To fight fraud, VA trademarks GI Bill22

Do software programs represent true and genuine innovation that ought to be patented, or are they merely expressions of the kind of idea that wouldn??t normally qualify for patent protection?

That is the issue that a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. is set to consider this week. Some argue that software is the instrument that enables businesses to achieve certain goals (think one-click shopping, or websites that ??remember you,??) and is properly patentable. Others say they are simply means to the sort of end that all companies want, and so should not qualify for patent protection any more than policies or procedures for doing business would.

The software/patent dilemma is a question that has some of the biggest companies in the U.S. coming up with ?? and vigorously defending ?? opposing answers.

IBM, for example, has expressed its view that patent rules that are too tight would tamp down on innovation. In basements across the country, web developers and programmers nodded their agreement.

Google and Facebook, however, have been among those companies that have said that existing patent rules and policies are too loose, which robs them of economic incentive to create new and useful programs. If you can??t stop people from ripping off your useful and valuable material, then why bother inventing it in the first place?

Companies like IBM, Facebook, Apple and Amazon are among the most-quoted any time a journalist cranks out a piece on the difficulty of syncing our venerable patent regime to new technologies. Those companies are a huge source of technology patent applications, of course, but they are not the only ones who ever try to patent software.

Software programs accounted for the fastest-growing sector of patent applications between 1980 and 2005, according to the Brookings Institution. I wonder how many of those patent applications were from smaller companies or individuals. Apple was famously founded in a garage, you will remember, and Dell and Facebook were established in dorm rooms.

Because they are so spread out and not as easy to contact, I feel like smaller companies and individual tech wizards do not have their views on the patent-technology issue well-represented in media coverage of the issue. And since I don??t know of any myself, I??m pretty much in the dark as to what their thoughts are.

If you have any insight, either because you??re a smaller technology business owner, a solo developer or because you know people who fall into either category, let me know what you think in the comments.
– See more at: http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-and-techology/are-smaller-voices-going-unheard-in-software-patent-discourse/#sthash.xM1iErxj.dpuf

Are smaller voices going unheard in software patent discourse – See more at httpblog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.comlaw-and-techologyare-smaller-voices-going-unheard-in-software-patent22

One of the developments I have been eyeing with interest lately is the concern growing over institutions that have been accused of improperly profiting from students?? willingness to pay a lot of money for higher education.

Chiefly, that??s been for-profit schools that disgruntled students and some education industry observers say have misled pupils with inaccurate job-placement statistics and offered comparatively little benefit for the tuition received.

But evidently, there has been some problem with loose usage of the term ??GI Bill,?? too, prompting the Department of Veterans Affairs to trademark that term. It seems the goal is to take back control of that phrase and limit how it can be used in the interest of protecting veterans seeking federally supported education and training for their post-military careers.

This spring, the Obama administration ordered the VA, Department of Education and Department of Defense to take action against ??deceptive and misleading?? uses of the phrase. Obtaining the trademark was performed in furtherance of that order.

As best I can tell, there has been concern that the term ??GI Bill?? is being used to lure eager veterans into education programs without informing them of things like true cost, loans, dropout rates and job-placement statistics.

This is a good example of the sort of gatekeeping for which trademarks can be used. One of the chief goals of trademarks is to prevent consumer confusion and stop unauthorized or illegitimate use of a word, phrase or symbol.

I tend to think of trademarks as applying mostly in a commercial context, so it is interesting to see it being deployed in this manner, where societal goal ?C in this case, protecting veterans ?C is at stake.
– See more at: http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-and-techology/to-fight-fraud-va-trademarks-gi-bill/#sthash.zRCY7GXU.dpuf

Smaller than the swoosh, but still important22

When you think of Nike, what comes to mind? The natural answer is the company??s famous swoosh logo, which is one of the most iconic trademarks in commerce today.

But a recent Supreme Court victory for Nike protects its ownership over smaller, subtler details. The decision was only reached on Wednesday, but legal analysts are already predicting the decision will aid luxury-goods makers, who until now have had a hard time going after companies that swipe the looks of their top-selling products.

In 2009, Nike sued a small shoe maker, Already, alleging that the detailing on Already??s ??Soulja Boy?? and ??Sugar?? sneakers infringed on design elements of its Air Force 1 line of shoes, which have been a best sellers since their introduction in 1982.

