Football trading cards meet blockchain

Last month, Chris Stevens-Smith wrote about football cards’ new lease of life through the use of blockchain for our sister blog Sports Shorts.  The article looks at the use of crypto trading cards, and how football clubs are using technology to engage with their fans. You can read the blog here, and subscribe to Sports Shorts if you would like to receive regular updates and insights on Sports Law.

Continued Progress in Developing the Digital Marketplace for Copyrighted Works

The Copyright Act often seems to lag behind technology, with infringements rampant on the Wild Internet.  Not so, as was evidenced by the robust discussions at the third public meeting on Developing the Digital Marketplace for Copyrighted Works, hosted by the US Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force on March 28, 2019.

The Internet Policy Task Force was established in 2010 to identify and review key public policy and operational issues for economic growth and job creation through the Internet. The March meeting demonstrated its leadership in this regard, featuring panels and dialogs between various stakeholders, including authors and other creators, rights-holders, licensing societies and technological innovators, and governmental representatives. The government contingent included representatives from the Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA) of the USPTO, the US Copyright Office, and the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Continue Reading

Experts in the USPTO: Not Just for IPRs?


In post-patent issuance proceedings before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) – inter partes review (IPR), covered business method (CBM), and post-grant review (PGR) – parties almost invariably submit expert testimony. Depending on the type of post-issuance proceeding, the testimony can relate to prior art, claim construction, patent-eligibility, or formal requirements for patentability including adequacy of written description, enablement, and definiteness. Continue Reading

“Platform to Business” Draft Regulation Announced

In a press release published on February 14th, 2019, the European Commission announced, as part of the Digital Single Market strategy, a draft regulation aimed at creating a fair, transparent and predictable business environment for businesses and traders when using online platforms. The new rules are underpinned by an impact assessment that incorporates evidence and stakeholders’ views collected during a two-year fact-finding exercise.


The regulation is a “regulatory attempt to establish a fair, trusted and innovation-driven ecosystem in the online platform economy and will contribute to a more innovative and competitive EU Digital Single Market…”.

The regulation will be directly applicable, preventing Member States from setting additional rules in the areas explicitly covered by the new rules. Continue Reading

Preparing for IP Diligence: Ensuring Proper Inventorship and Ownership of Patents

The best preparation for diligence begins well in advance of any discussions with companies interested in investing in or purchasing assets of the innovating company. Ideally, the innovating company should implement policies and practices from day one of the company to help avoid problems that will inexorably come to light under the scrutiny of diligence. Inventorship, the starting place for chain of title on patents, and ownership are fundamental to any deal, and can cause havoc when a company gets it wrong. Continue Reading

China Trademark Office Attempts to Curb Bad Faith Filings

Paolo Beconcini authored a piece looking at the China Trademark Office’s draft regulation, titled “Several Provisions on Regulating the Application for Registration of Trademarks,” that is now open for public comment. Beconcini wrote that this draft is the first attempt at providing a vetting system to spot and reject fraudulent trademark applications by malicious squatters and punishing bad actors and their trademark agents for such activity.

New Artificial Intelligence Advisory Body in England and Wales – Bringing the Modern World to the Judiciary

Lord Burnett of Maldon, the current Lord Chief Justice, has set up a new Advisory Body with the aim of ensuring that the Judiciary of England and Wales is fully informed about developments in artificial intelligence (AI).

In setting up the group, Lord Burnett recognised the importance of AI in today’s modern world, and the potential impact of AI on the work of the courts.

Professor Richard Susskind, President of the Society for Computers & Law, has been named chair of the body, and in a recent interview stated that AI has taken off in the last six or seven years, to the point where it has become “affordable and practical”. Professor Susskind believes that the new group will start a dialogue among the judiciary about “one of the most influential technologies that there is”, and recognises the importance of judges being open to the opportunities that AI technology could offer to the court system (with “practical tasks” cited as an example).

Continue Reading

Adverts must avoid harmful gender stereotypes

In late 2018, the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP and BCAP) announced the introduction of a new rule to deal with the depiction of harmful gender stereotypes in advertising.

The new rule will apply to both the broadcast and non-broadcast codes of advertising practice and come into force on 14 June 2019, stating that advertising “must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence”.

The introduction of the rule (as rule 4.9 in the CAP Code, and rule 4.19 in the BCAP Code), which is supported by additional guidance, follows a public consultation and the 2017 review of gender stereotypes in advertising by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) which considered the effect that adverts may have in emphasising such stereotypes.

Continue Reading

Theranos and the “Broken” Patent System

ArsTechnica published an excellent piece on how the United States’ “broken” patent system permitted Theranos to obtain hundreds of patents for technology that did not work and did not meet the “enablement” requirement of 35 U.S.C. section 112.  According to author Daniel Nazer, the USPTO did virtually nothing to ensure that Theranos’ technology had been reduced to practice or that its disclosures would enable others to use the technology.  Based on the strength of its patent portolio, Theranos was able to solicit hundreds of millions in investments from venture capitalists and patent enforcement entities. Continue Reading

Cryptoassets: Out Of The Shadows

Cryptoassets are coming out of the shadows. Slowly but surely. Over the past decade or so, perhaps principally driven by huge gains (and losses) in the value of Bitcoin, there has been a palpable dawning recognition that cryptoassets, and the distributed ledger technologies (DLT) that underpin and encrypt them (such as Blockchain), are here to stay. Mainstream financial services are testing (and increasingly grappling to control) the investment market. At the same time, the rapid digitalisation of the global economy is suggesting new and potentially exciting applications for DLT across multiple sectors (including, for random example, in tax administration, collection and compliance).

As interest, and adoption, has grown, regulators have (necessarily) started to take a closer interest. They have been concerned most by the risks cryptoassets pose to consumers, and the integrity of the financial markets, that arise from the very characteristic that has made them so attractive: the decentralised, encrypted, nature of DLT. Determined to maintain its position as one of the world’s leading financial centres, the UK has dramatically stepped up its efforts over the past year. In March 2018, the Chancellor of the Exchequer established a ‘Cryptoassets Taskforce’, comprising the three cornerstone organisations of UK fiscal and monetary policy (HM Treasury, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England) to formulate the UK’s policy and regulatory for cryptoassets and DLT.

Continue Reading