Thank You Air-Conditioning Inventor(s)-We Appreciate You

Many Portlanders don’t have air conditioning in their homes and rightfully so. Until the last few years, summers in Portland were warm, but not scorching. The past few summers have shown high temperatures especially in the July and August months. Last week there were three heat records broken three days in a row.  “Thursday’s 99 degrees was the hottest in the history of August 18ths in Portland. Friday’s 100 followed suit. Saturday also broke 100 degrees, rounding out the streak.

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2016/08/portland_breaks_heat_records_t.html

Those who don’t have air-conditioning in their homes are surely grateful for their offices that do and large shopping malls. There are people who literally go to grocery stores to walk the isles just to breathe in cool air before heading home to sleep sin clothes, on top of the covers of their bed.

Modern air-conditioning was invented in 1902 in Buffalo, New York by Willis Carrier. An engineer at the Buffalo Forge Company, Carrier was tasked by a publishing company (Sackett-Wilhelms) to help them with ‘summer issues.’  When it got extremely hot outside, the inside of the press also became hot. Anything printed became wrinkled, runny, and a straight-up mess.

“Carrier’s invention controlled not only temperature but also humidity. [He] used his knowledge of the heating of objects with steam and reversed the process. Instead of sending air through hot coils, he sent it through cold coils (filled with cold water). The air was cooled, and thereby the amount of moisture in the air could be controlled, which in turn made the humidity in the room controllable.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_conditioning

Carrier was a forward-moving agent of this process but not the only one involved. The history of air conditioning has quite the timeline. While learning about this topic I found various timelines but the most thorough one (and hoping most reliable) is one compiled by The US Department of Energy. On the timeline which is pretty chill, it makes 1851 the year of air-conditioning’s beginning-the year when mechanical refrigeration took shape. Essentially without refrigerator and heater knowledge we may have never had air-conditioning. Some timelines took it even further back then this-attributing Ben Franklin and his electricity experiments and findings around the year of 1740 to air-conditioning we know and love.

http://energy.gov/timeline/history-air-conditioning

Just like any great product there are variations and developments. The air-conditioning intellectual property world is vast. However, the most historical/forward-moving patents for air-conditioning can be narrowed down to about 5.

Title Primary Class Description Inventor Assignee Issue Date Patent No.
Improved Process for the Artificial Production of Ice 62/66; A01H 5/02 (20060101) Ice-making machine John Gorrie ___ May 6, 1851 US8,080
Humidifier or Air Moistening Apparatus 261/16 An apparatus to add moisture to Cramer’s textile mill in order to make textiles easier to process. Cramer also coined the term “air conditioning”. Stuart W. Cramer ___ December 20, 1904 US778,172
Apparatus for Treating Air 96/356 The world’s first spray-type air conditioning equipment. It was designed to humidify or dehumidify air, heating water and cooling. Willis H. Carrier Buffalo Forge Company January 2, 1906 US808,897
Method of Humidifying and Controlling the Humidity and Temperature Thereof 236/44C Air conditioning system with dew-point control Willis H. Carrier Buffalo Forge Company February 3, 1914 US1,085,971
Air conditioner for vehicles 62/151 Vehicle air-conditioning system: the Thermo King. Joseph A. Numero; Frederick M. Jones Thermo Control Company December 1, 1942 US2,303,857

From: http://patent-invent.com/patents/air_conditioning_patent.html

Articles like, “Surviving the Summer without Air Conditioning” or “Today’s Hot Question: Can You Live Without Air Conditioning” have made their way all over newspapers and the internet. Granted clean water and food and shelter are high up there, but air-conditioning has become up there in our must-haves. Maybe 10-15 years ago it would have sound like a ‘first world problem’ but today it’s, “If there’s no air-conditioning there then I’m not going.” http://tacticalintelligence.net/blog/surviving-the-summer-without-air-conditioning.htm and http://johnjanedoe.com/can-you-live-without-air-conditioning/

Let’s take a moment to thank all of the inventors who contributed to air-conditioning as we know it. Attorneys at Mohr Law don’t blow out any more hot air. They are as smart as they are cool. Contact us today for all your Intellectual Property Law needs. Maybe you’re the next best thing since sliced bread, or air-conditioning.

