Letter from AmeriKat II: Bits 'n Bobs

Open Source Software Targeted by IIPA - The annual Special 301 Report, a report compiled by the US Trade Representative (USTR) that reviews foreign IP laws, consists of a watch list of countries that do not possess adequate and effective intellectual property protection (think Axis of Evil except for IP protection). Countries that don't pass the muster are placed on a Priortiy Watch List, Watch List and/or Section 306 Monitoring status. The process has been criticized in the past for being biased towards submissions of multinational pharmaceutical companies and the entertainment industry. To counter criticism, this year the USTR has been accepting public comments in preparation of the report (to see the submissions so far click here). One of the organizations that is greatly influential in the process is the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) which consist of the RIAA, MPAA and BSA. The IIPA's submissions this year have condemned countries like Indonesia, Brazil and India for encouraging adoption of open source software which, according to IIPA, creates "trade barriers" and restrict "equitable market access" for software companies. For further information regarding IIPA's submission see these articles in Ars Technia and the Guardian. Unfortunately we will have to wait for the Report to conclude whether or not the USTR's declaration of greater public involvement has actually been achieved and whether Indonesia, Brazil and India will indeed appear on the watch list. To submit your own comments follow the instructions here.

Facebook awarded patent for feed - Last week Facebook was granted a patent for their News Feed or as the USPTO knows it a method for "Dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network". Commentators have questioned how this will impact other social media forums. According to this report in the San Francisco Chronicle, Facebook have not commented how this will impact rival products such as Twitter's "What's Happening", MySpace's "What are you doing now?" and LinkedIn's "Network Updates". A Facebook statement declared that the launch of the news feed in 2006 was a "pivotal moment in Facebook's history and changed the way millions of people consumed and discovered information on the site...We're humbled by the growth and adoption of News Feed over time and please with it being awarded the patent."

UPDATE: Rosetta Stone's Adwords Case - Last week at the IBIL conference, the AmeriKat was asked about the status of the Adwords cases in the U.S. As reported by the AmeriKat here, the latest case that replicates the issue in the Rescuecom case (the judgment of which was vacated last summer due to a misapplication of the 1-800-Contacts.com case), is the Rosetta Stone v Google case. According to the dockets, the parties have undergone a final pre-trial hearing and the trial is currently set for six days from 3 May 2010. The AmeriKat will keep readers apprised of any developments.

Letter from AmeriKat II: Bits 'n Bobs Letter from AmeriKat II: Bits 'n Bobs Reviewed by Annsley Merelle Ward on Sunday, February 28, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. "The IIPA's submissions this year have condemned countries like Indonesia, Brazil and India for encouraging adoption of open source software which, according to IIPA, creates "trade barriers" and restrict "equitable market access" for software companies."

    By the same logic the NHS creates "trade barriers" and restricts "equitable market access" for private healthcare companies. Probably true, but not necessarily undesirable.

    What a daft line of reasoning...

  2. "The IIPA's submissions this year have"...given commercial software IP owners everywhere a bad name.


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