Germany’s Federal Cartel Office orders Facebook to stop collecting user data from multiple sources

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, known as the Bundeskartellamt has imposed on Facebook an order with far-reaching restrictions in the processing of user data.

The announcement was made on Thursday 7th February 2019, and follows a three-year long probe that began with intensive scrutiny of Facebook over a series of privacy protection failures, including the leaking of data on tens of millions of Facebook users, and the extensive use of targeted ads purchased by state actors of countries seeking to influence US elections.

The cartel office objected to how Facebook acquires data on people from third-party apps – including its own WhatsApp and Instagram services – and its online tracking (using Facebook analytics) of people who aren’t even members of the platform.

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Copyright Infringement

What is copyright?

Copyright is a property right given to the creator of original work. The range of original work in which copyright subsists is quite substantial. These rights are awarded automatically and how long they last is dependent on the type of work protected. In the UK literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works have copyright lasting 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author of the work dies. Copyright can also extend to other countries through an international agreement such as the Berne Convention.

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Happy Birthday, Sliced Bread!

This month marks the 90th anniversary of the very first sliced bread patents.

By the late 1920’s the majority of bread baking was done in factories. The result was an incredibly soft bread loaf, which in turn, was incredibly difficult to slice at home with a traditional bread knife, yet factory slicing would result in the bread being stale before it was even sold.

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Osram, Nichia to enter into a new cross-licensing Patent agreement

lighting bulb

Osram Opto Semiconductors GmbH, a subsidiary of Osram GmbH, has announced that it will enter into a new cross-licensing agreement with Japan’s Nichia Corp  (www.nichia.co.jp).

Announcing the collaboration at Light+Building 2018 show in Frankfurt, Germany, Aldo Kamper, CEO of Osram Opto Semiconductors GmbH and Hiroyoshi Ogawa, president of Nichia Corp, agreed that a lot had happened in the industry since 2010, when the companies last signed a licensing agreement.

According to Kamper, Nichia and Osram have collectively spent more than €2.5bn in research and development since 2011 “to further advance LED and laser technology…”. 

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AI & IP: the problematic junctions

 

Unless you have been living in some remote cave the last few years, you must have noticed that there’s been a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI) lately. That’s not to say that you can’t find a Wi-Fi connection in a cave (It turns out you can), but amongst the hot topics last year, AI surely was up there with the likes of global warming, North Korea and the happenings of the Trump White House.

AI Talent attracts top dollar

2017 happened to be the year in which we learned that Tech companies across Silicon Valley and elsewhere were doling out upwards of US$300,000+ a year for top AI talent and machine learning “experts”, and that the pool of knowledge included University professors who seemingly abandoned their teaching roles for a piece of Silicon Valley. 

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The Head of the United States Patent and Trade Marks Office Michelle Lee Resigns

Michelle Lee resigned from the US Patent and Trade Marks office (USPTO) on June 6, 2017.

The real reason for her sudden resignation as Director of the remains a mystery. Was she asked to resign? Did she volunteer to resign? As someone who has been in the job for barely two years, her departure leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Was there a scandal that has suddenly come to the fore, which made her position untenable?

This was a lady who had made history by becoming the first woman ever to hold the position of Under Secretary and Director of the USPTO, who is a strong advocate for women and minorities, who had presided over a period of fundamental change in the way that invalid patents were challenged, and one who had the support of many of the Tech giants which dominated much of the US Patents & Trade Marks landscape. So her sudden departure, without warning, after what appeared like a confirmation by the Trump administration barely three months ago is somewhat surprising.

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