Science Is Elementary House Party on May 15, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 12.14.21 AMI’m on the Board for an amazing non-profit, Science is Elementary and am co-hosting a “kid-encouraged” casual party this Sunday, May 15th, at 2 p.m. in Los Altos.

SiE’s mission is “to inspire a passion for science in the citizens of tomorrow by increasing knowledge and interest in science at the elementary school level.”

The house party is targeted to people with kids, who are interested in potentially bringing this program to their schools, or getting involved. We will have science experiments for the kids, and a bit about the organization for the parents.

Please RSVP if you are interested in joining us to learn more about SiE’s mission  and enjoy treats, science games, and fun!

Hope to see you there!

Countries that are Not Members of the Berne Convention on Copyrights

Most countries have signed on to the Berne Convention, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which specifies that copyrighted material must be protected for fifty years (or more) after the death of the author.

WIPO provides a handy list of the signatories, all 168 of them, and someone at Wikipedia turned it into a map that hasn’t been updated since 2012 (and has a few errors).

But despite looking, I could not find a comprehensive list of non-members of the Berne Convention.  So I compared the full list of countries, all 1971, to the Berne list, and came up with a list of countries that are not members. Continue reading

Is Google Listening to You? Chrome’s Voice Search “Feature” may be problematic

Chrome has a feature called [voicesearch]( which allows someone using Chrome to initiate a search by saying “OK Google” followed by search terms.

In order to enable this feature, Chrome has to continuously monitor the microphone, analyze what is said, so that the initiating phrase can be identified.  You can see your settings here if you are on Chrome right now.  Strangely, this is something that you cannot control from Settings at all.

For those of us like me, who often work on confidential matters, and use a computer that runs Chrome, this is very disconcerting.  You can hypothetically turn off the microphone access, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to stick, if you recheck your settings.  Disabling the OK Google feature itself is relatively easier.  If you want to turn off the microphone access you have to do the following:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Select “Show Advanced Settings” at the bottom of the screen
  • Select “Content Settings” button under the Privacy label
  • Scroll down to Media. You can’t just turn off the mic.
  • Select Do Not Allow sites to access your camera and microphones
  • Select Manage Exceptions.
  • Delete the entry for google

Congratulations you have now turned off the microphone access for Google Chrome.  Maybe.  Because if you restart Chrome & go back, the Voice Search page will still show that the Microphone is on, as is Audio Capture Allowed.  At least it does for me.

Now from a legal perspective, Google may be within its rights to do whatever it wants, though their EULA does not appear to address this, and I certainly wasn’t aware of it (and thus did not give consent.) But just because it’s legally permitted does not make it acceptable.

It appears that your choice, if you are concerned about audio monitoring, is either to get rid of Chrome or wait for someone who is sufficiently tech savvy to provide a fix.  I will update this post if I find a solution to this problem.  If not, I will be getting rid of Chrome and going back to a stripped down version of Firefox.

Kara Farnandez Stoll Nominated to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

President Obama nominated Kara Farnandez Stoll to serve on the United States Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), on November 12th.  Although Ms. Stoll has primarily practiced in patent litigation, she is a former patent examiner, admitted to the Patent Bar and has a degree in electrical engineering.  Interestingly, she also was a clerk to Judge Schall, who is still on the court.

Ms. Stoll would be the one of the few judges on the CAFC with private practice patent experience.  The other judges are Judge Pauline Newman, who is a chemist and practiced as a patent attorney for many years, Judge Lourie, who was in-house but handled patent work, Judge Chen who was a patent prosecutor as well, and Judge Linn who was a patent examiner, and also worked in private practice.  Since many of the high profile cases of the CAFC are patent related, I’m always excited to see more patent experts nominated to this court.

Ms. Stoll would also be the fifth woman on the panel.  In addition to Judge Newman, Judges Prost, O’Malley, and Moore are on the court, and Judge Prost is the Chief Circuit Judge since Judge Rader resigned.

Hopefully Ms. Stoll’s nomination will sail through the Senate quickly.


And Now for Something Completely Different: Estate Planning & Guardianship

I received a newsletter from Darcy on nominating guardians for your kids, and thought it was worth sharing, though it’s not really one of my normal topics. But I’m sure many of you have children, and if so, this is interesting.

Being a Superhero to Your Kids

The Importance of Nominating Guardians for Your Children
by Darcey L. Wong, J.D., LL.M. (Estate Planning)

It’s beyond science fiction! The instant you become a parent, the universe shifts and the center of it lies in your hands. You gather super-human strength to survive sleepless nights, you set-up routines for feeding and diapering, you find ways to contain (or not) toddler energy with their safety in mind every time you spy a sharp corner, uneven pavement, or the dangers of the Target parking lot! You thought you survived becoming a new parent, and then you discover school is really part-time, AYSO soccer stands for “All Your Saturdays Occupied”, daily practice makes perfect, and to protect themselves from bullies they need martial arts classes! What? And there’s more… birthday parties, homework, chores, quality family time, instilling good values, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep (for the kids– you already sacrificed that for yourself!). You do it all (or everything that counts), somehow, and live to save the day again, tomorrow, and the next day.

