Pull up a chair by the fire and I will tell you about ghost stories. I mean, of course, stories written by ghosts not stories about them. Recently, the specter of the monkey copyright caused a change to the Compendium of the U. S. Copyright Office Practices. The change addressed monkey selfies directly but also clarified other haunting questions such as “can divine or supernatural beings hold copyrights?” The answer, without a shade of doubt, is no. So now we know that other beings like angels, vampires, and zombies do not have a ghost of a chance to get their works copyrighted. Does this mean supernatural ghouls and gals cannot get copyright protection for their work? Luckily, there is the apparition of hope.
The Compendium says that it will grant copyrights still to works merely inspired by a divine spirit. Where el chupacabra may have to fight for either personhood or being considered a divine spirit to be granted copyright protections, other creatures will have a much easier time. Many supernatural creatures have ways of “inspiring” people to make their work. A ghost can use a simple possession. A vampire can glamour someone to make their work. A zombie can pick someone’s brain. These sparks of creativity inspired on another may allow these supernatural beings to get their works made and perhaps protected from copying by others.
Assuming that these creatures that go bump in the night do exist, they would have to argue that they deserve protections as with this change to the Compendium, it is clear that the only works created by current human beings will be afforded a copyright. The law requires a human being to put time and effort into a work for it to be eligible for copyright protection. Someone cannot use something they find as is and claim a copyright nor can they claim a copyright in a non-human’s work. So, if you see a writing wraith, a poetic poltergeist, or a banshee brandishing a bagpipe, tell them it’s better to have them “inspire” you because if they make the work themselves, their copyright will be as incorporeal as they are. Mark Minick and Victor Cardona.
The Business Review has done a special issue on the energy storage industry in New York. The highlights range from the NY BEST Commercialization Center to GE's new Fuel Cell plant. The technology sectors in the state range from batteries, such as Bess Technologies and Nohms, to ultracapitors such as Paper Battery and Ioxus, among many others. These companes are start ups and companies that have been around a bit longer, such as Plug Power which hosted a visit from Governor Cuomo just the other day.
These companies are busy creating the next generation of products to power our cell phones and electric vehicles and the patents to protect their innovations are starting to pile up. As indicated in a recent study New York is third in the nation in entrepreneurship.
In just the last three years, 41 Fuel Cell and 28 Hybrid/electric vehicle (HEV)patents have been granted to New York entities according the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. New York's fuel cell patent owners include a range of companies and academic institutions from across the state including GE, BAE, Solid Cell, Corning, Brookhaven, Plug Power and the University of Rochester among others. HEV patents since 2011 were granted to a less diverse group that includes.GE, IBM, and Leviton.
A look at US clean energy patents since 2002 gives context to these numbers for Fuel Cells depicted in blue and HEV in pink, among other clean energy sectors, such as solar in yellow and wind in blue:
A look at New York's place among the top clean energy patent states in 2013 put it behind California which has a diverse cleantech scene and Michigan which is the home of the US auto industry. New York's position has historically been largely fortified by GE, and primarily its wind business, with assists from IBM, and many others. The mix of contributors to New York's innovative mix appears poised to grow, particularly in the energy storage sector.
A look at US patents using "battery" in the title, although not a very detailed analysis, revealed 158 patents for New York entities since 2011. These patents were also heavily weighted toward the big boys, GE and IBM, but also included appearances by the Raymond Corporation, Great Batch, Bren-tronics, BAE, Electrochem, Symbol Technologies and Plug Power, among others.
According to William Acker, of New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium as reported by the Business review, energy storage (e.g, batteries, capacitors) is poised to grow driven by new factors, such as distributed energy generation. and in particular solar energy. This source of energy will soon reach, if it has not already, a level where we it can not be used efficiently at the time it is produced, and thus it is necessary to move to a model where it can be stored and discharged when it is most beneficial. Elon Musk of Solarcity just announced a plan for more people to own their own solar panels which can only accelerate the transition described by Acker. The innovators in New York will likely have a hand in how this plays out which should make for an interesting ride for them and those of us wondering what comes next. Victor Cardona
So who actually owns a selfie? Self would be the safe bet one would think. But what if the selfie is taken by a monkey? It certainly makes the question more interesting. Well interesting compared to your average garden variety copyright question of course. It turns out that the Copyright Office will not register a photographic work created by an animal.
Fuel cell maker Plug Power has signed a deal with M&T bank which should help it get forklift trucks powered by its fuel cells into more warehouses and distribution centers.
In the way that Solar City's solar leases and cell phone companies' low down payments have facilitated growth of these industries, the financing model Plug Power is pursuing requires a company to just say yes to a prepackaged package including financing, fuel cell trucks and ongoing maintenance. Plug Power was a pioneer in the fuel cell space with the patents to prove it and now appears to be on the way to making a business out of it. Plug Power has also been cited as being a potential partner for solar companies in solving the problem of the sun not shining at night. Also, in NY Fuel Cell news, GE is building a fuel cell plant in Saratoga NY which appears to be directed toward grid storage.
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Solar is said to be dominating new US cleantech jobs while solar manufacturers are set for record shipments in the second quarter. Solar patents are off the charts.
According to Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) the number of new cleantech jobs doubled in the second quarter as compared to the first quarter. The jump in clean energy jobs is said to be based on market certainty and a confidence in the future of clean energy. The EPA's new Clean Power Plan, which is designed to cut carbon pollution, along with greenhouse gas reductions in California, are cited as being prime factors in this industry confidence.
The trademark system is a use based system such that to have any rights use must be made of a mark in commerce in connection with the sale of goods or services. For goods , such as products, widgets and things you can touch, this use must be directly on the goods via an engraving marking, label or other direct contact of the marks on the goods.
As reported previously, GE plans to start producing solid oxide fuel cells at a new plant in Saratoga county in 2017. A pilot plant for GE's new start up is located near Hudson Valley Community College's (HVCC's) Tec Smart campus in Malta adjacent to Global Foundries' computer chip manufacturing factory. GE will help HVCC develp a program for future workers of its fuel cell plant.
The HVCC Tec Smart Campus also offers programs in solar and wind energy technologies as well as computer chip manufacturing. It is starting to look Iike GE is serious about Fuel Cells which will be a strong complement to its wind turbine business, Durathon batteries and solar research activities. GE is styling this new business as a start up with its own board of directors and backing from GE ventures. Both the batteries and fuel cells can be viewed as ways of storing energy for when the sun doesn't shine and wind doesn't blow. GE has indicated that it sees its fuel cells as using natural gas as a fuel for more efficient utilization than conventional natural gas power plants. [updated] Victor Cardona