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September 2004

IP Blogs: Pocket Parts for a Digital Age

By Robert J. Ambrogi

For lawyers in many fields, blogs are becoming the new pocket part. With their immediacy and focus, they provide up-to-the-minute news and analysis of judicial, legislative and regulatory developments.

More than in any other area of law, this is the case for intellectual property. Dozens of blogs now track developments in patent, trademark and copyright law. Written by practicing lawyers, full-time academics and even non-lawyers, they discuss events virtually as they happen, often adding their unique perspective and analysis.

Herewith is a survey of selected IP blogs. The listing is alphabetical, not by ranking. (For the sake of space, omitted are those that focus on domain name rights and governance.)

  • A Copyfighter's Musings. Derek Slater, a 21-year-old senior at Harvard College, writes this blog, focused on copyright law as it pertains to the Internet. Don't let his age or lack of a law degree throw you - he earned his stripes working with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons and the Samuelson Clinic, and he is an affiliate at Harvard's Berkman Center, where he works on its Digital Media Project.
  • Anything Under the Sun Made by Man. This blog about patents and business strategies is written by Coloradan Russ Krajec, a registered patent agent, engineer, and inventor with more than 20 U.S. patents of his own. He writes about topics such as claims and drafting, patent strategies and the business of patent law.
  • Berkeley Intellectual Property Weblog. Originally produced by a class at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, faculty and students carry on its mission of advancing the debate over intellectual property by aggregating noteworthy, factual information with thought-provoking commentary.
  • BLOG@IP::JUR. German patent attorney Axel H Horns writes about developments in IP law, focused on German and European patents and trademarks.
  • Chris Rush Cohen. A third-year student at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Cohen writes about IP and Internet law, technology news, and New York City.
  • CONSEJO, , Described as an IP law blog, it appears to be abandoned, having no new postings since December 2003.
  • Copyfight. Focused on "the politics of IP," Copyfight is jointly written by a group of academics, practitioners and writers highly regarded in the fields of IP and Internet law. Their purpose is to explore the nexus of law and "the networked world."
  • Current Copyright Readings. M. Claire Stewart, h of digital media services at the Northwestern University Library, describes this as a bibliography of current articles on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the TEACH act and other copyright issues.
  • Dan Fingerman. A patent litigator in San Jose, Calif., Fingerman, writes about a hodgepodge of topics, from patents to hockey.
  • Deep Links. This group blog from Electronic Frontier Foundation staff members features pointers to news articles and blog posts related to IP, privacy, free speech online, technology and Internet architecture.
  • Rader Blog. Fellow in residence at Stanford Law School's The Center for Internet and Society, Elizabeth Rader writes about IP, privacy and Internet law.
  • Furdlog. Senior research engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development, Frank Field writes about the technology, culture and policy of IP.
  • Geof's Waste of Bandwidth Blog. Noting that the three requirements for patentability are utility, novelty and nonobviousness, Ohio patent lawyer Geoffrey L. Oberhaus strives to make his blog fit all three. In a thoughtful and self-effacing style, he writes about patent law and practice - and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
  • Greplaw. From Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet Law and Technology, Greplaw follows recent developments in IP and Internet law.
  • Guiding Rights Blog. An IP lawyer in Chicago, Mark V.B. Partridge publishes this blog as an extension of his 2003 book, Guiding Rights: Trademarks, Copyright and the Internet. He posts frequently about IP news and legal developments.
  • INDUCE Act Blawg. Three writers contribute to this blog, devoted to tracking and commenting on the Inducing Infringements of Copyright Act of 2004.
  • IP Litigation Blog. On Aug. 31, 2004, Seattle, Wash., lawyer Philip Mann marked two achievements - he launched this blog, and he launched his own firm, the Mann Law Group. It is difficult to take the measure of a blog this new, but worth noting is the blog's striking design, a product of Kevin O'Keefe's lexBlog, www.lexblog.com.
  • IPTAblog. Third-year law student Andrew Raff writes with a focus on how computers and the Internet affect the practice and substance of law, particularly within the areas of copyright, trademark and privacy.
  • I/P Updates. William F. Heinze, an IP lawyer in Atlanta, where he is of counsel to the firm Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley, provides news and information for IP practitioners. He is a frequent and thoughtful writer who covers a range of IP related matters.
  • The Invent Blog. Stephen M. Nipper, a patent attorney in Boise, Idaho, provides news and information about patents, trademarks, copyrights and IP law in general. But of most interest are his postings about unique and noteworthy inventions and inventors.
  • IP News Blog. Students and faculty at the Franklin Pierce Law Center provide frequent reports on developments in U.S. and international IP law.
  • IPKat. Jeremy Phillips and Ilanah Simon are prominent U.K. academics, editors and authors in the field of IP law. Their blog looks at copyright, patent, trademark, branding and privacy law from a mainly U.K. and European perspective.
  • Navigating the Patent Maze. Having spent part of her career spearheading development of an online IP database, Carol Nottenburg, now a Seattle patent lawyer, brings to her blog a unique focus on finding and using online patent data.
  • Nerd Law.org. Kimberly Isbell, an IP associate with a Washington, D.C., law firm and a former law-student affiliate of Harvard's Berkman Center, blogs about what she describes as "law for nerds at heart."
  • Patently Obvious. Dennis Crouch, a patent attorney at the Chicago law firm McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff, covers patent law with substantial depth and scope. His topics range from new lawsuits to interesting inventions, but first goal is to review every appellate opinion directly related to patent law, most regulatory and legislative changes, and some district court opinions.
  • PHOSITA. A group blog written by lawyers at Dunlap, Codding & Rogers, Oklahoma City, Okla., its name comes from the patent-law term for a mythical person of ordinary skill in the art to whom an invention, in order to be patentable, must not be obvious. They seek to write about IP news "that may be of interest to the PHOSITA in each of us."
  • Promote the Progress. Maintained by J. Matthew Buchanan, a lawyer in Perrysburg, Ohio, the blog focuses on intellectual property and technology law issues.
  • TechLawyer. With straw hat, shades and Hawaiian shirt, this IP and technology lawyer from Honolulu provides his thoughts on developments in law, business and politics.
  • The Importance of . Former president and co-founder of Yale Law School's Law and Technology Society, and founder of the technology law and policy news site LawMeme, Ernest Miller is a fellow of Yale's Information Society Project, where he writes about IP, Internet law and First Amendment issues.
  • The Intelprop.ca Blog. Ontario lawyer Peter Eliopoulos launched this blog about Canadian IP law in August 2004. He covers news about Canadian intellectual property court decisions, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, the USPTO and the Patent Co-operation Treaty.
  • Trademark Blog. New York City lawyer Martin Schwimmer provides news and commentary about U.S. and international trademark and domain name issues. Former general counsel to NameEngine Inc., a domain name services company, Schwimmer is vice president of the Intellectual Property Constituency of ICANN.
  • Two-Seventy-One Patent Blog. Peter Zura, a patent attorney in Chicago, maintains this blog, devoted to "changing the world of patents and IP one blog at a time."

Robert J. Ambrogi, a lawyer in Rockport, Mass., is author of the newly revised and expanded second edition of The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web. He writes the blogs, LawSites and Media Law.


© 2005 Robert J. Ambrogi.