Trademark Blogs

AU IP/Gender: Panel IV: Gendered Understandings of the Role and Scope of IP

43 Blog - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 14:06
Moderator – Irene Calboli, Marquette Law School and National University of Singapore Carys Craig, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University - Deconstructing Copyright’s Choreographer: the Power of Performance (and the Performance of Power) Feminist approach to conceptualizing artistic creativity can shed light on choreography as engaged and embodied practice and demonstrate weaknesses of dominant conception of creativity (myth of romantic author). Relational approach to ©, reimagining creative practice/authorship. Deconstructing copyright’s choreographer: the myth of independent creation; false binaries of mind/body, author/performer; reuse and transformation of choreographic works as cultural conversation. Unsettling core constructs of independent authorship, ownership/exclusion. ©’s liberal individualism versus choreography.  Copyright’s author is liberalism’s human subject, depending on Enlightenment ideals of individuation, detachment, and unity. Establishes moral hierarchy: author as creative genius and everybody else, the mere copyist. Diminishes value of creative reuse.  Gender of genius: conceptions of genius over time have changed to be whatever attributes are attributed to men: sometimes passion, sometimes rationality. Feminist theories of selfhood, agency, and creativity offer a way to reconstruct ©’s author and capture the situated nature of authorship and the dialogic nature of creativity. Choreography exemplifies the mismatch between concepts and practices. Divergence between ideal of authorship and art of choreography is especially pronounced. In part b/c of fundamental culture of sharing entrenched in dance historically and today. Body is the instrument in dance—makes dance something experienced with and through others; necessarily social and communicative.  Dynamically interactive.   The choreographer as creator: who qualifies as the author?  Formerly choreography was treated as mere stepchild of drama.  Dance seen as mere spectacle in 19th century—to call it dramatic composition “is an insult to the genius of the English drama.” Contributed nothing to art (exhibition of underdressed or undressed women). Loie Fuller’s Serpentine Dance was refused © on grounds it wasn’t a work but an idea that a “comely woman is illustrating the poetry of motion.” Poetry is expression when written, but not when moved.  Finally, Balanchine: “ballet is woman”—“a garden of beautiful flowers, and man is the gardener.” Women as bearers of meaning under the male gaze; role of maker of meaning is reserved to man.  Copyright’s ideal type: white male vision of choreographic production, with gendered and raced performative duties, enshrined as standard for copyrightability: Caroline Picard.  Woman gives aesthetic pleasure but does not create it.
Choreographer as independent creator: as the limits of authorship are drawn, separating physicality from authorship. Values implicit in this artificial division are gendered.  Balanchine says choreographer is sculptor—choreography is a solo endeavor; dancers are the putty/clay and his job is to get them to make real his desired vision.  Compare Beiswanger, who says that the relation between choreographer and dancer is dynamically interacting; the molding of vision is mutually creative process.  Dancer is filled w/human creative capacity, shared tradition. Only dynamics of power and privilege allow us to recast choreographer as sole author and dancer as raw material.  Mirroring the mind/body duality.  Textual is privileged over performed.  Masculine over feminine. Improvised dance: Moment of pure expressivity where mind and body merge: © struggles and recedes from view in the face of that ephemerality. Doctrinally difficult and practically irrelevant because process is key when it comes to improvised dance, and © prefers the product. Dialogic nature of choreographic expression: Traditional ballet has heterosexual dynamic: masculine power, feminine weightlessness; strict division of duties in traditional ballet. Virginal/manipulative ballerinas and supportive/manipulative males. Jones and Zane quoted Balanchine but changed the gender of who was supported and who supported—angered lots of people.  Choreographer reckons with who can give weight and who bears it, who initiates movement and who follows, who is passive and active, who is looked at and who looking. Dance can challenge power—street culture (initially male-centered); rap videos—TLC gestures at sexuality but rebuffs male gaze (RT: see also Anaconda!).  Madonna’s appropriation of voguing from LGBT community. J-Setting comes from historically black colleges with a marching band and auxilliary section in the front with the moves: gay men reproducing feminine movements: Prancing J-Settes. Gender as performance, Judith Butler: think of choreography as gender performance and vice versa. Powerful strategy for transforming codes and conventions in dance: continue to exercise discursive agency through re-presentation and reimagining of established contexts. Charles Colman, New York University School of Law – Patents and Perverts Project started with investigation into fashion ©.  Lots of issues around adornment/gender.  Fashion has meant women since about the turn of the 19th century in Anglo-American culture.  Effeminacy more broadly as a concern: often serves as a way to police patriarchy.  Self-imposed restrictions.   (RT: I think of Mary Anne Franks: How to Feel Like a Woman, or Why Punishment Is a Drag: “Law and society typically regard prison feminization as a problem of gender transposition: that is, as a problem of men being treated like women. In contrast, this Article argues that feminization is punitive for both men and women…. One could take the claim, as it were, on its face: It is terrible to be treated like a woman. Alternatively, one could read a presumption into the claim: It is terrible for a man to be treated like a woman. … Unfortunately, the second reading—what I call the gender transposition reading—is the more common and dominant one.”) Oscar Wilde: not known as a “homosexual” since that concept wasn’t yet invented—a sodomite. His diseased behavior was retroactively mapped onto the decorative objects/aesthetics people in the movement he was involved in had championed. Henceforth it was dangerous for men to display an affinity for unnecessary ornament.  [Relation to imperialism/racism: men of other races/cultures often condemned for their own forms of ornament?] Piece argues that this discomfort with design mapped onto the design patent cases.  Decorative is opposed to dishonest.  Useful/useless. Design patent rhetoric, though starting off neutral (passed 1842), eventually takes on this connotative cluster of value hierarchies.  Judges make clear that they don’t like design and can’t tell things apart.  Designs aren’t valuable.  Defer to experts when the designs are “feminine” but analyze in great detail when the subject is a saddle.  The central theme, which begins to determine more and more cases, is that objects associated with women = deference to experts or dismissed in value entirely.  Cigar case = nuanced sua sponte analysis; not other things.  Second Circuit was the court of last resort in most cases because SCt stopped granting design patent cases after Oscar Wilde. Second Circuit gets increasingly outlandish in characterization of designs before it.  Case where 2d Circuit says that ties are bought not just b/c of their utility to the wearer (CC: query what that might be!) but b/c of their appeal to “others”—says that the purchaser is often a wife or sweetheart. Homophobia/fear of perceived effeminacy related to analysis of design patents.  Distorted the jurisprudence that basically erased design patents from IP landscape, dispersing claims that would otherwise be made to © and TM.  Judges were performing gender norms for their audience, which had an impact on the law.  Demonstrating masculinity by not engaging substantively with subject matter. Calboli: This is a very specific US/Canada approach.  In Italy and similar jurisdictions, ornamental design has been strongly protected even before registered designs. Value of protecting beauty, design, good food: quality of life issues.   Colman: often interest in French things or Asian things was read as effeminate—suspect or ugly. Craig: In Canada, we draw on English background but are next door to the US; but also we have Quebec and civil law influence.  Canada protects performers’ rights, including moral rights for choreographers and performers.  But there’s still a clear delineation between the copyright and the neighboring right.  Parsing the contributions to figure out what the performer’s right is and what the choreographer’s right is. Rosenblatt: you both talked about “negative spaces”—dance and fashion have functionally opted out of the IP system. Cause, effect, something else? Craig: not clear if we’re not using it because it doesn’t fit or whether it doesn’t fit because we haven’t been using the right © concepts. Doesn’t need to be answered: there’s a clear mismatch which makes legal structures difficult/awkward, which then creates space for dynamic evolution in the art form, thriving in the absence of protection.  Canada: design does extend to fashion, but it’s unused. There’s just no point pursuing registration and litigation because things happen so fast.  Where you have a gap between a way the creative community perceives its activities and what matters, and the way the law works, the law is just irrelevant. And irrelevance allows vibrant evolution. Colman: Design patents were created mostly for stove designs in the US. Even then, though, they said the arguments applied w/equal force to creators of garments.  Rhetoric changes over time from “designs and inventions” to “designs” and “inventions”; clear migration over time to designers trying to use misappropriation or copyright.  Cheney Bros.—maybe the subject matter didn’t seem important compared to news. After Cheney Bros., though, you saw more trade dress claims—so doctrine & legislative inaction pushed the fashion industry in particular directions. Peter Jaszi: Not sure choreography opted out entirely—selective. Some owners of choreographic rights enforce them very vigorously and are widely feared. The most is the Balanchine estate.  Does the work give you any insight into current US controversy over copyrightability of social dance? Craig: true, not entirely opted out.  Only in the dead white man’s estate have we been able to fit the © romantic author concept—it’s not an accident that Balanchine is treated as the lone genius. Contracts also presuppose copyright ownership, which tends to be how choreographic works are licensed. There’s not much litigation, but the contracts are much more inclined to require attribution and some degree of creative control. A moral rights understanding rather than proprietary/exclusionary one.  Social dance: it’s not clear what an anti-social dance is—is it social because it’s traditional/historical, or social by its nature?  Original arrangement of steps—boundary setting is very difficult b/c we have a hard time explaining what makes dance, dance other than that it is useless. Colman: Sarah Burstein says that it took a while for Americans to figure out what design was; turned out to be stuff that wasn’t a sculpture, wasn’t X, wasn’t Y—the salon des refusés. His work suggests an additional explanation. Clothing is also embodied, with symbolic or spiritual power; people react to dress as to almost nothing else b/c it’s immediate visual representation of identity before you say a word.  [for Craig: Performance and the idea of the supplement in theater—one performance in a chain of performances—that’s the one piece I’d love to see added to the choreography paper. Cf. Francesca Coppa, Writing Bodies in Space.][1. Compare what happened during the same period in TM, growing protection for trade dress though also skepticism about value of TM: more acceptable because language of psychology and commerce, specifically because of the idea of the advertiser controlling the consumer rather than the consumer choosing fripperies?2. So does the turn to design patent represent another step in the feminization of America?  Or does a billion dollar verdict automatically convert the topic to one of masculine interest, the same way computer programming switched in value when men started to do it?3. Comparative analysis: design patents in other countries? Does that track with masculinity and its performance in other countries?] Colman: notable lack of commentary on the fact that design patents vanished. Janis & DuMont are the exception and he wants to offer an alternate account.  DuMont identifies nuances he identifies as “mishaps” but these terms like originality etc. are susceptible to so many interpretations that he finds it difficult to believe that they aren’t a deep level implementation of norms.   Design patents began being used more when 2d Circuit began upholding them (late 50s/early 60s) and when Fed Circuit was created—so it precedes the billion dollar verdict.http://tushnet.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Categories: Trademark Blogs

