follow Steve on Twitter

This website is a personal blog maintained by Steve Glista, who is a licensed attorney in the states of Michigan and Oregon. Steve is a lawyer at Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn, LLP. Opinions or comments expressed on this site belong to the commenter or the author and do not represent legal advice from or the official position of the Honigman firm.

This website does not offer legal advice. No person should act or refrain from acting solely as a result of the information presented here. Your use of this website does not create an attorney-client or other confidential relationship. If you make an initial contact seeking legal advice, please do not send confidential information.

Contact us here:

contact@rationallaw.com

269.389.0385 | Kalamazoo

503.406.8651 | Portland

New Rules for Black Boxes in Cars

The EFF is calling for comments on proposed new federal regulations for black-box data recorders in all new cars and trucks.  It’s a good read, and something to keep in mind if you are planning to buy a new car.

The NHTSA states that it is agency policy “to treat EDR data as the property of the vehicle owner.” That’s not enough. There needs to be a clear statement, both in the regulation itself, and in the owners manual, that any data recorded by the EDR are the sole property of the vehicle owner, and that the owner may expect that the EDR data remain private except if he or she consents to . . . → Read More: New Rules for Black Boxes in Cars

Attention Makers: $20,000 Prize From Engadget

Applications are due . . . → Read More: Attention Makers: $20,000 Prize From Engadget

3D Printed Phone Cases? Why Not?

I can only think that we’ll start seeing a lot more of this sort of thing.  It doesn’t really cost the OEM anything extra to release the .stl files to the public, and it buys them a lot of goodwill with nerds like me who like to hack their own stuff.

Nokia has just released a “3D-printing Development Kit” with all the documentation you’ll need to create a custom backing for yourself. It’s available for download from the source links below, and contains “3D templates, case specs, recommended materials and . . . → Read More: 3D Printed Phone Cases? Why Not?

Bag ——-> Cat

So, these guys exist:

Defense Distributed is organized to produce and publish information related to the 3D printing of firearms. [...] the first order production goal remains the same: produce and publish a file for a completely printable gun

And then this happened:

the 3D-printing firm Makerbot has deleted a collection of blueprints for gun components from Thingiverse, its popular user-generated content website that hosts 3D-printable files.

And, in the wake of a soul-rending tragedy wrought by a man with a gun, someone who doesn’t understand how the internet works suggested the solution should be new laws:

U.S. Representative Steve Israel (D-Huntington, N.Y.) plans to propose a ban on creating gun magazines with 3-D printers. The bill is still in the drafting stage, but Israel intends to make sure existing legislation includes consideration for this new kind of homemade firearm.

and the DefDist guys responded.

So, now this is happening:

We’re not sure how this site might fit into Defense Distributed’s efforts, but know that THIS place, if there will be no other, IS a home for fugitive information. No object file will be censored unless it is malicious software. When we say freedom of information, we mean it.

and with a manifesto like that, naturally, comes this.  And so the cat is officially out of the bag, forever.

Continue reading Bag ——-> Cat

Something New (at least, new to me)

Apparently they have been around for a while, but until about a month ago, I had never heard of a Delta robot.  For me, this video was kind of an Arthur C. Clarke 3rd law moment:

Although, strictly speaking, since I don’t  believe in magic I assumed this tech was created by aliens.  Boy did I feel silly when I realized this control system has been around for long enough that people are using it to stack mass-produced pre-cooked pancakes on . . . → Read More: Something New (at least, new to me)

DIY laser cutter on Kickstarter is getting kickstopped

Sad, because I wanted one. Looks like this is not going to . . . → Read More: DIY laser cutter on Kickstarter is getting kickstopped

Adverse Possession in IP law?

In real property law, there are a variety of ways that someone other than the owner can lawfully make use of a piece of real estate.  Copyright allows for unlicensed reproduction of a protected work for certain “fair use” categories of copying and publication.  It can be legal to parody a trademark in a way that might otherwise be seen as confusingly (and infringingly) similar to the official mark (see e.g. North Face v. South Butt).

In patent law, the exceptions are much thinner.  Patent owners often assert the right to exclude others from practicing a patent as a right that is more or less exactly equivalent to the right to exclude other people in meatspace from a piece of real property, for example by locking the front door on your house, or putting up a fence.

Over at Patently-O this week, Dennis linked to a discussion of this and other flaws in the current model of patent protections, and how creating features similar to justifiable trespass or adverse possession in patent law might be a good thing for society as a whole.

[T]he law significantly hems in the rights of owners not to use their property, employing numerous doctrines, such as . . . → Read More: Adverse Possession in IP law?

Crowd-funding Grows Up

Kickstarter spells it out.

It’s hard to know how many people feel like they’re shopping at a store when they’re backing projects on Kickstarter, but we want to make sure that it’s no one. Today we’re introducing a number of changes to reinforce that Kickstarter isn’t a store [...]

What they don’t say is, “It’s not equity either.” Presumably because most Kickstarter funders understand that distinction, but that’s a really important legal detail that helps to explain why Kickstarter has worked as well as it has so far.  I think they are very aware of this and want to make sure that the SEC doesn’t show too much of an interest in their pre-commerce “rewards”-based financing model.

In light of the changes in microfunding and the likely influx of microcapital investors that the JOBS act promises to bring, I think it’s commendable that Kickstarter wants to make sure funders have . . . → Read More: Crowd-funding Grows Up

Strategy for Start-ups: Technology Licensing (Part 4)

If you’re new to this series, you may want to begin by reading Part 1 and Part 2. The purpose of this series is to help entrepreneurs consider licensing strategy from a university’s perspective, so that you can be more successful in planning the future of your business.

I’ll break these posts up into the following topics: Skin in the Game, Equity Give and Take, Royalties vs. Upfront Fees, Options and Contingent Licenses, Keeping the Inventors On Board, and Owning Future Inventions. The focus of this post is:

Options and Contingent Licenses

Most startups have a catch-22 problem- can’t get a license without money, but can’t get funding without a license.  Continue reading Strategy for Start-ups: Technology Licensing (Part 4)

Cory Doctorow forecasts a civil war

a war over who will control our computers.  It’s a long read but essential for anyone thinking about technology and its applications over the next hundred years.

Back in 2006, a 314-car Robotic Parking model RPS1000 garage in Hoboken, New Jersey, took all the cars in its guts hostage, locking down the software until the garage’s owners paid a licensing bill that they disputed.

They had to pay it, even as they maintained that they didn’t owe anything. What the hell else were they going to do?

And what will

you

do when your dispute with a vendor means that you go blind, or deaf, or lose the ability to . . . → Read More: Cory Doctorow forecasts a civil war