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Countries reach tentative anti-counterfeiting pact – Yahoo!Xtra News

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Countries reach tentative anti-counterfeiting pact – Yahoo!Xtra News.

Looks like that, despite all the brouhaha that ACTA (the Anticounterfeiting Trade Agreement) is going to keep moving along nicely.

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Google Sues Rogue Pill Peddlers — InformationWeek

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Google Sues Rogue Pill Peddlers — InformationWeek.

This is some great news.  The dangers of buying prescription drugs over the internet are huge!

Categories: Uncategorized

General Motors Abandoning the name “Chevy”


The New York Times had a story this morning about the fact that the new advertising agency for General Motors has decided to “drop” the nickname CHEVY for it’s automobiles after decades and decades of use.

Strange? As an IP lawyer it seems like a very strange thing to do. Here is a bit the the article.

On Tuesday, G.M. sent a memo to Chevrolet employees at its Detroit headquarters, promoting the importance of “consistency” for the brand, which was the nation’s best-selling line of cars and trucks for more than half a century after World War II.

And one way to present a consistent brand message, the memo suggested, is to stop saying “Chevy,” though the word is one of the world’s best-known, longest-lived product nicknames.

“We’d ask that whether you’re talking to a dealer, reviewing dealer advertising, or speaking with friends and family, that you communicate our brand as Chevrolet moving forward,” said the memo, which was signed by Alan Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service, and Jim Campbell, the G.M. division’s vice president for marketing.

“When you look at the most recognized brands throughout the world, such as Coke or Apple for instance, one of the things they all focus on is the consistency of their branding,” the memo said. “Why is this consistency so important? The more consistent a brand becomes, the more prominent and recognizable it is with the consumer.”

Although the memo cites Coke, it does not note that Coke is shorthand for Coca-Cola — or that Apple is not commonly used in reference to its products, which are known simply as iPads, iPhones and MacBooks.

One expert on branding said G.M.’s effort ran counter to a trend in which corporate names had become more casual. The consultant, Paul Worthington, head of strategy for Wolff Olins, a brand consulting company, noted that FedEx had replaced Federal Express, KFC had supplanted Kentucky Fried Chicken and “even RadioShack has evolved into the Shack.”

Regardless, if Chevrolet plans to put the Chevy genie back in the bottle, the task could prove harder than climbing out of bankruptcy.

As of Wednesday night, the word Chevy appeared dozens of times on Chevrolet’s Web site, chevrolet.com, including a banner on the home page that said, “Over 1,000 people a day switch to Chevy.” One of the dropdown menus was “Experience Chevy.” On Facebook, brand pages include Chevy Camaro, Chevy Silverado and Team Chevy.

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United States Agents Search Mail For Counterfeit Drugs

U.S. Agents Search Mail for Counterfeit Drugs

On May 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) led a foreign mail inspection in West Miami-Dade, Fla., designed to weed out thousands of counterfeit and unapproved medicines and stop them from entering the country.

The three-day search had agents poring over packages of illegal pharmaceutical drugs, dietary supplements and home remedies mailed from foreign countries. Reporting on the inspection, the Miami Herald noted that many medications are “purchased from foreign suppliers over the Internet, an increasingly risky shopping place for pharmaceutical drugs with unsafe ingredients, inaccurate dosages and false expiration dates.”

The inspection and subsequent media coverage highlights four key barriers to mitigating the threat of counterfeit drugs:

