The Traklight Blog

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

TikTok Adds Patent Lawsuit To Its Woes

There's nothing like success to warrant a bit of added scrutiny, especially when it comes to Big Tech, specifically social media. Facebook likely longs for the days when its worst problems were questions of propriety and ownership; The Social Network might seem downright nostalgic in the face of concerns over hate speech and misinformation that threaten to unmoor democracy itself. Twitter is similarly vexed by its own efforts to curb invective and untruths, particularly from influential users. Now TikTok, not so long ago the fun new app for the youths, finds itself assailed on all sides, including on the IP front.

Read More

Will Intellectual Property Destroy The Planet?

Intellectual property as a concept — the notion that ideas can be protected by their creators for the purpose of exclusive profit — is one that is central to the construction of capitalism as we know it both here in the United States and throughout much of the world. Businesses exist on the idea that they can offer something unique to consumers, something that must be guarded jealously, and the government does its part in offering legal protection to prevent infringement, lest the system fall apart. Like any ideology, it loses luster as it moves towards an extreme end point (in this case, hyper-protectionism beyond reasonable reading of the laws) but remains so embedded that the idea of significant change becomes harder with every passing day. Could that commitment to the IP status quo ultimately be our undoing?

Read More

The Cannabis Industry Is Moving Into Patents

Change can seem fitful, if not absent entirely, particularly in light of recent events, but it's still doing its work in society — not always quickly, and often not in the areas in which it's most needed, but things do change. Take cannabis: once the scourge of parents and authority figures everywhere, it's now not only legal in a ever-expanding number of states and localities, it's a big business, generating millions in tax revenue for the governments that have been at the leading edge of the legalization movement. For those that grew up with the D.A.R.E. program and other anti-drug messaging, it's astounding to see how pot has been recast from an insidious poison to a reputable industry in many areas.

Read More

Is the Patent Office Awarding Too Many Patents?

As a political science student, you learn that much of what law and regulation ends up being in practice comes down to interpretation and implementation and enforcement on the part of the relevant agencies. Laws don't mean much if they're not enforced, or if the enforcement ends up being something different entirely from the original intent of lawmakers and regulators, but that, as we learned, is the nature of a government that relies upon a bureaucracy of numerous agencies and thousands and thousands of employees that can operate with semi-autonomy absent any direct guidance from above.

Read More

Quibi Accused of Patent Infringement Ahead of Launch

The idea that much of what is considered innovative or revolutionary may actually simply built upon a foundation of borrowed or stolen ideas is not a new one, but it's one that gets trotted out a lot in this century. The usual sequence of events dictates that a company gets big off a great new idea, another company pops up to content that new idea isn't in fact new and is their old idea stolen and re-purposed, and the matter goes to court to be settled months or years down the line. Our cynicism jades our view and begs the question: Is this company taking legal action now because the success brought the infringement to light, or because the success offers an opportunity to cash in? It's unfair to the businesses duly wronged, sure, but there are enough cases to suggest there's something to the latter view — enough to raise questions about every case you come across.

Read More

Netflix Sued by Broadcom Over Alleged Patent Infringement

Great advances in technological innovation can make us marvel at where we are as a society and what's possible, but it's to the losers of the tech race to remind us that advances don't necessarily bring everyone along. Just as the horse and buggy was left in the dust by the advent of the automobile (almost quite literally), we now see that same obsolescence now, only more frequently and on an accelerated timeline. A quick look around the house probably reveals some device that was once a huge leap forward and now is on its way out, if not entirely outmoded already.

Read More

Patent Troll Owned By SoftBank Sues COVID-19 Test Creators

In times of crisis, it's restorative to see the better angels of our nature win out over our baser instincts of fear and panic. It doesn't happen in every case — indeed, it probably doesn't happen as much as we'd like or hope — but there are those who choose acts of kindness and a consideration for the common good ahead of the other incentives that otherwise drive American society in particular, for good and ill.

