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Alt Legal IP News - Issue #33

Welcome to Alt Legal IP News, a weekly digest of IP news and developments, get it delivered right to your inbox.  

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Scandals Up Top

Would humanity be better off without intellectual property? This is a question people were mulling over in 1837 when the New York intelligentsia was pushing for international copyright laws. 

- Did the Copyright Office include a $25 million fake line item in their budget?

- A Wells Fargo branch manager has been convicted of money laundering in connection with a mass mailing scam defrauding trademark applicants. 
 

 White House Check In

- Trump has selected Vishal Amin to be the Intellectual Property Enforcer in the Executive Office of the President.

- While Trump filled one position, his hiring freeze has left a long (and growing) list of vacancies at the USPTO.  

- Neil Gorsuch was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. What can you expect from him on intellectual property issues

- Last week Homeland Security issued a summons to Twitter, demanding to know the identity of the user behind an account critical of the Trump administration. Twitter promptly sued the government. Then the demand was withdrawn and Twitter dropped the lawsuit
 

The Everyday Essentials

- Apple received a patent for an invention that will help prevent cracked screens and allow your phone to float. As someone who is constantly damaging my Apple products, this is a welcome announcement. 

- What does it take to protect a wine-related trademark? And unrelated to IP but related to wine, how did Trader Joe's wine become cheaper than bottled water?
 


- Texas-based taco franchise, Torchy's Tacos, has sued a restaurant over their "Damn Good Tacos" slogan

- Ooho is introducing edible water bottles to change the way we drink. The process behindthe invention is spherification, which was actually created in the 1940s and is utilized byOoho through a Creative Commons license
 

Science Club

- A Hepatitis C drug patent is being challenged by 30 groups across Europe. 

- The synthetic biology community is divided on whether or not you should be able to patent an organism, largely because of how it would impact research. 

- The USPTO granted IBM a patent for applying machine learning to drug discovery
 

Odds and Ends

- Did you know you can "recklessly" copy fabric? Urban Outfitters did just that. 

- What is the legal distinction between an album, a playlist, and a mixtape?

- Alt Legal's CEO, Nehal Madhani, was featured in Inc. today! Check out this article about disrupting the legal industry as an immigrant lawyer. 

- Disney's new patent for soft humanoid robots has people wondering if an experience likeWestworld is soon to be a reality. 

- New Yorkers! The NYC Bar Association is hosting a symposium on April 24th. We are also hosting a meetup following the event. Come join us! 

See you next week!

The Alt Legal Team