Among the Air Force 1 features Already was accused of infringing were the eyelets and the stitching. To me, those are elements the average consumer may not notice, but are also factors that contribute to the overall impression of the shoe.

As I mentioned, this could have implications for the fashion industry as a whole.

Slapping a counterfeit St. John label on a garment that did not come from the maker of high-end women??s knitwear is one thing, because that??s out-and-out lying. But making a trench coat and lining the collar with a plaid-style fabric in a way that ??just so happens?? to mimic Burberry has been another; unless it can be demonstrated somehow that the maker of the knockoff trench consciously imitated Burberry, there was not too much Burberry could do. After all, Burberry doesn??t own the concept of a trench coat or plaid detailing.

This ruling, however, gives fashion companies the ammunition they??ve been lacking ?? a precedent that upholds the argument that an imitator should be barred from clearly aping a certain product or look. As I read it, this case provides some legal recognition for things like the kaleidoscopic feel of a Pucci scarf or the clean, trim lines of a Jil Sander coat. Courts have shied away from recognizing those characteristics because they are subjective, hard to articulate and even more difficult to define, but maybe now that is changing.
– See more at: http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-and-techology/smaller-than-the-swoosh-but-still-important/#sthash.ngvH3Ee7.dpuf

Ralph Lauren upset over U.S. Polo Association horse logo22

New York Fashion Week ended on February 14. Given how the Internet loves to take jabs at anything that takes itself as seriously as the fashion industry does, you have by now probably already seen rundowns of the most bizarre runway get-ups and all most eye roll-inducing looks.

One not-so-secret about the fashion industry, though, is that no one is really going to buy what Lanvin and Givenchy are sending down the runway. Most people can??t afford or have no interest in a $4,000 Calvin Klein camelhair coat. What they do have an interest in, however, are his much more affordable underwear, accessories and fragrances.

That is that way it is for many designers; a crepe-de-chine kimono-style evening gown might get an approving nod from Samurai Suzy and a mention in Women??s Wear Daily, and those things do matter in the rarified atmosphere of haute couture. However, accessories, makeup, fragrances and other affordable, branded items are the real bread and butter. Runways are for fashion as an art and as a concept; department stores are for the bottom line.

So, that is why a recent ruling out of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is noteworthy. On Monday, the court held that just because U.S. Polo Association has the right to use a horseman logo on apparel does not mean it can use a similar mark on its fragrances.

The lawsuit was brought by Ralph Lauren, who??s made a good living cladding East Coast WASPs in just about everything you can slap a polo pony on.

The court??s decision is the latest installment in a litigious relationship that stretches back until at least 1984, when Ralph Lauren, a luxury label, sued U.S. Polo Association, a far more ??everyday?? brand, for the first time.

As I read the decision, the court did not allow U.S. Polo Association to use its polo pony logo on fragrances because the packaging and marketing of a bottle of fragrance doesn??t allow for the changes U.S. Polo Association has had to include on apparel so as to not generate confusion. On a T-shirt, for example, the U.S. Polo Association can do what previous courts have required, such as including the acronym ??U.S.P.A.?? On a much smaller bottle of cologne, however, it apparently can??t or won??t.

As I see it, this is a pretty big win for luxury brands. Accessories, cosmetics and things that people actually buy have limited real estate for artistic cues, and in today??s profuse, over-cluttered market, designers have to clamor to make an impression. Gucci can do that with its crossed G trademark and Versace with its Medusa Head logo, but what they can??t do is afford to have another company freeloading off the instant association consumers have with these images.
– See more at: http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-and-techology/ralph-lauren-upset-over-u-s-polo-association-horse-logo-again-court-agrees/#sthash.rJA6u8CI.dpuf

To fight fraud, VA trademarks “GI Bill” – ??

Do software programs represent true and genuine innovation that ought to be patented, or are they merely expressions of the kind of idea that wouldn??t normally qualify for patent protection?

That is the issue that a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. is set to consider this week. Some argue that software is the instrument that enables businesses to achieve certain goals (think one-click shopping, or websites that ??remember you,??) and is properly patentable. Others say they are simply means to the sort of end that all companies want, and so should not qualify for patent protection any more than policies or procedures for doing business would.