AU IP/Gender: Lunch Keynote by Kara Swanson

43 Blog - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 12:52
Kara Swanson, Northeastern University School of Law – IP and Gender: Reflections on Methodology and Accomplishments Literature review: from the footnotes to the text.  Personal experience writing and publishing in gender & IP—future orientation of how we can make progress.  (1) Translating insights of feminist/queer theory into IP and info law; (2) transcend boundaries to create new insights; (3) transfer these to scholars who don’t write or think about gender, to legislatures, to classrooms, to the PTO. Accomplishments: Naming and claiming the past to celebrate, use, and value it.  Gently urge that we harness the power of the citation to cite each other.  These symposia have been a rousing success. Stuff, community, and personhood, as Rosenblatt says.  Results in 3 distinct areas.  Bibliography of IP and gender scholarship; this is absolutely endless especially with int’l and interdisciplinary approach fostered by this group.  33 North American law reviews – ½ of law review scholarship on IP & Gender was published in AU’s journal, and others got their origins here.  Other scholars first published here have gone on to write more in the area. Starting to pop up in general and tech law reviews; Irene Calboli’s new book on diversity in IP.  Lively area of research, building on each other. Content: where to go next?  3 categories of work now: (1) Analyzing gender disparity in IP systems; this is old news to us but not to others.  Women receive fewer than 10% of US issued patents. What about rates of © registration and TM registration by women-owned businesses? (2) Analyzing IP claims that involve gender and sexuality.  (3) Analyzing the gendered nature of IP doctrines themselves.  Most important: critical lens to IP as a legal system—mapping the connections, and how IP perpetuates gender/heteronormativity. Those dynamics are so unknown to the mainstream in IP that even raising the issues can generate huge anger and controversy.  Women’s creativity: supposedly broad definitions of creativity become narrow!  IP law is no different than any other area of law in being affected. The personal is political: experience writing/speaking over 10 years.  There is resistance to the idea of connections between IP and gender. To get to our goal, developing IP that promotes social justice, we need to persuade, break down resistance, and shift conversations.  How have we not yet succeeded?  Translation, transcendence, and transmittal.  Translation: taking knowledge from one discipline and bringing it to another; bringing feminist legal theory to a room of IP scholars.  This is preaching to the choir here, but we can practice translation by taking our scholarship to fora outside our comfort zones, whether that’s to law & econ-dominated conferences, or feminist conferences, or even conferences w/few or no lawyers. We can increase visibility. Transcendence: Now that we know how to map the connections, we need to recraft IP rather than simply describing connections. Transmittal: How do we persuade?  Not just translation but transmittal—broadcasting to audiences divided by methodological and epistemological commitments.  Scholars who don’t work in gender, students, and legislatures.  We need to think more about this.  Example: her historical example of a classic patent case w/a female plaintiff, Egbert, about the corset. Teaching the case provoked giggles from students, because the corset seemed erotic and trivial.  Casebook had vaguely salacious statement about her relationship with the inventor.  Placed the article in a feminist journal—but need to communicate w/patent law community. Perceived as being w/o broader implications other than background color; law and economics influenced patent scholars just rejected historical methodology.  Project’s origins in the classroom: the disturbing way it’s portrayed in casebook and in classroom.  Need to reposition case—emphasizing sex/gender in this case seems to further trivialize and diminish Egbert.  Now, can teach against the casebook.  Also, scholarly publication may also require tweeting, congressional testimony, other written fora to practice transmittal.  How can we reach the audiences inherently most resistant to our conclusions? Feminists must marry theory to practice, an orientation familiar to lawyers. Silbey: Hierarchy of methodology within the study of IP is an issue. Swanson: Yes. Goal: convince empirical legal studies folks that historical work is empirical. More than counting things. Chon: How to make this more inclusive?  Transmittal is also about creating a larger community to hear the conversation. Swanson: Mosaic conference at Marquette: Practitioners included.http://tushnet.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Categories: Trademark Blogs

