Twitter appears to be getting into the Patent race

I have written previously that Twitter only has a single published patent application to its name and no patents. The application is the famous pull down to refresh application which was acquired with Twitter’s acquisition of Tweetie. While it is possible that Twitter has other unpublished patent applications pending at the USPTO, it is clear that the company’s patent portfolio is currently small.  Now, according to a tweet by Twitter’s General Counsel, Alex Macgillivray, the company is becoming more serious about expanding its patent portfolio.

https://twitter.com/#!/amac/status/180351757870825472

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Facebook, Yahoo and abolishing software patents

You will read and hear a lot regarding software patents in the aftermath of the lawsuit filed by Yahoo vs Facebook over ten of its patents.   For example, Mark Cuban hopes this lawsuit leads to a 50 billion dollar judgment for Yahoo in order to bankrupt Facebook and incite change in the patent system through consumer backlash.  Andy Baio, an inventor on some of the asserted patents, feels betrayed by Yahoo and wishes for software patents to be abolished.

Baio argues that software is already protected by the Copyright laws, making patent protection for software unnecessary.  While Baio is correct that software code is afforded copyright protection, such protection is generally insufficient.  Copyright is a rigid law that protects only actual expression.  In the case of software, only the underlying computer code, as it was written by the programmer/developer and derivations thereof is protected.  Thus, this protection only extends to the written computer code and only protects nearly exact copying of the code.

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Startup Patent Report for March 6, 2012

The first week of March saw a total of 5,333 patents issued by the USPTO.  Here are some of the most interesting ones.  This week’s patent report includes Actimagine, Whaleback Systems, Livestream, Redseal Systems, PopCap Games, BitGravity, Jumptap, Rapleaf and icueTV.

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Guest Post: Mobile Apps and Trademarks – a Startup Weekend experience

This is a guest Post from Margaret Theranger, student at the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel
University, based on her experience at Startup Weekend Philadelphia law clinic last fall.

Recently, I attended Startup Weekend Philadelphia, a 54-hour startup event for entrepreneurs to meet and form the basis of a credible business over the course of a weekend. The bases of the majority of these businesses were mobile applications. And it makes sense. A recent study by ABI Research shows that the total global mobile application revenues will reach $46 billion by 2016.

Mobile apps are easy to make and everyone wants them, so entrepreneurs shouldn’t hesitate to create them, right? This isn’t necessarily the case.  While mobile apps can be created in 54 hours, the simple choice of an app’s name and design can cause years of legal trouble.

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Startup Patent Report for week of February 28, 2012

For the week of Tuesday, February 28, 20122, there were 5,271 patents issued by the USPTO.  Below are nine interesting patents issued to small businesses.  These patents are assigned to Rebit, Cross Loop, Zoombak, Roundbox, MeLLmo, Talari Networks, Perceptive Pixel and OnLive.

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Startup Patent Report for February 21, 2012 (Part 2/2)

In part 1 of this week’s Startup Patent Report, we looked at newly issued patents from Convey Computer, Ekinops, Kingsisle Entertainment, Better Place and Avalanche Technology. Part 2 examines several additional interesting patents issued this week to Kosmix, Caustic Graphics, DesignIn, and Kryptiq:

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Startup Patent Report for February 21, 2012 (Part 1/2)

For the week of February 21, 2012, the USPTO issued 5,284 patents.  This was a good week for young companies, so I am dividing the report into two parts.  In part 1 below,  I discuss five patents issued to young companies Convey Computer, Ekinops, Kingsisle Entertainment, Better Place and Avalanche Technology that I found interesting.  Part 2  will be coming later this week.

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Startup Patent Report (Patents issued Feb 14, 2012)

For the week of February 14, 2012, there were 5,272 patents issued in all.  Below are six of those patents that caught my attention.  Most of the companies presented below are younger, independent, companies. RingCube, acquired by Citrix systems last year, was included to illustrate the effect a strong IP portfolio can have in making a company an attractive acquisition target.

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Apple Mountain Lion Messages and HipChat

TechCrunch has an interesting post this morning regarding the similarities between the new Messages icon and the HipChat icon:

The similarities are obvious.  Both color schemes are similar and both have two bubbles overlaid, but in a reverse order.   In the TechCrunch piece, HipChat’s CEO, Pete Hurley,  is quoted as saying, “I doubt we’re on Apple’s radar, but it sucks that we’ll probably have to change our icon because of this.”

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Trademark Registration and which symbol to use on websites, blogs or mobile apps?

A quick refresher on registered and unregistered trademarks for those with websites and mobile apps.  Are you using the proper symbols with your marks?

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