1. Regulation of Internet pharmacies. Online pharmacies should be subject to the same rigorous oversight and standards that govern their offline counterparts. “In addition to requiring licensure through a national internet pharmacy licensing program such as Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS), said PSM Vice President Bryan Liang, MD, PHD, JD, “We need new legislation that prohibits financial transactions for drug sales of unlicensed online pharmacies and creates substantive criminal penalties for any party, including websites and search engines, who engage in the illegal sale of contraband or counterfeit drugs.”
2. Lack of regulation for products trans-shipped through foreign countries. While the West Miami-Dade inspection weeded out medicines shipped from Latin America and the Caribbean, even “safe” countries like the Canada and the United Kingdom pose threats due to lax regulations on medicines earmarked for other countries. For example, fake or low-quality drugs made in countries around the globe could ship through Canada to the U.S. without Health Canada’s oversight.
3. Additional FDA agents for Internet investigations, including foreign assignments to source countries. Criminals selling counterfeit or unapproved drugs over the Internet are beyond the reach of FDA regulators and investigators. As we told the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) earlier this year, by exploiting the anonymity of the Web and the complex jurisdictions of international criminal laws, purveyors of these unsafe medicines remain outside the reach of domestic law enforcement.
4. Additional onshore support and authority. The U.S. has 300 customs ports, but the FDA has only 200 port inspectors and a mere 17 inspectors to cover all international mail centers. We must hire more inspectors and grant the FDA and other agencies the authority to destroy unapproved drugs entering the U.S. rather than returning them to the criminals who sent them here-a sentiment echoed by one FDA supervisor who told the Miami Herald that the vast majority of intercepted pharmaceuticals were returned to sender: “We have no authority to destroy them. We have to send them back.”

According to the Miami Herald, the Miami Customs facility processed about 36 million pieces of foreign mail last year. Of that total, inspectors relayed between 8,000 and 10,000 foreign pieces containing unapproved medicines to the FDA for further assessment-showing that the threat of counterfeit drugs may be hitting closer to home than many are aware of.

10 Burning Questions Steve Jobs Needs to Answer About Apple’s Future – IT Infrastructure from eWeek

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A little bit about Wikis and Blogs

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The AntiCounterfeiting Agreement – by Tom Walsh

The first issue I will pass upon regarding the recently released ACTA text is the definition of “willful trademark counterfeiting or related rights piracy on a commercial scale.” This concept is defined in Section 3, Article 2.14 of Chapter 2. The definition is quite broad in scope and encapsulates “(a) significant willful copyright or related rights infringements that have no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain; and (b) willful copyright or related rights infringements for purposes of commercial advantage or financial gain.”

Even though Subsection (b) generally conforms to traditional views of counterfeiting, Subsection (a) has been the subject of much controversy and merits further examination. At first glance, there appears to be a conflict between the concept’s requirement that the infringement or piracy be on a “commercial scale” and the definition’s clear statement that the infringement or piracy need not have any financial motivation. However, it is clear that Subsection (a) targets large-scale, anti-copyright file sharing networks such as The Pirate Bay.

The drafters are correct to permit rights holders to press claims against anti-copyright groups who distribute protected content. When a tangible product is counterfeited, supply of the actual product is increased. An increase in the supply of the aggregate market for the product should create undesired downward pressure on the price of the actual product. Conversely, in cases of file-sharing, the counterfeit product is digital in nature and supply is virtually unlimited. Each time a file is shared, demand decreases while the supply of that file remains unchanged. Rights holders therefore require tools to control supply of their digital assets in order to preserve equity.

However, while I commend the drafters of ACTA for providing rights holders with addressing piracy by anti-copyright persons and organizations, Subsection (a) is ripe for abuse, or at the least heavy-handedness, on two fronts as a result of its present vagueness. First, the released ACTA text does not define the term “significant”. The lack of precision in drafting this term may lead to the unintended prosecution of smaller-scale infringers as member states struggle to quantify “significant” piracy. In the United States, we have seen this in prosecution of commercial claims by the RIAA against music piracy. In an effort to publicize the issue and deter future piracy, the RIAA initiated lawsuits against individual infringers. While the lawsuits were effective at deterrence, it was by no means popular.

A second concern for individuals under Subsection (a) is the use of conspiracy laws to target P2P networks. Under this legal theory, even a legitimate user of a P2P network could face criminal liability if other users of that same network engaged in illegal file sharing. While large-scale infringers would be subject to criminal prosecution, such prosecution may also envelope small-scale or “insignificant” infringers, contrary to the intentions of the drafters.