AU IP/Gender Panel III: US Federal Courts

43 Blog - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 12:52
Panel III: Gender and Intellectual Property in the U.S. Federal CourtsModerator – Christine Farley, American University Washington College of Law Jessica Silbey, Suffolk University Law School – Intellectual Property Reform Through the Lens of Constitutional Equality Qualitative work: The meaning of progress to artists, given the constitutional demand.  A complementary part of the project is case-driven. Not going to talk about one set of cases: total market failure/hold-outs.  Will talk about SCt cases; reading them through the lens of “progress” she sees something new and strange.  More than progress, she sees an emphasis on equality and distributive justice. Not sure whether she cares whether it was conscious or not, but is sure it exists. Eldred: Incentive story doesn’t make sense to IP lawyers for retroactive term extension. Plus the marginal increase in reward in present dollar value is meaningless. Court had nothing to say to those arguments.  Ginsburg could’ve just applied rational basis review—but she didn’t really do that either. The justification wasn’t incentives; it was equality—treating likes alike. Aristotelian norms of formal equality. She saw no reasonable basis to treat current authors differently from future authors.  Words like “parity,” “alignment,” “alike, “evenhandledly,” “same,” “equity,” etc. dozens of times. Opinion spends a lot of time talking about authors and how it was reasonable for authors to expect they’d be treated like new authors should new benefits arise. This isn’t about incentives to create or disseminate, but dignity of equal treatment absent a good reason to deviate. Flawed on its own equality terms: fundamentally ignores that the history of democratic lawmaking was not representative. And assumes that the class of authors is similarly situated: people who receive royalties from traditional publishers.  But it’s not.  Failed to consider other © stakeholders and left them out entirely despite its formal inclusivity. Classic problem of formal neutrality: mechanically reciting like/unlike without comparing the history/hierarchy of classes. And Justice Ginsburg knows that. That’s what Golan v. Holder is about: antisubordination.  Foreign authors were treated unfairly in this view. Reparations: this is an affirmative action case. Special benefits to people who were injured/harmed as a group in previous regimes.  Aims to eradicate imbalance of not having had © in the first place as a result of power imbalances.  If we don’t understand that’s what’s going on, we will make the wrong arguments.  But 104A causes real harm to people who are now forced to pay when they haven’t before, unlike discriminators who suffer no harm we are willing to recognize when they are forced to stop discriminating—Ginsburg thinks they deserve to have paid and were just free riders.  Ignores harm to majority/stakeholders: rights exist only for © owners/romantic authors. Can do this analysis with a lot of different SCt cases—it’s a key piece of the IP cases. Sandra Park, ACLU Women’s Rights Project – A Feminist Challenge to Gene Patents: Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics Deliberately feminist approach (project founded by Justice Ginsburg). Gene patents first granted in early 1980s.  Ultimately granted patents on isolated DNA: gene excised from naturally occurring chromosome, regardless of individual from whom it was taken.  Isolated DNA coding for BRCA1; and for any and all methods of comparing or analyzing sequences whether or not Myriad had developed the method.  Locked up examination of that version of the genome because you need to isolate the genome to do any analysis, and method claims reached the methods you’d want to use. Challenge over long time: result was unanimous ruling that isolated DNA is a product of nature, though cDNA is not. Lots of discussion about what Myriad means for §101, but she is interested in meaning for feminist advocacy. How to center women as stakeholders/agents for change?  Most patent litigation involves suing competitors/alleged infringers. They tend not to have an interest in challenging a whole category of patents; may have similar patents of their own.  So we thought about our larger goal of ending PTO grants of these types of patents—joint project w/ ACLU Speech, Privacy and Tech Project—spent a lot of time thinking about impacts on women.  Harms to women seeking cheaper tests or tests their insurance would pay for.  After Myriad got the patent, sent C&Ds to labs offering testing with different methods than Myriad, often cheaper; forced them to shut down. There were a lot of silos: hadn’t had many conversations about the overall impacts. So we assembled plaintiffs with personal impacts—patients who had issues with costs of diagnostic testing; testing quality/Myriad didn’t search for mutations well-known to be connected to higher risk so that a negative result wasn’t as useful as it could be; ability to access confirmatory testing/second opinion.  Other concerns about data sharing and research—Myriad amassed a huge amount of data and decided not to share it, with big impact on patients who received a result that they had a variant of uncertain significance.  Interference with new technologies/downstream innovation. Standing: the Federal Circuit found that only one plaintiff had standing, a geneticist who’d received a threat from Myriad.  Important takeaway: having patients as part of plaintiff group still ensured there was still a spotlight on the nature of DNA as part of the human body. Not just a chemical, but info crucial to their families and themselves for decisionmaking. The DNA was framed as if it were in isolation.  We challenged that framing directly.  Isolation was a problem: allowed permissively granting patents on natural products; distanced patented DNA from people’s bodies; used perspective of chemistry to mask patenting of biological information; obscured others’ contriubtions to discovery and the need for subsequent work. Revitalized an area of law long dormant.  Example of how to bring feminist practice into IP: divide between the patent bar and women’s rights lawyers.   Farley: Usefulness of constitutional frames in advocacy for better IP.  Park tells a positive story about that.  Does that contrast with Silbey’s story?  Also wondering about how this kind of advocacy looks in TM law—maybe a TM disparagement case. How does the frame of equality help, if it could?  [I’d think corporation/defamation analogy would be a useful frame.] Why pick this case?  Explanation sounded like “we wanted to have a constitutional challenge to patent law”—but why women? Silbey: decision and oral argument in Myriad did not have the story being told by this narrative. Park: Informed the case, public education around these issues, the SG’s brief/amicus interest. There was a legal resistance to the constitutional arguments; it was vital in the district court and helped us justify talking about women’s experiences, which we argued were relevant to what progress means in this context. That said, there was very little to look at for patent law/constitutional arguments. For the Federal Circuit, they weren’t interested in that aspect. Discussion moved away from more gendered understandings, but the stories/experiences were animating the reasoning. Our sense of our own bodies was really being debated at oral argument when Justices grappled with analogies about the technology. Silbey: struggling with whether this is just a way of thinking that’s in the air, or something the Justices do think about in the background without having them formally introduced into the argument so it’s just coming in as a justificatory mode. Petrella, Justice Ginsburg mentions Lily Ledbetter case, where it’s different in that you didn’t know about the discrimination—she’s pro-author and wants the author to have the choice of when to sue.  Kirtsaeng: a low-protectionist win, and the value of price discrimination is at issue; one of the things that helped was that, though we were thinking about market effects of price discrimination, there was a lot of stuff in the briefs about how a contrary result would decrease access. People do care about these doctrines—having the facts present, even if not mentioned in the case (Kirtsaenghad a lot of footnotes about this).  Different organizations that testify, bring those facts about access and status/hierarchy, can change how we advocate.
Rosenblatt: Progress may be a malleable word with facial neutrality that ends up being exclusionary. Park says progress is more than isolation. Silbey says it’s been taken to mean “more,” but it’s really meant “more of some things and not others”—more commercialization, not more research/expressive work generally.  Using progress in an exclusionary way comes out of both of your papers. Silbey: Has thought of progress as a blank check to Congress, which gets filled in to replicate the status quo.  Chon: colorblindness always has a privileged position. Formal legal equality—author-privilege Ginsburg embraces in © she rejects in race. Whiteness as property, Cheryl Harris, is also relevant. Aligns w/what you’re trying to say: the liberty interest represented by property is dominant, which forces the equality interest to mutate. Silbey: Scalia in Aereois all about treating likes alike; Ginsburg is making deliberate choices. [Amy Adler has great articlesabout the unspeakable feminine body in Supreme Court jurisprudence. You could get a great contrast between those cases and Campbell, actually.] [Because Silbey was talking about her interviewees, now I want to write a piece on the wise author who asks “What are the IP laws?”; the wicked author who asks “What do these IP laws mean to you?”; the simple author who asks “what is this?”; and the author who does not know how to ask.]http://tushnet.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Categories: Trademark Blogs

At EPO, Patent Oppositions To High-Priced Gilead Hepatitis C Drug Pile Up

IP Watch - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 10:44
According to a public health advocacy group, there are now as many as 10 oppositions filed at the European Patent Office against the Gilead company's patent on sofosbuvir, a treatment for hepatitis C. The group has compiled a table showing the filings with links to the documents.
Categories: Trademark Blogs

