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Posts Tagged: "star trek"

A Cosmic Copyright Conundrum: ‘Star Trek,’ Space Force, SCOTUS and Blackbeard’s Shipwreck

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Allen v. Cooper, which relates to photos and videos of the sunken remains of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the centuries-old ship once captained by the famed pirate Blackbeard. The plaintiff in that case claimed that North Carolina unlawfully used his copyrighted works. Only two months earlier, the Trump Administration also faced a copyright infringement imbroglio. Following the official Twitter unveiling of the seal for the newly created U.S. Space Force, critics noted that the seal bore a striking similarity to that of Starfleet, the scientific and military force in the fictional universe of the television and film property, Star Trek. While some pointed to the (fairly far-fetched) trademark implications of the Space Force logo, many voices on the Internet also alleged that the government infringed on the copyright for the Starfleet seal. These two cases have brought the issues of copyright infringement and sovereign immunity into the spotlight. To resolve them, one must first look to the tenets of copyright law.

Space Force, Star Trek, and Strange New Worlds of Trademark Infringement

On January 24, 2020, the United States Space Force logo hit the news — and the photon torpedoes began to fly. Almost instantly, those familiar with the Star Trek Starfleet Command insignia called out a striking similarity, and even George Takei (who played USS Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu) tweeted “Ahem. We are expecting some royalties from this…” Putting aside the actual origin of the Space Force insignia (derived from the Air Force Space Command emblem), could someone actually claim that the Space Force emblem constitutes trademark infringement on the Star Trek logo?

Real-Life Star Trek Battle of Axanar Is Heating Up

A copyright infringement battle of intergalactic proportions between Plaintiffs CBS and Paramount Pictures, and the company (along with its principal Alec Peters) looking to produce the crowdfunded Star Trek fan film Axanar (“Defendants”) is heating up. The parties have filed numerous motions in the past month, and the Court’s recent ruling on the parties’ motions for summary judgment means the case is inching closer and closer to its January 31 trial date… The Court then concluded that the “Axanar Works have objective substantial similarity to the Star Trek Copyrighted Works,” and therefore it “leaves the question of subjective substantial similarity to the jury.”

Ethical, legal questions arise as scientists work to teach robots to feel pain

One way we use robots is the navigation of dangerous situations, in which robots perform tasks that would put a human worker at high risk of injury or death. A highly radioactive environment is one such example. If robots were able to experience pain, and interpret this type of sensory data as a threat to their physical existence, they would be better able to protect themselves from harm and complete tasks more efficiently. To return to “Star Trek,” Lieutenant Commander Data was able to identify atmospheric and environmental threats to his well-being, even if he was forced to describe them with a machine’s characteristic detachment. Interestingly, there’s also the possibility that pain sensors for robots could in turn protect humans.

Star Trek Celebrates 50 Years: Industry Insiders Reflect

The first episode of Star Trek aired on September 8, 1966, some 50 years ago. Although the original series ended after only three rather disappointing seasons, the franchise would go on to spawn many sci-fi series and blockbuster movies. Star Trek has inspired generations of scientists and engineers, who continue to attempt to bring into being the gadgets and technology written into the story line. For example, several years ago the United States Patent Office issued a patent on the first cloaking device, last year scientists at the U.S. Naval Research laboratory created transparent aluminum, IBM’s omnipotent computer known as Watson can easily be likened to the all-knowing Star Trek computer, and a real-life food replicator can prepare a meal in 30 seconds. Of course, countless scientists have theorized about the possibility of a real life transporter, which is described as the holy grail of Star Trek technologies. Indeed, just a few months ago Russia embarked upon a path to achieve transporter technology within the next 20 years, and researchers believe through the use of quantum mechanics they can create a transporter-like device for data.

50 years of Star Trek inspires innovations in mobile computers, speech recognition and tricorders

On September 8th, 1966, the American broadcast network NBC aired the first episode of Star Trek, a science fiction television series conceived by Gene Roddenberry. In the decades which have followed, the original series which only lasted three seasons inspired a growing list of additional series and feature films, making a huge impact on both science fiction and pop culture. One of the more interesting aspects of Star Trek is just how much of the show’s science fiction has become technological reality.

