Counterfeit Chic: Society’s Friend or Foe?
By Mikouya Sargizian
While shopping around Canal Street in New York City, it is impossible to avoid getting hunted down by a demure, elderly woman whispering innocently to random people walking by. However, these whispers are anything but innocent—they are actually secret underground invitations to buy counterfeit products ranging from Chanel purses to Christian Dior face cream, normally valued at $100 in department stores such as Bloomindales and Nordstrom. Due to a massive crackdown on the street sales of counterfeit goods, such goods are no longer sold in stores or street kiosks as they were a few years ago. Instead, counterfeit stores are set up in random apartments or local businesses located further away from the hustle and bustle of New York’s busy streets.
The obsession with beauty and fashion has had a negative impact on beauty and fashion industries as the increased number of counterfeit goods around the globe has robbed original product owners of their intellectual property rights. According to the Department of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office, there were intellectual property rights seizures with a domestic value of $1.26 billion in 2012. Even though the value of the intellectual property seized increased in 2012 in comparison to the $1.11 billion seized in 2011, as long as counterfeit goods exist in the world-wide market, intellectual property rights owners will continue to suffer losses in their revenues and reputations while the health and safety of consumers will continue to be jeopardized.
This Article provides a brief overview of the daunting effects of counterfeiting on the overall efficiency of the global market. It also analyzes the different strategies legislators can take in order to curtail counterfeiting more efficiently and therefore more permanently, concluding that, while intellectual property rights owners currently receive some protection against counterfeiting, without proper international legal enforcement and cooperation, criminals will continue to steal, sell, and free-ride on the innovations of others.
Application of the ADA to Websites: Congress Should Rely on the Standards Created by the World Wide Consotrium
By Mara’D Smith
Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) in 1990 to assure equality of opportunity and independent living to those with physical or mental disabilities. Although the Internet was growing rapidly when Congress passed the ADA, Internet use did not become widespread until the mid-1990s. Congress has not yet updated the ADA to explicitly cover websites, and current regulations ensuring that disabled persons have access to physical locations do not clearly apply to websites.
Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, created the World Wide Web Consortium (“W3C”) in 1994 to develop specifications and guidelines to “lead the Web to its full potential.” W3C launched the Web Accessibility Initiative (“WAI”) to help the Internet meet that potential by promoting and achieving web functionality for disabled persons. Governments, businesses, and web developers widely regard the guidelines developed by the W3C through its WAI as the international standard for web accessibility. This Comment argues that the United States should follow the lead of foreign nations, such as the European Union and Australia, and rely on the standards set by the W3C to determine compliance with the ADA.
Changes to the Best Mode Requirement: Weakening Enforcement Undermines the Purpose of Patent Law and Exacerbates an Ethical Patent Trilemma
By Jayson Singh Sohi
The best mode requirement has been a unique aspect of United States patent law since the mid-nineteenth century. The requirement, currently found in 35 U.S.C. § 112, mandates that patent specifications “set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out his invention.” The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”), however, has fundamentally altered the way the best mode requirement is enforced. This change poses a very serious problem for many industries that rely on adherence to precise methodologies to create or implement an invention.
The AIA’s removal of broad patent invalidity as a consequence of not disclosing the best mode presents prosecuting attorneys with a dilemma: disclose the best mode to the USPTO as required, or keep the best mode a secret to further the client’s best interests. This statute-made conflict of interest creates an ethical concern for the prosecuting attorney who must provide the best representation to his client while simultaneously making a disclosure that will weaken protection of his client’s intellectual property rights. This Comment discusses practical and ethical problems created by the lack of best mode enforcement and explains why Congress should reinstate the requirement as it was before the AIA.
Ownership in Technology-Facilitated Works: Exploring the Relationship Between Programmers and Users Through Virtual Worlds
By Rachel Wenzel
While eventually there may be enough artificial intelligence that a computer will conceive and execute a work all on its own, creative collaboration with technology currently consists of contributions by the programmer and user. Copyright law has not caught up to this new style of collaboration with technology. Oftentimes, the Terms of Service (“TOS”) defines the relationship between user and programmer, instead of copyright law. The intricacies of the relationship between programmer and user should be controlling who acquires intellectual property rights in outputs, but the problem is that TOS agreements do not comport with the guiding policy reasons for copyright protection and are taking away traditional rights in creation. As man begins to collaborate more and more using technology, the current collaborative ownership framework in copyright law becomes less sufficient to cover today’s programmer/user relationship. A new standard is needed. This Comment offers a suggestion, building off of existing scholarship and the author’s own suggestion of “severable ownership.”