Friday, September 30, 2011


Chicken chicken chicken.  That is all.

2011 Ig Nobel Prize Winners!

The 2011 Ig Nobel Prize Winners have been announced!  (I would have posted this last night, but I was too busy reading the winner of the "literature" prize.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

President Obama Signs the ‘‘Leahy-Smith America Invents Act’’

Today President Obama signed the ‘‘Leahy-Smith America Invents Act,’’ also known as the patent reform act.  The final bill is here in PDF form and here in text form (with handy hyperlinks to its various sections).  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's web page on the bill is here, and additional government press releases are here, here and here.

While the bill unquestionably contains the most significant changes to the patent laws since the current version of the Patent Act was passed in 1952, the bill does not "reform" the patent laws as much as many people had hoped.  Patent reform bills have been before Congress for most of the last decade, and competing interest groups have blocked various reforms in earlier proposals.  For example, the electronics, computer and other tech industries would have liked to have seen reform of how patent damages are awarded, but pharmaceutical companies and non-practicing entities opposed such changes.  Today's bill is a compromise containing a number of unrelated changes, many of which are highly technical in nature and matter only to patent lawyers.

Since the Senate passed the House version of the bill, H.R. 1249, on September 8, there have been tons of articles written about the bill's scope and effect.  Rather than write my own analysis, I'll just link to a bunch of them.  (This post will therefore get updated regularly as I receive additional articles of interest.)

First Circuit Decision in Sony v. Tenenbaum

Today the First Circuit Court of Appeals released its decision in Sony BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum.  The PDF of the opinion is here and a text version is here.

As explained by EFF's post, the Court overturned a trial judge's decision to lower a damage award against a college student found liable for file sharing songs.  The trial judge had found the $675,000 damage award for 30 songs to be unconstitutional.  The appeals court held that the trial court should not have considered the constitutionality of the award before first reducing the award using a procedural device called a "remittur."  The case will go back to the trial judge for that purpose.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Next Time, Play "Love Minus Zero, No Limit."

This guy should probably NOT have played "Just Like a Woman."

Best Taxidermy Commercial Ever?

If there is such a thing as the best Taxidermy commercial ever, THIS would be it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Duck of the Day

This blog would be remiss if we did not mention this duck.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Patent of the Day

With the passage of the Patent Reform Act, there will be lots of talk about creating jobs and so forth.  Doubtless a new patent this week, "Apparatus for facilitating the construction of a snow man/woman," U.S. Patent No. 8,011,991, will create many of those new jobs.  Update:  Techdirt likes this patent almost as much as I do.

Patent Reform Act Passes the Senate

Patently-O reports that the Senate has passed the House version of the Patent Reform Act, also known as the "Leahy-Smith America Invents Act."  President Obama is expected to sign the bill promptly.
A related article by that blog discusses three key aspects of the new act.
Darn, now I am going to have to read the thing.  At least I can keep in mind the very first comment on the Patently-O blog:
Dear Congress,
Thank you very much.
Yours truly,