Wow.  You've likely read the news today about Google suing Uber.  No?  Here's a good summary at The Verge.  Here's the post on Medium.  From the post on Medium:

We found that six weeks before his resignation this former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo’s LiDAR and circuit board. To gain access to Waymo’s design server, Mr. Levandowski searched for and installed specialized software onto his company-issued laptop. Once inside, he downloaded 9.7 GB of Waymo’s highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files and testing documentation. Then he connected an external drive to the laptop. Mr. Levandowski then wiped and reformatted the laptop in an attempt to erase forensic fingerprints.

If these allegations are true, Uber is in for a heap of pain, which it does not need right now in the wake of the other scandals its dealing with (i.e., sexual harassment, #deleteUber campaign).

The moral of the story:

The allegations in the complaint, believe it or not, probably happen more often than you think.  As noted in the article, it was only happenstance (read: dumb luck) that Google was alerted to the alleged theft of trade secrets.  This situation is why document management systems are critical to enterprise security, including video game developers.  Can someone walk out with your code without any record or trace?  If so, you need to rethink your document repository solution.  A secure document repository (E.g., iManage is one good example) has become critical to enterprise security to track who is accessing, editing, printing, using, copying, or even exporting each and every file your company has.  If you don't have one... get one.
It's that time of year again. (as part of Banner & Witcoff) is looking for a summer Research Intern.  Full or part-time.

Hiring criteria are simple.  Qualified candidates:

  • Must be enrolled in an accredited US law school.
  • Must have an interest in video game and IP law.
  • Must not be eligible to take the patent bar (this is a requirement of our firm, for various reasons, which I am happy to explain if anyone has questions about it).
The incumbent's responsibilities will include:
  • Researching and updating our database of video game patents
  • Researching and updating our database of video game IP lawsuits
  • Staying abreast of recent developments in IP/video game law, and writing content for publication on the blog.
Preference is for someone local in the Washington, DC, area, but we have accommodated remote interns in the past for the right fit.

Banner & Witcoff is also developing content for other blogs and microsites, so there may be opportunities to contribute to those as well.

If interested, please submit Resume, Writing Sample, and all college/law level Transcripts through our online recruiting portal here.

If the above link isn't working, go to or copy and paste the following direct link into your browser:
I've been preaching this for years.  We need people to go into computer science and electrical engineering.  Here's more proof.

Calling all computer science majors: jobs are waiting for you.
From the Smithsonian Institution:

From: SI Email Announcements
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 11:01 AM
Subject: Calling All Teens!

Calling all teens who are museum-lovers, performers, gamers, designers and adventurers! The Office of Visitor Services and Smithsonian Institution Archives are teaming up to create a mobile game based on the Castle scheduled to launch summer 2017. We are seeking local teens to help design and facilitate the experience! Please help us spread the word about these new volunteer opportunities for teens!   

There are two ways teens can get involved:

Teen Opportunity #1
We are recruiting teens to participate in a human-centered design workshop to co-develop the mobile game at the Castle. The daylong workshop on March 4, 2017;10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M will be held at the Castle. Participants will take part in a behind-the-scenes tour to learn about the history and people of the Castle and develop game prototypes.
Teens must be between the ages of 14-17 and register to participate in the workshop. Lunch will be provided. Register by February 24 by emailing or calling Kristi Delich; (202)
For more information about the workshop, contact Kristi Delich, Office of Visitor Services, (202)

Teen Opportunity #2
We are recruiting teens to help facilitate the mobile game and welcome teens to the Castle this summer. The Castle Teen Volunteer Program is a great opportunity for local teens who have an interest in history, gaming, theater, and story-telling and are looking for a fun summer activity. For more information about the program and to apply click hereApplications are due March 1
For more information about becoming a Castle Teen Volunteer, contact Abbey Earich, Office of Visitor Services, (202)

This program is sponsored by the Smithsonian’s Women Committee. The Smithsonian Women’s Committee celebrates fine American crafts through two signature events: the Smithsonian Craft Show and Craft2Wear. From the funds raised at these shows the Committee awards grants and endowments throughout the Smithsonian.

Banner & Witcoff has an open position for a design patent attorney.  Qualified applicants must hold a a JD from an accredited law school, be admitted to practice (or eligible) in the District of Columbia, hold a USPTO registration number, have significant, substantive experience prosecuting design patents and have experience analyzing design patents for purposes of rendering legal opinions in the course of client counseling.  Ideal candidates are self sufficient at design patent prosecution, comfortable managing large dockets, and work well in team environments.

Pay based on experience.

Send me an email if interested.

