News, Notes and Announcements

By Gene Quinn
November 29, 2010

In this edition of News, Notes & Announcements, websites engaged in the sale of counterfeit merchandise were ordered seized as part of a joint investigation coordinated between the Department of Justice and ICE.  Additionally, there will be an event celebrating the 30th Anniversary of passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in Washington, DC on Wednesday morning; the USPTO will hold a roundtable on Friday, December 3, 2010 to discuss trademark prosecution best practices; FIRST, the company founded by Dean Kamen, received a 5 year contract from NASA to provide support for hands-on robotics competitions aimed at inspiring our youth to pursue science and technology; ITT launches an innovative new graduate program that combines engineering, design and intellectual property; the mother of all patent trolls is back at it both in terms of licensing and in terms of acquiring more patents; and patented software that makes it possible to find plagiarized code is released.

1. Attorney General Eric Holder and Director John Morton of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that seizure orders have been executed against 82 domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works. The coordinated federal law enforcement operation targeted online retailers of a diverse array of counterfeit goods, including sports equipment, shoes, handbags, athletic apparel and sunglasses as well as illegal copies of copyrighted DVD boxed sets, music and software. During the course of the operation, federal law enforcement agents made undercover purchases from online retailers suspected of selling counterfeit goods. In many instances, the goods were shipped directly into the United States from suppliers in other countries using international express mail. For more information see Federal Courts Order Seizure of 82 Website Domains Involved in Selling Counterfeit Goods.

2. AUTM, joined by the American Council on Education, Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and BIO, is celebrating the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of passage of the Bayh-Dole Act with an event in Washington, DC on the morning of Wednesday, December 1, 2010. The first half of the event will be moderated by former Congressman Jim Greenwood, who is currently the President and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and will include remarks from original congressional sponsors of the Act, such as Senator Birch Bayh. Senator Bayh and Congressman John Conyers will comment on the importance of maintaining Bayh-Dole to secure America’s leadership position in innovation for the future. The second half of the event will be a panel discussion among business, university and policy leaders who will discuss the current impact of the Bayh-Dole Act and how to build upon the success of the Act going forward. Members of the news media and the public are invited, and coverage of the event is welcome. For more information about the event, contact Jodi Talley, AUTM Communications Director, at (847) 559-0846 or via e-mail at jtalley@autm.net.

3. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will host a roundtable discussion to highlight best practices for trademark prosecution in the current electronic environment and obtain feedback on the state of electronic communications within Trademark Operation. The program aims to further the discussion among the trademark community on the USPTO’s goal of decreasing its use of paper.  The roundtable will be held on Friday, December 3, from 1-3 p.m. at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Va., and will also be webcast.  For more information visit the USPTO Trademark Homepage.  For non-press inquiries, contact Craig Morris at craig.morris@uspto.gov or (571) 272-9692.

4. FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, announced last week that NASA awarded a five-year agreement to FIRST to provide support for hand-on robotics competition events to address the critical shortage in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields that the nation is facing. The multi-year cooperative agreement, worth up to $20 million, was granted by NASA through the year 2014. Under the terms of the award, FIRST will provide participants with ‘hands-on’ experience with robotics, and the NASA Robotics Outreach Competition (ROC) will provide students with exposure to NASA scientists, engineers, and program mangers working on a range of NASA projects and missions to ensure that students receive meaningful training during their experience. Through this program, NASA continues its commitment to attract students into NASA’s future workforce. For more information see NASA Looks To FIRST® To Build Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers.

5. The Illinois Institute of Technology has launched a new graduate program, a Masters in Intellectual Property Management and Markets (IPMM). This program is the first of its kind in the United States and provides a foundational understanding of IP that integrates the perspectives and skills of five key disciplines: business, design, engineering, computer science and law. Graduates of the IPMM program will be equipped to take a strategic or leadership role in leveraging and managing IP, whether through marketing, research and development, portfolio management, legal protection, or business transactions. The program consists of one year of full-time study (30 credit hours). Courses track the life cycle of IP from its inception to full exploitation. The coursework includes doctrinal as well as skills instruction and practice with real-world problems and real-world solutions. Students work together as a cohort, drawing upon one another’s experiences and ideas. The first class of this unique program entered in August 2010. They are supported by an active advisory council who are providing a number of extracurricular enrichment, internship and networking opportunities.
To learn more or to get involved in this program, visit the website at www.kentlaw.edu/academics/ipmm or contact the Director, Jackie Leimer, at jleimer@kentlaw.edu.

