While I sit here refreshing the opinions page for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals , let me bring to your attention a couple of interesting intellectual property cases: one new, and one a few weeks old that I meant to write about at the time. The more recent one is a suit brought by the heirs of John Wayne, otherwise known as “the Duke,” complaining that a certain university in North Carolina keeps suing them when they try to use the name “Duke” : [U]niversity spokesman Michael Schoenfeld wrote in an email that “the university doesn’t object to the use of ‘Duke’ on alcoholic beverages, as long as it is clearly linked to John Wayne’s likeness.” However, he wrote, Wayne’s estate wants the rights to use the word with or without the star’s image attached. “While we admire and respect John Wayne’s contributions to American culture, we are also committed to protecting the integrity of Duke University’s trademarks,” Schoenfeld wrote in a statement. “As Mr. Wayne himself said,” the statement continues, ” ‘Words are what men live by … words they say and mean.’ ” Richard Howell, John Wayne Enterprises’ attorney, disputed Schoenfeld’s assessment. Howell said that the company has proposed “over and over” a truce of sorts: A co-use agreement wherein the company will only use the name ‘Duke’ in connection with John Wayne’s name, image or likeness. I come down on the side of the Duke with this one — partially because I hate universities, partially because I don’t like lawsuits. But let’s assume these two spokesmen are telling the truth. The Duke’s legatees want to use the nickname “in connection with John Wayne’s name, image or likeness” and the university wants to limit it to situations where it is “clearly linked to John Wayne’s likeness.” It sounds like the university wants to ban any mention of the Duke’s nickname without an “image” attached — even if John Wayne’s name is used. Bollocks. Patterico hereby enters judgment in the court of public opinion in favor of the Duke’s legatees, and orders the president of that university to go soak his head. The second lawsuit is several weeks old, but I have been meaning to blog it for a while. It’s the copyright infringement lawsuit brought by the estate of Randy California against Led Zeppelin, for copying material from the Spirit song “Taurus” in the far more famous “Stairway to Heaven.” I told you about this musical similarity in June 2013 , saying: “Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit early in their careers, and heard this song live. You will not have to listen closely to hear the inspiration for Stairway to Heaven.” In May of this year, California’s estate filed suit , in anticipation of a monster re-released of the Zeppelin catalog. I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, if you listen to the piece, it’s pretty clear they ripped off part of California’s piece — and the fact that they were touring with Spirit at the time just solidifies the conclusion that you would have come to anyway regarding the similarities. It would have been nice for them to credit California and give him a piece of the royalties. And, as I say, I pointed out the similarities last year, long before the lawsuit — so it’s clearly not a made-up claim. (Do any of the lawyers read this blog?) That being said, California himself never filed suit. And in “Stairway to Heaven,” while Zeppelin took some of California’s music, the more famous band also transformed the germ of that idea into something quite different, taken as a whole. Patterico reluctantly hereby enters judgment for defendant in the court of public opinion, but awards no costs — and encourages Led Zeppelin to give California his writing credit anyway. P.S. During the writing of this post, I continued to refresh that first link, and (although I could be wrong) it appears there will be no Halbig decision today. There are four new opinions in other cases; it looks like that might do it for the day.

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Two Interesting Intellectual Property Cases

