IP

GDPR Privacy Complaints Filed Against Google in the EU

Privacy complaints against Google have been filed in Ireland and Britain by Brendan Eich, known for being the creator of JavaScript, co-founding the web browser Mozilla and founding the private web browser Brave, Reuters reports.  The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new privacy law that had a two-year lead-in period to provide time for companies to comply. However, the complaint argues that Google and the advertising technology industry are not processing personal data in a way that properly secures it.  Noncompliance with the GDPR carries heavy fines for serious violations. This test case could trigger an article in the GDPR and spur an EU-wide investigation.

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USPTO Grants Blockchain Patent to Tennessee Based Company

On June 5, the United States Patent Office issued U.S. Patent 9,990,418 to a Tennessee-based company, 2020 IP, LLC. The ‘418 patent covers Blockchain technology in the market research space and was prosecuted by past TBA Intellectual Property Chair A.J. Bahou. This patented method covers novel technology that puts the user in control of his/her data and allows the user to set the value for the user’s data. Although a variety of companies use Blockchain technology to collect data and record secure information, the ‘418 patented technology uses Blockchain to create a revolutionary consumer-led exchange for market research.
 
In the growing field of Blockchain technology, many companies are seeking patent protection on a variety of different applications, including cryptocurrency, supply-chain management, messaging applications, and payment networks. In general, Blockchain technology records data on a decentralized database that is similar to a ledger entry. Once the data is validated, the information is written in a block of data and chained together in a secure way so that it is very difficult to modify any validated information. In addition, since the data is duplicated in various places throughout the decentralized database network, an improper change to any one copy does not impact the other valid copies of the information. You can view the patent here.
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Senate Approves Motion in Attempt to Limit President's Authority on Tariffs

In an 88-11 vote last Wednesday, the U.S. Senate approved a motion requiring tariffs based on national security to obtain congressional approval prior to enactment, Time Magazine reports. President Donald Trump has recently imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and is contemplating more on automobiles, causing stocks and commodities to drop worldwide. The measure, sponsored by Senator Bob Corker, R–Tenn., comes after the administration said it would impose a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods due to purported theft of U.S. intellectual property. Legislation limiting Trump’s power will likely face an uphill battle in the U.S. House.

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Knoxville-based Company Earns Canadian Patent for Electronic Visit Verification

Knoxville based healthcare technology company HealthStar has earned an additional patent for the company's electronic visit verification (EVV), according to a June 25 press release. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office granted the patent for the underlying technology used in HealthStar Visit, the company's signature EVV software. It uses GPS-based technology to help reduce fraud, waste and abuse in Medicaid reimbursement for services delivered in a home-based setting.

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Intellectual Property Chair A.J. Bahou Joins Waller

Tennessee Bar Association Intellectual Property Section Chair A.J. Bahou has joined the Nashville office of Waller, according to a press release on its website. In addition to leading the IP Section, Bahou was recently appointed to the TBA's Special Committee on the Evolving Legal Market, which focuses on the changing nature of the practice of law. We congratulate A.J. on his new transition.

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Trademark & Copyright Law Developments

At the annual Intellectual Property Forum in the Tennessee Bar Center, IP Section Executive Council Eastern Delegate Mark Graham provided a presentation on Trademark & Copyright Law Developments for 2017-18. This informative presentation was well received, featuring timely updates on important cases affecting the practice area. You can view a summary of Graham’s presentation here.

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Intellectual Property Section Wraps Up Successful Forum

The TBA Intellectual Property Section recently presented its annual forum at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. Attendees were treated to top-notch programming from seasoned veterans in the practice and law enforcement officials with a focus on cybersecurity. Through the dedication of the section and strong leadership, this event has become a staple for lawyers throughout the state. Thanks to the TBA Intellectual Property Section Executive Council for their time and assistance with another remarkable forum.
 
OFFICERS
A.J. Bahou, Chair, Bahou Miller
Hemant Gupta, Vice-Chair, Butler Snow
John Winemiller, Immediate Past Chair, Merchant & Gould
 
WEST TENNESSEE DELEGATES
Shawn Sentilles, Adams & Reese
 
EAST TENNESSEE DELEGATES
Doug Johnson, Miller & Martin
Autumn Boyd, Law Office of Autumn Witt Boyd
Judy Goans, Judy Winegar Goans, Attorney at Law
 
MIDDLE TENNESSEE DELEGATES
Ed Lanquist, Patterson PC
Kevin Christopher, Ridgeline Venture Law
Ryan Levy, Patterson Intellectual Property Law
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City in China Intends to Replicate the Magic of Music City

The city of Chengdu, China, is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to build a music-fueled entertainment district in hopes to replicate the magic of Music City, reports The Tennessean. Music Row executives have been hosted on trips where Chengdu officials have unveiled their vision for their own music corridor called the Chengdu Musical Fun District, which includes several new music venues, recording studios, office space to host publishing companies and instrument makers. They were also given presentations of the incentive and rent-reduction programs that the district will offer an array of music businesses that set up shop there.

The investment will include incentives for music businesses to set up shop in Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan Province. It is also part of a broader effort in China to invest in copyright and open the nation up to creative commerce that has been undermined by rampant piracy. The two cities have discussed joining through the international Sister Cities program as well.

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TBA Intellectual Property Section to Host Lunch at Annual Forum on April 27

The TBA Intellectual Property Section will host a networking lunch at its annual forum in Nashville on April 27. All Intellectual Property Section members can attend the networking lunch; forum attendance is not required. Please contact Jarod Word with any questions and to register for this event. We hope to see you there!

When: 11:45 p.m. – 12:15 p.m., CDT

Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave N., Nashville, TN 37219

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Federal Judge Awards Street Artists $6.7 Million in Milestone Case Against Landlord

On Monday, a federal judge in Brooklyn awarded $6.7 million in damages to 21 artists whose work at 5Pointz — a former factory turned space for artists' studios in Queens, NY — was destroyed according to The Washington Post. This comes after a three-week trial in November 2017 in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. The case marked the first time a court has been asked to determine whether graffiti, with its transitory nature, should be considered art protected under the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), weighing a property owner's rights against the rights of visual artists. 
 
Senior United States District Judge Frederic Block awarded the artists the maximum damages possible, saying the building's owner, Gerald Wolkoff, "willfully" ruined the artwork and showed no remorse for his "recalcitrant behavior." "He was bent on doing it his way, and just as he ignored the artists' rights he also ignored the many efforts the Court painstakingly made to try to have him responsively answer the questions posed to him," Block wrote in his opinion. "Wolkoff has been singularly unrepentant."
 
As a final resort one tenant, Johnathan Cohen, tried to prevent the imminent demolition by seeking a preliminary injunction against Wolkoff under VARA. The court denied the plaintiffs' application for a preliminary injunction but said an opinion would come within eight days. "Rather than wait for the Court's opinion," Block wrote, "Wolkoff destroyed almost all of the plaintiffs' paintings by whitewashing them during that eight-day interim."
 
The landlord and his lawyer have contended that the artists knew for years that the buildings would ultimately be demolished but Block said Wolkoff should have put off demolishing the properties for at least 10 months when he had all his permits. The judge said Wolkoff's "precipitous conduct was an act of pure pique and revenge for the nerve of the plaintiffs to sue to attempt to prevent the destruction of their art."
 
The case is also the first time that a jury decided a VARA claim in court.
 
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