According to the USPTO’s website:
“The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking nominations for the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement. The USPTO administers the NMTI program on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce. The deadline for nominations is May 29, 2009.
“The nominations can be made for an individual, a team of up to four individuals, a company or a division of a company. The honorees are chosen for their outstanding contributions to the nation’s economic, environmental and social well-being through the development and commercialization of technological products, processes and concepts; technological innovation; and development of the country’s technological manpower.”
Nominate yourself if you want. Or nominate the inventor in the next lab. Or, if she’s an inventor, nominate your next-door neighbor. It’s quite an honor for an inventor to receive this medal. The contribution for which the medal is given DOES need to be something that really helps out in the art in which the invention lies. Examples of prior winners include Steve Jobs; Steve Wozniak; IBM; Industrial Light & Magic; Ralph Baer (the guy who basically invented video gaming); eBay; and others of like contributory scale. The President of the US awards the medal every year.
Recession Worst in Three Decades – Bloomberg.
The Economy. The downturn we’re seeing right now is likely to be only the beginning of what could well be a multi-year depression. People are losing jobs by the millions (time to go into business for themselves?) and the economy as a whole is predicted to shrink by almost 2% this year alone.
The economists are shrieking that is the worst economic downturn that we’ve seen since the mid-1970s, and it may go further and exceed that. Let’s hope we don’t have another Great Depression on our hands.
And it’s not just the USA that’s feeling the pinch. This downturn is global.
The economic stimulus bill has passed (even in the Senate, though by only one vote) and is now in effect, and that may help a little, but I bet it won’t do nearly all of what it’s supposed to do. The lack of jobs pinch the consumers’ wallets and thus the hoped-for spending bump is not likely to happen.
We’ll come through this crisis, but recovery will take time and recovery will be slow and painful. It will be the small businesses that will get us through, though; the day of the corporate behemoth being economic salvation has passed. Small businesses are blossoming as corporate America lays off more and more workers who decide that they’ve had enough of getting laid off and start their own businesses.
A word of caution to you newly laid off entrepreneurs, though: You need good legal and accounting advice. Recognize before you start that your business will start out as a money pit. Your income will vary wildly from month to month. You will struggle and sweat, your books will bleed red ink, and you will wonder why on earth you ever did this to yourself. You may, in fact, go under. Or you may succeed beyond the dreams of avarice.
So here’s to the economic downturn; may it be a well-disguised upturn.
NATIONAL INVENTORS HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES 2009 INDUCTEES.
OK, ladies. Take a look at this listing. See if our gender is … um … underrepresented. The one gender-ambiguous name is Jean Hoerni (1924-1997) … and Jean was a he.
I find the lack of women on the 2009 National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees’ list somewhat disturbing; I’m not sure what trend or trends it displays. Should women complain? And, if we should, to whom should we speak? To the judges at the National Inventors’ Hall of Fame? Or to the teachers who traditionally encourage girls to head toward the softer sciences and the humanities while steering boys toward engineering and hard sciences?
In prior years, women have been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, but the gender ratio leans heavily toward men in every year.
I find it hard to believe that women don’t change the world as much as men do. A woman invented:
- the first electronic telephone central office (US Patent No. 3,623,007);
- wrinkle-free cotton (US Patent No. 3,432,252)
- adjustable bed lamps (US Patent No. 1,750,993)
Each of these, and many, many other, inventions changed the world in its own art.
I’d like to see one year (or maybe one year per decade) when one of the requirements for induction into the National Inventors’ Hall of Fame is two X chromosomes.
Facebook Repeals Copyright Plan – I4U News UK.
The Public Has Spoken.
Facebook put new Terms of Service into effect on its website a couple of weeks ago. Those terms basically said that Facebook has a royalty-free license forevermore to use for any purpose anything that any user posts on the site.
The users roared loudly enough to get the Facebook IP lawyers to listen. They’ve backed down on that one now.
Way to go, Facebook Users!
Apple: iPhone jailbreaking violates our copyright | Apple – CNET News.
Apple may be making a large mistake.
