know you could do this until a couple of days ago. Frighteningly, it's coming in handy.)

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Live Justice Rory's court is webcasting oral argument. Cool.

2+2 and 1+3 For Will, a discussion from Signals, "an online magazine of analysis for biotechnology executives," examining the USPTO's gene patent guidelines and Amgen, Inc. v. Hoechst Marion Roussel, Inc., 126 F. Supp. 2d 69 (D. Mass. 2001):
"The PTO's new guidelines clearly describe the current criteria for patenting gene-based inventions. They've raised the bar by requiring that an invention show a specific and substantial utility, thus effectively eliminating patents on sequences of unknown function (such as first-generation EST patents). But the new guidelines still haven't answered all the questions posed by researchers, nor have they put to rest some genuine concerns voiced by academia. Despite the controversy and stiffer requirements, however, the PTO should grant scores of new gene patents in the next few years. Whether these patents will hold up in court is another matter -- as Amgen and TKT are still discovering.
. . .
Judge Young concluded that 'In order to avoid infringing a product claim, a competitor must not make that product regardless whether the process used to do so differs in some way from the process or processes described in the patent. If indeed the same product is ultimately obtained, it matters not that in order to do so the competitor tweaked the process in some manner.' "
Judge Young's lengthy decision is published, and while the article references an appeal it does not appear to have been pursued. An interesting related item: In February, BIO and Ernst & Young announced their collaboration on "a new primer and resource of first resort for the federal judiciary: A Jurists’ Guide to 21st Century Biotechnology." The site, which is up but still in "draft" form, provides background on how patent law has developed and been applied to the genetic and other biotechnology fields. Judges will find it useful, as it links to relevant materials, defines technical terms, and presents things in a neutral, even-handed manner. The site's "unresolved issues" page also looks promising as a way to highlight areas of controversy, but for now it strikes me as pretty brief.

Plan B Fishrush's Plan B has potential. It would get us out of the office, and doesn't current intel reveal the rebels have fled to Santorini?

Monday, April 22, 2002

Bajahhh Just returned from a few days in Baja California, which, if you haven't been, is much like Mars, only warmer and less red. Cream and russet are the hues of choice in a region that is six parts geology lesson, and, closer to Cabo San Lucas, two parts golf, one part strip club and one part sport-fisher paradise (actually, the last two may be interchangeable). My favorite area is up the Sea of Cortez side, toward La Paz and beyond. There, precipitous mountainsides drain to the coast by the most numerous and efficient means, and tracks crossing the occasional plateau barely resist forming Nazcan figures. Flood plains of cracked sand speak of bygone hurricanes. The sea engulfs the land in aqua shallows that plunge to immediate blue depths and form a massive, shifting foundation for the comet-tailed whitecaps and pangas skidding above. Just such a view accompanied my airborne read of Michelle Delio's article in Wired last week. The piece emphasizes how linking issues keep coming before judges who struggle to resolve them on a case by case basis with the help of common sense but scant precedent. The comments to Ernie's post illustrate some of the perspectives, and most are in line with Judge Harry Hupp's reasoning a couple of years ago that deep linking is "analogous to using a library's card index to get reference to particular items, albeit faster and more efficiently," and as such would not involve copying at all. Judge Hupp also noted that even when a link does copy its source (such as when data is not merely referenced but reproduced), a court should consider whether only unprotected factual information is involved, and whether the fair use doctrine may permit the use. Judge Hupp's orders in Ticketmaster v. never became part of a published opinion though, and decisional authority remains scarce. It would be nice if Dr. Bechtold would update his link controversy page, as he was doing a nice job keeping track of pending cases and scholarship worldwide, but he seems to be taking a break. If anyone else has tackled this task, I'd appreciate hearing about it.

Creative Commons LicenseUnless otherwise expressly stated, all original material of whatever nature created by Denise M. Howell and included in the Bag and Baggage weblog and any related pages, including the weblog's archives, is licensed under a Creative Commons License.