Monday, February 27, 2017

Trademark - Something about this feels familiar

     I was in the local grocery store, and I saw the following toothpaste packaging (I've redacted part of the image).

     It feels familiar.  Doesn't it?

     I then looked at my toothpaste packaging.

     A-h! That was why it felt familiar.  It uses elements of the Crest packaging.  As it happens, the top product (shown below without the redaction) is P&G's European toothpaste product. It appears that P&G's Crest brand product may not have been selling as well as desired in Europe, so P&G acquired Blend-A-Med, an established German toothpaste brand (link 1, link 2).

- Henry Park

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Privacy - Privacy Paradox

     I encountered an interesting podcast series called Note to Self by Manoush Zomorodi on WNYC.  The author just completed a series examining the Privacy Paradox, which is why people are so concerned about protecting their personal information, yet they keep giving their personal information away.  Over the course of the series, the author examines five ways to learn more about the information being given away (i.e., collected) and how to control it. 

     On a related note, the latter part of the Privacy Paradox -- collection of information -- is part of the basis for the "free" internet -- data collection in exchange for free access to services.

     Check out the series, it is an interesting listen.

- Henry Park

Updated on Feb. 21.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Trademark - Fees for Extensions of Time to Oppose

    Up to the start of this year, there were no fees associated with requesting an extension of time to oppose a trademark application.  However, starting on January 14, 2017, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office added fees to requests for extensions of time to oppose a trademark application.  81 Fed. Reg. 72694

    Here is a chart showing the possible extensions and their associated fees.

- Henry Park

Monday, February 13, 2017

Privacy / Security - Data privacy and data security tools

     What do you know about your data?  How should you be handling it?

     I recently received an email from Tresorit that provided a self-assessment tool to evaluate how you are handling your data.  The tool provides an evaluation concerning how sensitive the data is that you are handling, potential risks in handling of that data, and offers some suggestions on how to secure that data.  Check it out.

     Microsoft also released a tool, Secure Score, for businesses that use its Office 365 product (see PC World link).  This tool "analyzes an organization's configuration, [and] then provides them with a score based on the security controls they have fully or partially deployed." It also will provide guidance on what security features would provide the most benefit with the least impact to users.

- Henry Park

Yellow folders graphic was designed by Freepik.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Technology - Skype

     I just saw an announcement from Microsoft that all users must upgrade to the latest version by March 1st, or no longer be able to use the Skype services (see blog post).

     This probably is related to the change in Skype's network architecture. Microsoft has been transitioning Skype away from its old peer-to-peer network architecture to a modern server based architecture for performance and scalability reasons. Under the old architecture, the network consisted of three types of entities: supernodes, ordinary nodes, and the login server. A supernode was selected by the network based on its internet connectivity, uptime and whether it was running the latest version of the P2P code. Supernodes were responsible for maintaining the index of peers and well as handling NAT and firewall duties for other peers. Under this architecture, calls were not routed through any designated servers. Instead, calls were established directly between participating Skype nodes (clients).  As a result, the old architecture made fulfilling any government request for "wire" tapping allegedly impossible (see ZDNet article).

     The old architecture probably explains why call information never synchronized between my different devices.    

- Henry Park

P.S.   Did you notice the TM on the Skype logo?  Back in May 2015, British broadcaster Sky successfully blocked Skype from registering its logo on the grounds on likelihood of confusion with its Sky mark (see General Court of the EU Judgment).

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Privacy - Does the location of where email is stored matter? Maybe not.

     Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas J. Rueter in Philadelphia ruled that Google pursuant to a Stored Communication Act (SCA) warrant should turn over any emails in its possession related to the target of an FBI investigation, even those emails residing on a foreign server (Reuters link) (Order link; hosted on  Deja vu?  Isn't this the same issue that Microsoft appealed last year and won at the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit?  Yes, it is.

     For starters, Pennsylvania is located in the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, so the Microsoft decision is not binding.

     In the Microsoft case, the Second Circuit found that enforcing an SCA warrant by directing Microsoft "to seize the contents of its customer's communications stored in Ireland" would constitute an unlawful extraterritorial application of the SCA.  Microsoft v. U.S., 829 F.3d 197, 220-21 (2d Cir. 2016).

     However, in this case, the Judge found that sending data from a foreign server to a US server does not constitute a "seizure" within the Fourth Amendment because Google had stipulated that it regularly moves user data around its data centers without user knowledge.  Thus, "there is no meaningful interference with the account holder's possessory interest in the user data" (Order at 20).

     The Judge also found that any "search" of the data -- and its concommitant invasion of privacy -- would occur in the U.S. only when the government actually views the data (Order at 23). 

     Therefore, there is no extraterritorial application of the SCA (Order at 24).

- Henry Park

Thursday, February 2, 2017

INTA Annual Meeting

   I'm going to the INTA 2017 Annual Meeting in Barcelona, Spain. If you are going to be there, let me know and we can meet up.

- Henry Park