Virtual Reality Meets Body Ink

The video game industry has swelled into a $20 billion market in the United States alone.[1] With industry growth, game developers continue to push the limits of digital graphics, inching closer every year to on-screen renderings that bear an uncanny resemblance to the real world.[2] This collision course into the uncanny valley, however, may have hit its first of many unexpected obstacles: the also-surging tattoo industry.[3] Sports games are the third-most popular video game genre Continue Reading →

Starbucks Not So “Dumb” After All

Last weekend in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, it appeared that coffee mogul Starbucks opened a new franchise. However, this new store proudly named itself “Dumb Starbucks,” and every menu item was preceded by the word “dumb.” Patrons could order Dumb Honey Blonde roast coffee or Dumb Chai Lattes, to name a few, in size Dumb Tall, Dumb Grande, or Dumb Venti. Oddly enough, Starbucks has decided not to go after the perpetrator of this stunt, Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – November 7, 2013

High-Tech, “Green” Cars Could Be the Next IP Battleground In the last five years, the number of patents filed per quarter increased from 20 to 90 by automobile manufacturers. These patents all relate to hybrid or electrical vehicle technologies. Automobile manufacturers are worried that the litigation war affecting the smartphone industry will spread to electric and hybrid vehicles. The automobile industry has been steadily expanding, and questions by potential consumers about battery reliability, driving range, Continue Reading →

Aereo: Signaling Television’s New Frontier

Earlier this month, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in favor of Aereo, a groundbreaking company providing live and time-shifted streaming of free, over-the-air television channels to paying Aereo customers. To provide this service, Aereo relies on its use of tiny antennae – none of which is used at the same time by more than one user. The signal received by each antenna creates an individual copy of the program in each Continue Reading →

Alternative Statutory Bases for Invalidating “Gene Patents”

The Supreme Court recently granted a writ of certiorari in the highly controversial case Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad. In the coming months, the Court will determine whether the genetic material claimed by Myriad’s composition patents is patentable subject matter under Section 101 of the Patent Act. The high profile case has generated a widespread debate often framed as whether genes should be patentable. To the extent that the patentability of genetic material is Continue Reading →

Smartphone Wars: Part II

On August 24th, Apple won decisively in Apple v. Samsung. The jury awarded Apple $1.04 billion for infringing Apple’s intellectual property. This was less than the $2.5 billion that Apple requested, but the jury found that Apple wasn’t infringing any of Samsung’s patents. Of the many patents that were disputed, the judgment turned on three patents and Apple’s trade dress argument. The pertinent features were the following: (i) bounce-back effect; (ii) pinch-to-zoom feature; and (iii) Continue Reading →

“More Than a Drafting Effort”: SCOTUS Strikes Down Prometheus Labs Patents

On March 20, the Supreme Court handed down their unanimous decision in the case of Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. The Court struck down Prometheus’s patents stating that, regardless of the language in the claims, they were effectively patents on a law of nature which is not allowed. The Court added that any process which recites a law of nature must have other features and limitations that “provide practical assurance that the process Continue Reading →

Smartphone Wars

Apple sues Samsung for patent infringement. In response, Samsung files international countersuits on patents of its own. Courts around the world grant preliminary injunctions to each company on a number of their claims, while United States and European Union government agencies investigate allegations of antitrust violations. What’s going on here? Let’s start with the shiny new weapon that Apple added to its arsenal in June of last year: a patent on the original iPhone, the Continue Reading →

ACTA: Activists Stay Alert in the Aftermath of SOPA

Earlier this century, the entertainment industry attempted to vanquish illegal downloading and the online services that made it possible. Remember the injunctions against Limewire and Napster? The astronomical RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) lawsuits filed against more than 35,000 individuals who downloaded and shared a handful of copyrighted music files? The industry achieved mixed results: the RIAA decided to abandon its suits against individuals, but Limewire is still enjoined from distributing its peer-to-peer file Continue Reading →