AU IP/Gender Panel II: Documenting Communities of Practice

43 Blog - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 10:36
Moderator – Meredith Jacob, American University Washington College of Law Jhessica Reia, Center for Technology and Society at Fundacao Getulio Vargas (CTS-FGV) – DIY or Die! Gender and Creation in Marginal Music Production Straight edge movement in Brazil: associated with vegetarianism, anarchism, as well as music, not consuming drugs/alcohol.  Collective Verdurada runs a festival in São Paulo. Largest DIY event in Latin America.  Talks every day of the festival about direct action, environmental issues, sometimes gender issues.  Ideology: anyone can be in the audience and anyone can be on the stage (maybe).  Internet is making things easier to spread the news, arrange snows. Broad support for downloading music: to check if they like it, if it’s unavailable to buy, or from major artists who are already rich. But not OK to make and sell CDs.  Supporting the scene is very important.  Go to the shows, buy the merchandise even if you download.
Bands at the festival are mostly male, never all female.  “Angry energy” at a hardcore show; mosh pit.  Few girls in the mosh pit.  You hear men say that girls come for the boys.  The ideal of autonomy—anyone can come here—is not exactly true.  Lesbo-anarchofeminist scene: many women started to leave this scene and go to their own, separate track.  Yet women are also present: organizing, disseminating information, attending.  Mix of very progressive guys and stereotypes.  Also issues surrounding LGBTQ participation/discriminatory attitudes. Ideology is that “girls don’t play because they just don’t want to play.” Some men leave when women play, or when there’s a talk on abortion.  General resistance to admitting a problem existed.  Copyright or lack thereof isn’t the issue in marginal cultural production: it’s not inviting women, silencing women.  Alternative licensing/access is very important. Continuing struggles: revenge porn incident in the scene; anarchofeminists arguing that “we don’t need to be with these jerks.” Betsy Rosenblatt, Whittier Law School (and Rebecca Tushnet) – Transformative Works: Young Women’s Voices on Fandom and Fair Use Turned 80 pages of information into our chapter for a book on girls & eCitizenship.  Some data we turned up about fandom participation.  Think about what people are creating when they are creating.  Sometimes: think of it as stuff—fabric, film, stories. Or: they’re creating communities: family, family analogue, group identity. Or: they’re creating themselves.  All of these things are happening and more! In our community, this sense of community and sense of self were crucial elements in what the creative process was doing. Self-actualization and training ended up as big elements of the creative process. Our fandom: media fandom, focused on creating fanworks, online communities.  Grew with the internet; overwhelmingly female—not the only kinds of fans, but it’s a massive set of interlinked communities, with tens of millions of works.  DeviantArt, Vimeo, fanfiction.net, Archive of Our Own, Livejournal/Dreamwidth. Focused on making noncommercial works, although there are occasional crossovers. The fact that the media has latched on to that demonstrates how exceptional that is v. common fannish gift economies.  These are pretty uncontroversially fair uses.  They transform meaning; they’re noncommercial; usually take small portions; don’t compete in original market and tend to grow that market.  10s of millions of works on the internet. OTW established in 2007 to promote acceptance of noncommercial fanworks as legitimate creative works and to preserve the history of fan culture and protect/defend fanworks from commercial exploitation and legal challenge.  PTO/NTIA put out a Green Paper asking for commentary on remix. OTW called for personal accounts of how fanworks affected lives; received 107 responses and submitted our response describing themes we found in them. Limitations: we couldn’t confirm the gender of respondents, but we depended on self-identification, which was what mattered to us.  Also a self-selected group; we didn’t ask about the drawbacks of creating fanworks and didn’t get answers about that.  This piece focuses on benefits for young women and girls, though there are also many benefits for men/boys in creating fanworks, and we received responses from many whose genders we couldn’t identify reporting similar benefits.  But many of the responses were very specific to gender and sexuality. Trends: (1) Women and girls stated that creating fanworks provided unique opportunities to develop social and professional skills. (2) Broad concepts of fair use/fair dealing that permit noncommercial derivative works promote expression by often marginalized speakers and offers benefits that may not relate directly to the stuff they’re producing. Fandom helped them understand themselves. Fandom as rescuer—often as saving lives: through fandom and fanworks, they found they were not alone, found a voice, learned to gain confidence in themselves and their opinions.  Women reported that fandom allowed them to talk back to a mass culture that didn’t adequately represent them—claim agency around popular narratives; explore gender & sexuality by changing those elements of popular characters; allowed them to explore race and disability when the mass media gave them few examples of girls of color or disabled girls. Although fanworks are often derided in mass culture, that derision seems bound up with negative attitudes towards feminine pursuits and young women’s attempts to make themselves. As women pointed out, fanworks gave them the opportunity to start bad and get good. Young writer is learning to find her voice—that’s the benefit! Reminds Rosenblatt of “fake geek girl” narrative in other areas of American fandom. Remix also taught important skills, including language skills in translating fanworks; writing and editing skills through use of “beta readers”; critical thinking skills in looking behind narrative to find their own critical approaches; visual art, video editing, programming, other technical fields as they learned to create the works they wanted to see and share; many credited creation of fanworks with later career success. Both transformativeness—the fact that these works were transforming the meaning of source works—and noncommerciality were crucial to how fan cultures manifested. The law favors such works. Hard to say cause/effect, but having a law that favors these things tends to promote the building of these self-actualization and skill-building communities. You don’t have to cater to a commercial market to create, so fanwriters could be more concerned with self-expression; knowing they had a built-in market let them experiment with forms and styles and content. Reward was support and feedback, which depended on culture of giving and learning, as well as empathy. This isn’t a priority in a lot of commercial endeavors. Self-empowerment: you can tell the story the media isn’t telling.  Remix generally tends to come from underrepresented groups. Implications for law: important not to require permission. Important to allow fans and others to use sources as they wish to, not as copyright owners would wish them to be able to. Uncertainty in law tends to silence those who feel disempowered, so greater certainty would promote the selfhood and community-building aspects of fanwork creation; seeking permission creates boundaries and barriers to entry.  If you think you might have to seek permission, you might just not make the thing. Jacobs: Posit this: straight edge community is defined against all the things it isn’t: drinking, eating meat, etc. Thus you have to check all the boxes to belong.  High conflict nature—easy to fall outside. Fandom is less aggressively oppositional and more simply separate, which has provided more entry points to the community.  React? Rosenblatt: the Q of is fandom a counterculture? may oversimplify.  Writ large, it is a counterculture in that it challenges the idea that media is for consumption, a one-way street.  But that idea of talking back to culture is now permeating more broadly.  Media fans often think of themselves very much as part of a broader expressive unit—everyone is creating, the writers of the show and us too.  (Show writers don’t think that way, she notes!)  There are a lot of box-checking internal norms in various fan communities, though.  She identifies as a Sherlockian, which is a different fan community from “Sherlock Holmes fans,” though crosspollination between the communities has been very productive.  They have different boxes to check to fit socially and culturally. Internal norms can be quite oppositional to the law and quite definitional; one widespread norm is that, while transformative creation is presumed and appreciated, plagiarism is evil and attribution is very important. Reia: she had to prove she wasn’t a journalist to be allowed to research the Straight Edge community.  Subcultures don’t really have fixed boundaries: people have different identities with overlaps and sometimes they create borders. They’re trying to destroy the system—try to be far from regular people, and yet that often presses them into a different kind of conformity/rule system.  You can’t do drugs, but you can drink a lot of Coke. You can’t drink alcohol, but you can eat at McDonald’s three times a week. What it is to be straight edge is complicated. Charles Colman:  Rosenblatt and RT reminded him of Silbey’s book: unabashedly qualitative work. What are the legal and nonlegal challenges?  Supernatural actually responded to characters being cast as gay in the fan world—tolerated but dismissed. Is that more damaging than legal action?  Are the writers mostly men?  Fans as community of women mentoring each other—absence of mentoring/teaching relationships when people don’t align in their identity groups. Rosenblatt: there are a couple of different types of challenges.  Legal: no lawsuits (but occasional objections).  Nonlegal: respect challenges.  There is a lack of respect but it may not be what you fear it is. There is a sense that it is tolerated use and therefore women who make these works are marginalized; but there is increasing recognition that fanworks are really important to the market for the media they support.  So they may not respect the quality of creation in the first instance, but they respect the growth that comes out of it.  The idea that people who start making these works will make works ultimately that are establishment-quality.  (RT: Of course that need not be your goal!  Fandom is big!)  Writers’ rooms are usually majority male; the mentoring systems exist and they are not always explicitly gendered—better than law firms; but the hiring isn’t better than law firms because the execs are men and often more skeptical of young female writers than of young male writers. DMCA challenges: often fanworks are ignored; but when machines do searches, fair uses get caught in the net. It’s more common for women to say they don’t want to fight a takedown because of even a small risk; men are relatively more likely to want to fight (and to want to commercialize their fanworks in the first place). When we get queries from people who have commercial projects, they more often come from men.  Women are more likely to just want to write noncommercial works. Carys Craig: what happens in the transition from the community to outside?  “Pro” writers—how does that affect relations in the community?  What about the understanding of copyright norms and potential replacement of social norms with legal norms? Rosenblatt: the crossover isn’t just from TV fan to TV writer; it’s often fan to professional person.  People who learn video editing and go on to become video editors, not necessarily for TV; technical writing/academics also benefit.  Shifting cultural norms: it may happen with a shift in status/perceived status, but not sure it always shifts.  Many TV writers understand that what they are doing is a form of fanwork to what came before, but they really want their residuals and they want to be recognized as pros. RT: I’d say culture beats law almost every time, just as culture beats nature almost every time. People believe the law is one way because their culture induces them to do so.http://tushnet.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Categories: Trademark Blogs

