IP Round-Up: Facebook, Twitter and Gene Patents

Post date: Nov 9, 2010 8:49:23 PM

Gene Patents: Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice has advocated for its new stance on the patenting of genes. In short, they don't think it should be allowed, which is contrary to the longstanding policy of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to grant said patents. Although the USPTO gets the last say as to what is and isn't patentable (outside of the Constitution, anyway), it will be interesting to see how persuasive the brief filed by the DOJ ends up being.For more reading, check out the New York Times article.

Facebook: Two media sites -- a newspaper and a radio station -- have been accused by Facebook of patent infringement. Facebook claims that features on the newspaper's website infringed on Facebook's patents and Facebook is looking for cash compensation along with an injunction on the use of the features.Also in the news, Facebook is being sued by Lamebook over trademark infringement. Yep, you read that right, Lamebook is SUING FACEBOOK. Don't get your hopes up though -- it's not as exciting as it sounds. Lamebook is merely looking for a declaratory judgment stating that their use of the name "Lamebook" along with other features of their site that revolve around/mimic Facebook are not infringing on Facebook's trademarks. More specifically, Lamebook is claiming their use of the name is protected as a "parody." I doubt Facebook will go away quietly, however, and I expect a battle to ensue.

Sources: (1) Bloomberg; (2) TechCrunch

Twitter: As I had discussed in a previous post, companies should take steps to regulate the way in which their trademarks are used. Fearing that their trademarks are being used improperly -- and may eventually fall into the public domain -- Twitter released a statement advising how to properly use their name. Specifically, Twitter wants to control the way people use the terms "tweet" and "twitter". They essentially don't want people using those terms unless they are actually referring to the Twitter service, which not only prevents their TM from falling into the public domain, but also strengthens/expands the protection of their TM at the same time. Smart move on Twitter's part.

Source: Twitter talking tough about trademarks and tweets?