Do you use Vine?

A few weeks ago, I went to a CLE about the ethics of using social media. At the beginning of the event, the panelists talked about which social media platforms they used and asked us what we used. I was the only attendee who used Vine… and I’d be willing to bet that I was one of the most “connected” people there.

Anyway, do you use Vine? Do you know what it is?

Vine is a video clip-sharing application for smart phones (iOS-only right now, I think?) It’s easy to use–you tap the screen to record footage of up to 6 seconds. You can untap and it’ll pause the video, which means you can do stop-motion-style clips.

Vine has had its issues–it’s an 18 and up app now because people were posting porn on it–but overall, it’s a fun little service. You log in using other applications (like Facebook and Twitter), which allows you to find and follow friends. You can like and comment on videos, but they don’t have  a “reblog” or “retweet” option.

When you log in, you’ll see a feed similar to the one on Instagram, but with looping videos instead of photos. (Turn your volume down, by the way, especially if you’re at work! The videos all auto-play and they can be loud or jarring. Want to stop a loop? Just tap the video and it’ll pause.) The main feed shows videos from people you follow AND “Editor’s Picks,” which shows you what other people are doing with the application. One of the most interesting people to follow is Adam Lisagor, @lonelysandwich on Twitter. He gets a lot of Editor’s Picks, and I think he’s actually using Vine to make a movie of some kind.

As for me… I’ve used Vine a little bit; I enjoy watching what my friends post a little more than I enjoy posting, though. My life isn’t all that exciting, and I don’t feel like I have the comedic timing to pull of something hilarious the way my friends do. Maybe if I had a pet or a roommate I’d use it more often. Still, I like the idea of posting little clips to share with my friends, and I’ve been really impressed by some of the videos I’ve seen so far.


Weird patent: Walking Jacket for Cats

Walking Jacket for Cats Patent

This is a patent for a “walking jacket” for your cat… for when you take your cat on a walk. On a leash. Like a dog.

My mom tried to get her cats used to wearing harness, but she couldn’t find one small enough for them and they hated wearing them. They’re indoor cats and she wanted to be  able to take them outside, but I guess that’ll never happen now.

Anyway, this walking jacket has a collar portion that “prevents the cat from backing out of the walking jacket and thereby prevents escape.” Figure 5 of the patent reminds me of Civil Disobedience Cat.


Arizona State University’s law school establishes law firm for recent graduates

To Place Graduates, Law Schools Are Opening Firms (New York Times)

Arizona State University has created a law firm for graduates who can’t find jobs in the horrible law school job market. The story said that the Dean wanted to follow a model like a teaching hospital, and I think it’s a good idea, especially for students who didn’t get a chance to take a clinic in law school. Of course, something like this will pad law school employment stats (and I suspect that was a big factor for creating this firm,) but I think it will help young lawyers, so I can’t see it as a bad thing.

Gideon Sundback’s Birthday

Google has a nifty doodle today for Gideon Sundback, the inventor of the zipper. Today would be his 132nd birthday.

Google Patents has, of course, posted his patent for a separable fastener.

And here’s an IBN post that explains how zippers work: How the Gideon Sundback Zipper works

Zippers are so helpful, even if they are a pain to insert into clothing. Zippers and set-in sleeves are two of the most aggravating things I’ve had to deal with in my sewing.

Jason Schultz & Jennifer M. Urban: Protecting Open Innovation

Jason Schultz and Jennifer M. Urban, both of the UC Berkeley School of Law, wrote this paper about why Open Innovation Communities have shied away from patents, how they’ve dealt with Intellectual Property Issues, and why they should seriously consider opting back into the patent system.

Protecting Open Innovation: A New Approach to Patent Threats, Transaction Costs, and Tactical Disarmament

Hackers Elect Bender from Futurama to the DC School Board (PC World)

Bender Bending Rodriguez Elected to DC School Board after hackers are encouraged to break into the network.

Yeah, that’s right—the hackers were basically dared to compromise the security of the network. From the article:

“This was not some nefarious attack from a group of rogue hackers: The DC school board actually dared hackers to crack its new Web-based absentee voting system four days ahead of the real election. University of Michigan professor Alexander Halderman, along with two graduate students, did the deed within a few hours.”

The rest of the article details everything the hackers had access to once they got into the network. It’s an interesting read about the importance of security… and why you shouldn’t publicly ask hackers to compromise your network.

This is Actually Patented: My Little Pony

I stumbled upon a drawing for a patent for “My Little Pony” today, which prompted me to look through Google’s Patent database for about an hour. I enjoy looking at patents—partially because I’m a huge nerd, and partially because they can be helpful. I actually save patent applications that I find amusing, and my little collection came in handy when I took a Patent Drafting class in law school. I had so much fun searching Google Patents that I decided to start posting links semi-regularly to some of the more interesting patents I find. So let’s get started.

Note: None of this is legal advice. It’s just me nerding out and having fun.

This week’s patents are design patents for “My Little Pony.”

“Toy Animal”
“Toy Pony”
“Toy Winged Horse Figure”
“Toy Unicorn”

All of these patents were issued in the 1980s, and all were assigned to Hasbro, the creators of the “My Little Pony” toy line and subsequent TV show. The drawings depict the horses in the original “G1” style. (The toys are currently in Generation 4, or G4, to coincide with the “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” TV series.) The “Toy Animal” patent shows the figure with hair and eyes, while all the other ones are featureless other than what the base molds would create—the horn, the wings, etc.

Since these are design patents, the terms are shorter than that of a regular patent. The patent terms lasted until the 90s or even into the 2000s. I wondered whether the expiration of the patent coincided with the G2 design for the ponies, and sure enough, in 1997 Hasbro introduced the second generation (G2.)

The Descriptions in these patents also differ greatly from most other patents. Where most patents actually describe the device, method, etc., these patents basically say “look at the drawings.” That’s because these are design patents. You can get away with referring exclusively to your drawing because that actually shows the design you’re trying to patent. Design Patents are more limited than regular patents, too—you have to take extra care to make sure your drawings depict everything you want to patent, because you don’t get protection for things that aren’t included in your design patent application.

So there you go–MLP unicorns and pegasuses (Pegasi?) were, at one point, patented designs. Interestingly, Hasbro lost the rights to a lot of the ponies’ names between G1 and G4–I believe that Applejack is the only G1 name that made it all the way to G4, but I could be mistaken. But that’s a different branch of IP law. XD