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Dept. of Homeland Security Enforces Expired Patent

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the tax-dollars-well-misspent dept.

Patents 1006

Fouquet writes "Apparently the Department of Homeland Security does not have enough to do in keeping the US safe, and now is enforcing copyright law as well. The AP reports that a toy store owner in Oregon was requested by Homeland Security officials to remove a potentially copyright-infringing Rubik's cube-like toy from her shelves. The patent for Rubik's cube was issued in 1980, and so it is expired."

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Fear of powers (5, Interesting)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660086)

In normal cases, people will just consult a lawyer (the shop owner did call her supplier, later), or at least ask for supporting documents before they complied to requests from officials. For example, you tend to ask for a search warranty if someone wants to search your house.

However with all the terrorism and patriotism nowdays, peasants can't afford to not cooperate, "just in case" you got blamed for being terrorist or unpatriotic.

Next thing we know, IRS burst into a kindergarten arresting several 5-year-old's for not calculating and paying proper tax while playing Monopoly, just to protect the integrity of the economy and nation's financial systems. "If they can't do tax at age of 5, will you trust them to pay tax 20 years later?!"

Re:Fear of powers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660110)

ask for a search warranty

Been watching Trailer Park Boys lately?

Re:Fear of powers (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660167)

In normal cases, people will just consult a lawyer (the shop owner did call her supplier, later), or at least ask for supporting documents before they complied to requests from officials. For example, you tend to ask for a search warranty if someone wants to search your house.

I guess their justification is it was a crime in progress, in a public place, so they didn't need a warrant. What they should do is contact their local congressman and see if they can get him to yell at homeland security for this. Whatever else the average congressperson's deficiencies, they oftentimes are surprisingly good at intimidating bureaucrats, when they have the inclination.

Re:Fear of powers (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660184)

These are US Customs agents. Customs agents enforce, among other things, import regulations against counterfiet goods.

The Customs Service is now part of Homeland Security. Ergo, DHS agents were the ones who investigated this incident.

(This is cut and pasted from below. It should be near the top... or in the summary)

Re:Fear of powers (4, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660202)

For example, you tend to ask for a search warranty if someone wants to search your house.

My search warranties always seem to expire right before I really need them.

I can't ever find mine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660244)

:-)
.
(no text)

It didn't take homeland security and patriotism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660219)

Next thing we know, IRS burst into a kindergarten arresting several 5-year-old's for not calculating and paying proper tax while playing Monopoly, just to protect the integrity of the economy and nation's financial systems. "If they can't do tax at age of 5, will you trust them to pay tax 20 years later?!"

9/11 hadn't happened yet, George W. Bush hadn't been elected President, John Ashcroft hadn't been appointed Attorney General yet, and the US Government sent armed troops into a house in the middle of the night to snatch away Elian Gonzalez [pbs.org]

I GOT A GREASED UP YODA DOLL SHOVED UP MY ASS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660087)

GO LINUX!

FUCK YOU MICHAEL SIMS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660088)

w0rd up, gnaa!

first positive post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660089)

I love all of you!

Well if this is true... (1, Insightful)

MrRTFM (740877) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660090)

(and it isnt just thugs from a competing toy chain), then we should be pretty nervous.

I was going to go for a first post, but now I am too scared to try!

Re:Well if this is true... (1)

kumachan (618013) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660239)

Perhaps it was the terrorists who called Homeland Security. They might be taking advantage of the govt to do their terrorism for them.

consider the jihad (-1, Troll)

jihadi_kerry (823354) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660091)

consider anti-slash [anti-slash.org]

But we all know... (-1, Troll)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660092)

If the patent gods are sexually violated, the terrorists win.

Re:But we all know... (3, Funny)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660132)

Ok, who modded me troll?

Come one now, this is /. I have to stand up for my right to make totally asinine posts completely devoid of any relevant subject matter related to the article which I haven't even read.

No Whiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660148)

Take your mods like a man.

Re:No Whiners (1)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660164)

Yeah I know. I got to meet Taco this week so at least that's a plus. ;)

NO NO NO (2, Funny)

wirwzd (699017) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660094)

Now this is one overlord I DO NOT welcome.....

Re:NO NO NO (1)

wirwzd (699017) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660136)

Wow, 5 minutes and no knock at the do

And why are you people voting for Bush? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660096)

After he created one of the largest unneccessary beuracracies in the history of the US?

Suuuuuuurrreee... It's just to prevent terrorism. For very wide definitions of 'terrorism'.

And why _aren't_ you voting for Bush? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660233)

He decisively responded to a grave threat to the United States.

You suggest we should ignore terrorists, or not take them seriously, as if they aren't out there, and they aren't out to get us.

You can't have it both ways. Either you have protection or you don't.

Would you really rather have a gutless weakling in charge?

A few inconveniences are a bery small price to pay for safety and security of the state and its people.

Vote Bush for a better, safer America. Vote Kerry for a wealthier Kerry.

go figure (5, Insightful)

Izago909 (637084) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660097)

He told her to remove the Magic Cube from her shelves, and he watched to make sure she complied.
She's lucky that she wasn't declared a terrorist and her all human rights voided on sight.
"One of the things that our agency's responsible for doing is protecting the integrity of the economy and our nation's financial systems and obviously trademark infringement does have significant economic implications," she said.
God forbid some terrorists fly some Boeing knock-offs into buildings instead of legitimate ones.
"Aren't there any terrorists out there?" she said.
The war is not meant to be won....