 

Willis-Carrier-Inventor-Air-Conditioning

Picture from:

http://www.carrier.com/carrier/en/us/about-us/willis-carrier/

From: http://www.kaodim.com/blog/2015/02/25/8-coolest-vintage-air-conditioner-ads/

 

 

 

 

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Everything is Awesome Including Legos and Blogs

In the ‘80s and ‘90s, my brother and I dumped bins of legos on the floor and made exciting projects, and quite the mess. Despite my Mom or Dad stepping on a lego or two barefoot or our dog realizing that plastic is not as tasty as a rawhide chew, playing with legos was phenomenal. Scratch the ‘was.’ It is still one of the most amazing things to exist

Even though I went from school projects to work projects and playing house to managing house, I’m 100% certain you could still put a lego set or giant bin of legos in front of me and I would be occupied for hours. Maybe you full-heartedly agree. Regardless, think about this-despite the popularity of the original Nintendo sets all the way to today’s Pokemon Go craze-Legos are still one of the most used and requested toys.

Lego is potentially an all-encompassing word that implies both singular and plural like ‘fish.’ Multiple legos would be ‘lego bricks.’ Just like we are still calling all tissues Kleenex and told to Xerox things when making copies on non-Xerox machines, I’ll give you a pass.

The LEGO Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen. The word ‘lego’ is derived from the Danish words “leg godt” which means “play well.” The company is proud of its history of not only being named “Toy of the Century” twice, but that despite an age of corporate buy-outs and third-party management, ownership has passed from father to son and now to Kjed Kirk Kristiansen, a grandson of the founder. http://www.lego.com/en-us/aboutus/lego-group/the_lego_history

Despite the founding of the group in 1932, it wasn’t until 1958 that the first plastic interlocking bricks we know were made. Prior to this the small toy shop in Billund, Denmark made wooden toys, stepladders, and ironing boards.” Even before the plastic bricks we now know, the shop had major grown in 1948 when it grew from a few people to 50. At this time, made toy ducks, clothes hangers, a ‘Numskull Jack on the goat’  (whatever that is), wooden blocks, and a plastic ball for babies. http://history1900s.about.com/od/1950s/qt/lego.htm

It seems like 1947 changed the life of the company forever:

 LEGO bought a plastic injection-molding machine to produce plastic toys one of which were “automatic binding bricks” produced in 1949…in 1953 these bricks were renamed LEGO Bricks. In 1958, they changed shape to look like legos we know today. By the early 1960s, LEGO had gone international, with sales in Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, and even Lebanon. In 1964, for the first time, consumers could buy LEGO sets…” http://history1900s.about.com/od/1950s/qt/lego.htm

You may be asking—what about intellectual property? How did the company say “Lego my legos” or something similar? In 1958, Kirk Christiansen Godtfred and his attorneys contacted Mohr IP Law (I’m just kidding-we weren’t around then) to file a patent for “Toy building brick.” You can see the patent here: http://www.google.com/patents/US3005282.

In 1961, Godtfred and his company were awarded their first U.S. Patent. The design called for “hollow rectangular bricks with studs on top and a round hollow tube on the bottom. The LEGO brick was “patented not only in Denmark and the United States, but in many European countries and even some African countries.” http://lego.wikia.com/wiki/Lego_Patent. As you can imagine, over the years there were numerous related patents filed and awarded for things such as the lego man (there are now lego women too as there should be)

http://boingboing.net/2011/10/21/expired-patent-of-the-day-lego.html

Everything was awesome in the LEGO world for quite some time until 1978. In 1978, 20 years after LEGO’s main/major patent was awarded, it had expired. A few years later, Tyco Toy Company started making “Tyco Super Blocks” and put out ads saying, “Which part is Lego? If you can’t tell the difference, why pay more?”

