CBC Radio One - Who Owns Ideas?

A recent CBC Radio Ideas feature entitled "Who owns Ideas?" discusses the progression of intellectual property law and specifically copyright law. The host describes a tension in copyright law that has become known as the copyfight, and it's ultimately a dispute about who owns ideas.

CBC has posted a free streaming audio of the show here.



I read a great (and short) article in Wired Magazine describing the current state of document discovery for litigations. Technology has increased the already large number of documents generally involved in complex litigations. Fortunately (or not so) the electronic format makes the document more consumable and discoverable. For example, current document management systems allow for content searching, indexing and character reading - making it easier to manage those thousands and thousands of documents.
View article here
check out the graph


Olympic Patents - Speedo Suit

In the spirit of the Olympics (and a record breaking swimming Olympics) I thought I would highlight United States Patent Application 2008/0141431 filed by Speedo on August 16, 2007 for the torso swimsuit we have seen on the Olympians. The application describes a garment (e.g. a swim suit) having a base layer of stretchable elasticated fabric, the base layer having a torso portion that covers at least a part of the torso of a person when the garment is worn. An inner core layer of stretchable elasticated fabric is bonded to the inner surface of the base layer to extend around the abdomen and lower back regions of the garment. By providing a double layer of stretchable elasticated fabric in this manner, more compression is applied to the abdomen of the person (e.g. swimmer) wearing the suit, bringing about improvements in form drag. The additional support provided to the lower back and abdomen also improves core stability, which is of benefit in many sporting activities, including swimming.


Hasbro, Inc. v. RJ Softwares et al

Hasbro, Inc. v. RJ Softwares et al. was filed July 24, 2008 in the New York Southern District Court. This case relates to an allegation of trade-mark and copyright law infringement against the makers of the Facebook application Scrabulous.

The effect is that the well used Facebook application Scrabulous is shut down. I'm not a big user of Facebook or the application, but the New York Times reports that fans of the application are upset. Unfortunately, Hasbro's version of the game was having downloading difficulties. Electronic Arts develops the application for Hasbro.


Symbian mobile OS opens up

It is great to read that Nokia now fully owns Symbian, a huge player in the mobile device OS field (runs on Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Erricson devices), and established the Symbian Foundation to release the OS under the Eclipse public license. It will be interesting to read these public license terms in detail.

This move by Nokia may have been influenced by Google's recent acquisition of Android, which is a open source based operating system for mobile phones. Nokia may not have wanted to wait and watch Google become a dominating pressence in the mobile phone industry by becoming the developers of the mobile platform of everyone's choice. Google's main desire is to have more people using Google, and they see mobile handsets as another viewing platform. They would like to use the open OS to make handsets to connect to mobile networks in the same manner that computers connect to the Internet. They feel that there should be a general neutrality about the specific underlying hardware. This is not the same in the current mobile landscape, with handsets strongly tied to carrier. Just think of the iPhone and Rogers (and AT&T down south). A great and lengthy article can be found at Wired Magazine.


Patent Application for Online Shopping by Apple

U.S. Patent Application 2008/0091553 assigned to Apple Computer Inc. titled "Enhancing Online Shopping Atmosphere" was recently published on April 17, 2008.

According to the background of the application: "one drawback of online shopping is that the experience can feel sterile and isolating. Customers in such an environment may be less likely to have positive feelings about the online shopping experience, may be less inclined to engage in the online equivalent of window shopping (e.g., will not linger in front of a display), and may ultimately spend less money than their counterparts who shop in physical stores."

As a solution to this drawback, the application teaches a virtual shopping interface where online browsers can see others who are looking at the same site, same product section, same item etc., as illustrated in the figure, to provide a more interactive and social shopping experience.