6. Several news items relating to the mother of all patent trolls, Acacia Research Corporation (Nasdaq:ACTG). Last week Acacia announced today that its subsidiary Microprocessor Enhancement Corporation has entered into a settlement and license agreement with ARM Holdings Plc. This agreement resolves patent litigation pending review by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This patented technology generally relates to an architecture employed in advanced pipeline microprocessors.

On November 19, 2010, Acacia announced the acquisition of more patents, this time acquiring 11 patents for wireless physiological monitoring technology. According to Acacia, these patents generally relates to the wireless transmission of physiological data such as heart rate and blood pressure. This technology has applications such as monitoring of implantable devices, as well as home healthcare and fitness systems. Lawsuits, or at least licensing negotiations, are likely soon to follow.

7. Watch out copyright infringers!  It might have just become far more easy for owners of proprietary code to catch you in the copying act.  Software Analysis & Forensic Engineering Corporation (SAFE), a leading provider of forensic software tools for the detection of software copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation, recently announced the release of CodeScreener, an online software service offering comparison of software source code or binary code. CodeScreener measures the correlation between two application programs, social network games, or mobile apps to identify plagiarism. CodeScreener uses patented software technology as the back-end analysis engine. According to the company, SAFE’s years of experience serving software experts in IP litigation allowed them to create an easy-to-use service for detecting software plagiarism. CodeScreener currently supports 25 programming languages with more being added regularly. CodeScreener can compare source code or compiled object code.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

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Discuss this

There are currently 4 Comments comments.

  1. Steve M November 29, 2010 7:24 pm

    Gene–is SAFE saying they can compare source code (and compiled object code) without having actual access to the actual source/compiled object code? If so, how is that possible … w/out breaking one or more US laws on hacking someone else’s work?

  2. Bobby November 29, 2010 8:33 pm

    @Steve M
    I don’t believe decompiling code is illegal, although there may be some DMCA concerns in some cases that probably wouldn’t actually hold up in court. That is, by my understanding, generally how the FSF/SFLC finds those that infringe the copyright of FOSS. The methods they use aren’t foolproof, but they apparently catch and notify a lot of infringers, perhaps because the reason to use code someone else wrote is to save time and money, so taking the time and money to properly cover your tracks often doesn’t happen.

  3. Gene Quinn November 29, 2010 9:23 pm

    Steve-

    I really have no idea, but it sounded quite interested and given that so many readers engage in litigation in the copyright and computer software space I thought it definitely worth mentioning. If anyone finds out some more specific information I’d love to know. I might actually look into myself.

    -Gene

  4. The Mad Hatter November 30, 2010 9:26 am

    DHS is going to be in hot water over this one according to what I’ve been hearing. Several of the sites were selling knock-offs instead of counterfeits (same design, no logo), which means the seizure will probably be judged illegal, if the site owners sue.

    Another site was a search engine, which hosted nothing, there is rumored to be a lawsuit coming over this one.

    Another site was a community music site, which was fully DMCA compliant, I have heard that they will be suing.

    Final rumor is that the EFF has offered help with litigation to a couple of the sites. The EFF tends to be damned careful of what they get involved in, if they are offering help, things could get really interesting.

    I think that DHS has gotten a swelled head, and overstepped this time.

    And for the joke of the day, did you hear about the TSA screener who wanted to confiscate a returning soldier’s nail clippers? Said soldier had a carbine in hand at time (unloaded). Exactly how nail clippers could be used to take over a plane carrying two hundred soldiers I leave to the imagination.

    Wayne