But who will save the day, every day, like you do, if you become incapacitated or pass away? Statistics show that even superheroes are not immune from the common car accident, fatal medical issues, and other unpredictable injuries or accidents leading to an untimely passing.

Too many parents put off estate planning that addresses the care of their children, ignoring this important necessity because they feel young and invincible, or don’t think they have enough of a financial “estate” to warrant estate planning, or just don’t have any more superhero strength left in them to give it the proper attention. Some may assume that if anything happened, the other parent will survive and take care of the kids, or other family members would step right in and handle everything.

But it’s not easy filling the shoes (or boots) of a superhero. Failure to plan for unexpected incapacity or death of both parents puts your kids, their well-being, and their future at risk.

Without a good estate plan some disturbing situations may be more likely:

  • Your children could be placed with Child Protective Services. Even if it’s temporary, this is something that no parent would ever want for any child.
  • A judge will decide who will raise your children based on minimal information about your wishes, which may be grossly misrepresented after your death. Though a judge will ultimately determine your child’s guardian (no matter what planning is done), with a good estate plan the judge will know your wishes for your “back-up superheroes” for your kids, as well as who you would not want involved.
  • Your children could be cared for by someone you’d never choose. It could be a family member with good intentions, but who you wouldn’t even want raising Underdog (your canine sidekick), nonetheless your kids, because their morals, values or lifestyle are completely different to yours.
  • Your children and entire family could find themselves in a long, drawn-out custody fight over who will be the guardian with no clear solution in sight.
  • There could also be a court battle over who will control your children’s assets.
  • Control of your family business, the family home, or other valuable assets could cause unnecessary conflict, and key assets could be mismanaged or sold out of the family when you intended to keep them for your children as your legacy.
  • The children end up fighting amongst themselves over your assets or blowing their entire inheritance after they turn 18 years old when they gain full control of it.
  • Unscrupulous guardians (think Lex Luthor) could come forward to take custody of your children, only to squander the assets.

These are some disturbing scenarios that are unfortunately not make-believe. It’s heartbreaking to see families torn apart in epic battles of alleged “good versus evil”, fighting over children and money, even while knowing the parents would not want this in a million light years.

There’s Rarely a “Good Time” to Plan

When you are flying/driving cross-town saving the day over and over, you probably don’t feel like you have the time or money to meet with an attorney to plan. But even if you got a little bonus and free time, you may want to pay down your mortgage first or take a vacation. Or maybe you don’t think you have a large enough estate to justify spending money on an estate plan. (If you have more than $150,000 you may be subject to probate in California, and don’t overlook the value of a Bay Area home and the impact of life insurance proceeds.) Or maybe you think estate planning is something you can do later (when you’re “old”)—in your late 40s, 50s or 60s.

The truth is that there’s rarely a “good time” to plan. Life gets in the way. But even superheroes don’t take totally unnecessary risks. Failure to plan for unexpected incapacity or untimely death puts your kids, their well-being, and their future at risk. Go save the day, beyond your days, by calling me to start putting an estate plan in place now to protect your children when you are not there to do so.

This was prepared by Darcy Wong, who can be contacted at:

Darcey L. Wong, J.D., LL.M. (Estate Planning)
Law Offices of Darcey L. Wong, P.C.
Tel 650.578.0300
Fax 650.240.3905

Published with permission of the author.

The CLUB Anniversary Event

I was one of the original members of The Women’s Club of Silicon Valley.  I am also one of the people whose career took a huge curve as a result of my membership.  My new law firm, HIPLegal was founded by three women, all of whom are CLUB members, and two of whom were on the founding Board.  So I am an avid supporter of the CLUB.

The Second Anniversary Event is coming up in just two short weeks, on October 21st at 6pm at the Quadrus Conference Center in Menlo Park.  The location has a gorgeous view, the programming is going to be awesome; I really encourage you to check it out.  If you are interested in supporting women becoming successful, in networking, and in having the amazing experience of being surrounded by brilliant driven women, you should come.  (And yes, men are allowed).

You can find the invitation here.

The CLUB has a Women in Technology Event on July 24th in Palo Alto

The CLUB is having an event for Women in Technology, and the lawyers who love them.  This is the invitation, open to women in tech in Silicon Valley is as follows:

Join us Thursday July 24th at VMware in Palo Alto, along with our five panelists to discuss Women in Technology! Hear their stories of how they got into tech, opinions on where the industry is going and more!


Laurie Hane: Vice President & Deputy General Counsel
Deanna Slocum: Vice President, Ethics & Compliance
Maryam Zand: Senior Manager, Product management and marketing, AaaS for vCHS
Suchitha Chetia: Sr. Director, QE, Storage & Availability Product Engineering
Natasha Shevelyov: Program Manager, Security Strategist, Product Security Engineering

An annotated map of the VMware campus: palo-alto-campus-expansion-master-campus-map.pdf

Please come if you are interested.

