Intellectual Property

Can a Biotech Company Own Your Genes?

Can a Biotech Company Own Your Genes?

Yesterday Angelina Jolie revealed in a brave and candid op-ed in the New York Times that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy earlier this year after discovering that she carried a “faulty” gene that placed her at an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. The faulty genes referenced in Ms. Jolie’s article are called BRCA1 and BRCA2 and are currently a source of dispute in the medical research community. Ms. Jolie’s article comes in the wake of oral argument last month before the Supreme Court in Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., et al. (Docket 12-398) regarding the right to patent the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

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Copyright Infringement: a Novel Song

Copyright Infringement: a Novel Song

This month is less than half over and already, two well-known works have been subject to different lawsuits dealing with copyright issues.

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Warner Bros. vs. Universal Pictures vs. Dead Man: Bourne Identity Edition

Warner Bros. vs. Universal Pictures vs. Dead Man: Bourne Identity Edition

Have you ever wondered what Jason Bourne would have looked like if The Bourne Identity had been made in 1980? No? Well, Warner Brothers probably wonders. In 1981, the film rights to Robert Ludlum’s 1980 spy novel, The Bourne Identity, were acquired by Winwood/Glen Productions (WGP), owned by Anthony Lazzarino and Henry Morrison. WGP sold the rights to Warner Bros’s predecessor Orion Pictures in exchange for a 3.75% interest and presentation credit.

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You Stole My Idea!

You Stole My Idea!

What if you are a writer and come up with your own completely original take on the island castaways theme, share it with some friends, one of whom happens to be a television producer, and then a few years later you see your idea is a new Fall season pilot on a major broadcast network? Do you have a claim?

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No Place for the Virtual Used “Record” Store in the Digital World?

No Place for the Virtual Used “Record” Store in the Digital World?

Once upon a time, a music lover could buy records to her heart’s content, knowing that one day, when she tired of the songs, she could haul those records to the used record store and sell them. And another music lover could thumb through the pre-owned records and buy them at a discount (in exchange for enduring a few scratches perhaps). Such sales were perfectly legal under the First Sale Doctrine of Section 109(a) of the Copyright Act, which allows the owner of a lawfully made and purchased record to re-sell the work without the copyright owner’s permission.

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Birthdays Have a New Copyright Free Song To Sing

Birthdays Have a New Copyright Free Song To Sing

Ever wonder why TV shows and movies go out of their way to avoid singing “Happy Birthday To You” on screen? The song “Happy Birthday To You” was actually copywritten in the 1800s as “Good Morning To You” by two sisters who taught elementary school.

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Bought It, But Do You Own It?

Bought It, But Do You Own It?

Last Monday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc., (No. 11-697) a copyright infringement case involving the first sale doctrine. The case involves Petitioner Supap Kirtsaeng, a foreign student who moved to the U.S. from Thailand to attend college, and Respondent John Wiley & Sons, a publisher of academic journals and textbooks. Upon discovering that his college textbooks were far cheaper when purchased overseas, Kirtsaeng decided to not only purchase his own books from Thailand but also to sell to others for a profit.

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The Case of the Too-Famous Haunted House, or the First Amendment Trumps the Lanham Act

The Case of the Too-Famous Haunted House, or the First Amendment Trumps the Lanham Act

The ultimate haunted house, San Jose’s Winchester Mystery House, has discovered that it may have become too famous for its own good. Or, at least too famous for its trademarks when a movie is involved, as the California Court of Appeal decided on October 24, 2012 in Winchester Mystery House, LLC v. Global Asylum, Inc.

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Tim Tebow Trademarks Tebowing

Tim Tebow Trademarks Tebowing

Taking a knee and holding your fist to your head is called “Tebowing,” after the former Bronco, now Jet, always devout and sometimes quarterback, Tim Tebow. You probably already knew this, which may be one reason why the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Tim Tebow a trademark for the term Tebowing.

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Single Color Trademarks in the Fashion Industry Can Achieve Trademark Protection After All: A Victory for Louboutin’s China Red in the Second Circuit

In the 2006 movie, The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep’s character, Miranda Priestly, memorably berates her naïve assistant for her lack of reverence for the function of color in the fashion industry. Since 1992, Christian Louboutin has been selling luxury footwear with a signature, brightly lacquered red outsole, almost always in contrast to the color of the shoe’s upper.

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