We are pleased to have the opportunity to host Blawg Review #179, the carnival of law blogs, here on Securing Innovation, the business blog of IP.com Today is a very special day for everyone interested in writings and discoveries that promote the progress of science and useful arts.
September 29th is Día del Inventor in Argentina where they celebrate inventors on the birthday of an individual inventor, much the same as National Inventors Day in the United States is celebrated on Thomas Edison's birthday -- but this particular invention is worthy of worldwide commemoration.
His new invention would sweep the world one day - and so too would his name.
Biro... Laszlo Biro.
No prizes, then, for guessing what his brilliant idea was.
The ballpoint pen is 70 years old this summer and Laszlo was its creator - a man with a vision and a stained shirt front.
He designed it in his garage in Buenos Aires. By the time he died in 1985, a millionaire aged 86, there was one in every pocket on the planet.
"What could be more beautiful than the ballpoint pen," said Eduardo Fernandez, president of the Argentinian Inventors Association, who are planning a celebration in Laszlo's honour on his birthday.
In France, in 1945, a man named Marcel BICH, who had been the production manager for a French ink manufacturer, bought with his partner Edouard BUFFARD, a factory outside Paris and set up business as the maker of parts for fountain pens and mechanical lead pencils.
While his writing instruments parts business began to grow, the development of the ballpoint was advancing in both Europe and the United States and Marcel BICH saw the enormous potential for this new writing instrument.
After obtaining the patent rights to a ball pen created by Hungarian inventor, Ladislao BIRO, Marcel BICH introduced his own ball pen in December 1950. Touting his product as a reliable pen at an affordable price, he called it « BIC » a shortened, easy-to-remember version of his own name. The famous BIC® CRISTAL® ballpoint pen was born!
In 2002, the BIC® Cristal® ballpoint pen entered the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art of New York (MOMA), at the Department of Architecture and Design.
By 2005 BIC had sold its hundred billionth ballpoint pen.
Intellectual Property News and Opinion
The American Intellectual Property Law Association will be holding their annual meeting at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC on October 23-25, where the team from IP.com will be available to meet and discuss how the latest enterprise software platform for innovation management, InnovationQ, helps companies and their counsel to safeguard intellectual property assets and make better decisions about those assets.
Some of the world's largest and most innovative companies trust IP.com for Intellectual Property asset management, defensive publishing, and patent search services. So, we were interested to learn from the story of the invention of the ballpoint pen that Biro had neglected to apply for a patent in the United States for his ballpoint pen invention, or to manage his intellectual property as well as he might today with the management tools now available to inventors around the world via the Internet.
Groklaw reports that IBM has just announced a new corporate policy regarding its "behavior when helping to create open technical standards" and hundreds of comments follow in the ensuing discussion.
There has been a debate among legal scholars about whether patents were seen by the framers of the US Constitution as “property” or, as Thomas Jefferson charged, a monopoly “privilege.”
In a post titled Patents & Financial Meltdown on the Technological Innovation and Intellectual Property blog, the question is asked: "What happens when you give out lots of property rights, but nobody exactly knows what those rights cover? Yes, that might describe software/business-method patents and the result is costly litigation, disputes and a net disincentive for innovation."
The American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law has launched Landslide™, a bi-monthly magazine that offers news and analysis on patents, trademarks, copyrights and related topics. Written by and for an audience of intellectual property lawyers, the magazine will cover this rapidly evolving legal specialization through an emphasis that includes business, technology, the arts, legislation and international developments.
“Increasingly complex, intellectual property law touches nearly every aspect of business, trade and commerce. This magazine will acquaint lawyers with both a wide and narrow scope on this emerging body of law, presenting articles written by some of the best minds in intellectual property,” said Joe Potenza, chair of the ABA-IPL’s Content Advisory Board. “We believe Landslide will be a force in the IP world.”
The first new magazine introduced by ABA Publishing in nearly seven years, Landslide is dedicated to sharing IP knowledge and experience acquired on the frontlines of legal practice, business, the arts and science, exploring national and international legal arenas.
Virtual Law Cover Story by Benjamin Duranske and Sean Kane in New IP Magazine “Landslide”
Patent databases continue to proliferate on the internet. On the Patent Librarian's Notebook, there's a comparison of free patent databases.