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[guest post by Dana] This month the American Medical Association opted to officially “modernize” its birth certificate policies and not require reassignment surgery in order to change an individual’s sex on their birth certificate. This is what modernization looks like: The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted new policy supporting the elimination of any government requirement that an individual must have undergone surgery in order to change the sex indicated on a birth certificate. Across the country, state laws governing changes to a person’s gender on a birth certificate is granted to applicants who change their sex by “surgical procedure” and provide a court order to that effect. Only a handful of states allow corrections to gender markers on birth certificates on the basis of “clinically appropriate treatment,” as opposed to surgery. “Surgery shouldn’t be a requirement to align a person’s gender identity with their birth certificate,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D. “State laws must acknowledge that the correct course of treatment for any given individual is a decision that rests with the patient and their physician.” The AMA rejected “gender affirmation surgery” as the guiding requirement for changing birth certificates as inconsistent with current medical standards. The new AMA policy also supports that any change of sex determination on an individual’s birth certificate must not hinder access to medically appropriate preventive care. Medical options for transgender people include a medically appropriate combination of mental health care, social transition, hormone therapy, in addition to the option of sex reassignment surgery. It is assumed that the decision was made, at least in part, to the advocacy and claims from the transgender community : Transgender people say they need IDs to accurately reflect their gender when they apply for jobs, travel and seek certain government services among other things. There is no consensus on this issue from State lawmakers: Just last week, New York State said it will no longer require transgender people to require proof of surgery when they attempt to change the gender on their birth certificates. But earlier this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have allowed those who had a clinical sex change to amend their gender on their birth certificate. While historically, the AMA has been more progressive than lawmakers, this comes on the heels of the Medi-Care ban on sex reassignment surgeries being lifted , as well as President Obama recognizing Transgender Day Remembrance , and his recent comments made following a Department of Education action that designated an expanded view of protections under Title IX: [T]ransgender students can now “assert their rights. Oh, and on a side note: last week the Obama administration quietly lifted its ban prohibiting health insurance carriers from covering transition-related care for transgender federal employees. Of course, the debate will rage on as to whether a person’s gender can be changed by a piece of paper or even through sex reassignment surgery. Clearly though, the times they are a-changin’ have changed. –Dana

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No Surgery Required To Change Designated Sex On Birth Certificate

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[guest post by Dana] This month the American Medical Association opted to officially “modernize” its birth certificate policies and not require reassignment surgery in order to change an individual’s sex on their birth certificate. This is what modernization looks like: The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted new policy supporting the elimination of any government requirement that an individual must have undergone surgery in order to change the sex indicated on a birth certificate. Across the country, state laws governing changes to a person’s gender on a birth certificate is granted to applicants who change their sex by “surgical procedure” and provide a court order to that effect. Only a handful of states allow corrections to gender markers on birth certificates on the basis of “clinically appropriate treatment,” as opposed to surgery. “Surgery shouldn’t be a requirement to align a person’s gender identity with their birth certificate,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D. “State laws must acknowledge that the correct course of treatment for any given individual is a decision that rests with the patient and their physician.” The AMA rejected “gender affirmation surgery” as the guiding requirement for changing birth certificates as inconsistent with current medical standards. The new AMA policy also supports that any change of sex determination on an individual’s birth certificate must not hinder access to medically appropriate preventive care. Medical options for transgender people include a medically appropriate combination of mental health care, social transition, hormone therapy, in addition to the option of sex reassignment surgery. It is assumed that the decision was made, at least in part, to the advocacy and claims from the transgender community : Transgender people say they need IDs to accurately reflect their gender when they apply for jobs, travel and seek certain government services among other things. There is no consensus on this issue from State lawmakers: Just last week, New York State said it will no longer require transgender people to require proof of surgery when they attempt to change the gender on their birth certificates. But earlier this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have allowed those who had a clinical sex change to amend their gender on their birth certificate. While historically, the AMA has been more progressive than lawmakers, this comes on the heels of the Medi-Care ban on sex reassignment surgeries being lifted , as well as President Obama recognizing Transgender Day Remembrance , and his recent comments made following a Department of Education action that designated an expanded view of protections under Title IX: [T]ransgender students can now “assert their rights. Oh, and on a side note: last week the Obama administration quietly lifted its ban prohibiting health insurance carriers from covering transition-related care for transgender federal employees. Of course, the debate will rage on as to whether a person’s gender can be changed by a piece of paper or even through sex reassignment surgery. Clearly though, the times they are a-changin’ have changed. –Dana

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No Surgery Required To Change Designated Sex On Birth Certificate