LEGO new their patent expired but decided their own choice was to file copyright and/or trademark claims around other toy companies using generic plastic building bricks hoping that numerous cased in several countries would decide that nobody could make LEGOS except LEGO. https://www.quora.com/What-was-the-effect-of-LEGO-losing-its-patent

LEGO would have been successful had they been the first to create plastic building bricks but it turned out that there was a prior similar plastic brick called “Kiddicraft bricks.” The long and the short of it is that other companies did not have to stop making LEGO like bricks.

https://www.quora.com/What-was-the-effect-of-LEGO-losing-its-patent

People still buy LEGO as a preferred company even though others making similar products exist. But don’t feel bad for LEGO. They discovered licensing and movies and licensing for movie merchandise. And then sets related to the movies. So everything was and is still awesome.

At Mohr IP Law we know all things intellectual property. We have filed both United States and International Patents. Whether you own a toy shop in Denmark or have a two-car garage housing your inventions, we can help you step by step, brick by brick.

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Lawyering about Olympic Intellectual Property Matters Could be an Olympic Sport

In a fascinating article, Marianne Wiithrich, Trademark Senior Legal Counsel of the International Olympic Committee, poetically explains that Olympic logos and pictures are not just logos. The intellectual properties are “…the visual ambassadors of Olympism… The five interlocking rings represent the coming together of five continents and symbolize the Olympic values: Excellence, Respect and Friendship.” http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2016/04/article_0004.html

Olympic intellectual property is protected by Rule 7 of The Olympic Charter of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Protected property includes the Olympic symbol as well as the Olympic flag, motto, anthem, identifications (such as “Olympic Games” and “Games of the Olympiad”), designations, emblems, the Olympic flame and torches.http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2016/04/article_0004.html

The International Committee is international, the Olympics this year are in Rio, and I live in the U.S. I know I know…it’s a bit confusing. After doing a bit of research I learned that The United States Olympic Committee is one of 204 National Olympic Committees and 174 National ParaOlympic Committees within the International Olympic and Paralympic Movements.“The USOC was reorganized by the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, originally enacted in 1978. It is a federally chartered nonprofit corporation and does not receive federal financial support (other than for select Paralympic military programs). Pursuant to the Act, the USOC has the exclusive right to use and authorize the use of Olympic-related marks, images and terminology in the United States. The USOC licenses that right to sponsors as a means of generating revenue in support of its mission. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Olympic_Committee

Why is this important and how does this relate to intellectual property? Well recently, the United States Olympic Committee made it clear that businesses can’t use any of the following: Olympic, Olympian, Team USA, Future Olympian, Gateway to gold, Go for the gold, Let the games begin, Paralympic, Pan Am Games, Olympiad, Paralympiad, and Pan-American. http://dailycaller.com/2016/08/02/the-us-olympic-committee-is-banning-retweets/#ixzz4GsH47wG They were serious enough to start banning retweets (maybe they should help with our presidential nominees’ tweets).

In a Daily Caller article, author Ted Goodman explains that many businesses and brands don’t have an agreement with the United States Olympic Committee but often use the games for their own purposes. There are sponsors, non-sponsors, businesses that create products specifically for the games approved by the both the USOC and IOC, businesses that don’t but help sponsor or qualify athletes for the games, etc. New Balance and many others were rightfully confused. Not an official USOC or IOC sponsor, they did have 70 of its athletes (who work with the brand) qualify for the Games. They expressed their frustration by making this statement to ESPN:

“We find the IOC’s Rule 40 extremely frustrating and challenging to work with as a brand which wants to celebrate the many amazing achievements of our hard-working global athletes…It is also unfortunate that many athletes do not have the freedom or opportunity to support the brands that support them.”From: http://www.espn.com/olympics/story/_/id/17120510/united-states-olympic-committee-battle-athletes-companies-sponsor-not-olympics

As part of a new compromise after businesses became outraged at all the rules and labeling process of sponsor vs. non-sponsor, the IOC, in concert with the USOC, allowed companies that did not have an official relationship to run ads during the Games so long as those ads started running in March and ran continuously through the Games.

http://www.espn.com/olympics/story/_/id/17120510/united-states-olympic-committee-battle-athletes-companies-sponsor-not-olympics

The most shocking may be the word ‘Olympic’ itself. What do you mean? It’s just a word you think as you read this blog. Well the International Trademark Association has been so kind to remind us that the word cannot be used for business unless…