AU IP/Gender Panel I: Women's Leadership in Traditional Cultural Production

43 Blog - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 09:26
Panel I: Community Structure and Women’s Leadership in Traditional Cultural Production Moderator – Margaret Chon, Seattle University School of Law Helen Chuma Okoro, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (and CC Nigeria), Traditional Knowledge, Intellectual Property Protection, and Matriarchal Dominance: The Case of Traditional Textiles in South Western Nigeria Research looked at how to use communal TMs to promote products in Nigeria, esp. textiles. Findings: very difficult to use communal TM to promote textile sector particularly, because of structural organization of sector.  Characteristics of textiles: traditional knowledge; intergenerational in nature.  Good reputation: markets exist for the fabric (adire).  Method of production is natural, organic, by hand.   A market leader, matriarchical structure: mother figure, very influential.  How can that relate to IP? There’s an idea that traditional knowledge is inconsistent with traditional IP.  But traditional textiles are fundamentally produced for commercial purposes, so the idea of noncommercial TK is not relevant; the reputation is what needs protecting.  Everyone wants to benefit from the reputation, so there’s lots of imitation.  Traditional textiles are more expensive to produce; have difficulty competing with copies/synthetic imitations.  Many families therefore may abandon the production.  Need incentive to continue in trade, and IP could provide that.  They understand they do have some kind of property/right, though they don’t call it IP. They do share designs, but against outsiders they won’t share. Maternal line transmits the knowledge. Small, fragmented industry of producers.  Traditional model: result is lots of competition.  Communal methods can work better—protect designs individually by copyright, individual TM, but lack enforcement capacity. Nigerian TM act dates from 1965, substandard. Protection for certification marks but not GIs.  Market mother may be able to provide the necessary structure to make sure standards are maintained, work hand in hand with standard organization for certification marks.  If that works, can be transplanted to other sectors. Lorraine Aragon, University of North Carolina, Cut From the Same Cloth? Reimagining Copyright’s Relationship with TCEs and Gender in Indonesia Between 2003-2010, weaver argued w/district headman about his plan to © a textile design. Nela’s argument wasn’t technical/legal but about needs & customs of women.  Widely shared traditions exist across Indonesia; she was defending what women of the region (not the nation, a recent invention) customarily do—share designs/knowledge.  District head predicted econ. benefits to recently created district; drawing on recently enacted law saying state holds © over folklore and people’s cultural products—district’s procedures could be “cut from the same cloth” as national law. Offers ways to rethink authorship and property models in light of gender, in a nonwestern context. Textiles: how do the weavers view claims over their work? In Indonesia, this is women’s gendered domain (also pottery); where other TCEs are more male-controlled.  Convergence of IP and cultural property (CP) models in developing nations—discussed as provincialization of IP (though all IP can be discussed as provincialization).  Other literature calls it indigenization of IP. But that doesn’t work for Indonesia; may not work anywhere that lacks indigenous group membership/enrolled tribes/clear lines of authority/a state eager to appease indigenous groups. There’s no legal category of indigenous people in Indonesia, but over 300 ethnic groups. Reverse anthropology: look at things w/logic of local people.  Materiality studies: the spirit/nature/agency of possessions.   These textiles are handmade, used for ritual purposes/exchanges; regional market, sometimes internal or external. Internal market is shared and guarded, somewhat separate from external markets. Index ancestry & community status; you wouldn’t ordinarily want to make a design from another group.  Some dyes take years to make.  Producers describe themselves as conduits; say they learn the most complex, dangerous designs in dreams. (Conduit description is not limited to women—male producers in male genres say the same thing.) Splitting agency outside the self; carrying on traditions. They do make claims for themselves, but not ownership or origination claims even though they might be adding creativity the west would consider copyrightable. Convergence of IP and CP in Indonesia and several other places. Variable dynamics of this convergence often go unrecognized.  Domestic concerns change response to TRIPs.  Settler states: North America, Australia, New Zealand—different process than in postcolonial states.  Settler states: indigenous groups can advance political goals through IP claims.  Postcolonial: individual producers have weak status—CP promises the actual producers very little, even as others get excited about it.  Idea of culture as property is not of interest to producers, because both IP and CP deny their distributive practices/informal management of system. Indonesian law: state has © in folklore and people’s cultural products owned in common; includes stories, dances, clothes, sculptures, handicrafts, jewelry, traditional weavings, etc. with no time limits on folklore protection—very big state claim.  The design is not unfamiliar in Indonesia: echoes postcolonial eminent domain land law. In history of SE Asia, rulers’ interest was never land/ownership—there was plenty of land. Wanted to control labor. Only when Europeans came in did they look to control land as property.  The idea of private property is crosscultural—legacy of Dutch control.  Indonesia’s government controls oil; rainforests are being cut down; wants to diversify its resources = shift to CP.  Property law is there to remedy waste: idea is that if it’s not owned it’s not being well used—lawyers felt that Indonesians too freely and naively gave away cultural resources to outsiders, so state has to do it for them. Repercussions of law: allegations against Malaysia for cultural theft of batik, beef curry, dances, etc. Accused Robert Wilson of appropriating a Bugis myth for int’l production of I La Galigo, 2004-2005—he asked for local permission but state said that wasn’t enough. Pursued w/tremendous passion b/c IP doesn’t offer them much in conventional form. District leaders then sought to © elements of “their” local culture. Flores example on which paper is based is outstanding because there were no “foreign” cultural thieves at issue. District had been formed from other districts; district head got the idea that he could © the “chicken eye” design and collect royalties from weavers who were now outside the district.  Indonesia long defined geographic-political units according to ethnicity and TCEs, part of the nation-building project. In reality, people and TCEs move fluidly across these boundaries. Weavers said: our ancestors didn’t live only in this new district; techniques are transferred through marriage and migration. We all come “from one bamboo clump.”  © will kill the small women entrepreneur—there are so few economic opportunities for women without capital here, but if some women own certain motifs, they lose that. Other women: customary law is weightier and more accepted than state law. © in state was a solution looking for a problem. The language of the © law is not intrinsically gendered; makes all producers of TCE childlike wards of the state. Can IP provincialization be done in a socially progressive way that helps indigenous groups?  It doesn’t work as formulated in Indonesia. Could positive law support women’s customary authority over TCE production?  Unless it does, we can expect them to walk away from it as much as they can. Chon: Three major themes: (1) diversity, (2) hybridity, (3) pluralism.  Take us away from the metaphor of war we’ve worked with in the © field for so long.  Oppositional relation between free expression/exclusive rights—very tired as a metaphor. Hybridity, heterogeneity, multiplicity instead—but conflict and tension are still inherent in those relations. This isn’t shiny new happy world, but instead we have many things to figure out. Okoro’s matriarchal figure: variations/nuances on this figure.  Existence of multiple markets: not just global postindustrial mass markets. We need to be more like antitrust/competition lawyers in looking at the market at issue and its particular needs.  Also: difference in power structures and leadership.  In Nigeria, power shifts to women in ways that the typical IP model doesn’t recognize. Hybridity: both papers talk about TK or CP as it intersects/hybridizes with formal IP categories, particularly TM and ©, and how that affects traditional cultures: Okoro is a more positive story, Aragon more negative. Okoro = fill the needs of a high-end market if it can be connected to that market.  What could be the incentives to allow traditional weavers to continue work? She identifies certification mark; what really jumped out in paper is the idea that these textile production units are family based—going to biological daughters rather than daughters in law. Deeper commitment, as a result, to the production unit than in a typical business unit, which we might want to protect.  Can this deep commitment be translated to a highly decentralized, global market.  But one challenge is there’s no enforcement capacity for small local entrepreneurs and little capacity in the IP enforcement system period.  Final challenge: how do you signal the qualities—high quality, handmade, organic, credence attributes—with a relatively shallow right, TM? Aragon: (1) Social norms, or IP without IP.  (2) Second enclosure movement: eminent domain laws have an analogue in use of © for TCE.  Jamie Boyle has identified this dynamic in West.  (3) Facially neutral laws with differential impacts, as in this case study.   Aragon offers a solution from the people: look at what they’re doing creatively and think about how to address that production model.  Indigenization model doesn’t work in the context of Indonesia, v. New Zealand with a vocal minority community and a state eager to appease that community’s legal interests. That goes to hybridity: local circumstances may be very different from dominant models.  Also: these textiles are means of reflecting and indexing one’s place in the world: how do we hang on to the local identity in a globalized, marketized world? Use of IP to assert national sovereign power, vs. Malaysia for example; used as a way for Indonesia to assert its muscle in the world.  How does that work versus industrialized countries that might appropriate and monetize—Robert Wilson?  Power dynamic of Western grabbing & not sharing benefits.   Finally, Q posed is whether and how IP can accommodate communal, local practices.  State-owned model Aragon gave is is clearly not the ideal model, but what is the alternative? Betsy Rosenblatt: she saw distinctions between ingroup and outgroup dominating, and Qs of how we define the ingroup. The ingroup in both cases seemed perfectly capable of governing itself—Q is how they protect selves from intrusion/appropriation by some outside group, whether industrial copiers or the state. But Indonesian state saw the ingroup as the whole state, and wanted to protect against other states. Okoro: the ingroup isn’t working correctly in Nigeria now because it’s very hard to protect from outsiders/globalization.  Need to go beyond the ingroup model, and IP/TM is a way to do that. Aragon: some communities are being flooded w/cheap Chinese (or Indonesian) knockoffs. Bali deals w/it by info: trying to educate the tourist about machine/chemical production v. the real thing used in rituals w/2-year dye made from plants.  There are market conditions where people go to the cheap version b/c that’s what they can afford. SE Asians in general think the gov’t isn’t helping them with import issues/trade issues; they don’t specifically care about IP but about local support/trade laws. Jessica Silbey: Nigeria—concerns over integrity and misuse. What counts as misuse?  Just copying or a particular use? Aruna Ranganathan has been doing ethnographies in Indiaof local craftmakers—experiments to figure out how they market their work differently. They will sell their work for less to people who appreciate authenticity; charge more for people who seem not to care whether it’s an imitation. Using market segmentation to preserve status, but in the reverse of what we’d normally see. Shows what people care about in different communities re: how their work is exchanged and experienced. Seen anything like that kind of price discrimination used to preserve status, identity, or value? Okoro: Economic advantage is the primary concern. There are some textiles with symbolic meaning, but that is not as important here.  Profit means that misuse is knockoff/passing off. Aragon: price discrimination goes on all the time in Indonesian markets, but it’s more what we expect—foreigners/nonrelatives get charged more.  May make indigenous designs with cheap dyes so that local people could afford them.  Indonesians wanted to control their own designs; didn’t care what foreigners did and kept their productions separate; misuse was generally not of great concern, with a few exceptions. Irene Calboli: What do traditional people want? Everything: tradition, control, market access, the ability to set prices—they want what Westerners want; they want respect for their IP but they don’t care about knocking off TMs from the west.  They see the value of the model, but understand that w/in the bigger community they have to play a different game.  How IP can help is difficult—GIs are ways to guarantee geographical region origin, with variation.  If the fake Louis Vuitton helps sell the real ones, the Pier One knockoff may help sell the authentic versions—Pier One is often the first access.  Add to this the problem of corrupt governments.  Also the role of UNESCO certification—batik has this certification; tangible and intangible IP are eligible, and gives some legitimacy. Aragon: that’s why Indonesia says UNESCO gave them the copyright and Malaysia can’t do it.  (Even though Calboli points out that is not what UNESCO did.) Bali is really different from the rest of the country: commodified genre may worry about knockoffs; others say they want more gov’t support for things that are disappearing, but they don’t want access to law because they know that law doesn’t function for them—not looking to sue (or be sued).  Gov’t level and local producer level must be distinguished; semi- or partially-commodified markets either at the regional or int’l level. GIs might be something to think about, but not what they’re thinking about. Okoro: Agrees they want everything, but textile producers want more economic advantage primarily. Just like every creator!  Dignity to some extent, but at this point they’re more worried about economic prospects. Peter Jaszi: To what extent do the modes of regulation discussed interplay with the imperative for preserving space for dynamism in traditional culture? Aragon: Copyright doesn’t seem to be the right measure.  Registered designs were ancient but being claimed by corps/big families. I would look for something grassroots, which isn’t there yet. Okoro: the TM model would allow evolution w/in a controlled environment rather than being overly influenced by economic interests from outside. Just trying to meet demand from outside kills authenticity, but creating incentives to maintain traditional quality allows a different basis for competition. Jaszi: discusses producers’ difficulty negotiating “living wage” price from Pier One—a problem not particularly susceptible to IP, but perhaps to consumer information and some militancy by well-meaning consumers. Even if Pier One is an entry point, right now those outlets are killing rather than sustaining the communities whose goods are being exported. Chon: a problem of information flow rather than IP per se.http://tushnet.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Categories: Trademark Blogs

