Posted on May 19, 2008 in SFFC, SU Law, Tux by Brian RoweComments Off

Come by and play with the OLPC or steal some FSF and CC swag. электроинструменты Wortex.

Posted on May 7, 2008 in IP, SFFC, Sharing, SPARC by Brian RoweComments Off

This year’s contest is being organized by SPARC (the Scholarly
Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)
with additional
co-sponsorship by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the
Association of Research Libraries, Penn Libraries, Students for Free Culture, and The Student PIRGs.

The 2008 contest theme is “MindMashup: The Value of Information
Sharing.” Well-suited for adoption as a college class assignment, the
Sparky Awards invite contestants to submit videos of two minutes or less
that imaginatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of
information. Mashup is an expression referring to a song, video, Web
site, or software application that combines content from more than one

To be eligible, submissions must be publicly available on the Internet –
on a Web site or in a digital repository – and available for use under a
Creative Commons License. The Winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000
along with a Sparky Award statuette. Two Runners Up will each receive
$500 plus a personalized award certificate. The award-winning videos will be screened at the January 2009 American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Denver.

Details are online at

Posted on March 8, 2008 in Design Patents, IP, SFFC, Trademarks by Brian RoweComments Off

Design Patents v. Trade Dress

Moderator: Brian G. Bodine — Merchant & Gould

George C. Rondeau — Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Michael G. Atkins — Graham & Dunn PC Writer of the Seattle Trademark Lawyer Blog
Brian C. Park — Dorsey & Whitney LLP

A design patent is a patent granted on the ornamental design of a functional item. Normally these products can not be protected by copyright because they copyrighted elements are inseparable from the functional item. Examples of Design patents include; Ornamental designs of jewelry, beverage containers and computer icons.

Trade dress is the look and feel of a business. This can include almost all nonfunctional characteristics of a business from the festive colors to the Neon sighs to the use of metal blue doors for entrance. Pinning down exactly what a trade dress is at any company is somewhat difficult to say the least.

The most troubling part of the panel was the the intersection of design patents and trade dress. Two of the panel members basically stated that you could get a design patent for an item, exclude others from using the design for 20 years. During this exclusive period you can use the item as trade dress to build up secondary meaning. Once the patent expires you can then use trade dress to exclude competitors forever.

Second Life and Online Liability

Moderator: Signe H. Brunstad — UW School of Law

William C. Rava — Perkins Coie LLP

Neal Black — Vice President of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Live Gamer
Don McGowan — Attorney for Microsoft Game Studios

This was a very tech literate panel I was impressed by Don McGowan. The panel focused on issues ranging from users rights to ingame IP to EULA’s and baning users who own items in game.

“Hard Core gamers are not nesecerialy rational actors when it comes to defending their perceived rights online.”

There is a strong tension between game designers and marketers who want to give users the world to get them involved in the game and the legal staff that wants to limit liability. A key to success in online virtual worlds is giving users as many rights as you can.

Blog recommendation: Virtually Blind - covers legal news, issues, and events that impact virtual worlds. It is edited by editor Benjamin Duranske is a writer and an intellectual property attorney.

Final Note on Ethics: The ethics section was not related to ethics and IP. The session was about how to run a lawsuit without malpractice. I was hoping to see a discussion of contracts of adhesion, orphaned works and pharmaceuticals patents access for the poor. Ethics should be more than crossing your “t”s and dotting your “i”s in litigation.

Posted on December 5, 2007 in Seattle University, SFFC, Students for Free Culture by Brian RoweComments Off

The SU Law Students for Free Culture (SFFC) chapter has been actively pursuing official status for almost a year. We started recruiting last spring at the incoming 1L student organization fair and continued the process throughout this fall. We currently have 15 members and 4 active board members. This last week we received official status as a student organization. This makes Seattle University Law one of a small group of law schools that officially support the free culture movement. Most other SFFC chapters are in undergrad institutions.

This official status is important for three reasons:

First it demonstrates the schools involvement on social justice issues that are unique to the Information Age.

Second the official status allows us a greater opportunity to voice our concerns on issues of relevance to legal scholarship and open access.

Third the official status will allow us to use the law school to host forums or educational events around issues like fair use, privacy and ethics, maybe even a Continuing Legal Education Seminar.

I would like to give strong thanks to other founding board members who spent serious time and effort drafting our charter, our mission statement, and navigating the politics of the Student Bar Association (SBA).
Anne Marie Marra 2L
Jessica Creager 2L
Shane Robinson 3L

Our Official Mission Statement:

Seattle University Law Students for Free Culture aim to place the tools of creation, distribution, communication and collaboration, teaching and learning into the hands of everyone through the democratizing power of digital technology and the Internet.

In promoting a culture of participation, accompanied with such technology, a new paradigm of creation is possible, where anyone can succeed on their merit.

Our goals are to:

  • seek a balance of intellectual property rights, where other rights of the individual and social policy are not encroached by trends to over-expand intellectual property rights.
  • bring attention to how the digital industry ironically clings to obsolete modes of distribution through bad legislation, and call out repressive legislation that stifles innovation.
  • oppose monitoring technology that prevents users from exercising dominion and control over their privately owned hardware, and their own intellectual property.
  • seize opportunities presented by the Internet and digital technology before such opportunities become irretrievable.

The future is in our hands; we choose to promote a technological and cultural movement to defend the digital commons.