In a blog post titled USPTO/EPO clogs up the prosecution highway with red tape, David Pearce at IPKat notes that the EPO has just announced that the Patent Prosecution Highway (their capitals) is due to begin on 29 September. This scheme will allow patent applications that have been examined and allowed in either the USPTO or the EPO to be fast-tracked in the other office. The programme will run for a trial period of 1 year, after which the offices will assess whether it is worth being fully implemented.
Out-Law.com, from the international law firm Pinsent Masons, reports that the European Patent Office (EPO) was hit last week by a strike by staff who were demanding not better pay and conditions but the freedom to help create better quality patents. Joff Wild at IAM Magazine asks, "Where is the evidence to support EPO examiner union's claims?"
Duncan Bucknell's IP ThinkTank Gobal Week in Review is a comprehensive selection of top intellectual property news breaking in the blogosphere and on the internet each week, with the added value of a Pharma & BioTech Review this week.
IP Watchdog notes that Everyday Edisons is recruiting at Inventors Expo.
After the invention of the ballpoint pen that came to be known in many parts of the world by his surname, Biro kept tinkering. He reportedly recorded 32 inventions, including a washing machine device and an automatic transmission for cars that was bought by the German subsidiary of General Motors. The transmission invention might have secured Biro a wealthy life, but GM never used the patent.
Such was not the case with American inventor Robert Kearns, whose patent case of a lifetime against Ford and Chrysler is now the subject of a major motion picture, Flash of Genius, that opens in theaters this week.
The movie, Flash of Genius, is previewed on the Patent Baristas law blog by patent attorney Stephen Albainy-Jenei, who gives it two thumbs up based on subject matter alone:
Billed as educational while also inspiring and entertaining, the early reviews have been positive. The story is based on the true story of college professor and part-time inventor Robert Kearns’s (Greg Kinnear) long battle with the U.S. automobile industry and his fight to receive recognition for his invention. Kearns took on a battle that nobody thought he could win.
Kearns invented and patented the intermittent windshield wiper mechanism for use in light rain or mist and tried to license it to the big automakers. They all rejected his idea and then some went ahead and put intermittent wipers in their cars beginning in 1969. In 1967, he received the first of more than 30 patents for his wipers. He sued Ford in 1978 and Chrysler in 1982 for patent infringement.
Click the link on the movie poster above to watch the trailer. Hopefully, we'll get to read more reviews of this movie by other patent attorneys aspiring to be the next Siskel, Ebert & Roeper.
In this Friday IP Roundup at Patent Baristas, Albainy-Jenei notes:
Just a Patent Examiner has a rebuttal to the argument that patent reform is needed to prevent applicants from “wearing down” the Examiners. The theory is that by taking advantage of (or abusing) the unlimited continuations available to applicants, applicants can wring an undeserved allowance from an examiner simply by refusing to abandon the application. According to JAPE, this is wrong. Every time an applicant files an RCE (or a straight continuation), the examiner receives a count for the express abandonment, and another count for the first action after RCE. It also makes the Examiner’s job easier: “Speaking for myself, examining a continuation really does give me a serious head start.”
The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit clarified the law of design patents. Rebecca Hanovice at Sheppard Mullin's Intellectual Property Law Blog says, " In view of the Egyptian Goddess decision, patentees should be aware that infringers may attempt to rely on similar prior art designs to narrow the focus of the ordinary observer test to distinctions in the designs that might otherwise escape notice."
Jeremy Telman at the ContractsProf Blog notes that some fruit now comes with an end-user license agreement to protect the intellectual property.
They Invented What? Banana protective device.
Gene Quinn at Patent Fools pens Trolling: A Massive Redistribution of the Wealth.
In the U.S. we have civil causes of action under federal law for infringement of patents, copyrights and trademarks. Alas, we do not have a federal civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation! But we need one badly! according to Jorda on Trade Secrets: the interface between patents and trade secrets.
Trade Secrets Derive From "Equitable Principles" Rather Than Property or Contract Rights, according to a recent case before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals cited by Jason Jarvis on the Trading Secrets blog of the Seyfarth Shaw law firm.
Judge awards $57 million in secrets theft but recovery of damages awarded is very unlikely. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Along with a recent post from the Annals of Chinese Economic Espionage, Womble Carlyle's Trade Secret blog has an interesting post about a former Intel employee who's been accused of misappropriating Intel trade secrets by downloading to his Intel- a host of confidential Intel documents, including 13 "top secret" company files containing highly sensitive design plans for future processor chips.
