Weekly IP Buzz for week ending in August 10, 2018
Here's a summary of interesting developments in intellectual property, technology, social media, and Internet law for the week ending August 10, 2018.
Defense Distributed Causing Nationwide Debate with 3-D Printing
Defense Distributed, a Texas non-profit organization, has caused a firestorm of debate with its recent supplying of online schematics for the production of printing of firearms via a 3-D printer.
Defense Distributed allows for the download of detailed schematics via their website to allow for gun enthusiasts that own 3-D printers to produce their own firearms at home. Defense Distributed has fought a long, uphill battle in its mission to provide affordable computer-aided design files to the public, and as a result, has often faced litigation from both state and federal government groups.
Recently, in June, the U.S. State Department settled with Defense Distributed, ending five years of litigation over the core issue of printing guns. Previously, the federal government had argued the position that Defense Distributed’s weapon schematics amounted to exports, and as such, should be regulated under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”). When this argument failed to gain traction, the State Department agreed to settle with Defense Distributed to not only allow the non-profit to continue providing schematics to the public, but it also agreed to propose rule changes that would eliminate the previous ITAR arguments that were raised as issue in the case. Read more about this debate.
Biometric Data Privacy Laws on the Rise
Recent innovations in smart devices have introduced the use of biometric data into consumers’ everyday lives. The term “biometric data” refers to digital data used during a biometric identification process such as fingerprint recognition. A biometric process is defined as verification of a person’s identity through the use of that person’s biological traits (e.g., fingerprints, eye retinas or irises, voice patterns, DNA, etc.).
In the past, the use of biometric data as identification was often only seen in spy movies, but today the use of biometric process has become prevalent and widespread thanks to its integration into smartphones. Today, millions of smartphone users utilize biometric processes to unlock their phones and sometimes even to purchase goods or services.
Despite this widespread integration of biometric process, however, few laws in the United States govern the privacy of how this data is stored, used, and protected. Currently, only three states in the United States (Illinois, Washington, Texas), have any laws regarding the use of biometric data, and only four other states (Alaska, Connecticut, Montana, New Hampshire) have legislation pending. Read more about privacy laws.
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Darin M. Klemchuk is founder of Klemchuk LLP, a litigation, intellectual property, and transactional law firm located in Dallas, Texas. He also co-founded Project K, a charitable movement devoted to changing the world one random act of kindness at a time, and publishes Thriving Attorney, a blog dedicated to exploring the business of the practice of law, productivity and performance for attorneys, and other topics such as law firm leadership and management, law firm culture, and business development for attorneys.
Click to learn more about Darin M. Klemchuk's law practice as an intellectual property lawyer.