The software/patent dilemma is a question that has some of the biggest companies in the U.S. coming up with ?? and vigorously defending ?? opposing answers.

IBM, for example, has expressed its view that patent rules that are too tight would tamp down on innovation. In basements across the country, web developers and programmers nodded their agreement.

Google and Facebook, however, have been among those companies that have said that existing patent rules and policies are too loose, which robs them of economic incentive to create new and useful programs. If you can??t stop people from ripping off your useful and valuable material, then why bother inventing it in the first place?

Companies like IBM, Facebook, Apple and Amazon are among the most-quoted any time a journalist cranks out a piece on the difficulty of syncing our venerable patent regime to new technologies. Those companies are a huge source of technology patent applications, of course, but they are not the only ones who ever try to patent software.

Software programs accounted for the fastest-growing sector of patent applications between 1980 and 2005, according to the Brookings Institution. I wonder how many of those patent applications were from smaller companies or individuals. Apple was famously founded in a garage, you will remember, and Dell and Facebook were established in dorm rooms.

Because they are so spread out and not as easy to contact, I feel like smaller companies and individual tech wizards do not have their views on the patent-technology issue well-represented in media coverage of the issue. And since I don??t know of any myself, I??m pretty much in the dark as to what their thoughts are.

If you have any insight, either because you??re a smaller technology business owner, a solo developer or because you know people who fall into either category, let me know what you think in the comments.
– See more at: http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-and-techology/are-smaller-voices-going-unheard-in-software-patent-discourse/#sthash.xM1iErxj.dpuf

Are smaller voices going unheard in software patent discourse – See more at httpblog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.comlaw-and-techologyare-smaller-voices-going-unheard-in-software-patent-discour

One of the developments I have been eyeing with interest lately is the concern growing over institutions that have been accused of improperly profiting from students?? willingness to pay a lot of money for higher education.

Chiefly, that??s been for-profit schools that disgruntled students and some education industry observers say have misled pupils with inaccurate job-placement statistics and offered comparatively little benefit for the tuition received.

But evidently, there has been some problem with loose usage of the term ??GI Bill,?? too, prompting the Department of Veterans Affairs to trademark that term. It seems the goal is to take back control of that phrase and limit how it can be used in the interest of protecting veterans seeking federally supported education and training for their post-military careers.

This spring, the Obama administration ordered the VA, Department of Education and Department of Defense to take action against ??deceptive and misleading?? uses of the phrase. Obtaining the trademark was performed in furtherance of that order.

As best I can tell, there has been concern that the term ??GI Bill?? is being used to lure eager veterans into education programs without informing them of things like true cost, loans, dropout rates and job-placement statistics.

This is a good example of the sort of gatekeeping for which trademarks can be used. One of the chief goals of trademarks is to prevent consumer confusion and stop unauthorized or illegitimate use of a word, phrase or symbol.

I tend to think of trademarks as applying mostly in a commercial context, so it is interesting to see it being deployed in this manner, where societal goal ?C in this case, protecting veterans ?C is at stake.
– See more at: http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-and-techology/to-fight-fraud-va-trademarks-gi-bill/#sthash.zRCY7GXU.dpuf

Smaller than the swoosh, but still important

When you think of Nike, what comes to mind? The natural answer is the company??s famous swoosh logo, which is one of the most iconic trademarks in commerce today.

But a recent Supreme Court victory for Nike protects its ownership over smaller, subtler details. The decision was only reached on Wednesday, but legal analysts are already predicting the decision will aid luxury-goods makers, who until now have had a hard time going after companies that swipe the looks of their top-selling products.

In 2009, Nike sued a small shoe maker, Already, alleging that the detailing on Already??s ??Soulja Boy?? and ??Sugar?? sneakers infringed on design elements of its Air Force 1 line of shoes, which have been a best sellers since their introduction in 1982.

Among the Air Force 1 features Already was accused of infringing were the eyelets and the stitching. To me, those are elements the average consumer may not notice, but are also factors that contribute to the overall impression of the shoe.

As I mentioned, this could have implications for the fashion industry as a whole.

