Intellectual Property typically refers to patents, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks that are used to protect the innovative efforts of an organization. Patents protect certain novel, useful and non-obvious inventions. Copyrights protect particular expressions of an idea, though not the idea itself. Trade secrets protect information that has value by virtue of not being generally known or readily ascertainable by others. Trademarks protect certain goodwill associated with the organization's goods and services.
Computer-related technologies, such as the Internet, have posed new challenges for intellectual property law. Legislation and court decisions impacting patents, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks have adapted intellectual property law to address new issues brought about by such emerging technologies. As the pace of technological change continues to increase, intellectual property law will need to keep up. Accordingly, the balance struck by intellectual property laws today will likely be set askew by technological changes in the future. Engineers need to consider not only the law as it exists today, but also how it might change in the future. Likewise, lawyers and judges need to consider legal issues not only in view of the current state of the art in technology, but also with an eye to technologies yet to come.
Intellectual property licensing is an important issue facing all technology companies. Before entering into license agreements a number of issues need to be addressed, including invention ownership, obtaining and identifying licensable subject matter, and developing a licensing strategy. There are a number of important provisions that are included in most intellectual property license agreements. These provisions include definitions, the license grant, consideration, audit rights, confidentiality, warranties, indemnification, and limitation of liability. Special licensing considerations exist relative to each type of intellectual property, and when the other party is a foreign company or a university.
This paper is intended to provide background information for engineers (with as little pain and as few acronyms as possible) about intellectual property litigation.
Since the article is written by lawyers, "warranty disclaimers" are required at the beginning. The thoughts presented below are offered as general comments and advice. Application to any given circumstance varies. Consequently, if in trouble, you should have and defer to your own counsel (and, by no means, should you cite this article to them; they will resent it). Finally, the "vast seamless web we call the law" is, in many cases, a confused, self-contradictory, jumbled mess. Each rule has exceptions, which themselves have exceptions. The material below is intended to be accurate but is also, as a practical necessity, incomplete.
Consumers have long considered regulated inspections of meat and poultry production and slaughter as a means to protect the general public from health-threatening or even deadly unwholesome meat and poultry supplies. Today, consumers rely on United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS) inspectors to ensure a healthy, risk-free supply of poultry products in retail establishments.
A review is provided of image processing techniques that have been applied to the inspection of pistachio nuts using X-ray images. X-ray sensors provide non-destructive internal product detail not available from other sensors. The primary concern in this data is detecting the presence of worm infestations in nuts, since they have been linked to the presence of aflatoxin. We describe new techniques for segmentation, feature selection, selection of product categories (clusters), classifier design, etc. Specific novel results include: a new segmentation algorithm to produce images of isolated product items; preferable classifier operation (the classifier with the best probability of correct recognition Pc is not best); higher-order discrimination information is present in standard features (thus, high-order features appear useful); classifiers that use new cluster categories of samples achieve improved performance. Results are presented for X-ray images of pistachio nuts; however, all techniques have use in other product inspection applications.