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Episode 853

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853 - The Netbook and the girl
Aired
Friday, November 14, 2008
Duration
39:51
Hosts
Jason Howell

Tom Merritt

Molly Wood

Rafe Needleman
Producer
Jason Howell
Guests
None

The Netbook and the girlEdit

On today's Buzz Out Loud, sage dating tips from a bunch of old married people. Meanwhile, Microsoft launches an online store where you can go buy things if you like to pay more than you have to; a girl offers to pimp your start-up for a mere $75 a day and we give her about a million dollars worth of grief; and Google loves the iPhone more than Android--at least for now!

StoriesEdit

Microsoft launches online store: Is there deeper meaning here?

PSP outsells PS3 and Nintendo (Wii and DS) outsell anything you can think of

Google brings speech recognition to phones

Universal Music Group: We're still selling tunes, amazingly

Obama to deliver weekly address via YouTube

Lawmaker plans bill on Web neutrality

GirlInYourShirt: $75 buys your start-up marketing for a day

DNA strands modified into tiny fiber-optic cables

Purified urine to be astronauts’ drinking water

Voice MailEdit

Eric from Michigan:Wii Fit

Chris from Austin:The girl and the netbook

EmailEdit

Big news today

This is Kevin Yeaux from openSUSE again. We’re on our way to our first release candidate for openSUSE 11.1 on November 27th, but there was some other big news today: Banshee, the open-source music player sponsored by openSUSE/Novell, just released it’s 1.4 version.

The biggest news in here is for owners of the T-Mobile G1 Android phone: full support for the phone’s music playing capabilities. Full automatic or manual synchronization, cover art, and the ability to import music purchased on the Amazon MP3 store into your computer.

The other major news is that there is a beta release of Banshee 1.4 for Mac OS X. Also included are many areas of UI polish and bugfixes.

Banshee is a Mono-based open-source media player that supports music, movies, podcasts, features Last.fm integration, and more. Banshee is the default music player for openSUSE.

For more info, see http://www.Banshee-Project.org and http://abock.org/2008/11/13/banshee-14-hits-the-streets-packed-with-awesome/

Thanks, and *love* the show, ya’ll. – Kevin

Type so much faster on this phone

I think I can explain why RIM went with the suretype keyboard on the new BlackBerry Storm. I have the Pearl, which has the same double lettered keyboard. I can type so much faster on this phone than I can on any other; even my friends with full QWERTY phones can’t nearly keep up with me. And I think I know why: You can just hit the general direction of the key you want, the area you are aiming for is twice the size of a normal key. The phone software does an excellent job of guessing what you mean, and it learns new words as you type. It also has the added bonus of doing punctuation for you! On a touchscreen, that would be even more usefful.

Good job! Ryan from Fresno

‘will work on the toilet or in bed’

This is in response to the netbook email you guys received in episode 851. Upon hearing the email, I recalled a recent Kotaku.com article (http://kotaku.com/5083584/the-number-one-location-for-portable-gaming-is-home). I wouldn’t be surprised if people bought these netbooks and just used them around the house. I think Kotaku puts it best saying ” ‘portable’ can be defined as ‘will work on the toilet or in bed’ “.

Love the show! Not a long-time listener, but hope to be a… future long-time listener…?

-Alex M. Berkley, MI

I didn’t find any trade-dress protection

In addition to having a trademark on a word (CBS ) or a logo (think about the CBS Eye) you can also protect what is called Trade Dress . Remember this branch of law is about protecting indicators of source-that is the mark by which consumers know your products from someone else’s. Pretty much anything that can be tied to a specific good or service, or a source of those goods and services, is protectable. That includes how that good or service looks/is packaged. Need easy examples?

Think about how all McDonalds look the same on the inside. Or how, even without the label, you’d know what a Coke bottl e looks like (or a Mrs. Butterworths for that matter.) These aren’t names or logos per se, but you’d know what the goods/services were anyway. This Trade Dress can apply to both the packaging of the goods, or the goods themselves. Usually the Office will not say something is inherently distinctive (and instantly protectable under TM law) but will require a showing of acquired distinctiveness (meaning you have to show that consumers have come to associate the trade dress with your products only).

Now I know what you’re thinking-isn’t it incredibly dangerous to grant Trademark protection to how a good is shaped etc? Isn’t there a possibility that the Office would be granting a Patent in perpetuity for a design or invention that should only be protected by Patent’s limited term? And you’re right-it is tricky business. This is why the good people at the USPTO get paid to do what they do. It is a very tricky job to separate those elements of packaging/the goods that are protectable to those that are functional or patentable etc-but this is what is done. It is incredibly complex at times and would bore the Buzz audience beyond repair to explain it in full detail-so go look it up if you want to know more.

So let’s get back to Lego-Apparently they were granted a EU Trademark for the design of their blocks (which is to say that the EU office originally thought that there was something about the Lego block in its appearance that made it distinct from other building blocks and that consumers would recognize it as a lego block based on its shape alone). Mega Block , which brought the cancellation suit, must have said something like “wait a minute! This a patent/functional thing and the EU should have never granted protection for this design. We should be able to make competing blocks and the protection is baring us from doing so.”

(For a point of reference think about how the coke bottle, while protected, doesn’t prevent Pepsi from putting soda in a bottle the way that the protection here might prevent Mega Block from making toys.)

What has happened is that that court has agreed and cancelled the protection for Lego. This will get appealed, clearly, and we’ll have to see what happens.

Also-this analysis involved a little guesswork because I”m not that familiar with how EU trademark law works-but it works roughly the same.

For the record-I didn’t find any trade-dress protection for the Lego block in the US.

-Anon.


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