Kevin Maher

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Spider-Man Swings to Supreme Court

spider web, by flickr user cybershot dude, licensed by Creative Commons

Trapped in a web

If you are a child during the holiday season, there may be no better gift than a brand new Spider-Man toy. However, it appears that a trademark lawsuit may keep some Marvel merchandise off the shelves. A man named Stephen Kimble invented a toy glove that fires silly string, allowing kids to pretend they are the web-slinging hero Spider-Man. Marvel bought the idea and had been paying Kimble royalties from sales, until his patent on the idea ran out. Furious, the inventor filed a lawsuit to overturn a 50-year-old Supreme Court ruling about expiring patents, seemingly forcing Spider-Man to trade in his red-and-blue spandex for a suit and tie. Read more

Judge Pushes Settlement for Alaskan Natives

Snow covered peaks and glaciers in Prince William Sound, Alaska, by flickr user  Frank Kovalchek, licensed by Creative Commons

Don’t rock the vote

The United States is a very big country, and while most citizens can write and write in English, there are parts of Alaska where that is not the case. Sharon Gleason has asked those involved in a lawsuit against the state of Alaska to perform their due diligence and move towards a settlement. A recent ballot for elections was released in English only, and did not provide an option for native Alaskans who prefer their own language. Yup’ik and Gwitch’in are native Alaskan tongues that are mainly verbal and not often written, leading to controversy over translating voting ballots. The Native American Rights Fund is a strong advocate of multi-cultural and language-based alterations to these ballots. Read more

Lawsuit: Oil Spill Funds Used for Gulf Hotels

Lousiana Gulf Coast, by flickr user dusted, licensed by Creative Commons

Stronger than the storm

Adding fuel to the fire is never something BP wants to do after the Gulf Coast disaster in 2010. Environmentalists have filed a lawsuit and are attempting to block the building of new hotels in Florida & Alabama with funds granted to restore the coast itself. BP had pledged $1 billion to improve the coastline after the infamous oil rig explosion, and have continued to fund the project. Now, scientists state that the money should only be used for ecological purposes, not for real estate development (regardless of the fact that new hotels could produce new revenue along the coast). This has sparked a hot debate about the strength of economics vs biological and scientific research. Read more

Traffic Light Lawsuit in Chicago Stopped Short

Lower Wacker Drive, by flickr user Paul Sableman, licensed by Creative Commons

Stop! Hey, what’s that sound?

Aggressive drivers would be the first to tell you that traffic cameras are a major inconvenience. A recent class-action lawsuit was filed Chicago, contesting tickets given to motorists who had been caught running red lights. The lawsuit reached the Illinois Supreme Court before being struck down. The city had always stood behind the right to enforce these traffic laws under a “homefield advantage” policy, and eventually filed an ordinance in 2006. The class-action suit was aimed to dispute any traffic tickets given between 2003-2006. Read more

Satellite Radio Has Serious Problems

Rocktail Beach Camp KZN, by flickr user Jolene Bertoldi, licensed by Creative Commons.

“God I love being a turtle.”

Contrary to popular belief, music is never really free; just ask a musician. The satellite radio company Sirius XM was sued over copyright and trademark laws by a 1960s band called The Turtles. With the passing of federal copyright protection for recorded music in 1972, the royalties for music made before that date have been a hot button issue. The band claims that its’ music was broadcast on satellite radio without any compensation or consent from the creators. A series of lawsuits were filed against both Sirius XM and Pandora Media in New York, Florida, and California, with the band seeking about $100mm worth of damages. Read more