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Quarterly Journal 42-4

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Table of Contents

Unitary Patent Protection in Europe—An Attunement on the Upcoming New System Members Only

Markus B. Boelling and Thomas Koerfer
Down to the present day, Europe’s patent landscape is territorially fragmented. In contrast to the successful creation of the Community Trade Mark and the Community Design, previous attempts to develop transnational patent protection in the European Union (EU) failed. In late 2012, however, 25 member states of the EU agreed on a plurality of legislative measures aiming at the creation of a European patent with unitary effect as well as on the establishment of a Unified Patent Court. Depending on the ratification of an international agreement by a sufficient number of member states, the new “Unitary Patent System” may enter into force as early as 2015. This article gives an integral overview of all the most important novelties. It describes in detail the nature of the new patent as well as the laws and regulations pertaining to it. The article further explains the prosecution process and the opposition proceedings, both handled by the European Patent Office (EPO). Finally, the new Unified Patent Court as well as its individual bodies and the course of its proceedings are explained in detail.

Advances in technology—particularly in the field of online communications—have revolutionized the way modern videogames are made and experienced. The evolution of many games from standalone products to constantly updating online services has all but upended the industry, creating new game features, new types of interactivity, and new monetization strategies. Mining player data has incredible potential to benefit both developers and players alike. Nevertheless, the shift to games as a service also means that players must put their faith in developers to consistently respect their personal privacy. Today, videogames collect and generate enormous amounts of information about their players, much of which may be considered highly sensitive. This data includes information relating to the real world, ranging from a player’s voice or physical appearance to his location or social network. It also includes detailed information from the player’s actions within the game world, which may be analyzed to create in-depth profiles of a player’s cognitive abilities and personality. Information collected within a game has many uses both within and outside the gaming ecosystem. Among other things, a player’s psychographic information can be used to create personalized gaming experiences, drive educational games, and dynamically adjust a game’s difficulty or mechanics to keep players engaged (and spending money). This article surveys some of these applications, revealing the potential for both major innovations in the games industry as well as major risks for player privacy and trust. The game industry must confront and address the privacy issues raised by player data collection, lest it becomes the latest scandal to draw the ire of policymakers, parents, and players. This article briefly surveys the many laws, agreements, and regulations that affect data collection and use by games, such as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), intellectual property laws, international privacy law, the Federal Trade Commission’s Section 5 authority, and other relevant frameworks. Privacy guidelines for developers remain underdeveloped when it comes to fully capturing player’s privacy expectations. Rather than proposing strict rules or attempting to balance benefits to players versus harms, this article simply aims to show where users are most likely to be unpleasantly surprised by data use. By better understanding player’s privacy expectations, developers will be better able to reduce surprise and foster player trust.​

China’s transition from a manufacturing economy to an innovation economy is in full swing.  To support this transition, China’s Government initiated several programs to spur domestic innovation.  A primary concern to the Chinese government in this transition is the increase of patenting by Chinese entities.  In an effort to create a more robust patent portfolio for domestic technology developers, all levels of government from municipal governments to national governments have offered subsidies and other benefits for domestic and foreign patent filings by Chinese entities.  These subsidies are problematic to U.S. interests because they are only available to Chinese entities and result in low quality patents that put a strain on the U.S. patent system.  In response, the U.S. should consider a variety of remedies to curb influx of “junk patents” to the U.S. system.

As brain science and technology progress, research institutions seeking to recover forgotten dream content get closer to being able to record our dreams. Technology, such as fMRIs, might one day enable us to visualize the ever-changing stories that develop in the mind at night: allowing us to observe every action, actor, and sound. Dreams are so rich in imaginative hypotheticals, psychological meaning, and aesthetic allure that it is not hard to envision such video sequences being uploaded to YouTube, being utilized in film, or filling up the walls of modern art museums. However, provided that neuroimaging can deliver audio-visual recordings of dreams, intellectual property law does not offer a clear-cut answer as to who would own the rights to those recordings; Particularly in light of the fact that the dreamer would be asleep during the creation of the work. Given the fact that scientists have not yet been able to fully reproduce dreams, there have been no legal disputes over who would own the intellectual property rights to a recorded dream. Nevertheless, discussing how such a dispute should be handled when the proper advances in neuroscience arise is not only intellectually stimulating; it is also prudent and valuable for forward-looking policy development. Analyzing the current state of dream studies in conjunction with elements of copyright law, this article argues that the dreamer will possess sole copyright ownership over his slumberous expression, rather than the neuroscientist who facilitates the dream study.

Reasonable Diligence (within Reason): Reconsidering the Public Accessibility Standard in Light of Social Media​ Members Only

Jonathan Knight
This article addresses social media content as prior art in the determination of patentability. Social media is different from most examples of traditional printed publication prior art in that it presents many issues related to online security and community norms which may conflict with traditional approaches to analyzing public accessibility. The key thrust of this article is that, if the printed publication doctrine is to remain vibrant, then the reasonable diligence required of the person of ordinary skill in the art to locate prior art must be relaxed in situations where the search entails excessive risk to online security or the breach of community norms that would be detrimental to the person.