Having just returned from the three-day annual Intellectual Property Law Institute sponsored by the State Bar of California, we are still processing what we heard. As you might imagine, the odd combination of the ongoing growth of technology and the recession continues to create new intellectual property legal issues that simply did not exist ten years ago. We plan to provide more in-depth reports about the IP Institute in the days to come, but here is a short list of some of this year's highlights:
* Trademark and domain name disputes are continuing to explode and the landscape will only get more challenging for brand owners as the number and variety of top level domain names (.com, .net, .org, etc.) expand almost geometrically;
* Although the U.S. Copyright Office's efforts to implement an online copyright registration system have been well-intentioned, the Copyright Office is seriously underfunded and the online registration system is slower than the previous hard paper-only procedure;
* As the cost and difficulty of enforcing patents increases, so does the importance and value of using trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets to protect and exploit your brands, content and inventions; and
* In what may be more than just a nod to the explosion of social media/networking, Facebook's former privacy chief who is running for California Attorney General delivered one of the Institute's keynote addresses.
More to follow in the days to come; stay tuned.