  • Such use is not combined with any of the Olympic trademarks;
  • It is evident from the circumstances that the word Olympic refers to the naturally occurring mountains or geographical region of the same name, and not to the USOC or to any Olympic activity; and
  •  Such business is operated, or such goods or services are sold and marketed, in the state of Washington, west of the Cascade Mountain range, and marketing outside this area is not substantial.

http://www.inta.org/TrademarkBasics/FactSheets/Pages/ProtectionofOlympicTrademarks.aspx

Figuring out who qualifies as a business for these rules, whether to follow U.S. or International rules or both, whether an exception for use is met, or whether a simple tweet is perhaps an intellectual property violation—makes me feel like I am doing rhythmic gymnastics on a small boat in murky Rio water. Know that if you don’t know what is allowed, especially for business purposes, it is always best to check.

At Mohr IP Law, we have attorneys who despite whatever challenges exist go for bronze, silver, or gold when helping clients with intellectual property needs. Contact us today to get the ball or shot put rolling.

 

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Branching Out-What is a Plant Patent?

I love plants. We eat them, hike through them, decorate with them, and sometimes talk to them. I personally don’t talk to my plants but some do and that’s ok. Mother Nature is not a patent holder but if she were, she would probably need to apply to patents her entire life. Or the United States Patent and Trademark Office would grant them to her liberally. “Oh, you’re Mother Nature” they would say. “All of the plant patents are yours-no questions asked.”

Many have heard of a utility patent which is more common and primarily protects the functional aspects of an invention and offers a broad protection of different variations of one product. However, unlike a design patent, it does not protect the ornamental features of the invention. Design patents are more about the appearance of the product. The protection does not protect the functional features and it is not as broad utility protection. For example, different variations cannot be protected as easily.

But have you heard about of a “plant patent?” Hopefully, this blog plants seeds of knowledge, rooted in some common sense information, “leafing” you with some sort of growth.

Straight from the horse’s mouth or plant’s mouth, the USPTO describes a plant patent as the following:

“A plant patent is granted by the Government to an inventor (or the inventor’s heirs or assigns) who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced a distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. The grant, which lasts for 20 years from the date of filing the application, protects the inventor’s right to exclude others from asexually reproducing, selling, or using the plant so reproduced. This protection is limited to a plant in its ordinary meaning:

  • A living plant organism which expresses a set of characteristics determined by its single, genetic makeup or genotype, which can be duplicated through asexual reproduction, but which can not otherwise be “made” or “manufactured.”
  • Sports, mutants, hybrids, and transformed plants are comprehended; sports or mutants may be spontaneous or induced. Hybrids may be natural, from a planned breeding program, or somatic in source. While natural plant mutants might have naturally occurred, they must have been discovered in a cultivated area.http://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/patent-basics/types-patent-applications/general-information-about-35-usc-161 “A new rose variety of the hybrid tea class distinctive in its character by being near thornless and by having blooms which open with the outer petals being a cream color and the center petals yellow orange as hereafter shown and described. This rose is novel and distinctive from previous rose plants in the following ways: (1) near thornlessness (i.e., only a few thorns appear on some bushes); (2) an attractive full foliaged spreading plant; and (3) a medium to large, tight centered, full, symmetrical, two toned cream and yellow orange bloom. Asexual reproduction of the Smooth Angel was performed in California and was continued through succeeding propagations.”There are some additional, extremely fun plant articles that I suggest you read. The first one taught me that there are approximately 7,500 apple varieties. However, our grocery stores only have 5-10. How could they?!?Like something out of a Tim Burton movie, a Syracuse University Art Professor found a way to grow a tree that bears 40 types of fruit. I live in an urban apartment, but I want one!At Mohr IP Law, we are always helping clients plant the seeds of success. Our attorneys have intellectual property green thumbs and can properly plant your patent applications (for plants or other items) into USPTO soil.

 

http://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/patent-basics/types-patent-applications/general-information-about-35-usc-161

The first plant patent was issued to Henry Bosenberg in 1931 for his climbing, ever-blooming rose. The USPTO decided in 1930 that they would grant plant patents to inventors (besides Mother Earth) who first appreciate the distinctive qualities of a plant and reproduces it asexually. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/plant-patents.html

“Asexual reproduction means that the plant is reproduced by means other than seeds, usually accomplished by cutting or grafting of the plant. Asexual reproduction is the cornerstone of plant patents because that is what proves that the inventor (or discoverer) can duplicate the plant. The patented plant also must be novel and distinctive. For example, consider the Smooth Angel rose plant, patented by Henry Davidson of Orinda, California. It is described as follows in its patent.

“A new rose variety of the hybrid tea class distinctive in its character by being near thornless and by having blooms which open with the outer petals being a cream color and the center petals yellow orange as hereafter shown and described. This rose is novel and distinctive from previous rose plants in the following ways: (1) near thornlessness (i.e., only a few thorns appear on some bushes); (2) an attractive full foliaged spreading plant; and (3) a medium to large, tight centered, full, symmetrical, two toned cream and yellow orange bloom. Asexual reproduction of the Smooth Angel was performed in California and was continued through succeeding propagations.”

Michael Scott from the Office would have had a field day with the verbiage from the USPTO about plan reproduction. To read this entire article click on: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/plant-patents.html

There are some additional, extremely fun plant articles that I suggest you read. The first one taught me that there are approximately 7,500 apple varieties. However, our grocery stores only have 5-10. How could they?!?

http://m.motherjones.com/environment/2013/04/heritage-apples-john-bunker-maine

Like something out of a Tim Burton movie, a Syracuse University Art Professor found a way to grow a tree that bears 40 types of fruit. I live in an urban apartment, but I want one!

http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/03/living/tree-40-fruit-sam-van-aken-feat/

At Mohr IP Law, we are always helping clients plant the seeds of success. Our attorneys have intellectual property green thumbs and can properly plant your patent applications (for plants or other items) into USPTO soil.

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Mohr IP Law Sets Sail

2016PortlandSpirit
Last week our firm got together to enjoy some summer weather and each other’s company by taking a cruise on the Williamette River in Portland, OR. We had a great time and came back to shore extra motivated and a little sunburned.

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Elephants and Donkeys Love Music-The Copyright Rules of Using Music in Politics

By now you have probably read about or have seen the clip of Donald Trump entering the RNC stage amidst smoke and blue lights to the Queen song, “We Are the Champions.” Queen asked Trump in the past prior to the convention not to use their music. However, he or his team decided it was the perfect song for an entrance, one in which he made to briefly introduce his wife Melania as she gave her main stage speech. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/queen-not-happy-donald-trump-912395

Candidates and political campaigns for years have played music at rallies, on commercials, at town-halls, and pretty much every place in between. Campaigns on both sides of the aisle have gotten flack for not having permission to play music, for not giving an artist a heads up, or for continuing use after specifically asked not to.

For your enjoyment:

Trump’s playlist features these songs: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/02/15/donald-trumps-campaign-soundtrack-a-grammy-day-playlist/

Clinton’s features these: https://play.spotify.com/user/hillaryclinton/playlist/43JJ50RsHoyUXj8eI8FaPQ?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open

For your enjoyment here is Clinton dancing to her campaign theme song, Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song”

Songs, lyrics and the like are protected by U.S. Code: Title 17-Copyright. When you or I play a song at a wedding, birthday party, or up in the club, we typically aren’t worried about getting in trouble. We don’t think, “Oh maybe I’ll ask Sia if I can swing from the chandelier while playing her song Chandelier.” Why? Our use is most likely allowed under the Fair Use Section of the Copyright Act. Under the  Fair Uses of Copyrighted Material Section of Title 17, the fair use of copyrighted material without permission is allowed when used for the following purposes: Criticism, Comment, News Reporting, Teaching, includes making copies for use in the class room, Scholarship and research, and Parody.

Note: I don’t see “Political Campaigns” on this list.

Copyright lawyers, song writers, and frankly anyone interested in this issue can access a somewhat new “Fair Use Index” that was started in 2013. The Unites States Copyright Office (Separate from the United States Patent and Trademark Office) made an index with a “broad variety of selection of cases, [but] it does not include all judicial opinions on fair use.” http://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/

Wouldn’t an artist want their song played? Lovely Adele can answer this question but she may cuss you out in the process. Artists, writers, producers, etc. own the rights to their music. It is their intellectual property and often their bread and butter. Furthermore, they don’t always want their act or art associated with things they are not into. And rightfully so.

