December 16, 2011
Protecting American Designs
Jason J. Du Mont, Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property & Competition Law; Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Mark D. Janis, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, have published The Origins of American Design Protection as Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 199 and Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property & Competition Law Research Paper No. 11-18. Here is the abstract.
Design patent protection is the oldest American form of intellectual property protection for ornamental designs, but still the most enigmatic. Congress passed the first design patent legislation in 1842, operating on the assumption that existing rules for utility patents could be incorporated en masse to protect designs. This Article questions that assumption. Drawing on new archival research and historical analysis, this Article demonstrates for the first time how the design patent system originated. We analyze the international trade aspects of the first design patent legislation, linking the legislation with a brief burst of protectionist measures associated with the Whig party. We also examine technological innovations that ushered in the first major era of American industrial design in key antebellum industries, and we analyze lobbying efforts on behalf of those industries that led to proposals for early design protection, proposals that did not assume the incorporation of patent rules. We also prove for the first time how the American design patent system originated as a knock-off of British copyright and registered design legislation, and why the American system was likely forced into a patent rubric. Finally, we conclude by offering concrete suggestions for the courts and Congress to ease the design patent system back to its original roots.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.
December 14, 2011
Hey! Dial It Down! FCC Issues Rules To Combat Loud TV Commercials
Pursuant to the CALM act, signed into law last year, the FCC has issued rules that will regulate the volume of television commercials beginning in December of 2012. The agency has been trying to address the problem of loud tv commercials for decades, but hasn't received the power to do so until recently. More here from the Los Angeles Times.
Questions Over James Murdoch's Knowledge Of Hacker Culture At News of the World As Email Surfaces
James Murdoch has denied knowing about the extent of the phone hacking culture at the News of the World, despite having received an email and its forwarded chain from one of the tabloid's editors disclosing the practice in June of 2008. Mr. Murdoch replied to the email almost immediately offering to discuss the email's contents. He has now told members of Parliament that he did not read the entire email and chain, just the header. More here from the Guardian.
The News of the World and the Dowler Investigation
The Guardian offers a timeline and explanation reconstructing the News of the World's interaction with police during the Milly Dowler disappearance. Of particular interest: what the NOTW did and did not do with regard to hacking Milly's phone that may have interfered with the police's investigation into her disappearance and death. Levi Bellfield, already convicted in the murders of two other women, was convicted in Milly's murder earlier this year.