This Weekend on IP Wave: Trademarked Cocktails, Bangalore Traffic, AI Inventors, Literary Dimensions, and more

Can telling employers about traffic violations make people follow the rules? Bengaluru Traffic

This Weekend on IP Wave: Trademarked Cocktails, Bangalore Traffic, AI Inventors, Literary Dimensions, and more
Photo Credit: Sean Keating, Scientific American Art of Neuroscience Competition

Table of contents:

  1. Can Cocktail be Trademarked?
  2. Can telling employers about traffic violations make people follow the rules?
  3. The Patent Maze: Can AI be an inventor?
  4. Size Matters in Literature?

Beyond BS:

  1. What kind of bubble is AI?
  2. Water Scarcity Changes How People Think

Can Cocktail be Trademarked?

Pusser's, a British Virgin Islands-based company renowned for its Navy-proof rum, raised eyebrows by registering a trademark on the recipe for the iconic Painkiller cocktail in 1989. Threatening cease-and-desist orders, they wielded their legal arsenal to guard this concoction. The Dark 'n Stormy, Sazerac, and Hand Grenade are other libations that enjoy trademark protection, showcasing the growing trend of safeguarding mixological creations.

Photo Credit: Gabrielle Johnson, Vinepair

But can you truly trademark a drink? While the liquid elixir itself cannot be patented, the name, logo, or slogan under which it is branded can. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office plays the role of gatekeeper, categorising trademarks into classes, with Class 33 specifically designated for alcoholic beverages.

Yet, the journey to trademarked bliss isn't without its challenges. Trademarks must be distinctive and not a mere replication of existing libations. Take the Dark 'n Stormy, a blend of Gosling's Black Seal Rum, ginger beer, and lime, wrapped in Gosling's ownership. Gosling's protection journey began in the late 1970s, solidifying its status as Bermuda's unofficial national drink.

The trademark saga adds a layer of complexity to the already intricate world of cocktails. It's a balancing act between preserving a brand's identity and the broader cocktail culture's creative freedom. As the Craft Brewer Conference approaches, discussions on brewery social responsibility, environmental impact, and the intersection of technology with brewing will add more flavour to the mix.

In this spirited arena, where trademarks protect the recipe's soul, each sip becomes a nod to the delicate dance between intellectual property and the artistry of mixology.

So, next time you enjoy a trademarked cocktail, remember – it's not just a drink; it's a legally guarded masterpiece.

Cheers to the art of protection in every intoxicating drop!

Can telling employers about traffic violations make people follow the rules?

Photo by Denys Nevozhai / Unsplash

Bengaluru traffic police have rolled out a new initiative to address wrong-way driving by notifying employers about their employees' traffic infractions.

This strategy operates on the premise that involving employers in traffic law enforcement makes individuals more likely to adhere to rules, acknowledging potential repercussions beyond fines and penalties. Applying the principles of operant conditioning, this approach reinforces law adherence through accountability towards one's workplace. The consciousness of infractions being reported to their employer bears a psychological weight, significantly more than traditional fines' impersonal nature. Such repercussions create a powerful deterrent effect.

Furthermore, the theory of social proof, elucidated by Robert Cialdini, suggests that individuals are influenced by the behaviours and norms of those around them. The knowledge that non-compliance will be visible not only to authorities but also to work colleagues can amplify the pressure to conform to lawful conduct.

However, the potential effectiveness of this policy also raises ethical considerations regarding privacy and the scope of employer involvement in the personal aspects of employees’ lives. Linking traffic fines with employer notifications raises ethical issues about privacy, the potential for misuse of power by employers, and possibly creating an imbalance in employee-employer dynamics. It blurs personal and professional boundaries and might lead to discrimination or unfair treatment in the workplace, undermining trust and individual rights.

Extract from a Memoire of M. de la Fosse, Grand Penitentiary of the church of Rouen, 1673 Photo Credit: Liturgical arts journal

To wrap up, notifying employers about their employees' traffic infractions echoes the 18th century English tradition of public penance, where the church used public shaming to encourage proper conduct. This method might modify behaviour, but it also raises complex ethical questions.

Given the significant influence of employers nowadays, similar to the historical role of the church, such power must be exercised with caution. Constant evaluation is necessary to ensure that this practice remains effective and in harmony with contemporary social norms and rights. As we adopt these age-old strategies in current policy, one must ponder: Are we striking the right balance between influencing behaviour and respecting individual dignity?

The Patent Maze: Can AI be an inventor?

