Litigation and Trial: The Part in Iron Man 2 Where Fantasy and IP Collide

Intellectual property doesn’t just sound cool. It is cool! Over at The American Prospect they’re pulling apart the IP issues surrounding Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit. Government takings abound!

While trying to fend off Vanko, Stark is pressured by the U.S. government to give up the secrets of the Iron Man suit. After Stark refuses a senator’s demand that he relinquish his body-armor technology, the government forcibly takes it from him, only to turn it over to a competitor that then uses the technology to fulfill its own defense contract. Consciously or no, this echoes the real world; the United States government can take such actions with almost total legal impunity.

Tony Stark gets to choose: disclose the details of the invention in a patent and correspondingly get superior civil (i.e. monetary) relief if someone copies it, or try to keep the invention secret himself and hope that criminal law dissuades people from stealing it.

Litigation and Trial – Max Kennerly.

See also io9’s analysis of what it would cost to build Iron Man’s suit.

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Kozinski v. NYT

A few years back Chief Judge Kozinski was busted when the Ninth Circuit did an audit to see what internet traffic the judges and staff were using with what came to light as adult material:

The site, now disabled, included a video showing a sexually aroused animal, a photograph of naked women painted to look like cows and images of masturbation and public sex…

Ouch, busted redhanded and redfaced. Kozinski’s son ran the site and Kozinski may or may not have posted the above mentioned items. The kicker was that Kozinski was presiding over an obscenity appeal in the case of an adult filmmaker (U.S. v. Isaacs) at the time and there was an issue as to whether he should disqualify himself from the case. The ever-gracious judge asked an ethics panel to investigate his conduct and encouraged Chief Justice John Roberts to assign a panel of inquiry judges outside of the 9th circuit to conduct this investigation. Ultimately, Kozinski declared a mistrial (that case is still pending despite the defendant’s efforts to squirm away under double jeopardy grounds), recused himself, and an investigation took place. The finding was:

The Judge explained and admitted his error; apologized for it, recognizing its impact on the judiciary; and committed to changing his conduct to avoid any recurrence of the error. The offending material has been removed and will be destroyed. The Judge’s acknowledgment of responsibility combined with the corrective actions he has already completed or has committed to pursue and his apology, along with our admonishment, made public in this opinion, properly “remed[y] the problems raised by the complaint.”

The penalty for a 9th Circuit judge looking at porn: admonishment!

Via NYTimes.com

Banditing?!

A Toronto man was arrested, tried, and acquitted for sexual assault. How did he get off? He says he did it in his sleep. Sexsomnia, also known as banditing (?!), is gaining credence in the medical community as an unusual but medically accepted sleeping disorder.  The defense has never been raised in the states, but as the Canadian legal system is based off the same English common law system as the U.S., it’s likely to work here. It goes back to the unity of act and intent which is necessary for the conviction of any crime. With sexsomnia while the actor has committed a guilty act (the sexual assault) he was unconscious at the time of the crime and thus lacks the requisite intent.

And according to one scholar at the University of New Hampshire it’s legit.

“Sexsomnia”: Rare Form of Sleep Walking from Newsweek.