Wednesday, October 17, 2007

two interesting IP decisions

Just in time for World Series fever -- The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has upheld (PDF) a lower court's ruling that stats are not copyrightable in a case between CBC Distribution (a fantasy sports operation) against Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.

MLB argued that its player names and stats were copyrightable and that CBC—or any other fantasy league—couldn't operate a fantasy baseball league without a multimillion-dollar licensing agreement with MLB. CBC countered that the data was in the public domain and as such, it had a First Amendment right to use it. In August 2006 a US District Court sided with CBC. Now that decision has been upheld after MLB appealed.

In other news, the USPTO has rejected many of the broadest claims of the Amazon One-Click patent following the re-examination request by blogger Peter Calveley. To read the outcome of the re-examination request, go to the USPTO PAIR access site, choose the "Control Number" radio button, enter 90/007,946 and press the "Submit" button. Then go to the "Image File Wrapper" tab and select the "Reexam Non-Final Action" document. This doesn't mean that the patent has been thrown out -- five of the twenty six claims were found to be patentable. The document is the "non-final action" document and Amazon has rights in the process. The patent could be either thrown out or modified. It will be interesting to see.

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