HILARY J. SUMNER
Creating Assets from Innovations
Richland, PA 17087
1121 Stouchsburg Rd.

LAW OFFICE OF  

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IP In the News

USPTO Issues 10 Millionth Patent

Posted on June 30, 2018 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Patent No. 10,000,000 was issued on June 19, 2018 to inventor Joseph Marron and the Raytheon Company  for a “Coherent LADAR Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection.” The device is designed to improve laser detection and ranging (LADAR).

PATENT MILESTONE TIMELINE

Louis Vitton Doesn't See the Humor

Posted on December 15, 2017 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

A hand bag company called My Other Bag (MOB) has been engaged in a long legal battle with Louis Vitton.  The company claimed that MOB's canvas tote bags depicting images of Louis Vitton bags was an infringing use of their copyrights and trademarks and was diluting their brands. The District Court for the Southern District of New York held that such use amounted to parody and was an acceptable use.  The Second Circuit affirmed and the Supreme Court rejected Louis Vitton's appeal.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE





Cheerios Loses Fight to Trademark Yellow Cereal Box

Posted on September 1, 2017 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

After two years of trying to secure the color yellow as a trademark, the TTAB has ruled that consumers do not necessarily associate a yellow box with Cheerios brand cereal Click here for full article




Choose your Trademark Carefully! 7 Unfortunate Branding Mistakes...

Posted on December 14, 2016 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

When creating a trademark it is important to look at the selected name from all angles and potential misunderstandings... 

CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE ON THE 7 MOST UNFORTUNATE BRAND NAMES EVER TRADEMARKED

Are Tattoos Works of Authorship under Copyright Law?

Posted on February 18, 2016 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

LeBron James' tattoo artist recently filed suit against the makers of NBA2K16 claiming that their use of the tattoo in the video game constitutes copyright infringement. The Plaintiff asserts that LeBron James is a "medium of expression."  But whether a live body qualifies as a medium of expression is unsettled.  One would argue that the person exhibiting the tattoo should have some right to allow the use of that tattoo in conjunction with that person's likeness.  And if a tattoo is given copyright protection could the artist enjoin the destruction or alteration of that tattoo on a person's body?  CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE



UK Court Rules that Nestle Cannot Trademark Kit Kat Shape

Posted on January 29, 2016 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)

A court in the United Kingdom recently held that Nestle cannot trademark the shape of its chocolate kit kat bar. This may pave the way for competitors such as Cadbury to make a similarly shaped bar.  Nestle plans to appeal this decision.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE


"Happy Birthday" Song in the Public Domain

Posted on September 21, 2015 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

A California judge hearing a copyright suit against Warner/Chappell music recently ruled that the "Happy Birthday" song is in the public domain.  The judge held that Warner could enforce its copyright only in certain arrangements of the song.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE



Court Recognizes Orangutan's Rights to Life, Liberty and Freedom

Posted on January 12, 2015 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

A zoo in Buenos Aires was recently ordered to free a 29 year old female orangutan after an Argentine court recognized the animals right to life, liberty and freedom.  This is the first time that a court has recognized such rights in a non-human animal.  CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE.


Monkey's Selfie Creates Copyright Dispute

Posted on August 7, 2014 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

A photographer shooting wildlife in Indonesia recently left his camera unattended.  He returned to find that a crested black macaque had taken a few interesting shots of himself.  The photographer released the photos and one of them went viral.  When the owner of the camera asked Wikipedia Commons to remove the image from its site, Wiki challenged his copyright ownership.

According to U.S. law, copyright ownership is awarded to the individual who takes the photograph; but does that individual need to be human?  U.S. law also prohibits copyright ownership for "materials produced solely by nature, by plants, or by animals."   It poses an interesting legal question - who owns the copyright to this image?

CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE

UPDATE:  According to Section 306 of the Copyright Compendium requiring Human Authorship:

The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings, although the Office may register a work where the application or the deposit copy(ies) state that the work was inspired by a divine spirit.

 

Examples:

 

A photograph taken by a monkey.

A mural painted by an elephant.

A claim based on the appearance of actual animal skin.

A claim based on driftwood that has been shaped and smoothed by the ocean.

A claim based on cut marks, defects, and other qualities found in natural stone.

An application for a song naming the Holy Spirit as the author of the work.

 

Similarly, the Office will not register works produced by a machine or mere mechanical process that operates randomly or automatically without any creative input or intervention from a human author.”

 

Examples:

 

Reducing or enlarging the size of a preexisting work of authorship.

Making changes to a preexisting work of authorship that are dictated by manufacturing or materials requirements.

Converting a work from analog to digital format, such as transferring a motion picture from VHS to DVD.

Declicking or reducing the noise in a pre-existing sound recording or converting a sound recording from monaural to stereo sound.

Transposing a song from B major to C major.

Medical imaging produced by x-rays, ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging, or other diagnostic equipment.

A claim based on a mechanical weaving process that randomly produces irregular shapes in the fabric without any discernible pattern.

 



Sochi Olympics to Feature Interactive Megaface Billboard

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Architect Asif Khans has designed a 3D interactive billboard for the Sochi Olympics that will display spectator faces.  The board can accomodate three faces, each 18 by 24 feet in size. The faces change every 20 seconds and the billboard is expected to display more than 170,000 different images.  Interested participants have their picture taken in the Megaface photo booth.  Click here for full article.