2021 April

Happy World Intellectual Property Day

April 26, 2021

Monday, April 26 is World Intellectual Property Day, a day to celebrate and learn about the role that intellectual property rights play to encourage and facilitate innovation and creativity.  Originally created by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000, World IP Day is celebrated on April 26 to mark the anniversary of the WIPO Convention becoming law in 1970.

The theme for this year’s World IP Day is IP & SMEs: Taking your ideas to market, celebrating the many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the world.  There are over 30 million SMEs in the United States alone, and each of these businesses starts with an idea.  Intellectual property is a useful tool that SMEs can use to spur business development and to provide protection to the ideas and innovations that they have worked so hard to develop.  Patents, trademarks, and copyrights may serve as an important source of value for SMEs; however, many SME owners may be unaware that IP protection is available to them or lack the time and resources to address these issues.  The celebration of World Intellectual Property Day seeks to bring attention to the importance of intellectual property and provides an opportunity to raise awareness to how the different tools of the IP system may be used to the advantages of SMEs and all business owners.  For more information from the World Intellectual Property Organization, click here.

If you are interested in learning more about how intellectual property can protect your innovations, please contact one of our attorneys.

Supreme Court Finds Google’s Copying of API to be Fair Use

April 20, 2021

The Supreme Court has decided in favor of Google in a copyright case that pitted the software company against Oracle, the owner of the popular Java programming language.  When creating its Android platform for smartphones, Google copied about 11,500 of declaring code from the Java SE application programming interface (API) that allows programmers to use prewritten computing tasks to write their own programs.  The Federal Circuit had found Google guilty of copyright infringement, but the Supreme Court reversed, holding that Google’s copying of the code was fair use.

Declaring code acts as an organizational structure for the programs of the API and serves as a sort of dictionary that gives names to each of these programs.  Underlying implementation code is then used to instruct the computer how to actually execute the task that is called for by the declaring code.  Google wrote its own implementation code, but copied a portion of the Java SE declaring code. Therefore, programmers who were already familiar with the language used for Java would not have to learn a new language for at least some of the programs offered in the Android platform.

Although Google asked for the Supreme Court to decide whether declaring code was even copyrightable, the Court declined to answer this question.  Instead, the Court based its decision on the doctrine of fair use.  Because computer programs always serve a functional purpose, the Court stated that fair use is an important consideration for determining the scope of copyright protection for computer programs.  The declaring code in particular has a functional purpose that is inherently bound together with uncopyrightable ideas and new creative expression.  For this reason, declaring code is further from the core of copyright than other types of computer code, such as the implementing code.

In finding for fair use, the Supreme Court stated that Google’s use of the copied declaring code was transformative, as Android was built for smartphones while Java is typically used for laptops and desktops.  The Court also found that Google’s use was a reimplementation of the Java declaring code.  Google took only what was necessary to allow programmers to use their existing knowledge of Java and to use their talents in a new and transformative platform.

This decision suggests that courts should grant a generous view on fair use to developers of APIs and interoperable computer programs.  To read the entire opinion, click here.

New procedures on the way from recent (and future?) IP legislation

April 14, 2021

The April 14th issue of The Indiana Lawyer includes the article authored by Woodard partner Blake Hartz,  “New procedures on the way from recent (and future?) IP legislation.” The article discusses the variety of changes the Consolidated Appropriations Act made to federal intellectual property laws, the Trademark Modernization Act (TMA) and the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act). To read the full article, visit The Indiana Lawyer


Firm Clients Featured on Good Morning America’s Deals & Steals for Gardening

April 6, 2021

Congratulations to firm clients, Mr. Canary and Rotoshovel. Both were featured on Good Morning America’s Deals and Steals for gardening.

To view the segment, please visit: Good Morning America