Slapping a counterfeit St. John label on a garment that did not come from the maker of high-end women??s knitwear is one thing, because that??s out-and-out lying. But making a trench coat and lining the collar with a plaid-style fabric in a way that ??just so happens?? to mimic Burberry has been another; unless it can be demonstrated somehow that the maker of the knockoff trench consciously imitated Burberry, there was not too much Burberry could do. After all, Burberry doesn??t own the concept of a trench coat or plaid detailing.

This ruling, however, gives fashion companies the ammunition they??ve been lacking ?? a precedent that upholds the argument that an imitator should be barred from clearly aping a certain product or look. As I read it, this case provides some legal recognition for things like the kaleidoscopic feel of a Pucci scarf or the clean, trim lines of a Jil Sander coat. Courts have shied away from recognizing those characteristics because they are subjective, hard to articulate and even more difficult to define, but maybe now that is changing.
– See more at: http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-and-techology/smaller-than-the-swoosh-but-still-important/#sthash.ngvH3Ee7.dpuf

Ralph Lauren upset over U.S. Polo Association horse logo – ??

New York Fashion Week ended on February 14. Given how the Internet loves to take jabs at anything that takes itself as seriously as the fashion industry does, you have by now probably already seen rundowns of the most bizarre runway get-ups and all most eye roll-inducing looks.

One not-so-secret about the fashion industry, though, is that no one is really going to buy what Lanvin and Givenchy are sending down the runway. Most people can??t afford or have no interest in a $4,000 Calvin Klein camelhair coat. What they do have an interest in, however, are his much more affordable underwear, accessories and fragrances.

That is that way it is for many designers; a crepe-de-chine kimono-style evening gown might get an approving nod from Samurai Suzy and a mention in Women??s Wear Daily, and those things do matter in the rarified atmosphere of haute couture. However, accessories, makeup, fragrances and other affordable, branded items are the real bread and butter. Runways are for fashion as an art and as a concept; department stores are for the bottom line.

So, that is why a recent ruling out of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is noteworthy. On Monday, the court held that just because U.S. Polo Association has the right to use a horseman logo on apparel does not mean it can use a similar mark on its fragrances.

The lawsuit was brought by Ralph Lauren, who??s made a good living cladding East Coast WASPs in just about everything you can slap a polo pony on.

The court??s decision is the latest installment in a litigious relationship that stretches back until at least 1984, when Ralph Lauren, a luxury label, sued U.S. Polo Association, a far more ??everyday?? brand, for the first time.

As I read the decision, the court did not allow U.S. Polo Association to use its polo pony logo on fragrances because the packaging and marketing of a bottle of fragrance doesn??t allow for the changes U.S. Polo Association has had to include on apparel so as to not generate confusion. On a T-shirt, for example, the U.S. Polo Association can do what previous courts have required, such as including the acronym ??U.S.P.A.?? On a much smaller bottle of cologne, however, it apparently can??t or won??t.

As I see it, this is a pretty big win for luxury brands. Accessories, cosmetics and things that people actually buy have limited real estate for artistic cues, and in today??s profuse, over-cluttered market, designers have to clamor to make an impression. Gucci can do that with its crossed G trademark and Versace with its Medusa Head logo, but what they can??t do is afford to have another company freeloading off the instant association consumers have with these images.
– See more at: http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/law-and-techology/ralph-lauren-upset-over-u-s-polo-association-horse-logo-again-court-agrees/#sthash.rJA6u8CI.dpuf

The Polo Bar: Ralph Lauren Outlet latest venture

Chic, luxurious and with equestrian themed decor, Ralph Lauren’s Polo Outlet Bar is everything you would expect from the world famous fashion designer.

The restaurant and bar is set to open this month at 1 East 55th Street, just down the road from a New York Ralph Lauren UK store. It will follow in the steps of Giorgio Armani and Bergdorf Goodman who have also created successful restaurants in the area.

It will be Ralph Lauren’s third bar and cuisine venture, following his RL Grill in San Francisco and Ralph’s in Paris. The designer also opened Ralph’s Coffee brand in September on the second floor of Ralph Lauren Polo Outlet flagship store. All branches stay true to Lauren’s impeccable style and his personal influence on the brand, as he states on the company website that, “The smell of freshly brewed coffee evokes so many memories, mostly of time spent with friends and family”.

