The Traklight Blog

Explore the world of intangible assets and IP with guest blogs, business owner interviews, and more.

Judge Rules Against AI as an Inventor in Patent Case

There’s been a lot of discourse over the past few years about what artificial intelligence can do versus what it should do. Those on the side of the machines see an opportunity for terrific advances, and those opposing are understandably nervous of the notion of technology that can come close to approximating human intelligence, particularly if that tech is given some amount of power and control in managing tasks that would otherwise be done by humans. Sure, humans are flawed, make mistakes big and small, but many still feel comfortable knowing that the hand on the proverbial wheel is one of flesh and blood. 

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Non-Profit TV Service Shuts Down Upon Losing Copyright Case

Despite the proliferation of streaming services, there's still a market for broadcast television, as evidenced by the fact that cable packages remain a thing, albeit a diminished thing, and that there are ever more options that offer customers the channels they love served to them over the internet rather than through a cable box. Most are legitimate — YouTubeTV seems to have a healthy subscriber base, as does Sling and other competitors — but there has been a strain of fly-by-night options that can seem too good to be true, often because they flout the established rules regarding licensing and copyright and all the other hoops that mainstream services have to worry about. 

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Disney's Expiring Copyright Gives Rise to 'Famous Mouse' Token

The public domain is, broadly speaking, a good thing for both consumers and creators, although the creators of the original work passing into the public domain might feel differently were they still alive to put up a fuss. Regardless, it’s useful to have works that become available for smart folks to offer their own take and interpretation. And it’s the law as written, so like it or not artists have to accept that their art will one day be made available to the public to do with as they please.

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Who Owns The Copyright On The Moon?

Questions of ownership have always plagued human existence, dating back to countless wars over tracts of land that more or less continue apace today. They’re also fought in the intellectual property space now, a less bloody but sometimes equally contentious arena. And much like the aforementioned wars, they have as much to do with avarice and rapaciousness and a generally unthinking, reflexive need by some to control as much as possible.

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Cannabis Company Facing Copyright Suit From Sacha Baron Cohen

If you look hard enough, you can find celebrities or pseudo-celebrities endorsing all sorts of products. If you have enough money to splurge on the requisite fees, stars of stage and screen and the athletic arena will pitch your wares to audiences, and the more money you have, the bigger the star will be. I don’t know that I’ve ever been swayed by a celebrity endorsement precisely for the fact that I know they’re being paid for their endorsement, but the star factor is enough to at least have the ad and brand stick in my brain, which may be what these companies are hoping for after all. 

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Sony Music Takes On Gymshark Over Infringement In Ads

It’s hard to sell the idea of working out to people who aren’t already committed to the concept. No one is disagreeing on the benefits of looking and feeling better, but the cost of time and sweat and agony isn’t something many of us are eager to pay. How then can fitness companies sell to those who are hard to persuade? By making working out seem cool.

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Record Labels Take On Charter Communication Over Copyright Infringement

Combating copyright infringement on the internet must seem like an impossible task if you’re a rightsholder, whether you’re a solo creator or a major studio with a dedicated team. As it turns out, a system created for the dissemination of information and data, when turned towards copyrighted material, can spread those songs or images or films far and wide, making it next to impossible to track down every person who may have pirated that work. Such is the nature of the beast, and to try and undo it would be akin to putting the proverbial toothpaste back in the tube.

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Milio Tokens:  Creating Economy for the Social Generation

We all have our gripes about social media, but the biggest for creators, who rely upon the platforms to distribute their content, is that they’re helping those companies more than they're benefiting themselves. User engagement means advertising revenue for Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and others, and the individuals helping to drive that engagement rarely if ever see a cent of that money. But creators are left with little recourse if they want access to the wider audience that social media provides.

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Cleveland Guardians Hit Trademark Snag: The Other Cleveland Guardians

The saga of the Cleveland baseball team name change was supposed to be a counterpoint to the situation that unfolded with Washington’s football team; whereas the latter was a crushed process, Cleveland seemingly gave themselves time to do the work to find the right name, which was presumably one that both appeased fans and cleared the hurdle of IP issues that has seemingly stymied the erstwhile Football Team. 

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GM Alleging Trademark Infringement From Ford Over 'Cruise' Feature

Given how competitive various industries and markets can be and how much money is often at stake, it’s not surprising to see similar products or innovations arrive concurrently. It’s not necessarily nefarious for different parties to arrive at the same idea, particularly a good one that fills a hole in a market or provides an obvious improvement on an existing item. Sometimes whatever dispute arises is not in the realm of the item itself, but in the names that companies arrive upon for these features or products, even if they’re not particularly inspired. 