While the debate itself — whether “jailbreaking,” or enabling an iPhone to accept and use non-Apple apps, is copyright infringement — is intellectually interesting, at the end of the day Apple’s insistence that jailbreaking constitutes infringement could land it in deep water in terms of its market share and popularity with the public.
The recent public-relations fiasco that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) brought down upon itself with its bulk lawsuits against infringing music downloaders is a case in point. Those lawsuits are absolutely supported by the copyright laws; however, the overzealousness with which they were pursued resulted in a steep drop in RIAA’s credibility. I have clients, friends and acquaintances who now pay close attention to music labels and boycott the RIAA because of these lawsuits. RIAA woke up and has stopped the wholesale suing of individuals who download their copyrighted music (they enforce through ISPs now … it’ll be interesting to see if/how that works).
Apple’s refusal to open up its technology so that others can develop and distribute applications has landed it in the Unpopular pile before. It lost the battle for supremacy in the marketplace for its computers through this policy; that’s too bad, too, since Windows is a pale imitation of the Mac interface. I guess Apple didn’t learn its lesson.
The iPhone is a Cool Gadget, but it is not the only Cool Gadget out there; other phones, with similar prices but more permissive licenses, distinctly outrank the iPhone in sales. And that would be because … ? Oh. Right. Users can get software from anywhere for their phones without jailbreaking.
Wake up, Apple, and smell the coffee. Sharing Is Good and Helps Maintain Market Share. I’d hate to see you go under through misguided and overzealous protection of your IP.
And this comes from a copyright lawyer who uses a Mac. But not an iPhone.
No, I’m not going off-topic again; I’ve gotten over it.
We’ve all seen the image of President Obama, and by now we all know where that image came from — a photo taken by AP photographer Mannie Garcia in 2006, munged into the Hope poster by Shepard Fairey and used throughout the Obama campaign.
17 USC 107 controls fair use under the copyright law of the US. Was the use of the AP picture in the Hope poster fair use under the law? That’s what the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) has been asked to determine. The AP has sued Fairey in the copyright court — the SDNY, sitting in New York City is in the heart of the publishing industry, the SDNY has a lot of copyright jurisprudence to guide it in making such a decision.
Fair use is a gray area of the law, at best. The statute, ever so helpfully, gives us a test that can be applied to questions of fair use, but at the end of the day it’s the judge’s sense of justice that determines the outcome of the case.
It will be interesting to see where this case goes. The Hope poster is political speech, probably the most protected speech under the First Amendment; the image, though, is clearly a derivative work of the AP photo.
Who will win? Who can tell?
Microsoft Wins 10,000th Patent – Channel News by CRN and VARBusiness.
US Patent No. 7,479,950, issued to Microsoft, applies to Surface tabletop computing technology, which provides instant access to digital information in a novel, useful and nonobvious way, the goal being to make interactions between the physical and virtual worlds more seamless.
Microsoft is famous for aggressive protection of its intellectual property; that they now have 10,000 patents (and counting) backs that position up. They spend about $8 billion per year on R&D and regularly haul out the guns in patent warfare; their current target is open-source software, which they claim violates at least 40 Microsoft patents.
This is why Microsoft stock does well. This is why they survive, despite the worldwide snarl that the name engenders. Microsoft is a prime example of a company that has leveraged nothing but intellectual property into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise.
And to think it all started with a college drop-out.
The rise and almost fall of America’s banks – Yahoo News.
This is scary.
The lifeblood of the economy is businesses borrowing money. But banks are not lending money any longer, to anyone. They are holding onto money with fists tighter than a python’s hug.
Thus, the economy slows and grinds to a halt. Jobs are lost by the boatload. Homes are foreclosed on. Cars are repossessed. Taxes rise. Wealth goes rapidly down the tubes.
So how do we get out of this mess?
Not every business can do this with my solution because other businesses have more capital equipment needs than does a solo lawyer. I have a bunch of business cards, an old laptop, a workhorse printer, a fax machine, a cellphone, a PDA and a few file cabinets and bookcases. I’m set. Those who need more technology are in trouble.
The economy may work in cycles, but I don’t think I like this cycle. No, I don’t like this cycle one little bit. Maybe I’ll ramp up a personal bankruptcy practice.