The designer has said that the bar will not be a formal restaurant, he wants The Polo Bar to be enjoyed as somewhere people, “want to go twice a week”, more of a casual place than one saved for special occasions. Jeff Gordinier wrote for the Times that the bar is full of equestrian paintings and, “it feels like a country club as staged by Steven Spielberg.” It reflects Ralph Lauren Sale suave allure.

With revenue up 4% for the quarter or £2mill, Ralph Lauren is looking at global expansion. There are plans for 60 new stores to open in the next three years and for online sales to be pushed further. Revenue from online shopping has already increased by 30% this year, allowing his company to experiment with new projects.

It seems there is no business venture too big for the business mogul. From fashion designer to restaurateur Lauren is making the most of his empire.

Tyson Beckford locks lips with girlfriend Shanina Shaik who wears a pair of VERY cheeky mini shorts during romantic airport reunion

They have been apart for several days since she jetted home Down Under earlier this week. But Shanina Shaik and her boyfriend Tyson Beckford were reunited on Thursday at Sydney airport and they couldn’t be happier to be back in each other’s arms. The hunky male model, 43, has flown in to be with his ladylove, 23, just in time for Christmas. And it was a very romantic reunion indeed, with the muscular hunk lifting the brunette beauty up off her feet and engaging her in a lingering kiss on the mouth. Shanina certainly showed what Tyson has been missing, with the exotic runway star donning a pair of very cheeky white micro shorts which showed off her pert derriere and endless legs. She paired the attire with black sweater adorned with bat print, black leather ankle boots and her favourite Chanel quilted handbag.

Wearing minimal to no makeup, she let her brunette locks fall around her shoulders in soft waves and shielded her eyes with a pair of chic sunglasses. Meanwhile, Tyson showed off his muscular tattooed arms in a tight baby blue V-neck T-shirt teamed with black cargo trousers and a pair of sneakers. The pair were thrilled to see each other, with Shanina diving into the Ralph Lauren Outlet model’s arms on first sight. The couple proceeded to put on an amorous display, sharing a long kiss before walking back to their transportation hand-in-hand. And it appears that doting girlfriend Shanina had even brought her beau a morning pick-me-up following his long flight, carrying a cup of coffee in her hand. Shanina was first to land in her hometown last Saturday and once again looked chic in a a black scarf, black high-top sneakers with a white razor tank top and grey tights. The exotic beauty looked glamorous in the casual attire – wearing large designer sunglasses with her Chanel handbag in one hand and a Louis Vuitton keepall duffle slung over the other arm. The monogrammed designer luggage appeared to be her advanced Christmas present from Tyson.

Just before Shanina left New York for Melbourne, she shared a photo of Louis Vuitton boxes from her beau. ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,’ she captioned the shot, before adding the hash-tags ‘lucky girl’ and ‘he gets me’. And it would appear Shanina is one lucky girl indeed, with the small Keepall Bandouliere 45 retailing for AU$1,980. Also, the matching larger and smaller boxes in the photo, wrapped in yellow and pink striped ribbon, suggested the bag came with a matching purse or passport wallet as well. Shanina graced the hallowed runway of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show for the third time earlier this month, but in an interview shortly after the show she said she was still a bundle of nerves before stripping down to her smalls.

Speaking direct from New York, where she watched the televised version of the catwalk with the angels, she told Sunrise she’s not immune to feeling self-conscious when everything’s on show. ‘I’m in my lingerie and everything is bare and out there!’ she told hosts Samantha Armytage and David Koch. ‘I still get very nervous doing the Victoria’s Secret fashion Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet show!’ ‘It’s such a big show but once the music starts and once I get out on the runway, the adrenaline’s pumping and I feel really excited.’ With her washboard abs and killer thighs, mere mortals may be excused for thinking the raven-haired stunner had nothing to worry about as she strut down the coveted runway in a baby pink bra and underwear set.

Sitting in the stands cheering Shanina on from the sidelines wasTyson, who was busy capturing snaps on his smartphone while shouting his support. Despite dating an industry veteran, the Australian beauty said the on-again off-again couple aren’t the kind to nag each other about sticking to a diet or squeezing in an exercise routine. ‘I don’t really see Tyson…as a model (more so) as a boyfriend,’ the former Make Me A Supermodel star said. ‘Probably the benefit of dating him is that he guides me and supports me because he knows the business quite well,’ she continued, adding: ‘We’re like any other couple, very normal.