EPO Announces New Languages Added to Patent Translate

Patent documentation just got a little easier at the European Trademark Office (EPO).  The office recently announced that additional European languages are now available in its free machine translation service Patent Translate. They include Bulgarian, Czech, Icelandic, Romanian, Slovak and Slovenian.

“Patent Translate removes the language barrier from patent documentation, giving European inventors and businesses easier access to state-of-the-art technologies,” said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. “We are very pleased to offer users in this new group of countries better access to patent documents from all over the world, while making information about their inventions readily available in English to a very large number of users. This contributes to patent quality and helps to strengthen the competitiveness of European enterprises,” he said.

As detailed by the EPO, Patent Translate was launched in February 2012 to provide multilingual access to patent documents available on the EPO website. It is the result of co-operation between Google, the EPO and the national patent offices of its member states, and other major patent offices worldwide, which supply patent data in their national languages to train the system.

The service now offers fast translation from and into English for 21 languages, with Japanese and Chinese being recent additions. It is accessible on the EPO’s free online patent database, Espacenet. The goal is to help businesses identify relevant patent documents for their research and development projects.

For additional information about conducting patent searches overseas, we encourage you to contact one of our experienced patent lawyers for a free-30 minute consultation.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

U.S. Copyright Office to Provide New “Single Application”

The U.S. Copyright Office recently announced a new registration option called the “single application.” The option will be offered on an interim basis while the Office accepts public feedback.

The new option is only available for the simplest copyright claims, which must meet the following criteria:

  • Electronic registration only
  • Single author (does not include joint works)
  • Single claimant/owner (does not include works made for hire or works where the claimant/owner is different from the author, i.e., transferred ownership)
  • Single work (e.g., one song, one poem, one photograph. Does not include collective works, unpublished collections, units of publication, group registrations, databases, or Web sites).

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, “It is important to the Copyright Office that registration be as simple, equitable, and economical as possible. The Office believes that providing an easier option for registration for those authors who file the simplest kind of application is worthwhile, and may encourage registration and foster the development of a more robust public record.”

The new option became available June 28, 2013 and the Office updated the interm rule again on October 28, 2013 seeking to refine the new application even more. The U.S. Copyright Office is still seeking public comment on the amended regulations for 60 days and will then revisit whether additional changes are needed before the rule becomes final.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Copyright Treaty to Provide Greater Access to Visually Impaired

International negotiators recently agreed to a landmark treaty that will increase access to books for the visually impaired. The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled requires signatories to adopt national law provisions that permit the reproduction, distribution and making available of published works in accessible formats through limitations and exceptions to the rights of copyright holders.

The treaty, negotiated through the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), involved 600 negotiators from 186 member states. The final treaty was approved after more than a week of heated debate at a meeting in Monaco, including initial resistance by the Motion Picture Association of America.

“This treaty is a victory for the blind, visually impaired and print disabled, but also for the multilateral system. With this treaty, the international community has demonstrated the capacity to tackle specific problems, and to agree a consensus solution. This is a balanced treaty, and represents a very good arbitration of the diverse interests of the various stakeholders,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

Currently, national governments determine what limitations and exceptions are permitted. In the United States, accessible format works, including braille, audio, or digital text, can be produced and distributed without permission from the copyright holder, so long as it is for the exclusive use by blind or other persons with disabilities.

However, the U.S. copyright law is not the standard, particularly in less developed countries. A WIPO survey in 2006 found that fewer than only 60 countries have limitations and exceptions clauses in their copyright laws that make special provision for visually impaired persons.

In addition to making it easier to convert books into formats such as Braille, large print text and audio books, the treaty also provides for the exchange of these accessible format works across borders by organizations that serve the people who are blind, visually impaired, and print disabled. According to WIPO, the goal is to harmonize limitations and exceptions so that these organizations can operate across borders, while also providing assurances to authors and publishers that that system will not expose their published works to misuse or distribution to anyone other than the intended beneficiaries.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Motorcycle Gang Fighting Trademark Seizure

The Mongols Nation Motorcycle Club is not giving up its trademarks without a fight. The California-based group recently filed a lawsuit contesting the federal government’s attempt to seize its intellectual property under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

According to the Mongols, it should not be held liable for the criminal acts of a few of its members. Moreover, the Department of Justice is exceeding the realm of RICO by seizing the club’s trademarks.

“The government is improperly attempting to seize the collective marks of the club and its members because the RICO forfeiture statute is an in personam mechanism that can only be employed against individuals committing a crime under RICO and cannot be applied against the club which bears no responsibility for the actions of members who act outside of the scope of their membership with the club,” the complaint states.

Interestingly, this is the second time the federal government has tried to sanction the group by taking away its IP rights. In Ramon Rivera v. Ronnie Carter, the Mongols successfully argued that the government could not prohibit all of the club’s members from displaying the mark simply because several of its members were indicted for criminal activity.