AU/IP Gender conference, part 1: me

43 Blog - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:58
Reimagining IP/Gender: The Next 10 Years of Feminist Engagement with IP Law Welcome – Michael Carroll, American University Washington College of LawIP program and Women & Law program do this together—longterm collaboration. Opening KeynoteMeredith Jacobs, American University Washington College of Law – Introduction [nice things about me; thank you!] Rebecca Tushnet, Georgetown University Law Center- IP, Gender, and Creative Communities Thank you.  AU offered me the opportunity to write anarticle early in my career about sex and gender in copyright fair use, which was very significant for me, and I greatly appreciate the program. Ten years: great diversity in topics, methodologies, building on foundations that are now strong.  The papers this time around are great examples of the variety and significance of scholarship in the area of gender and IP, and what I see as a larger theme of hybridity: drawing from multiple sources and refusing to accept simple binaries even though law often demands binary outcomes.  Communities of practice offer lessons formerly ignored in official accounts: and we’ve seen great strides in learning from those lessons, with projects like AU’s series of best practices in fair use; studies of IP’s negative spaces such as Betsy Rosenblatt’s work. One of the key questions is well framed by Sandra Park’s paper on patent: asking the woman question: have women been left out, and how would their inclusion change things? My own experience at the DMCA hearings: mostly female group of vidders asking for an exemption because of the special ways in which remix enables women to talk back to mainstream culture; initially we were asked if maybe they could only give the exemption to women and minority men. We said no, but Francesca Coppa likes to say that where young men made videos about how awful copyright law was, the vidders went out and got a change in the law, if only a temporary change.  Our presence matters. Park’s themes of isolation as lawyer’s trick also reinforced the importance of community to a feminist analysis: many of the things we investigate can’t be understood in isolation and to isolate them is to mistake what it is that we are analyzing, or granting rights to. Charles Colman’s paper relatedly asks the gender question: in what ways have gender norms affected issues that do not necessarily seem biased on the surface?  As he argues, design patents offer an intriguing example of such less visible effects, and as Carys Craig has shown there are many others in copyright as well. So what are we to do with these regimes that are not just reductionist, but reductionist in ways that systematically reproduce gendered forms of disadvantage?  One answer is to focus on the reality of hybridity: the interaction of legal and illegal practices; the interdependence of market and nonmarket (in fandom our raw materials are what others think of as already “cooked”); the importance of visual and musical expression even when copyright law models its rules on text; the dialogue between the individual and community, whose mutual interdependence is both frustrating and foundational; the positive tension between the radical (rejecting copyright entirely) versus the liberal (the OTW, which finds room for fandom in existing law and tries to work to improve that law); the defense of pleasure (which deserves defense for its own sake) along with the defense of productivity (which tries to explain why the pleasures of creativity have positive effects on the rest of the world). Feminist scholarship successfully investigates the interstices and outsides of the law, the places where people’s stories don’t fit the legal narrative—Jessica Silbey’s work is an important example of this kind of work.  Women’s work and women’s creativity has often been overlooked: we need to think about the detriments and the benefits of invisibility. As Rebecca Traister wrote of soap operas, in any “feminized (and thereby marginalized) genre,” the borders will be unpatrolled. But as visibility changes through increased surveillance and regulation, the balance of cost and benefit from trying to hide in one’s own space may shift—like vidders, groups may have to choose whether they’ll become visible on their own terms, or on someone else’s. In this context, I was struck by Lorraine Aragon’s example of claims to copyright over individual artist’s works by the local government in Indonesia; there are real dangers of being exploited by others’ claims of new forms of rights.  Amazon’s Kindle Worlds trying to monetize what it calls fan fiction—similar example of subaltern creativity being recognized but only for the purposes of monetization, like punk and other subcultural practices: Hybridity imposed from outside has particular dangers: we need the opportunity of picking and choosing which regimes make sense.  Part of the necessary hybridity is recognizing that we need to be fighting structures, not condemning people who make different choices within a system that constrains all of us.  Jhessica Rhea’s paper brilliantly quotes a Brazilian straight edger, who said that [a Brazilian Riot Grrrl band] “used to say that we should not worry about our appearance, but accepting this as the truth continues to tie me to the dialectic. Now I understand: to free me I need to know different points of views and make choices. Choosing to wear lipstick – or not wearing it at all – is something that makes me a victim of a discourse at the same extent.”  This is a double bind, but recognizing the double bind also offers important possibilities for making common cause and honoring the forms of creativity that we have, created as they are under a patriarchal system.  Or, to appropriate a  Tumblr meme: She wears short skirts/I wear T-shirts/she’s cheer captain/and I respect her right to wear whatever she wants and participate in traditionally ‘feminine’ activities because I understand that life is not about condemning another woman’s personal choices.” Carys Craig adds to this recognition of diversity the question of community: she asks “what collaborative, accretive, cultural creativity can look like when the legal norms do not appear to apply either in practice or in principle.”  I’m attracted to this formulation because of my background in fan communities, where mostly women create new works usually based on existing popular copyrighted works.  Some of these new works feature same-sex relationships between characters coded heterosexual by the official narrative, known as slash; there are a lot of theories about this, but one I’ve always been attracted to is feminist theorist Joanna Russ’s argument that slash asks and tries to answer the question: what would love and sex look like if we were free of patriarchal constraints?  What would we be like if we were free? So where are we now? Feminist IP scholarship reveals a diversity of form; diversity of genre in which we work as scholars and as activists.  I think progressive IP scholarship is distinctively feminist in its openness to the new, to the divergent, the previously undervalued. Also, we rely on the distinctive characteristics of remix, or appropriation: To borrow a famous line, women can make our own history, but we do not make it as we please; we do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.  In such a context, remix is a way of taking what we’re given and making it better.  Joanna Russ was not directly addressing Marx, but she could have been when she wrote of slash, “The writers and readers of these fantasies can do what most of us can’t do in reality (certainly not heterosexual reality), that is they can act sexually at their own pace and under conditions they themselves have chosen.”   For us as scholars and activists, it remains for us to keep choosing our conditions, recognizing that our choices are partial and constrained but not therefore meaningless.http://tushnet.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Categories: Trademark Blogs

Why The Request By Least Developed Countries For An Extension Of The Transitional Period For Granting And Enforcing Medicines Patents Needs To Be Supported

