2011

 With about 8.5 percent of the market, Mac OS is the second most popular general purpose computer operating system behind the Microsoft Windows operating system. Originally launched in 1984, Mac OS has been continuously updated since that time and, as is now customary in the software industry, each major new iteration has been identified with a numerical version number such as, for example, Mac OS 7 (released in May, 1991), Mac OS 8 (July 1997) and Mac OS 9 (October 1999). As it turned out, Mac OS 9 was the final release of what is now referred to as the classic Mac OS. In 2001, Apple replaced Mac OS 9 with an all new, Unix-based operating system built on technology developed at Steve Jobs’ other computer company, NeXT, which Mr. Jobs started after he was fired from Apple in 1985 and which Apple acquired in 1997. As a nod to the fact that this was an all new system, Apple dispensed with the Arabic version numbers and instead identified its new operating system with the Roman numeral X. The tenth iteration of the Mac OS, Mac OS X (pronounced “eks”) has been a success and helped spark the renaissance that Apple parlayed with the iPod, iPhone and now the iPad.

 RIM’s fortunes of late have been less bright, thanks in large part to (more…)

Figure 7 from US Patent 5,946,647

Earlier this week the International Trade Commission put something nice under Apple’s tree in the form of a ruling that a patent for a method of recognizing and manipulating structured data that Apple had asserted against HTC was both valid and infringed by certain HTC smartphones running Google’s Android operating system. The ITC banned the import of infringing phones beginning in April of 2012, well after the holiday season and well after HTC is likely to have modified the phones to avoid infringement and thus the ban. Apple’s victory is small but not totally hollow as it chips away not only at HTC but at Android generally. More U.S. smartphones are built on the Android platform than any other and the system’s share of the market continues to grow, as does Apple’s, largely at the expense of RIM and Microsoft. While ultimately finding infringement, the ITC decision cut both ways as Apple had asserted a number of other patents against HTC that the ITC found not to be infringed. Predictably, Apple and HTC both declared victory.

On reflection, the Apple v. HTC face-off that is presently being played out in both the courts and the ITC echoes the long ago battles between Apple and Microsoft in which (more…)

I saw a tweet today that a post on the FierceHealthcare blog overstated the privacy and security issues implicated by a faux Facebook page targeting a healthcare company CEO, as reported in this Murray (KY) Ledger article.  While I see his (David Harlow’s) point that it’s not apparently a HIPPA or HIT privacy breach, it is instead, old school invasion of privacy by an unknown Facebook user.

I admit I enjoy following faux Twitter accounts of public figures, like, e.g., UnPeter Angeles, mocking the owner of the Orioles.  Good ones are laugh out loud social commentary. Such faux tweets are protected (like it or not) by the First Amendment.  But private figures who fall prey (more…)

Undressing Online: Managing User Privacy in an Interactive World

Speakers Kashmir Hill, David Hale, Josh Freemire and Moderator Al Yukna

The evolution of digital and social marketing makes it easier than ever for agencies and marketers to target consumers. But there are gaping legal pitfalls. Because of lax or downright misleading privacy policies, some of the largest online players – including Facebook, Twitter and Google – have bull’s-eyes on their backs; and the Federal Trade Commission is taking aim.

So, how can agencies and marketers stay out of the FTC’s crosshairs?  Join the AAF Baltimore and Ober|Kaler on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, for a panel discussion featuring some of the most respected privacy experts in the industry. We’ll explore the risks associated with digital advertising and mobile technology. And we’ll talk about how electronic medical and financial data is used in marketing—legally and illegally.  It’s not just tech companies that have something to worry about, many healthcare businesses sell  …

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On December 2, hundreds of artists, leaders of arts organization, arts advocates, patrons and friends gathered at the Baltimore Museum of Art to celebrate the amazing life of Nancy Haragan, whose unforgettable and irreplaceable performances on this planet ended too soon on November 27th.

I  first worked with Nancy when MICA President, Fred Lazarus,  introduced us in connection with an effort to re-launch the Maryland Lawyers for the Arts.  I had approached Fred about helping  secure a broader base of support from Baltimore arts institutions.  Fred immediately identified the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and its co-founder and then-Director Nancy Haragan as the organization and person with whom we ought to engage to  incubate the MLA re-launch . True to Fred’s prediction,  Nancy displayed an amazing ability to forge alliances and see the big picture benefits of having a  volunteer lawyers for the arts organization in Maryland. . It is fair to say that without Nancy’s help there might not be an MLA today.