In the latest lawsuit, the Mongols claim that the DOJ has reinstituted its seizure efforts because the club dissolved and reincorporated under a new entity in 2012. “Here, the government attempts to re-litigate the same issue with what it will construe as a different party,” the complaint states.

The Mongols further argue that the seizure infringes their First Amendment Rights.  “The marks and their embodiment in the form of patches are collectively owned by the club and the members as a whole. The marks were determined in Rivera to be collective membership marks. The collective membership marks are expressions of free speech thereby protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Ghost Rider Copyright Suit.

Just like its title character, a copyright lawsuit involving the rights to the Ghost Rider comic garnered new life when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that comic book writer Gary Friedrich can move forward with his copyright lawsuit against Marvel Comics.

Friedrich’s lawsuit alleged that Marvel Comics’ copyright lapsed and reverted back to him, as the author of the work. Meanwhile, Marvel Comics maintains that the character was the product of a collaborative process within the comic book company.

Ultimately, the copyright dispute centers on the terms of a 1978 work-for-hire agreement. In 2011, the district court found that Friedrich had surrendered his rights in the Ghost Rider comic under the contract. However, the appeals court concluded that there are issues of fact to consider at trial and reversed the summary judgment order.

“The agreement is ambiguous on its face,” the three-judge panel concluded. “The contract contains no explicit reference to renewal rights.”

The Second Circuit further agreed that Friedrich might be able to show that the parties did not contemplate that the 1978 copyright agreement would cover the Ghost Rider comic, which was first published in 1972. “It is doubtful the parties intended to convey rights in the valuable Ghost Rider copyright without explicitly referencing it,” Judge Denny Chin wrote. “It is more likely that the agreement only covered ongoing or future work. Hence, there is a genuine dispute regarding the parties’ intent for this form contract to cover Ghost Rider.”

As the date for trial came closer Marvel Comics and Friedrich reached a settlement thereby insuring Marvel’s parent company Disney, that there would not be a trial that could place its interest in the “Ghost Rider” franchise at risk.

As this case highlights, the terms of a work-for-hire agreement must be clear and unambiguous. If not, the court may end up deciding who owns the rights to a lucrative motion picture, song, or other work.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

The White House’s Updated Intellectual Property Strategic Plan.

Last year, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), Victoria Espinel,  released the Obama Administration’s 2013 Joint Strategic Plan for Intellectual Property Enforcement. The plan addresses current challenges to IP enforcement, including online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods.

“Over the next three years, we will continue to work to ensure that standards, procurement, and regulatory policies of foreign countries do not unfairly exclude or prejudice innovative or creative American products and services,” the report states. “We hope that Congress acts on the Administration’s remaining legislative recommendations from the 2011 White Paper on Intellectual Property Enforcement and on any further recommendations we deliver in the future.”

Below are some of the initiatives that are set forth in the Joint Strategic Plan:
•    Facilitate voluntary initiatives to reduce online intellectual property infringement. IPEC will reach out to additional sectors (which may include data storage services, domain name registrars, and search engines) and will also encourage rightholders to adopt a set of best practices. USPTO will start a process to assess the voluntary initiatives;
•    Conduct a comprehensive review of domestic laws to determine needed legislative changes to improve enforcement;
•    Evaluate the enforcement process of exclusion orders issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). IPEC will chair an interagency working group to improve the process for enforcement of Section 337/ITC exclusion orders;
•    Improve transparency in intellectual property policymaking. IPEC will look for additional ways to hear concerns and gather input from a wide range of stakeholders;
•    Improve law enforcement communication with stakeholders. DOJ and ICE will look for additional ways to engage a broad range of stakeholders in an effort to increase understanding of law enforcement operations and expand stakeholder relationships;
•    Increase focus on counterfeits shipped through international mail and work with express carriers. CBP will work to obtain advance data from international post operators and express carrier companies to improve targeting;
•    Educate authors on “fair use” copyright doctrine. The U.S. Copyright Office will summarize current law and provide general guidance targeted to artists seeking to apply the law to their own situations;
•    Protect intellectual property at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the FBI will work with ICANN, in collaboration with stakeholders, so that new top-level domains do not become new venues for infringement; and
•    Consider copyright and patent “small claims” courts. The U.S. Copyright Office and USPTO are considering alternative adjudicatory processes for hearing “small claims” cases brought by copyright and patent holders.
So far, the strategic plan has received a positive response. While the focus on online piracy was certainly welcome news to copyright holders like the Recording Industry Association of America, digit rights groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, also applauded the neutral stance adopted by the Administration, citing the use of the word “infringement” rather than theft.”

How Can I Help?

If you have any questions about how the proposals may impact you or your company,, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman