Christopher Sprigman

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Does anyone own the rectangle? Should anyone own the rectangle?

These questions may sound absurd, but they're at the heart of U.S. patent law's Battle of the Titans: Apple vs. Samsung.

On Aug. 24, a San Jose jury awarded Apple Inc. a whopping $1.05 billion in damages. Apple had accused Samsung of copying its intellectual property, including its very broad design patents for rectangular "electronic devices." And Apple wants to use those patents to stop its competitor from selling items like the new (rectangular) Galaxy tablet and (rectangular) Android-based smartphones.

Now, you may be thinking that a lot of devices in your house are rectangular.…  Seguir leyendo »

New York City is one of the world’s great centers of fashion. So it’s not surprising that New York’s senior senator, Charles E. Schumer, would take an interest in fashion designers. Last week he introduced legislation that would rewrite copyright law to cover their designs. But his bill could hurt the fashion industry more than it would help, and raise consumer prices along the way.

It strikes many people as strange that fashion designs are not already protected against copying. Creative artists like musicians and filmmakers argue, quite persuasively, that their success requires copyright protection for their work. If others could steal it, they say, innovation would grind to a halt.…  Seguir leyendo »