Read More

European Patent Office Rejects Application From Artificial Intelligence

Questions about the future of intellectual property are seemingly tied to the future of creativity as it relates to technology. We've already seen the USPTO look for input and guidance as to new rules for copyright law regarding works created by artificial intelligence, and the matter will only become more pressing as AI becomes more adept at creating unique works that warrant copyright protection. It's a complicated topic, one that wrestles with questions originated in our science fiction: can machines be said to have consciousness, enough so that their work could rise to the same level of that created by human hands and minds?

Read More

The Battle Over CRISPR Patents

Modern-day science seems to dance along the fine line between awe-inspiring breakthrough and terrifying overreach. In the parlance of fiction, we seem to exist in the inflection point in the story wherein the scientist is making a decision that will ultimately lead them to go too far with their innovative work, dare too greatly and ultimately pays a personal cost — take your pick from Dr. Frankenstein to Dr. Octavius. Those are dramatic examples, certainly, and fictitious ones at that, but fiction does serve to highlight the human condition; science can be messy and contentious and at times terrifying, and yesterday's scorned scientist is tomorrow's supervillain.

Read More

Patent Troll Attorney Heads to Prison

There's little love from the general public for the legal system, and less still for attorneys. For most, the law is something to be avoided, or suffered when you find yourself within its machinations; few share the view that it can be restorative, or can provide protection or remuneration for harm done to themselves or their property. And few do more to bolster the negative view of the legal process than patent trolls. Distinct from the parties that engage in good faith attempts to protect their intellectual property, patent trolls are simply looking to wield patents as a weapon, looking to make as much money from a flawed system as they can.

Read More

Huawei Challenges Verizon Over Patent and Licensing Fees

Much of what makes business what it is is the push and pull of competition and cooperation between different companies. The fiercest rivals can come to have common cause, and one business can come to rely upon another for its continued operation through the magic of licensing. Licensing is a necessary tool for all involved, a way for some companies to lawfully use the intellectual property needed for their products and others to earn a fair return on their creative work particularly in the case of smaller companies.

Read More

Samsung and Huawei Settle Their Patent Dispute

Long, protracted legal battles are something that no company relishes, and can often end up causing as much harm as the harm they're meant to remedy for the plaintiff. Companies of course have to take the necessary steps to protect their intellectual property, but any business would just as soon not have to go to court, even if it is in defense of their IP. Even in instances of companies with devoted legal teams and the resources to afford an extended court case, there's no situation in which anyone would invite the headache involved.

Read More

Microsoft Offers Patents to Startups

One truth about startups and innovation is that you need to build your product upon what is already there, to some degree. There are certain ideas that become accepted wisdom and certain things that are universally accepted features, and to go against those things would be setting yourself on an uphill path towards success. That accepted knowledge and common practice requires a certain communal spirit of cooperation; not exactly lifting one another up, but not pulling the ladder up behind you either.

Read More

Protect Your IP in 2019

The new year is an opportunity for a fresh start in our personal and professional lives. But many still fail to tackle the intellectual property issues that their business could potentially have to deal with, resolutions or not. While you should be managing your IP from its inception, it's better to start late than never; here are some tips on identifying and protecting your IP for 2019.

Read More

Google Attempts to Patent Public Domain Algorithm

Beyond just individual genius, innovation and advancement requires the ability to build upon existing technologies to improve them. It can at times be a fine distinction when thinking about respecting patents, but it is not incompatible to believe that both patents and the freedom of innovation should have equal footing in the intellectual property space.

Read More

The Value of Patents

Patents are an important part of any company's portfolio, but for startups, there can be hesitance to take the necessary steps to obtain a patent for their creation. From cost concerns to the length of the process to the seeming urgency of other requirements, startup founders can cite any number of reasons to put off getting patents. But having patents provides real value to any venture at its earliest stages and beyond.

Read More