The coming of the new year brings with it one thing that hasn't been experienced in 20 years - the mass expiration of protections on materials that have been under copyright since 1923. Speculation about the implications of this happening has been on the rise since earlier this year and has reached new volumes in the past several weeks.
Computer-implemented inventions (CII), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) are all elements of modern creative endeavor. While many talk about these tools and the possibilities they represent for the future, those who work in intellectual property law know that they are playing important roles in the world now, speeding up the pace of technological advancements.
A recognizable product is one key to its success, but in today’s era of free information you must also protect your product’s recognizability. A design patent is a useful legal tool to protect inventions but in the wrong hands, it can be used to infringe on your rights as patent owner.
In some situations, the phrase "Better late than never" is appropriate. Registering a piece of intellectual property is not one of them. While it might seem rational to be make the claim that a photograph, once taken, is a static piece of artistic expression. As such, it would seem logical to argue that any use of it without permission constitutes a violation of the photographer's work.
The idea of a scenario as presented in the blog title might seem silly, but the reality is that, based on legal decisions made by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and more recently by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, it could happen. In fact, it has, specifically in the context of inter partes review (IPR).