Photo Credit: Everett Collection, Thomas Edison

In a significant legal development, the UK Supreme Court unanimously ruled against Stephen Thaler's petition to recognise his AI creation, DABUS, as a patent inventor. The decision aligns with a parallel ruling in the United States, highlighting the absence of laws considering machines as creators. Thaler sought patent registration for DABUS's innovations, a food container and a flashing light beacon, but the UK Intellectual Property Office maintained that inventors must be either human or corporate entities

This decision raises concerns about the protection of AI-generated material, a topic also under scrutiny, and legal frameworks for safeguarding AI-created content are being contemplated. The case underscores the evolving landscape of AI within patent law, emphasising the need for legal adjustments to accommodate the inventive capabilities of AI.

Contrastingly, a groundbreaking move occurred in South Africa in 2021 when the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission granted a patent listing DABUS as the inventor. This marked a global first but the same application faced rejections in various jurisdictions, including the US, Europe, and Australia, which maintained the consensus that a natural person must be recognised as the inventor.

Shifting the focus to copyright laws, The Indian Copyright Act of 1957 and the UK's Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988, both define the author of computer-generated works as a human. Highlighting cases such as "The Next Rembrandt" and the DABUS AI system, the United States District Court's decision in Stephen Thaler v. Shira Perlmutter refused copyright registration for AI-generated work, emphasising the imperative of human authorship. The Indian case of RAGHAV, where the copyright office mistakenly recognised an AI system as a co-author, further illustrates the evolving legal considerations surrounding AI-generated content.

As the AI industry continues to grow into a multi-billion-dollar sector, it becomes increasingly important to update legislative frameworks to provide legitimacy for intellectual property generated by AI. This requires discussions and enactments or amendments that address the unique challenges posed by AI-generated content both now and in the future.

Size Matters in Literature?

Photo by Natalia Y. / Unsplash

In a previous behavioural piece, we pondered over the persistent question of why some books seem to always hit the bestseller mark, a riddle that the literary community has yet to solve. Now, recent research provides a glimpse into a trend among those books that take home the most prestigious literary awards.

The study found that longer novels are more likely to win literary awards based on an analysis of three prestigious English language prizes: the Booker Prize, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the National Book Award for Fiction, from 1963 to 2021. This relationship holds even after controlling for author gender and Goodreads ratings.

The research suggests potential biases in judging panels, such as the "representativeness heuristic," where longer novels are favoured because they resemble classic literature in length. The paper explores various reasons for this apparent bias, including the perceived effort of writing a longer novel and group decision-making dynamics during judging. The author raises questions about the objectivity and reliability of literary awards as indicators of quality and provides an opportunity for further investigation into the criteria and decision-making processes of awarding bodies. Read the preprint here.

Beyond BS

What Kind of Bubble is AI?

In his latest column for Locus Magazine titled "What Kind of Bubble is AI?" (Doctorow, 2023), Cory Doctorow, a sci-fi author explores the nature of the AI bubble and its potential aftermath. He draws parallels between past economic bubbles, such as the dot-com bubble and the crypto bubble, and what such instances left behind in terms of salvageable assets or irreparable damage.

He argues that AI is undeniably a bubble, evident from the plethora of billboards advertising AI startups, many of which may not truly involve AI. The critical question he poses is what will remain after the AI bubble bursts. He highlights the difference between low-value, risk-tolerant AI applications (e.g., image generators for gamers) and high-value, risk-intolerant applications (e.g., self-driving cars and medical diagnostics). The latter, which could potentially revolutionize industries, are risk-intolerant as they aim to replace human labour rather than complement it. The problem? When the hype fades and investor cash dries up, will these risky ventures survive? He warns that focusing on AI fairness and bias might miss the bigger picture: a potential AI ecosystem collapse.

The question hangs heavy: is this AI revolution real, or just another bubble about to burst? Read more: Pluralistic

Water Scarcity Changes How People Think

Photo by Chamika Jayasri / Unsplash

The human brain responds uniquely to water scarcity, fostering long-term thinking and resource conservation. Unlike other shortages, the threat of water scarcity prompts better planning and less wasteful behaviour. Recent research reveals that individuals in regions with a history of water scarcity prioritize the future, emphasizing the importance of thrift and saving. This psychological orientation transcends factors like income and corruption, suggesting a distinct sensitivity to water scarcity. The evolutionary significance of water to human survival, coupled with the increasing prevalence of droughts due to climate change, indicates that water scarcity could be a potent motivator for future-oriented behaviour amid global warming. In sum, while the research presents an interesting correlation between water scarcity and long-term planning, further work is needed to establish causality and generalizability across cultures and contexts. Read more:Scientific American