Transparent aluminum: the latest Star Trek fictional tech to become reality

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), scientists may have discovered the secret to creating a material much like transparent aluminum 30 years after the chemical formula was fictionally bestowed upon Plexicorp. Ten years of research at the NRL has led to the development of spinel, a material with the transparency of a pane of glass but with improved characteristics of strength and durability. The material, called spinel, is transparent to both optical light and infrared light, making it useful for infrared imaging systems as well. Spinel is also known as magnesium aluminate, which is why it has been likened to transparent aluminum.

A NASA journey to nowhere may be exactly what U.S. needs

It’s unfortunate that NASA has had to operate in such a unfavorable climate, being pushed for more and more answers out of its space exploration program while suffering uncertainty in its federal funding amounts. It would be a mistake for Congress to ground NASA unless fine details on its Mars program are forthcoming. Having a goal oriented target has proven helpful for NASA, but scientific discoveries and the innovations that come therefrom are not easily or even appropriately quantifiable on a spreadsheet, business plan or budget. Historically, NASA space exploration mission objectives have led to great benefits for the American people, even when their plans and mission goals have been a little light on the technical details.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts for the Geek in Your Life

Christmas is just around the corner and many are already done with their Christmas shopping. There are folks who are not, and we confess to be among those who still have one or more things to pick up for one or more people. But there is no need to panic! You can still get gifts via Amazon.com in time for Christmas, so it can’t really be the last minute, can it? For those looking for those last minute, hard to find gifts for the geek in your life — perhaps a beloved patent attorney or maybe an engineer, scientist or inventor — here are a few can’t miss gifts for your consideration. As of the time of publication all are still available to be received before Christmas.

Cloaking Device Inventor Says Deflector Shield Realized

Like so many other popular science fiction books, movies and franchises, Star Trek has inspired many innovators to ask the question “why not?” Although Star Trek did not have a monopoly on inspiration for cloaking devices, a technology that was first awarded a U.S. patent earlier this year, it is hard to imagine a more powerful motivation for the pursuit of deflector shields. And earlier today the company that owns the first patented cloaking device claims to have successfully created a deflector shield body armor suit.

USPTO Issues World’s First Invisibility Cloak Patent

Invisibility cloaks have long been a prop in science fiction stories, such as the Harry Potter invisibility cloak or the device used to cloak Klingon war ships in Star Trek.  The concept of invisibility goes back even much further in the writings of H.G. Wells and others.  But the science fiction invisibility cloaks seem to suggest that objects could be rendered invisible by diverting waves in a ‘see thru’ effect.  That is at least the path that these cloaks inspired researchers to take, seemingly to great affect. The ‘639 patent disclosure relates to techniques for cloaking objects at certain wavelengths/frequencies or over certain wavelength/frequency ranges (bands).

The Patent Law of Perpetual Motion

The reality is that science fact and science fiction are dictated based on currently accepted understandings, whether they be true or not. As impossible as something sounds, what we understand as science fact is always bounded by our understanding of our surroundings. As our knowledge expands what was formerly science fact frequently becomes science wrong, sometimes badly wrong. Does that mean that someday perpetual motion will be a reality? Who knows. I am not holding my breath or taking any bets, but there are a lot of highly intelligent people constantly trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe and with so many new discoveries it seems science continues to encroach upon the impossible. Just think about cloaking devices and a transporter a la Star Trek, which are already to some extent realities.

Inventors Digest Extends Deadline for Teen Essay Contest

About 6 weeks ago I mentioned that Inventors Digest was holding an essay contest for teens in order to celebrate National Inventors Month, which is in August ever year. Realizing that the timing was conflicting somewhat with the annual pilgrimage to get new clothes, school supplies and the frenzy otherwise associated with the parental bliss associated with back-to-school (can you…

Inventors Digest Essay Contest for Teens

In honor of National Inventors Month in August, Inventors Digest magazine and partners are sponsoring the 2059 Essay Contest for middle school and high school students.  IPWatchdog.com is proud to be one of the sponsors for this exciting essay contest, which asks those in ages 12 to 17 to write a 500 word (or less) essay on a technology, tool,…