IP Watch - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:20
Ellen 't Hoen writes: On 24 February 2015 Bangladesh on behalf of the 34 Least Developed Country members (LDCs) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) submitted a request for an extension of the transitional period under article 66.1 TRIPS with respect to pharmaceutical products until the country is no longer classified as LDC.[1] The original extension, set to expire on 1st January 2016, specifically removes the obligation for LDCs to comply with Section 5 (Patents) and Section 7 (Protection of Undisclosed Information) of Part II of TRIPS, including any obligation to enforce rights under these provisions.It is a little known fact that since the adoption of the 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, LDCs have frequently used the extension in day-to-day procurement of low cost generic medicines, in particular to access medicines needed for the treatment of HIV.
Categories: Trademark Blogs

All-Star Tips To Avoid Infringement Litigation

Duets Blog - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:04

Shoes are always in the news. From a fashion standpoint, Nike has made headlines this week, with a re-release of the Classic Cortez running shoe (aka, the Forrest Gump shoe) along with the second edition of the LeBronald Palmer.  And yes, the LeBronald Palmer is exactly what it sounds like, LeBron James creating a shoe inspired by Arnold Palmer. Or possibly by an Arnold Palmer that kept James refreshed during his stay in Miami.  But for those of us who like our News of Shoes to have a legal bent, Converse is there to help.

In October of last year, Converse laced up an impressive number of lawsuits against more than 30 different retailers and manufacturers, including big names like Ralph Lauren, Wal-Mart, H&M and others. We discussed Converse’s use of International Trade Commission proceedings as part of this offensive back in October. Since that time Converse has been slowly reaching out-of-court settlements with the parties, including Ralph Lauren, H&M (subscription required), Tory Burch, and others.

In an ideal world though, a company doesn’t need to file thirty lawsuits against its competitors in order to protect its brand. While the Converse example is a bit trickier because it involved protection of the trade dress of the All-Star shoe, here are three steps brand owners can take to help minimize the potential for infringement and counterfeits of their goods:

  1. Conduct a domestic trademark portfolio audit. Are all of your important trademarks protected in connection with all of the important goods? If you have well-known product lines, do you have registrations for these trademarks as well as the overall brand? If not, file new applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It is possible others have developed, or could develop, legitimate and enforceable rights in confusingly similar marks.
  2. Record your U.S. registrations with the U.S. Customs and Protection Bureau. The cost is relatively cheap and the benefit can be substantial, especially if your products are susceptible to counterfeits (apparel, jewelry, and electronics in particular). If you have products manufactured abroad, you can provide this information and the Customs officials can identify questionable shipments at the ports – before they are distributed in the U.S.
  3. Conduct an international trademark audit. Do you sell your products overseas? Do you have registrations in these countries? Alternatively, if your products are manufactured overseas, do you have any protection in these countries? By protecting your trademarks in these countries, you can help prevent unauthorized products from leaving (or entering) these countries, too.

These three steps can’t prevent infringing products or counterfeits from ever entering the U.S. or other countries. Yet they can minimize the chances of a problem arising. In the unfortunate situation that the issue does arise, these actions will provide you with an expanded toolbox to address the issue with evidentiary presumptions in your favor and expanded remedies. In short, they’ll help you get off on the right foot.

The post All-Star Tips To Avoid Infringement Litigation appeared first on DuetsBlog.

Categories: Trademark Blogs

South Africa Awaits Patent Reforms With Hope, Concern

IP Watch - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 06:29
CAPE TOWN - South Africa’s new policy on patents could go to the Cabinet for approval soon, says Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF), one of the organisations spearheading the Fix the Patent Laws campaign in the country.
Categories: Trademark Blogs

TTAB Dubiously Requires Disclaimer of RAIL for Surgical Implants

TTABLog - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 05:44
Relying on two third-party patent applications, the Board affirmed a refusal of the mark shown below, based upon applicant's failure to disclaim the word "RAIL," for "surgical implants made of artificial materials used in spinal surgery, namely, structural members used to connect pedicle screws in a spinal construct" [TECHNOLOGY disclaimed]. In re K2M, Inc., Serial No. 85679575 (February 17, 2015) [not precedential].


Although recognizing that "rail" has multiple meanings, the Board pointed to two patent applications that use the that word in connection with spinal implants. [Two patent applications? Maybe they will be rejected for indefiniteness. How many people read pending patent applications anyway? Why should this applicant be stuck with the usage of the word "rail" made by two third-party patent applicants? Is this the best evidence the USPTO could come up with? - ed.]. According to the Board, these two patent applications established that the term “rail” is "used generically by third parties to describe a structural component of spinal implants and the term will be understood in that same manner when used in connection with Applicant’s spinal implants."

Applicant submitted a declaration of its vice-president, saying that he never heard of the term "rail" used "to describe a member that interconnects screws implanted into the spine." The word commonly used in competitor literature is "rod." The Board pooh-poohed that evidence, observing that even if applicant is the first and only user of the term "rail," the word may still be merely descriptive of the goods.

Finally, the Board rejected applicant's contention that the mark is unitary and a disclaimer is not required.

And so the Board affirmed the refusal to register.

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TTABlog note: In this blogger's opinion, the Board gives entirely too much probative weight to statements made by third parties in patent applications and patents. But then, being a patent attorney, maybe I'm biased.

My point is that just because some patent attorney, perhaps newly-minted and still wet behind the ears  and probably not an expert in the technology, while fumbling for a word to name an element in the patent drawings, chooses the word "rail," does not mean that "rail" would be understood by the relevant consuming public to mean what the Board thinks it means.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2015.
Categories: Trademark Blogs

Ebola Crisis Has Severe Impact On AIDS Response In Sierra Leone, UNDP Report Says

IP Watch - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 04:15
According to an internal report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Fund Partnership team, the Ebola epidemic has virtually halted national HIV efforts in Sierra Leone. In particular, patients stopped their treatments and the supply chain was disrupted.
Categories: Trademark Blogs

Cohen IP Law Group's Lawsuit Against Universal and Seth MacFarlane

TM Blog of TM Lawyer's Mind - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 15:29

Hollywood Reporter has covered Cohen IP Law Group’s recent lawsuit against Universal Pictures, Seth MacFarlane and other defendants for trade dress infringement and other claims.


http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/seth-macfarlane-sued-ted-talking-777992


Los Angeles Trademark Lawyer
Categories: Trademark Blogs

UK To Revamp Law On “Groundless Threats” Of Infringement Suits

IP Watch - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:21
Recommendations for key reforms to laws against “groundless threats” of infringement lawsuits in patent, trademark and design rights cases won general UK government backing today. IP lawyers said the government's stance will go far toward resolving longstanding concerns.
Categories: Trademark Blogs

Recommended Reading: Benschar and Springut, Does Reckless Indifference Suffice for Fraud?

TTABLog - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 04:39
Tal S. Benschar & Milton Springut ask "Does Reckless Indifference Suffice for a Cancellation Proceeding Predicated on Fraud?," 14 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 20 (2014). They answer in the affirmative.


The CAFC's decision in In re Bose Corp. left open the question of whether reckless disregard for the truth is sufficient to make out a case for fraud on the USPTO. [See FRAUD-O-METER above].

This article answers that question in the affirmative. We show that at common law, reckless disregard for the truth has long been recognized as sufficient to make out a case of fraud, and that has been carried over to several federal statutory contexts. Under the long-established rule that common law terms must be interpreted consistent with the common law absent some compelling statutory language to the contrary, the Lanham Act’s cancellation-for-fraud provision must be interpreted as extending to recklessness.
The article also examines whether the question "might depend on the form in which particular representations are verified to the Trademark Office." And it suggest some changes that the Office might consider making to its verification forms to clarify this issue.