But what really got me up off my massage chair in the middle of the Bills vs.Rams football game of the week was news of a new Womble Carlysle Furniture Law Blog.This blog will focus on legal issues affecting the furniture industry with a particular emphasis on intellectual property issues.
Ballpoint pens are still widely referred to as a biro in many English-speaking countries, including the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The term "biro" in colloquial British English is used generically to mean any ball point pen. Although the word is a registered trademark, it has become a genericised trademark. The company's intellectual property department keeps a close eye on the media and will often write to publications who use its trade name without a capital letter or as a generic term for ballpoint pens, in order to preserve its trademark, according to this article about Laszlo Biro in Wikipedia.
Did you ever wonder where the BIC® logo comes from?
Marty Schwimmer at The Trademark Blog has officially offered to file an application for TROUBLED ASSET RELIEF PROGRAM and catchy TARP logo, on behalf of the US Government, attorney fees waived.
U.S. lawmakers approved the creation of a cabinet-level position of copyright czar as part of sweeping intellectual property enforcement legislation that sailed through the Senate on Friday. Ron Coleman at Likelihood of Confusion® asks, "...what can we do to at least try to get them to hire Bill Patry for the first copyright autocrat?"
In a post titled Sabine Dresses, Susan Scafidi at Counterfeit Chic tells incredible stories of identical twin sisters, bridezilla, and stolen wedding dress designs.
Walter Olson at Overlawyered picks up on a story from Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing about parody, nastygrams, and George Lucas of Star Wars, and ponders, "If only we could all resolve threatening letters from lawyers as neatly as the editors at MAD magazine were once able to do."
Eric Menhart of CyberLaw PC discusses Political Domain Name Infringement.
As this election year heats up candidates in all types of political races are trying to reach likely voters at their doors, on their telephones and on the Internet. In this race for voters you might guess that a candidate’s domain name plays an important role in sharing his or her message with likely voters. What if a candidate’s domain name is already taken by a third party? What if a candidate’s name has already been taken by their opponent? Many of today’s candidates, finally recognizing the importance of a strong Internet presence in races for political office, are facing the reality of this intellectual property concern.
Brett Trout, author of Cyber Law: A Legal Arsenal for Online Business, discusses Internet fraud. So what is the most prevalent form of Internet fraud. Well, you might be surprised to learn that online auction fraud accounts for 44.9 percent of Internet fraud complaints referred to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). This is more than twice the number of complaints received for the next highest category, check fraud (19 percent).
By the way, here's an interesting article He Invented The Ballpoint Pen from Investor's Business Daily that's perhaps the best story about the invention of the ballpoint pen by Laszlo Biro that we found during the preparation of this presentation.
'din-ink' by andrea cingoli + paolo emilio bellisario + cristian cellini + francesca fontana, 2007
shortlisted entry of the designboom dining in 2015 competition, a set of biccaps, including a fork-cap, a knife-cap and a spoon-cap, that replaces the normal bic cap during lunch time
Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues. Of particular interest to everyone interested in Intellectual Property law and policy might be the November 10th presentation of Blawg Review #185 by Global Intellectual Property Strategist Duncan Bucknell at his indispensible IP Think Tank weblog.
Oh, one more thing...
This is simply birolliant - the incredible 10ft 'photographs' drawn with a ballpoint pen. They may look like pin-sharp photographs - but these amazing pictures are actually drawings created with the humble ballpoint pen. The stunning pictures, measuring up to 10ft high, were drawn by a rising star of the art world, Juan Francisco Casas.
If you've read all the way to the very end of this post, you've obviously got a passion for Intellectual Property, but not enough work to keep you busy, so you might be interested in the Job of the Week posted by Lateral Link on Above the Law.
The Chicago office of a top international firm is seeking a mid-level attorney with general corporate skills to join their IP and Technology Transactional practice. The attorney will have the opportunity to work on a wide range of key tech matters, including outsourcing (ITO and BPO), strategic alliances, software and systems (development and licensing), R&D and technology transfer, licensing (patent, trademark, copyright), biotechnology, e-commerce, and financing and tech company M&A deals.