A California District Court judge granted a motion by Taylor Swift to dismiss the action against her for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, suggesting the singer may be able to shake off this lawsuit. Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler brought this copyright infringement suit against Swift alleging she stole the lyrics to their 2000 song “Playas Gon’ Play” and included them in her 2014 hit song “Shake It Off.” The songwriting duo, who have collaborated with the likes of Justin Bieber and Pink, do not allege any musical elements, such as rhythm or melody, were usurped by Swift. In particular, “Playas Gon’ Play,” written for the girl group 3LW, includes the lines “Playas, they gonna play” and “Haters, they gonna hate,” while “Shake It Off” features the iconic chorus “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” In dismissing the action, the judge asserted neither of the respective lyrics were creative enough to warrant copyright protection. The Copyright Act protects only “original works of authorship.” According to the Court, “by 2001, American popular culture was heavily steeped in the concepts of players, haters, and player-haters…The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal. The alleged infringed lyrics are short phrases that lack the modicum of originality and creativity required for copyright protection.” The plaintiffs have been allowed leave to amend their complaint to include more cited similarities between the two compositions but the Court expressed it “is extremely skeptical” as to their ability to do so successfully. #omnilegalgroup #copyright #TaylorSwift #ShakeItOff
Roses are Valentine’s Day’s signature flower. Indeed, these are the most often sent flower on the holiday and the subject of the first plant patent issued by the USPTO. This “Climbing Rose,” invented by Henry F. Bosenberg of New Jersey, is characterized by its champagne-colored roses and everblooming quality. Interestingly, Mr. Bosenberg was not even a plant breeder but rather, a landscape gardener. Under patent law, the inventor of a plant is the person who first appreciates its distinctive qualities and asexually reproduces it. Since this first plant patent in 1931, the USPTO has granted nearly 6,000 plant patents overall. Overall, roses account for over 4% of issued plant patents. In 2016 alone, 80 plant patents were granted for new and distinct types of roses. In 1944, John H. Bonhard from Illinois was the first to patent a carnation. The invention began as a pink carnation and was propagated through multiple generations to achieve a new variety known for early blooming, a rich bright “Castillian Red coloring,” and “unusually large blooms with heavy petalage.” Flowers and other Valentine’s-themed intellectual property constitute a popular category at the USPTO in the form of not only patents but also a number of trademark registrations. Hallmark owns trademark rights for its signature gold crown emblem. Moreover, Godiva and Russell Stover chocolates, and Sweethearts conversation heart candy are all covered by trademark registrations. Turns out, for these individuals and entities, all they need is love…and intellectual property rights. #omnilegalgroup #patents #trademarks #ValentinesDay
Omid Khalifeh, Omni Legal Group’s Principal Patent Attorney, was recently selected as a Top 3 Patent Attorney in Los Angeles by ThreeBestRated®. Three Best Rated is an independent, third party business review site that utilizes a 50-point inspection system to identify top businesses in a city. This system compiles its ratings based on reputation, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, nearness, trust, cost, and general excellence. Three Best Rated focuses on purely local businesses rather than large corporations with local offices. Moreover, the service is free and companies do not pay to be listed. As a result of being awarded this top honor, Omid Khalifeh is near featured on his own profile page on the ThreeBestRated.com website and Omni Legal Group has been provided with a badge indicating it is a top-rated law firm in Los Angeles.
Amazon was recently awarded two patents for a wristband capable of pinpointing the location of warehouse workers and their hand movements in real time. Originally filed back in 2016, the invention proposes to utilize ultrasonic technology placed around a building, such as a warehouse, and on the wristband itself allowing a management module to provide haptic feedback in order to steer the employee toward the proper area. While commentators are concerned that Amazon is merely trying to track employees’ toilet breaks, the tech giant claims the invention is designed solely to facilitate the process of checking inventory and fulfilling orders by “free[ing] up their hands from scanners and their eyes from computer screens.”
Artificial intelligence is quickly propagating across all industries. With these technological advances comes the requirement that businesses refocus their intellectual property strategies to accommodate these changes. While the situation is not quite as dire as that depicted in Blade Runner’s dystopian future where bioengineered humans are running about, the futuristic world of AI is here. Indeed, Aiva is an artificially intelligent music generator capable of composing emotional soundtracks for films, video games, commercials, and the like who learned the art of music composition by reading through works created by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and other great composers. Aiva, in addition to other AIs, will likely generate millions of original works. However, the current United States legal regime does not provide clear protection for works created by a computer.
The Intellectual Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution expressly aims “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” Thus, this idea of encouraging the production of creative works by incentivizing authors is embedded in our nation’s legal framework. The issue then becomes to whom inventorship can be attributed when it is in fact a computer doing the creating, filming, and ordering of literary, audio, and visual content. One option is to place the works created without human input in the public domain, allowing all to benefit therefrom. Another option includes crediting ownership to those who are most responsible for the arrangements that led to the output by the AI. This latter option would mimic the Copyright, Designs, and Patent Act in the UK which explicitly recognizes computer generated work as copyright protectable and interprets the statute to provide rights to the person who made the arrangements necessary for the work to be produced. It remains clear that the U.S. will need to evolve its IP laws to clarify the position of AI in its regime.