ASCAP, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has more than 575,000 members explains that EVEN IF property copyright licensing occurs, a political campaign may still be liable under any of the following claims:

  1. “Right of Publicity,” which in many states provides image protection for famous people and artists.
  2. The “Lanham Act,” which covers the confusion or dilution of a trademark (such as a band or artist name) through its unauthorized use.
  3. “False Endorsement” where use of the artist’s identifying work implies that the artist supports a product or candidate.

http://www.ascap.com/~/media/files/pdf/advocacy-legislation/political_campaign.pdf

At Mohr IP Law we can help you copyright your creative intellectual property. As ASCAP explains:  Your attorney can “…contact the management of for the artists and/or songwriters of the songs in question and obtain their permission. In addition to permission from management, a separate negotiated license may be required by the publisher of the composition, and if used, the record label that controls the master recording”

http://www.ascap.com/~/media/files/pdf/advocacy-legislation/political_campaign.pdf

We don’t want you to create the most amazing piece of art or music only to see it used for someone else’s profit. Or, for someone’s political campaign who you may not endorse. After all, you wouldn’t want to be like Adele, “Rolling in the Deep.” You’d rather be Adele, “Rolling in the Deep Pockets.”

 

 

 

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Pokemon Go-Put Your Phone Down And Let’s Eat Dinner

A new craze has hit the nation, scratch that, world. If you’re like me you remember Pokemon as a 1995-2000 or so media franchise of games, movies, toys, trading cards, comic books, and TV shows. You probably also remember a friend, classmate, or neighbor that didn’t stop using fictional Poke Balls to ‘train’ any and all Pokemon.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon The Japanese invented region/universe was fictional back then. I don’t mean the 90s. The 90s were very real (believe me). Push forward to 2016 and the region is anytime and everywhere. People take a break from Reddit and Tinder to order pizza from their smart phones. People run out of laundry soap and push an Amazon.com button and it’s soon after, delivered.

GPS, Geo-tagging, location services, and all related are part of our life today like Family Matters or Step by Step. It’s a Full House or restaurant of people looking at their phones and doing whatever they’re doing and not too concerned if you care. You just don’t get it.

So what perfect timing for an interactive game for people who are 10, I mean 31 (Pokemon Go is for all ages my 31 year-old boyfriend tells me).

How did this start and where does it lead?

“John Hanke, chief executive of Niantic Labs, the software development company (and former Google property) responsible for Pokémon Go, was inspired by one of Google’s infamous April Fools’ jokes. For April Fools’ Day in 2014, Google created a “game” in which users looked on Google Maps for Pokémon a la “I Spy” or “Where’s Waldo”…Accompanying the game was a heart-pounding, highly produced video showing people out in the actual world climbing mountains, riding camels across the desert and taking to the sea in order to find Pokémon. The goal? To win a job as “Pokémon Master” at Google.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/07/13/pokemon-go-the-april-fools-joke-that-became-a-global-obsession/

The most striking thing about the video that came with this April Fools joke is that part of the video predicts the game will be a huge success in the near future. This type of success was something Seth Fischer, founder and chief investment officer at Oasis Management, one of Asia’s best known hedge funds, could have said, “I told you so.”
Fischer who was stunned by “Candy Crush” and other popular game type apps, tried to get Nintendo to break out of their console mode and break into Apple and Google/Droid App software. His insight and business ideas weren’t appreciated at the time. However, he explains that “[His] next focus with Nintendo is for them to focus on monetizing the rest of their 4,000 patents for mobile gaming, multi-player gaming, et cetera. I think they could be making 30 to 60 billion yen ($290 million to $570 million) annually from licensing.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nintendo-pokemon-idUSKCN0ZX101

So what does this mean for Businesses?

