Monday, February 20, 2012

Madonna Accused of Infringing Brazilian Song Writer's Copyright

News out of Brazil in the last few days reports that Joao Brasil, a Brazilian songwriter, is accusing Madonna of copyright infringment.  Brasil claims that the chorus of  Madonna's new hit single "Give Me All Your Luvin'" copies from his "Love Banana" song.

To prove copyright infringement, Brasil does not have to show that the two songs are identical.  But he will have to show that the infringing portion of Madonna's song is "substantially similar" to his, not just confusing or that her song is reminiscent of his. In some courts, the test is whether the similarity between the two songs is so striking or substantial that the similarity could only have been caused by copying, and not, for example, through coincidence or independent creation

While Madonna has had some similar problems in the past, frankly I do not see this claim being successful.  If anything, Brasil's song reminds me more of Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" than Madonna's song. But you be the judge:

Love Banana
Give Me All Your Luvin'
Hollaback Girl

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Good Week for RI Economic Development

We had two pieces of good news this week from the RI Economic Development Corporation.

On Tuesday, the RIEDC Board announced that it had approved a $500,000 loan to attract PCS UtiliData, of Spokane, Washington, to relocate to Rhode Island. PCS UtiliData is a control system integrator providing automation,  consulting, engineering, design, integration, control, automated energy conservation and energy management solutions to the electric utility industry.  The company will initially bring 8 to 15 jobs to Rhode Island by the end of 2012, and plans to expand to 47 full time employees in Rhode Island by 2015.  The average annual wage for these positions is expected to be about $91,000.

The other piece of good news was the release on Tuesday by Providence-based 38 Studios , owned by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, of its first video game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.  Reckoning is a single-player role playing action game that introduces players to the fantasy Kingdom of Amalur.  38 Studios was the subject of a controversial $75 million loan guarantee in 2010 by the State of Rhode Island.  In exchange for an arrangement where the State does not loan any money directly to 38 Studios, but guarantees the repayment of a $75 million loan by banks and other investors, 38 Studios agreed to relocate its headquarters to Providence and create up to 450 jobs here by 2013.  (In a loan guarantee, the State is only obligated to pay the lenders if 38 Studios defaults on the loan).  The State's guarantee is secured by 38 Studio's second project, currently called "Copernicus," which is being developed in Rhode Island.  The successful release of the first game makes it more likely that the second game will also be successfully released, in which case the State's loan guarantee will be cancelled, and the deal will be considered a "home run" in economic development circles.

Jobs are jobs.  Economic development is a slow but steady way to increase jobs.  Let's hope the EDC can continue its progress.

Monday, February 6, 2012

January 2012 IP Cases Filed in US District Court of RI

There were no new intellectual property (patent, trademark and copyright) case filings in January 2012 at the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island. This matched January 2011, when no intellectual property cases were filed.

These numbers only include cases that have been designated in the court's database as a patent, trademark or copyright case. There are other cases pending where the complaint may include trademark or other intellectual property claims. But unless the case is designated as such, we are not counting it here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

More Venture Dollars Find RI in 4th Quarter

Venture capital investments in New England rose to $774 million invested in 116 companies in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the MoneyTree Report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association based on data from Thomson Reuters.. 

Five of those companies are in Rhode Island, netting a total of $3,032,000.  Over the entire year, venture investments in Rhode Island companies totalled $40,383,000.

While investment levels in Rhode Island companies are improving, they still have not reached levels of a decade ago. The high mark was in 2000, when over $100 million was invested in 11 Rhode Island companies. In 2001, venture capital investments in Rhode Island companies totalled $46.9 million for the entire year. 

Nationally, venture capitalists invested $6.566 billionin 844 deals in the fourth quarter, and a total of $28.4 billion in 3673 deals for the entire year.  This represents an increase of 22% in dollars and a 4% rise in deals over 2010.  The Software, Biotechnology and Medical Device sectors received the most investment dollars for the year.  Internet companies scored their highest level of investment over the past decade, with $6.9 billion being invested in 997 deals.

Locally, the five companies to receive investments are
  • VCharge, Inc., of Cranston, a company that offers scalable, rapid-response energy storage for the electric grid, received $1,782,000 in early stage funding from the State's Slater Technology Fund and the Clean Energy Venture Group.
  • GreenBytes, Inc., of Ashaway, a more established company, received $1,150,000 from an undisclosed investor.  GreenBytes makes hardware and software that IT operations teams use to store and protect huge amounts of data, and develops deduplication data storage solutions.
  • Alektrona Corporation, of Providence, received $100,000 from the Slater Technology Fund.  Alektrona specializes in networking smart energy devices and applications.
  • Mnemosyne Pharmaceuticals, Inc., of Providence, a biotechnology company that is developing therapeutic products to treat schizophrenia and other cognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders, also received an investment from the Slater Technology Fund.
  • Tracelytics, of Providence, a company that provides performance analysis and diagnostic services for web applications, received seed investments from Battery Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, and Google Ventures.
Let's hope 2012 brings many more investment dollars to Rhode Island!