Should You Still Care About Google Authorship?

While Google has removed author photos from search results, they are still putting an emphasis on identifying the authoritative, credible, and popular identities on the Web and rewarding them with higher visibility.


See on Scoop.itCreators Lab


UI, UX: Who Does What? A Designer’s Guide To The Tech Industry

Design is a rather broad and vague term. When someone says “I’m a designer,” it is not immediately clear what they actually do day to day. There are a number of different responsibilities encompassed by the umbrella term designer.


Design-related roles exist in a range of areas from industrial design (cars, furniture) to print (magazines, other publications) to tech (websites, mobile apps). With the relatively recent influx of tech companies focused on creating interfaces for screens, many new design roles have emerged. Job titles like UX or UI designer are confusing to the uninitiated and unfamiliar even to designers who come from other industries.

Let’s attempt to distill what each of these titles really mean within the context of the tech industry.


4 steps to keep your startup from becoming a trademark troll

The current intellectual property landscape underscores just how precarious it is to register trademarks in connection with your startup.

Perhaps the most famous recent trademark controversy occurred when enraged developers and companies the world over by filing to trademark the very general term “candy” in order to prevent Candy Crush knockoffs.

While the term “trademark troll” has been around for a while, King succeeded in forcing it into trending mode. (Even if it doesn’t have universal rights to the word “candy.”)

Amazon didn’t help the situation this year when it patented taking photos with a white background. Yes, this may be a method photographers have used since the camera was invented, and it’s a basic format for many photos. However, Amazon felt filing for a patent was the best way to protect what it called its “go-to snapshot” for products on the site.

Such maneuvers happen often, in both patent and trademark law, and may seem inexplicable or inappropriate at first. As an entrepreneur your goal should be to understand why companies take these measures and what you can do to avoid letting their decisions affect your business.

And while patent law gets more attention, trademark law can be just as important to a new company.

These tips can help you stay on the right side of trademark law — and public opinion.

1.) Know the USPTO

The main goal of patents and trademarks is to prevent bad actors from creating consumer confusion with knockoffs. When the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approves a trademark, it’s trying to protect both businesses and consumers.

In the case of Candy Crush, gamers might get peeved if they bought what they thought was Candy Crush for a cheap price and it ended up being a totally different game. Likewise, knock-offs re-direct rightly earned profits from King into a copycat’s pockets.

The USPTO makes decisions for many reasons. Recently the office invalidated the Washington Redskins trademark name because it is derogatory to Native Americans. Now the team may not receive certain protections under federal law.

Startup founders would do well to stay abreast of these decisions as well as understand why they are made.

2.) How far is too far?

How do you know when you’ve gone too far and become a trademark troll? For some startups, it’s appealing to trademark just about anything that’s connected to a success. After all, when success first comes it doesn’t always feel stable — and an entrepreneur may want to take steps to prevent others from making a profit off his or her hard work. How can you tell if you’re taking things to the extreme or simply protecting your assets?

It’s important to learn more about the landscape and how trolls do their “work.” One of the more famous techniques used by trademark trolls is when they register trademarks and then use them for names belonging to a well-known third party, with a clear intention of deploying those marks against the “true” owner.

Here is an example of a troll who trademarked the name “Tesla” in China back in 2006 with the hope of getting the car company to pay him millions. Tesla took him to court and never had to pay him a dime. This outlandish method of trolling is obviously something you want to avoid at all costs.

There are other methods of trolling out there. You are a bad actor if you register a mark, don’t use it, but look to deploy it against businesses who adopt the same name later on. You are also a troll if you register trademarks and then seek to enforce the marks more widely than is legitimate (often against parties in other sectors).

One well-known case of this type occurred in recent years when a small gaming company called “Edge Games” filed suit against Electronic Arts, accusing it of causing confusion by using the word “edge” with some of its games. The suit was thrown out because Edge couldn’t demonstrate there was any actual consumer confusion stemming from EA’s actions.

3.) Search the records

In order to avoid these pitfalls in the future, do your research on what product names or other terms have been trademarked already. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use the Trademark Electronic Search System (or TESS). This service contains active and inactive records of trademark registrations and applications.

Carefully consider the sector or space your startup is in and make sure you don’t create names that harm anyone’s business. TESS can be searched free of charge.

4.) Lawyer Up

Perhaps the smartest investment you can make, often before patenting your invention or idea at all, is to get a reputable attorney on your side. The attorney should specialize in intellectual property, trademarks and startups/small businesses.

Once you do your TESS search, you will get an indication of just how crowded your market is. This could be an indication of of how pricey it might be to find good counsel.

Generally, the more competition your startup has in a space, the more action a lawyer may need to take to protect your company in the long run. Your counsel should have great testimonials and reviews, which reflect that they put their client’s best interests first, not a desire to make a quick buck. This person should constantly be up to date with the latest in trademark law best practices. Once you have secured your counsel, use their expertise to guide you in appropriately protecting your startup.

As you can see, there are many nuances to trademark law and to avoiding “troll” status. As part of a growing business, you will not want to unnecessarily ruffle any feathers and create bad press.

If you try to patent words like “car,” “vegetables,” or “sports,” you’re probably not only going to upset competitors in your industry, but dozens of other folks outside of it. It’s important to protect what’s yours, but there are limits.

Make sure you do the necessary research and find the right people to help you. Color too far outside the lines and go trademark crazy, and you might sabotage yourself before any of your competition gets the chance.


The Internet, a Tool for Art? – Karen Eliot

In the early 90s, when the internet became open for the public and first online communities were founded, the “Cyberspace” was called a “total work of art”. (Rötzer, Florian; Weibel, Peter: “Cyberspace – Zum medialen Gesamtkunstwerk” 1993.)I like this vision of the internet as one great artpiece, but to define Netzkunst in the context of art history I firstly would like to distinguish between “art on the internet” and “internet art”. When you browse the web you find thousands of online galleries and portfolios of artists showing documentations of pieces which are based on other media and don’t need the internet or any network for presentation.Internet art is characterized by using the internet not only as a presentation platform, but also as a raw material. Reflecting on the medium’s specific general conditions , qualities, technical and social issues (not only in an artistic sense) internet art contemplates the communication form itself in a critical way. Furthermore a piece of internet art can only exist within or by use of the internet. That means it does not nessecarily have to be displayed online, but needs the medium to be realized (like for example flashmobs are organized on the internet, but happen in real public space). …