 I had the good fortune of serving with Nancy for several years on the Maryland  State Arts Council where we worked closely on the Council’s 5-year strategic plan and  on the Cultural Data Project, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trust that Nancy’s GBCA had championed,   making  Maryland an early adopter. The Cultural Data Project resulted in a fundamental change in the way that arts and cultural institutions gather and analyze data, which  streamlined the grants application process for Maryland’s arts organizations.

 Nancy was  smart,  funny, and relentless in her pursuit of transformative ideas that resulted in significant positive developments for the artists and arts communities in Baltimore and Maryland. Nancy was an irresistible force of nature, a good friend,  and I will miss her very much.

Following up on our November 9 post about the Baltimore-centric “HON” trademark controversy, I checked the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office database this morning and confirmed that, true to owner Denise Whiting’s promise, Cafe Hon, Inc. voluntarily surrendered its trademark registrations for HON in late November.  Whiting cancelled her company’s registration of Baltimore’s much loved term of endearment for use as a trademarkwith respect to bumper stickers, napkins, note cards, gift cards, greeting cards, stationary, wrapping paper, gift bags, note bags, note paper, calendars, pens (in Class 16) as well as with respect to t-shirts, sweatshirts, tank tops, hats and caps, boas, short sleeved shirts, shorts, capri pants, underwear, ties, halter tops in Class 25 and retail gift shops (in Class 35). Whiting even went so far as to cancel her company’s registration of the term for use with respect to restaurant services (in Class 43) but maintained its federaltrademarkregistrations for CAFE HON® (and design) and for HONFEST®.  When I first posted about the HONtroversy, I couldn’t recall another instance where a trademark registrant had voluntarily surrendered federal registrations in response to community protests.  Enter Occupy Wall Street … (more…)

It is perhaps the first time in memory that chicken and kale were the subject of comparison – as reported in the Associated Press, Chick-fil-A has gone after a Vermont artist and his mark EAT MORE KALE, alleging that there is a likelihood of confusion between this mark and Chick-fil-A’s own mark EAT MORE CHIKEN. Bo Muller-Moore, the artist in question, produces various goods with the phrase EAT MORE KALE printed on them. Muller-Moore states that his mark began as a statement on t-shirts supporting local farmers – kale apparently grows quite well in Vermont. Sale of the shirts took off, so Muller-Moore expanded his “kale” product line to include sweatshirts, bumper stickers and the like.

This isn’t the first time that Muller-Moore and Chick-fil-A have crossed paths. A few years ago, the two engaged in a battle of legal letters that eventually burned itself out. Muller-Moore continued making his products under the assumption that the issue had gone away. (more…)

Like ButtonFacebook settled with the FTC today over its chameleon-like  privacy policy reports Gizmodo, putting the user into the driver’s seat for privacy settings. No more Big-Daddy-Knows-Best privacy changes.  FTC announced that given the long history of Facebook privacy changes and broken promises, it issued an order that Facebook be barred from making misrepresentations about the privacy of user’s personal information and users must opt-in to future privacy changes. Facebook must also prevent access of a user’s materials more than 30 days after his or her account is deleted, address privacy issues in new and existing products and services available on the site, and obtain regular third party audits of its privacy practices to ensure ongoing compliance with the FTC order.

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the method patent infringement case of Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. The question presented is as follows:

“Whether 35 U.S.C. § 101 is satisfied by a patent claim that covers observed correlations between blood test results and patient health, so that the claim effectively preempts all uses of the naturally occurring correlations, simply because well-known methods used to administer prescription drugs and test blood may involve ‘transformations’ of body chemistry.” (more…)

Despite all of “The Fame,” even Lady Gaga doesn’t win them all. Recently, Gaga was on the losing end of a domain name dispute regarding the domain “ladygaga.org.” Gaga had brought a domain name complaint under the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (“ICANN”) Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”) against a fan operating the domain ladygaga.org. Gaga alleged that the domain had been registered and was being used in bad faith, that the fan had no rights or legitimate interests in the domain, and the domain infringed Gaga’s mark LADY GAGA.

The fan countered that she was operating an unofficial, non-commercial fan site about Gaga. The fan explained that the site did not contain any sponsored or otherwise commercial links, and as such, the fan was making a legitimate, non-commercial fair use of the domain name. (more…)