For the app industry in particular, in addition to licensing, in-app advertising and social utility could be ground-breaking. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, 8% of the mobile gaming industry’s $39 billion in global revenue now comes from in-game advertising. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jitendra Waral explains, “Location-based advertising should get a boost in augmented-reality gaming because of games like Pokémon Go. It’s going to spur more intellectual property towards geo-tagging.”   http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/pokemon-go-restaurants-money-business-new-york-smartphone-app-a7134036.html

 

More specifically, people developing new apps can incorporate the popularity of geo-tagging in into their process (Note: Attorneys at Mohr Law can help you patent the app and copyright the software codes). Surely, it has already been a success with not just games, but apps like Yelp, which lead you to the right coffee shop in a strange town when you wish caffeine was in your veins as soon as possible. Or to a Mom and Pop Vietnamese restaurant that has 4-star pho in a sea of corporate chains.

Businesses can also use Pokemon Go itself if they are so lucky to show up as a ‘Gym’ on the game. It’s not a fitness gym, it’s a location where a Pokemon is standing close by. It could be on your sandwich right in front of you or down the street in front of a Taco Bell. (Try to make sense of it here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gaming/what-to-play/how-do-pokemon-go-gyms-work-tips-on-battling-and-training/).

For example, outside Pacific, a bar in Brooklyn, put up a funny, yet inviting warning when they became a Gym on the game: “Pokémon are for paying customers ONLY!” Co-owner Ryan Kahl said, “We had one guy run to the back because he had a rare Pokémon…“It’s been a little weird.” Hopefully customers are making purchases. Kahl and other business owners have already begun thinking-What if I could pay to advertise in either Pokemon Go or another similar geotagging app and in turn get people into my restaurant or store?

Pokemon Go has even been good for non-profits. An example is this Muncie Animal Shelter in Indiana. They are encouraging Pokemon Go players to pick up a shelter dog before hunting Pokemon. It’s a win win. The dog and person both get a walk. The dog gets to be confused at what this person walking them is doing going from a wooded area to a convenient store and stopping in the middle of the street or sidewalk along the way. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/animal-shelter-pokemon-go-walk-dogs_us_578661f5e4b08608d332761f

Violating Social Norms or Laws or Both?

Business owners who are ‘Gyms’ love it. Business owners who are not on the Pokemon Go scene may be putting out good vibes, juju, or doing rain dances-hoping for rare Pokemon to make a visit.

Some are not so happy though. Lawyers like the ones writing for Associate’s Mind and other blogs, ask, “Should Nintendo & developer Niantic have given more consideration to where the Pokemon (AR objects) are placed? Do they have the right to place them wherever they want? In a lake? In a public park? In your backyard?…Does owning property in “the real world” extend property rights to any geo-locative, intellectual property elements that may be placed on it?”

http://associatesmind.com/2016/07/11/is-pokemongo-illegal/

Pokemon players ripped this with comments explaining that you can catch a Pokemon that’s in someone’s yard by not going into the yard. What I love is that some of the comments come from lawyers who play Pokemon Go. Motion to dismiss me from the dinner table so I can go play on my phone?

How Do You Protect Your App From IP Infringements and Other Concerns

Say you have an app and are worried someone will copy it and/or use it for things you disapprove (intellectual property infringements, crime, and whatever else). What do you do? I took the time to read most of Pokemon Go’s Terms and Conditions so you don’t have to. I pulled out some of the most salient provisions. This is what Nianic, sets forth:

Rights in App

Subject to your compliance with these Terms, Niantic grants you a limited nonexclusive, nontransferable, non-sublicensable license to download and install a copy of the App on a mobile device and to run such copy of the App solely for your own personal, noncommercial purposes. Except as expressly permitted in these Terms, you may not: (a) copy, modify, or create derivative works based on the App; (b) distribute, transfer, sublicense, lease, lend, or rent the App to any third party; (c ) reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the App; or (d) make the functionality of the App available to multiple users through any means. Niantic reserves all rights in and to the App not expressly granted to you under these Terms.

https://www.nianticlabs.com/terms/pokemongo/en

Content and Content Rights

For purposes of these Terms: (a) “Content” means the text, software, scripts, graphics, photos, sounds, music, videos, audiovisual combinations, interactive features, works of authorship of any kind, and information or other materials that are posted, generated, provided, or otherwise made available through the Services; and (b) User Content” means any Content that Account holders (including you) provide to be made available through the Services. Content includes without limitation User Content. Subject to your compliance with these Terms, Niantic grants you a personal, noncommercial, nonexclusive, nontransferable, non-sublicensable, revocable license to download, view, display, and use the Content solely in connection with your permitted use of the Services.

