Earth: A Pit Stop to Mars?

Written by: Irram Khan

On September 27, 2016, Elon Musk, inventor and founder of SpaceX, revealed details on his plan to colonize Mars.[1] This endeavor is more than just a savvy actualization of a 1960s sci-fi novel—it’s  a significant advancement in human development and technology. The concept, however, is not new. According to National Geographic, the plan to conquer Mars has been in motion since at least the 1970s.[2] Musk’s latest move is reviving mainstream interest in space.  Even the Boeing CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, confidently declared at the most recent “What’s Next” innovation conference in Chicago, that Boeing will land the first person on Mars.[3] Although the journey to Mars sounds exciting, space travel faces some very real developmental issues here on earth, from a legal standpoint. For young lawyers and law students, however, this may be good news. Continue Reading

Not Merely an Exit: Brexit’s Effects on European IP Law

Written by: Michael Choi

Breaking away when a situation becomes unfavorable, while not the smoothest option, is an appropriate option to consider. However, failing to consider the ramifications of turning away may complicate the situation further.

Enter: Brexit.

Brexit, a portmanteau of the words “British” and “exit,” describes the controversial referendum held on June 23, 2016, where voting-age citizens of the United Kingdom (UK) voted on whether to remain in or leave the European Union (EU).[1] A 51.9% majority voted for the UK to exit the EU.[2] Because of its international economic presence, the UK’s severance will leave the EU in a precarious position. The severance will even challenge the United States, since many of its companies continue to conduct business in the UK. Continue Reading

Is It Time for the U.S. to Implement Stronger Data Protection Regulations—Like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation?

Written by: Luis Colula

Yahoo, one of the largest email providers, revealed last week that it experienced a cyber attack in late 2014.[1] Yahoo discovered the breach only after it was alerted of a separate, unconfirmed breach, which had prompted the Internet firm to review its security systems.[2] The breach affected some 500 million user accounts.[3] It is believed that hackers acquired account users’ names, birth dates, email, telephone numbers, and, in some cases, encrypted and unencrypted security questions.[4] Nevertheless, Yahoo has assured customers that no passwords, payment card, or bank account information was affected.[5] Notwithstanding the appearance that the attack comprised low-value information, the breach is still thought to be the largest ever in terms of user accounts.[6] Continue Reading

The U.S. Versus the E.U. – The Inconsistent Nature of Design Protection

Written by: Daniel Armstrong

How difficult should it be to protect design? It’s a common enough notion: risk-takers and innovators want to be rewarded for creative solutions and designs, but in order to reap the benefits of their labor, the intellectual property they’ve created needs to be protected from copying.

The problem in the US: Many criticize the legal framework in the United States as providing inadequate protection to its designers, and warn that this protection deficit leaves designers feeling less motivated to enter the startup world in the first place. Those critics point to the European Union as an example of how the United States should reform its intellectual property protection framework.

Critics of the US legal framework have three primary complaints: First, the functionality doctrine—which prohibits protection of copyright works, trade dress, or patents that are simply functional, in order to avoid anticompetitive marketplace effects that would result from enforcement—is limiting the scope of design protection. Second, this diminished protection results in lower profits to designers and reduced drive for the public to innovate. Third, the costs and time needed to acquire protection make it harder for new designers and brands to stay ahead of the game, especially in rapidly moving industries like fashion. Continue Reading

Copyright Issues in the Construction Industry

Written by: Matthew Cox

The construction industry is governed by many different bodies of law.  Arguably, contract law lays the unifying foundation for the industry.  But other bodies of law still play vital roles in shaping the ever-changing legal landscape.  Intellectual property, and specifically copyright law, is vital to the industry.

Just who owns architectural or engineering design documents associated with a construction project?  Does the owner who contracted with the design professional[1] for design services own the documents?  Or, does the designer, by way of work product created by intellectual means, retain ownership of the plans and specifications?  Continue Reading