Read comments and post your comment here

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2015.
Categories: Trademark Blogs

Tobacco Plain Packaging Discussion Lights Up Again At WTO

IP Watch - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 14:11
The issue of plain packaging for tobacco products as a health measure has been smouldering at the World Trade Organization since Australia decided to implement legislation requiring plain packaging in 2012. Now, as more countries seek to enact similar legal provisions, some tobacco producing countries continue to try to stub them out, including at the WTO intellectual property committee.
Categories: Trademark Blogs

WTO Least-Developed Countries Request Waiver Of IP Rights On Pharma Products

IP Watch - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 09:23
This week at the World Trade Organization intellectual property committee meeting, least-developed countries submitted a request to extend a waiver allowing them not to enforce intellectual property rights on pharmaceutical products. The countries have extended the waiver before, but this time they are seeking to make it indefinite, until they are no longer considered LDCs.
Categories: Trademark Blogs

UDRP expenses count as injury for purposes of TM case

43 Blog - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 08:54
Migliore & Associates, LLC v. Kentuckiana Reporters, LLC, No. 3:13–CV–315, 2015 WL 730058 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 19, 2015) Note: a genuine pleasure to read! Thank you, Judge Heyburn. Migliore, a court reporter, sued Kentuckiana for trademark infringement and ACPA cybersquatting.  The court here denied Kentuckiana’s motion for summary judgment. Intro: “The court reporter game is a tough racket. It’s tougher still when a competitor registers an internet domain name that is confusingly similar to your business name then links it to its own website.” Migliore’s website is at miglioreassociates.com. “Searches on popular internet search engines associate her with court reporting and Migliore & Associates,” and she’s spent thousands of dollars each year promoting her business through print ads, internet listing, and marketing materials.  Kentuckiana registered andorreporters.com, actionreporters.com, coultereporting.com, coulterreporters.com, kentuckycourtreporting.com, kycourtreporter.com, and lisamigliore.com. Five, including the last, were similar or identical to the business names of Kentuckiana competitors. Kentuckiana redirected hits to those websites to its own site.  Migliore sent a C&D; Kentuckiana discontinued the redirection but refused to transfer the domain name.  Migliore filed a UDRP action, during which Kentuckiana maintained that it registered the disputed domain name to use it as a possible “gripe site” or “fact check site” regarding Migliore’s public comments on policy issues related to the court reporter industry. But no content was ever developed for the website. The WIPO arbitrator decided that Kentuckiana acted in bad faith and ordered it to transfer the domain name to Migliore. But Kentuckiana still refused to reimburse Migliore for the costs of bringing the WIPO action, so Migliore sued. Kentuckiana argued that Migliore lacked standing for want of injury in fact.  “[J]ust because an injury is difficult to measure or quantify does not mean that the injury is nonexistent.”  Injury can exist without provable money damages.  “Beyond legal niceties, it borders on the absurd to assert that purchasing a domain name that includes a variation of a competitor’s personal name, then linking that website to your own, would cause no injury to your competitor…. [A]t the very least, Migliore incurred damage control costs that satisfy the injury requirement for Article III standing.” It’s important to distinguish the elements necessary to prove a violation of the Lanham Act from the elements necessary to justify a certain remedy. “Lanham Act plaintiffs can sometimes recover for damage control without showing actual confusion or actual damages”; these remedies serve to encourage quick response and the mitigation of damage.  Such costs are awardable when a plaintiff can show (1) likelihood of confusion or damage to profits, goodwill, or sales; (2) that the damage control expenses were caused by defendant’s Lanham Act violation; and (3) that the damage control efforts were reasonable and proportionate to the damage likely to occur.  This category of remedy would be appropriate here, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Migliore. Thus, she had standing. Kentuckiana argued that the Sixth Circuit limited damage control costs to false advertising cases, but the court disagreed—the Sixth Circuit has narrowly limited presumptive damages to cases of comparative false advertising, but damage control is a different kind of measure. Kentuckiana also contended that Migliore lacked a protectable interest in lisamigliore.com and that its use of that domain name was not likely to cause confusion within the relevant purchasing community for court reporting services. The court found a genuine issue of material fact as to both. Migliore provided sufficient evidence to allow a jury to conclude that “Lisa Migliore” had attained secondary meaning in the relevant purchaser market.  Though she had no consumers ready to testify about the distinctiveness of “Lisa Migliore” and no consumer surveys on the topic, Migliore had exclusive use in Louisville since 1997 (and possibly exclusive use of “Migliore” for court reporting in the US). She’d served thousands of customers.  “Other court reporters—even Kentuckiana at one point—have referred business to Migliore. And, most glaring, others have intentionally copied her name.”  Kentuckiana’s own copying helped establish secondary meaning: “Kentuckiana claims it meant to use the domain name as a gripe site. Fine. But no one would have visited this gripe site—and Kentuckiana’s copying would have been futile—if ‘Lisa Migliore’ had not attained some secondary meaning.” Similarly, there was a genuine issue of material fact on confusion.  True, as with secondary meaning, Migliore was weak on some of the factors—there was no showing of actual confusion, and Kentuckiana continued to claim intent to use the site as a gripe site.  But a jury should decide.  “[T]here is reason to believe that “Lisa Migliore” is a stronger mark than Kentuckiana lets on. Remember: it copied the mark. It did so for a reason.” The parties competed to provide fungible services (stenographic versus digital reporting), using the same marketing channel.  Though purchasers arguably are sophisticated clients, it wasn’t “unimaginable” that a lawyer “referred by a colleague to ‘Lisa Migliore’ may, after being redirected from www.lisamigliore.com to www.kentuckianareporters.com, believe that ‘Lisa Migliore’ is in fact associated with Kentuckiana and pay for Kentuckiana’s services without further inquiry.”  Kentuckiana claimed intent to create a gripe site, but it never did. Given the redirection, and its registration of multiple competitors’ names, “it is easy to infer that Kentuckiana merely wanted to redirect customers away from Migliore and other rivals to its own website.”  So too with ACPA.  Bad faith intent to profit could be inferred from the fact of registration of copycat names for several competitors, all redirected to Kentuckiana’s site.  Kentuckiana claimed that its webmaster was the only person with the know-how or ability to cause this redirection, and that because Kentuckiana never told him to redirect, this must have been an accident. “Fair enough. But Migliore claims otherwise, the bad faith inference is reasonable, so there is a genuine issue of material fact that warrants sending these questions to the jury.”   The safe harbor for gripe sites was not dispositive.  “Kentuckiana asks this Court not to punish it for exercising its First Amendment right to take part in the political process via this nascent gripe site.”  But “troubling questions” remained: “If this was a gripe site, why was content never added? Why did Kentuckiana register similar domain names to other competitors, even when some of those competitors were not involved in the relevant public policy debate? Why did the domain names redirect to Kentuckiana’s site?”  Maybe the redirection was an accident, but the facts viewed in the light most favorable to Migliore entitled her to reach a jury, where she’d have to prove bad faith.http://tushnet.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Categories: Trademark Blogs

Irreparable harm teleseminar: rescheduled for March 6

43 Blog - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 07:57
Via the ABA Antitrust Section: Please click on the link below to register for a timely lunchtime teleseminar where our panel of experts will address the status of “irreparable harm” in Lanham Act false advertising cases. Recent cases have suggested that courts no longer will “presume” irreparable harm in Lanham Act false advertising cases (where a preliminary injunction is sought). Will this trend hold? Is this trend appropriate?If the trend holds, the next question is, how do plaintiffs show irreparable harm going forward?  This is an important issue in the Lanham Act false advertising practice, and the panel discussion is sure to be a lively one. Here is your all-star panel: Moderator• Sherrie Schiavetti, Kelley Drye Panelists• David Bernstein, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP• Roger Colaizzi, Venable LLP• Rebecca Tushnet, Georgetown University Please register at the link below – it’s free for ABA Antitrust Section Members!  http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/marketing/antitrust/20150306_at150306.pdfhttp://tushnet.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Categories: Trademark Blogs

TTAB Test: Which of These Three Section 2(d) Refusals Was/Were Reversed?

TTABLog - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 07:28
At least one of the three Section 2(d) refusals summarized below was reversed, and a least one was affirmed. Can you figure out what happened in each case?  [Answer in first comment]. 


In re James Harris, Serial No. 85918970 (February 23, 2015) [not precedential]. [Section 2(d) refusal THE WASH BOX for "portable vehicle wash water filter" [WASH disclaimed], finding it confusingly similar to the registered mark WASH IN A BOX for "vehicle washing and cleaning equipment, namely, automated pressure washing and pressure rinsing machines and electronic and mechanical controls therefor, all sold as a unit; vehicle washing machines and parts therefor."]


In re World of Wine Events, LLC, Serial No. 86013688 (February 19, 2015) [not precedential]. [Section 2(d) refusal of SAN DIEGO BAY WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL for "arranging, organizing, conducting, and hosting social entertainment events; conducting entertainment exhibitions in the nature of food and wine festivals; consultation in the field of special event planning for social entertainment purposes; entertainment services, namely, wine and food tastings" in view of the registered mark SAN DIEGO BAY for promoting tourism and economic development in the San Diego Bay area.]


In re Sunton Enterprises, Inc., Serial No. 85863532 (February 19, 2015) [not precedential]. [Refusal to register AYLAZZARO for "handbags, luggage and trunks," in view of the registered mark LAZARO for "handbags, briefcases, briefcase-type portfolios and wallets."]


Read comments and post your comment here

TTABlog note: So how did you do?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2015.
Categories: Trademark Blogs