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Gmail to Use Trademarked Logos For Email Authentication

It’s easy to start thinking of trademarks as instruments to profit off of, or to be used in legal battles as either shield or cudgel, but it’s occasionally worth remembering their more basic functions and how those serve businesses in very real and tangible ways. For example, you create a logo to identify your business to identify your company and products to consumers, and in time that logo comes to mean something more than just an image. You build equity in a brand, and in time trust from consumers, and in trademarking that logo you’re protecting not only yourself and your business, you’re also protecting consumers from potential knockoffs that look like what you sell but aren’t to the quality they’ve come to expect. 

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Apple Wins Trademark Case Over 'Memoji' Feature

It’s hard enough for any small or midsize business to take on corporations in any sort of intellectual property case in the best of circumstances, with evidence and the law ostensibly on their side. The court systems are overworked and the process is by design deliberative, which is another way of saying slow, and both of those facts work to the benefit of the bigger business that can afford to let things play out without any significant diversion of energy or resources. Occasionally, with enough perseverance and perhaps a bit of fortune, individuals and small businesses come out on top, but that requires them to get everything right. 

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The Newest Olympic Event: Copyright Hammer Toss

Depending on your level of engagement, the Olympics can be an all-consuming event for the two or so weeks it’s on every two years. It’s typically everywhere on TV across a family of networks, unless you’re NBC and more interested in making viewers jump across websites and channels and platforms called Peacock to find their event of choice as though that hunt was an Olympic event in and of itself. And in recent iterations, it’s all over social media, as viewers share the best or at least most interesting moments of the day’s events. 

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Nintendo Wins Judgment in Infringement Case, Gets Nothing

It’s not uncommon to see corporations go after fans who are engaged in infringement of that company’s intellectual property, and it’s easy to understand why even if you don’t always agree: every business wants full control over their IP and how it’s used and sold, and these fans are taking money out of the pockets of said business or using the IP in a way that the company doesn’t agree with, or often both. And it’s usually the case that these corporations prevail; after all, they have both the legal rights to that IP as well as a legal team to see out these cases, whereas individuals are probably put in some degree of financial distress just to afford a single lawyer for their case. Which raises an interesting question: what exactly are these corporations getting out of the lawsuits they pursue against individuals?

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Disney's Loki Trademarks Draw Criticism From Fans

Hard as it may be to believe now, the conglomeration known as Disney has its origins as an animation studio trying to make its way in the early days of Hollywood. Harder still to believe, given that Disney now seems to own much of the existing popular intellectual property that exists, was that the nascent studio owes no small amount of its success and survival to IP that it didn’t own. Sure, Mickey Mouse was a Walt Disney original, but Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the film that stands as the company’s first crowning achievement, comes from a German fairy tale that the Brothers Grimm put to paper. Cinderella similarly has its origins as a folk story long before Disney decided to make it an animated film. 

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Oatly Pursues Trademark Case Against Family Farm

The past few years has seen an explosion of products that are new variations on old staples. Take milk, for instance. For most of my life milk was synonymous with cow’s milk, and really that was the only milk you could get. Goat’s milk garnered the occasional mention, but only as something that you drank on a farm or out in the country where options were limited. 

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College QB Files First Trademark Under New NCAA Guidelines

One of the bedrock principles of our capitalist arrangement is that people have the ability to use what ability they have to make a buck for themselves, however that may be. We can debate about how that plays out in reality across multiple levels of society, but for the purposes of this article, let’s accept that as more or less true. 

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Supreme Court Ruling Curbs Patent Appeal Board Judges' Power

A lot of attention in any intellectual property case is paid to either the plaintiff or the defendant, or both, and rightfully so: theirs is the dispute at the heart of the case. Far less attention is given to the judges in any of those cases, which again seems as it should be; like a referee or umpire at a sporting event, the job is to adjudicate the action between the two main parties and apply the rules as written, and if you’re becoming a principal actor in the story the chances are you’re doing something wrong. But what if you’re not supposed to be refereeing the game in the first place?

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EU Sides With YouTube in Copyright Infringement Challenge

It’s nothing new, but the role and responsibility of social media platforms when it comes to the behavior of its users is something that will probably be contested until such time as the internet ceases to be a thing, which at this point seems concurrent with the end of humans as a species. Platforms profess to be little more than middlemen and -women, understandable not wanting to be responsible for the behavior of tens or even hundreds of millions of users, most of whom are shorn of the inhibitions that otherwise constrain them in real life. Arrayed on the other side are governments and rightsholders and anyone else troubled by the notion of a digital world largely free of the laws that govern civil society. 

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