Content Ownership

Niantic does not claim any ownership rights in any User Content, and nothing in these Terms will be deemed to restrict any rights that you may have to use and exploit your User Content. Subject to the foregoing, Niantic and its licensors (including TPC and TPCI) exclusively own all right, title, and interest in and to the Services and Content, including all associated intellectual property rights. You acknowledge that the Services and Content are protected by copyright, trademark, and other laws of the United States and foreign countries. You agree not to remove, alter, or obscure any copyright, trademark, service mark, or other proprietary rights notices incorporated in or accompanying the Services or Content.

Conduct, General Prohibitions, and Niantic’s Enforcement Rights

You agree that you are responsible for your own conduct and User Content while using the Services, and for any consequences thereof. Please refer to our Trainer Guidelines (https://pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/support/guidelines/en) for information about the kinds of conduct and User Content that are prohibited while using the Services. By way of example, and not as a limitation, you agree that when using the Services and Content, you will not:

NOTE-THERE’S A HUGE LIST UNDER CONDUCT OF THINGS YOU WILL NOT DO: https://www.nianticlabs.com/terms/pokemongo/en

THERE’S ALSO TRAINER GUIDELINES: https://support.pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/hc/en-us/articles/221993967

And a separate terms of conditions for copyright: https://nianticlabs.com/copyright

How Do I Manage to Work A Job or Be In A Relationship When Pokemon Go Exists/Is My Lover An Adult Child-Is This Ok?

They say you win some and lose some when it comes to relationships. And I’m no relationship expert or counselor.

Unless your lover decides to quit their job and become a full-time player like Tom Currie in New Zealand, you don’t have too much to worry about it. http://www.thewrap.com/new-zealand-man-quits-job-to-become-full-time-pokemon-go-player/

If they do think this is a good idea at least they should monetize their services like Ivy St Ive. She advertises her services on Craigslist, showcasing not just her Golbat (a character from Pokemon) tattoo, but her credentials. They include: “a history of playing Pokémon since 1997, and [a] ranking as a Level 15 trainer in Pokémon Go.” Her service offering is to “walk around in 1-4 hour shifts signed in to your account capturing every single Pokémon [she] come[s] into contact with, activating every Poke Stop I pass and walking nonstop to help hatch your eggs,” all for $20/hour

http://gothamist.com/2016/07/12/pokemon_go_trainer_for_hire.php

Even Hillary Clinton is on board. At a rally she mentioned people who make apps by saying, “I don’t know who created ‘Pokemon Go,’ but I’ve tried to figure out how we get them to have Pokemon … go … to … the polls,” Clinton said. http://thefederalist.com/2016/07/14/hillary-clinton-just-made-the-most-excruciating-pokemon-go-joke-ever/

Pokemon Go players, bloggers, and talking heads (or some combination of those titles) didn’t think the joke was funny. I personally loved it. She’s right. Maybe more 18-25 year olds (who are we kidding-all ages) would show up and vote if a popular game were tied to it.

But isn’t democracy itself a fun game that should be popular?  This also begs the question-why are we not just voting on our phones? Aren’t we there yet?

Pokemon go has led to people being kicked out of a Holocaust Museum, to finding a dead body in a river, to becoming a victim of a mugging, to being run over by a car, to needing to be rescued from a cliff, and to taking Pokemon selfies like no other. This list could go on and it does.

Pokemon Go isn’t going away. Maybe your 31 year-old boyfriend should be grounded from ice cream if he doesn’t put down his phone during dinner. Or, while he’s on his app, you’re putting all sorts of items into your cart on Amazon. Win, win.

At Mohr IP Law we can help you with all the intellectual property needs related to your app creation or business.

 

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http://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/two-pokemon-go-players-fall-8427385

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