Moving Forward After the WTO Panel Report in the US-China IP Enforcement Dispute

While interesting to see how this is framed by the Financial Times, I would reiterate what some are already saying which is that the US lost on the parts of the case that really mattered to it, which were whether China's enforcement practices were non-TRIPS compliant, especially where criminal sanctions for commercial scale infringement was concerned.

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Pfizer CEO and Stanford Professor Propose Pharma Reimbursement Treaty

Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler and Stanford University Professor John Barton have written Senator Baucus announcing their intention to bring together stakeholders to begin work on a new international treaty framework to "discipline" pharmaceutical reimbursement practices around the globe.

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Intellectual Property and Price Discrimination - iTunes

There's a lot of debate about whether allowing or encouraging price discrimination - charging different people or classes of people a different price for the same good - is good policy with respect to goods that embody copyrighted works of authorship or patented inventions. The general population seems to have different reactions to different kinds of price discrimination schemes...

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Of Pills and Pumpkin Seeds: Pfizer Sues the Candyman

In mid-November, Pfizer filed suit seeking €36,000 in damages from Richard Mandl, an Austrian candy maker and pumpkin seed oil producer, for infringement of its Viagra mark. Pfizer claims that Mandl's light blue, oval-shaped, sugar- and chocolate-coated pumpkin seeds named "Styriagra" too closely resemble Viagra in name, shape, and color.

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Can You CC License Music and Still Make Money?

Yes. Nine Inch Nail's Ghosts I-IV was released under a CC license and was the best selling album in 2008 on Amazon's MP3 store. NIN fans could have gone to any file sharing network to download the entire CC-BY-NC-SA album legally. Many did, and thousands will continue to do so. So why would fans bother buying files that were identical to the ones on the file sharing networks? One explanation is the convenience and ease of use of NIN and Amazon's MP3 stores. But another is that fans understood that purchasing MP3s would directly support the music and career of a musician they liked.

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What Does Apple's Decision to Remove DRMs Mean for File Sharing?

The copyright purist that lurks in me has the urge to remind the news-writers that removing DRM doesn't also remove copyright's legal restraints. But then.... if no one corrects the error, and the public begins assuming that an absence of DRM amounts to a permission to copy.... and if the record companies don't correct the prevalent error... then music copyists will get a defense of IMPLIED CONSENT wherever DRM is absent from a song they've purchased.

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Virtual Life Versus Real Life

The 9th Circuit recently decided a suit brought by a real life strip club in East Los Angeles against the makers of the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, and unfair competition over the real life strip club's logo and trade dress (E.S.S. Entertainment 2000, Inc. v. Rock Star Videos, Inc). The defendants claimed two defenses: fair use and First Amendment free speech and won the on the free speech defense.

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David Blaine v. The Arizona Diamondbacks

Before the start of the 2008 MLB baseball season many teams updated their uniforms. This is a common practice in professional sports as teams seek to gain new revenue by creating new uniforms which fans will then purchase. Often, teams will not overhaul their uniforms completely but will make minor adjustments such as modifying color schemes, adding commemorative patches, altering lettering/font design, or changing the placement of numbers and names on the uniforms.

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LEGO Loses Trademark Dispute in the EU Over Toy Brick Shape

On November 12, 2008, the European Court of Justice ruled that Lego toys could not be protected by trademark because their shape serves a "technical purpose". Lego had argued that the knobs on the top of the bricks made them "highly distinctive" and thus eligible for trademark protection.

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First Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds New Hampshire Law to Ban the Sale of Prescriber Data to Pharmaceutical Firms

The First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation law making doctors' prescription writing habits confidential. The ruling reversed a Federal District Court ruling last year that the law unconstitutionally infringed on free speech.

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