Time: July 24, 2014 from 6pm to 8pm
Location: VMware in Palo Alto
Street: 3401 Hillview Ave
City/Town: Palo Alto
Event Type: tech, event
Organized By: Risa Beckwith and Laura Fechete

Actual location map:

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 2.40.25 AM

No RSVP is necessary.  If you are interested, please come by.  I hope to see you there.

Post-Alice Decision on Patent Ineligible Processes

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in Digitech Image Technologies Llc V. Electronics For Imaging Inc. decided that a patent directed to the generation and use of an “improved device profile” that describes spatial and color properties of a device within a digital image processing system was not patent eligible, as “abstract.”  The claims themselves were very broad.  The apparatus claim was short, and claimed:

1. A device profile for describing properties of a device in a digital image reproduction system to capture, transform or render an image, said device profile comprising:

first data for describing a device dependent transformation of color information content of the image to a device independent color space; and

second data for describing a device dependent transformation of spatial information content of the image in said device independent color space.

The court compared this claim to the signal claims of Nuijten, and simply stated that “the device profile claims of the ′415 patent do not require any physical embodiment, much less a non-transitory one. The device profile, as claimed, is a collection of intangible color and spatial information. We therefore hold that the device profile claims of the ′415 patent do not encompass eligible subject matter as required by section 101 and are therefore not patent eligible.” The method claims are similarly quickly dispatched.  The method claims too were quite broad, claiming:

10. A method of generating a device profile that describes properties of a device in a digital image reproduction system for capturing, transforming or rendering an image, said method comprising:

generating first data for describing a device dependent transformation of color information content of the image to a device independent color space through use of measured chromatic stimuli and device response characteristic functions;

generating second data for describing a device dependent transformation of spatial information content of the image in said device independent color space through use of spatial stimuli and device response characteristic functions; and

combining said first and second data into the device profile.

The court stated that “the above claim thus recites an ineligible abstract process of gathering and combining data that does not require input from a physical device. As discussed above, the two data sets and the resulting device profile are ineligible subject matter. Without additional limitations, a process that employs mathematical algorithms to manipulate existing information to generate additional information is not patent eligible.”

This, I think is key, going forward:  Without additional limitations, a process that employs mathematical algorithms to manipulate existing information to generate additional information is not patent eligible.

The court does provide a clue for how to write patent-eligible claims under this new regime.  It notes that “The claim generically recites a process of combining two data sets into a device profile; it does not claim the processor’s use of that profile in the capturing, transforming, or rendering of a digital image. The only mention of a “digital image reproduction system” lies in the claim’s preamble, and we have routinely held that a preamble does not limit claim scope if it “merely states the purpose or intended use of an invention.”

I, for one, am planning on affirmatively reciting the use of any data being claimed, and at least linking it to a specific element, like an output or a processor.

LinkedIn Labs: Your Network Mapping

I am an avid user of LinkedIn. Not only does it replace those business cards I used to lose all the time, but it is also a great way to find people. As part of my practice, I often have to track down inventors that used to work at one of my clients’ companies, but have long departed. LinkedIn has been amazingly useful for this. It is sometimes frustrating that certain features I really would like don’t exist. But I still do try to connect with everyone I have professional relationships with.

This leads to a very interesting LinkedIn network. The LinkedIn network is a project at LinkedIn Labs, and it shows you how the people you are connected are connected to each-other.

My map is rather weirdly disconnected.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 11.45.35 PM

It looks like I have four almost completely independent sub-networks.  This isn’t entirely untrue.  The orange represents my colleagues at my former firm, and those strongly connected to them.  The blue are my old friends.  They are almost entirely unconnected as networks.  Oddly, the green are my clients, who tend not to be connected to either friends or former colleagues.  And the group that is most connected with the others is the purple, which is the women’s network that grew out of WiLPower and TheCLUB, both organizations that help professional women develop their careers.

I attend WilPower many years ago, and stayed connected to the group.  And, it appears, the group is also connected to my (mostly male) former colleagues and my friends circle as well.

What story does your LinkedIn network tell?

Sneak Preview of the New Silicon Valley Satellite Patent Office

Sneak Preview of the New Silicon Valley Satellite Patent Office

When:     Saturday, June 21 at 3 p.m.
Where:   Sunnyvale Public Library, 665 W Olive Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086, in the Program Room
Who:        John Cabeca, Director of the upcoming US Patent and Trademark Silicon Valley Satellite Office
What:      Discussion on the strategic support to be provided to the local start-up community, his vision as Director of these efforts, as well as the more general services and programs which will be initiated. Director Cabeca will also discuss employment opportunities and any training resources for people interested in becoming an examiner.

This is an official USPTO event.

The Sunnyvale library is also a Patent and Trademark  Resource Center (PTRC), and worth checking out.