In a meeting on Sunday in Orlando, Florida, the IPO Board of Directors adopted a resolution supporting legislation to amend 35 U.S.C. § 101 as follows:

Whoever invents or discovers, and claims as an invention, any useful process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or any useful improvement thereto, shall be entitled to a patent for a claimed invention thereof, subject only to the exceptions, conditions, and requirements set forth in this Title.

A claimed invention is ineligible under subsection (a) if and only if the claimed invention as a whole, as understood by a person having ordinary skill in the art to which the claimed invention pertains, exists in nature independently of and prior to any human activity, or exists solely in the human mind.

The eligibility of a claimed invention under subsections (a) and (b) shall be determined without regard as to the requirements or conditions of sections 102, 103, and 112 of this Title, the manner in which the claimed invention was made or discovered, or the claimed invention’s inventive concept.

IPO supports legislation because the patent eligibility test created by the U.S. Supreme Court is difficult to apply and has yielded unpredictable results for patent owners in the courts and at the USPTO. IPO’s proposed legislative language would address these concerns by reversing the Supreme Court decisions and restoring the scope of subject matter eligibility to that intended by Congress in passing the Patent Act of 1952; defining the scope of subject matter eligibility more clearly and in a technology-neutral manner; requiring evaluation of subject matter eligibility for the invention as a whole; and simplifying the subject matter eligibility analysis for the USPTO, courts, patent applicants, patentees, practitioners, and the public by preventing any consideration of “inventive concept” and patentability requirements under sections 102, 103, and 112 in the eligibility analysis. ...

From the ABA Store:
Written by experienced lawyers who work closely with software and video game developer clients, this is THE inside guide to the legal issues involved in taking an idea and creating a product, from beginning to end. This authoritative handbook takes you through the legal morass of producing a video game, from the moment you get the original idea through publication. This practical, prescriptive book is an essential resource for legal professionals with clients in the area as well as for video game developers.
Get yours today!
For those following the Apple v. Samsung design patent wars, here's a good synopsis of the oral arguments that were held this morning at the United States Supreme Court.

If the link doesn't work, cut and paste this in your browser:

Update: Full Transcript of Arguments:

Lindsay Lohan v. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., 156443/2014, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

In 2014 actress Lindsay Lohan filed suit against Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. claiming that the video game Grand Theft Auto V violated Lohan's privacy by using her likeness without her permission.  Lohan accused Take-Two of basing the GTA character Lacey Jonas after her with its similar style of dress and mannerisms. The Jonas character is a celebrity who enlists other players to help her dodge paparazzi in a race throughout Hollywood. Lohan alleged that the character had a similar voice and similar physical features. She also stated that Take-Two unlawfully used her signature peace sign pose.

Earlier this month, the lawsuit was tossed out by a New York state appeals court after the court found Lohan’s likeness was not used in the Grand Theft Auto video game. The court stated that the game’s characters and unique storyline rendered it a work of fiction and satire, and therefore the game was protectable by the First Amendment.

The court also dismissed Lohan’s claim that her image was used in the video game’s advertising materials despite Lohan’s claim that the avatar used in the advertisements was a depiction of her.

Lohan’s attorney stated that they planned to appeal and we will provide updates in the event an appeal is filed.

Oaklawn Jockey Club Inc. et al. v. Kentucky Downs LLC et al.
Case No. 16-5582, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

In their recent brief Appellees Kentucky Downs, LLC and Exacta Systems, LLC argued the Sixth Circuit should throw out the trademark suit brought by Appellants Oaklawn Jockey Club and Churchill Downs (“track owners”).
Kentucky Downs operates a facility that offers historical horse racing for play.  Kentucky Downs uses Exacta’s gaming system that allows people to place bets on historical horse races. The gaming system displays track owners’ names among other race information to its bettors. In 2010, Kentucky enacted a law requiring the location of the horse race be displayed after a wager is placed on a historical horse race. Kentucky Downs and Exacta state that the race location is most commonly identified using the track name and argue that the display of the track name does not suggest any sponsorship or affiliation with the track owners.
In October 2015, the track owners filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky arguing that the display of track names on the Exacta system constitutes trademark infringement. In April 2016, the District Court found that there was no trademark infringement and instead found that the Kentucky Downs and Exacta’s use of track names was both a non-trademark use and a fair use.  Following the District Court’s decision, the track owners filed their appeal in the Sixth Circuit on May 3, 2016.
A depiction of the Exacta screens displaying the track names is below:
Exacta argues that the display of the track names is in a small, generic font that does not make use of any logo or stylized font that would demonstrate trademark usage. Additionally, Exacta argues that the use of the track names is a fair use because it is merely descriptive of the racetrack location.
We will continue to provide updates as this case progresses.

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