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Government Union Stupidity

On June 13, 2014, in Barack Obama, by WilhemiQre

[guest post by Dana] Those Duck Dynasty people are causing a stir again, or rather car decals supporting them are…yes, decals. A union representing federal employees at Eglin Air Force base in Florida is demanding that two senior management officials be removed from their posts because they put decals on their personal trucks supporting Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson. Alan Cooper, the executive vice president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees, said one of the officials also displayed the “I Support Phil” decals in his office last month and offered them to subordinates. “The BUE (bargaining union employee) was clearly offended and disgusted that a senior management official would display the decal on their pod,” read an email Cooper wrote. “We took offense,” Cooper told me in a telephone interview. “These two particular individuals have a great amount of influence over individuals who may be gay, who may be African-American – and we have a concern they should not be in a position to exert that influence when it comes to promotions.” In an email that was sent to union members, Cooper said the Duck Dynasty decal may be a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “Phil Robertson has made disparaging remarks against a vast array of people, which created a firestorm in the media in the recent past,” Cooper wrote. Naturally, Cooper wants to see those with the I Support Phil stickers to be fired. “I don’t know how long these individuals harbored these views – could they have impacted employment opportunities for folks that have been disparaged by the likes of a Phil Robertson,” he said. Regardless, he wants the Duck Dynasty fans dealt with, noting “it’s definitely 100 percent inappropriate for an organization that espouses a zero tolerance policy” to condone such activity. “If it’s zero tolerance, it’s zero tolerance for everybody,” he said, referring to the military’s anti-discrimination policies. The Phil supporters claimed it was a First Amendment issue, and thankfully, so did the Air Force. They investigated the claims made by the union and determined that the two civilian workers were well within their rights to support Duck Dynasty. “Brigadier General Dave Harris is not taking any action against the individual as the display of such a bumper sticker is considered legally protected speech under the First Amendment,” said Andy Bourland, director of public affairs at the military base. Bourland also told me they looked into the incident involving the decals in the worker’s office. They also decided not to take action in that incident. –Dana

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Government Union Stupidity

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TMZ has a clip of possibly racist comments by a person who most people appear to assume is Clippers owner Donald Sterling. I’ll leave it to the rest of the world to furiously debate whether the comments are actually racist, or taken out of context, or worse than things said by Spike Lee or Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, or whatever. Sorry, I have just gotten bored by that kind of thing. This post is only tangentially about that (although I expect the discussion in the comments will be all about that, which is fine). What I want to know is this: if you’re hired as a sports writer for USA Today , do they not require that you be fluent in the English language? Here is their story about the incident: In an audio obtained by TMZ and posted on its web site, the person said it bothers him that she posted photos of herself with black people on her Instagram account. After a recent Clippers game, the woman took a picture with Johnson. “Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. … And don’t bring him to my games, OK?” the person said on the audio recording. “Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to promo, broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” person also said . Here’s more about whether “person” made these remarks “in an audio” obtained by TMZ: Johnson responded on twitter Saturday: “LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s comments about African Americans are a black eye for the NBA.” If I logged onto Twitter (yes, it’s capitalized, USA Today editors), I might ask Magic Johnson why it has to be a black eye. Seems kind of racist to me. But there I go, getting distracted from my main point: the illiteracy of the writer and his editors. Let’s get back to that, shall we? Civil Rights Leader Jesse Jackson has called for the Clippers to boycott, while other prominent African Americans have taken strong stances against Sterling’s comments as well. Well-known rap artist Snoop Dogg posted a profanity-laced video on his Instagram account condemning Sterling. In March, Sterling’s wife, Rochelle, filed a lawsuit alleging the woman, identified as V. Stiviano, had an affair with her husband, according to Los Angeles’ CBS affiliate reported in March. I think it’s wonderful that Jesse Jackson now has a capitalized title: Civil Rights Leader. Is this perhaps some new “race czar” position that was announced by Obama while I was hibernating? Anyway, editors, could y’all re-read that last paragraph, slowly and out loud? And after you do that, read this one: The league might have to consider that Sterling was speaking privately and quite likely did not know was being recorded . Well, if you insert an unnecessary word or two in one sentence, you just have to take out a necessary word in another, and that way it all balances out. Sorry, I know this post is silly and trivial, but as I read this article I just noticed one goof-up after another, and I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, y’all need a post to discuss the all-important Latest Racial Outrage (capital letters intentional!). So here you go! P.S. It probably is worth pointing out, in light of pieces like this one that suggest that all public racists are Republicans, that Sterling has a record of monetarily supporting Democrat candidates like Gray Davis and Bill Bradley .

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Illiterate USA Today Writer Expounds on Possible Racism by Clippers Owner Donald Sterling

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