So which is it? (4, Insightful)

fossa (212602) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660099)

Trademark in the title, copyright in the summary, but a patent on the Rubik's cube. These are all different you know...

Re:So which is it? (3, Funny)

ajakk (29927) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660121)

These are all different you know... They are? In /. land, all IP is the same, and it is all BBBBBBBAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDD.

Re:So which is it? (4, Informative)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660177)

Patents expire. Copyrights nominally expire, but even if they don't you can make other stuff that does the same thing from scratch (unlike patents). Trademarks never expire, but they're only supposed to be for names/designs/similar. (Supposed.)

Re:So which is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660142)

RMS was right as usualy, letting people use such non-terms as "intellectual property" only leads to confusion.

Re:So which is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660159)

Just goes to show, they'll post anything on Slashdot these days. And they wonder why people don't take it seriously anymore and post trolls and shit.

Re:So which is it? (1, Troll)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660223)

It doesn't matter if the submission was correct or incorrect, because it has served it's purpose in fanning the flames of US hatred.

The whole story is a TROLL!

Poster and AP clearly has no clue (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660227)

Both the Poster and the AP journo clearly has no clue what is going on, what the various laws are.
They mix match and mangle various laws and rumors to come up with this story.

There is nothing to see here, just random rumour and silliness.

Um... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660100)

Copyright != Patent, Copyright != Trademark, Trademark != Patent.

Ahh, America (5, Funny)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660104)

Ahh, America -- land of the moron. Where the nation's anti-terrorism forces bravely persecute toy-store owners for "violation" of expired patents.

Re:Ahh, America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660213)

Ahh, America -- land of the moron.

You misspelled "moran".

Go USA!

waste of resources (2, Funny)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660105)

wait up a second, are you telling me, that the homeland security agents have nothing better to do than take off a rubiks cube clone? surely there must be something.

"One of the things that our agency's responsible for doing is protecting the integrity of the economy and our nation's financial systems and obviously trademark infringement does have significant economic implications,"

a Rubiks Cube Clone??? Seriously, i could eat a bowl of alphabits and crap a better Bullshit argument.

Re:waste of resources (4, Informative)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660168)

It's probably a typical case of government spending. If you don't spend the funds allocated to you this year, you don't have them next year. This perpetuates so much government waste. So they probably ran out of leads on terrorist cells and went after this person so they have a reason to request another million dollars in extra funding next year.

What makes this so sad is that slowly the terrorists are winning. I don't mean that as a joke. Their goal seems to have been to make our lives as shitty as theirs and they're are making progress.

And no, John Kerry in office isn't going to change anything because you still have Republicans in the house and senate. And yes, I am a Republican and no I don't agree with everything that they do.

Next person on their list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660107)

this [slashdot.org] guy. I always thought that damn cube was a threat to my security.

Hello. (2)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660109)

I for one, welcome our Homeland Security overlords...

Like hell I do! BADNARIK IN '04!!!

Huh? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660111)

Dept. of Homeland Security Enforces Expired Trademark
Apparently the Department of Homeland Security does not have enough to do in keeping the US safe, and now is enforcing copyright law as well.
The patent for Rubik's cube was issued in 1980, and so it is expired."

So, are we talking about a copyright, a trademark, or a patent?

rUSsiA (5, Insightful)

sn0wflake (592745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660112)

USA seem more and more like a police state. Once I wanted to visit USA but now I wouldn't dream of setting foot in the states. I'd probably be arrested if I said something wrong.

Re:rUSsiA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660123)

Wow. You're a little paranoid. We're not that bad yet.

Re:rUSsiA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660127)

I hadn't been to the USA since well before 9/11. I visited a huge hydroelectric dam and did a tour recently in the northern part of the country.

It was really cool until I noticed a tour guide that straggled behind the group making familiar clicking noises. He was covertly photographing the tour group.

I won't be visiting the USA again.

Re:rUSsiA (1)

gcaseye6677 (694805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660186)

Why exactly would this keep you from coming back? The most common reason for tour employees to photograph tourists is for promotional materials. You know, those glossy brochures you saw in the hotel that led you to take the tour? Usually they ask permission to do that sort of thing, or at least have some sign or other written materials explaining they will do this, but I suppose they're not required to. The chances of this tour guide working covertly with the FBI to compose tourist profiles is quite remote, not to mention that it doesn't make a lot of sense. For a covert investigation, they would get far more information by secretly photographing the license plates of cars entering the facility.

Re:rUSsiA (1)

brandonY (575282) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660129)

Once I wanted to visit USA but now I wouldn't dream of setting foot in the states.

That's the saddest thing I've ever seen posted on Slashdot.

Re:rUSsiA (5, Interesting)

boredMDer (640516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660131)

You think that's bad?

Check this [livejournal.com] out.

Excerpt:

A couple of weeks ago, following the last presidential debate, I said some rather inflammatory things about George W. Bush in a public post in my LJ, done in a satirical style. We laughed, we ranted, we all said some things. I thought it was a fairly harmless (and rather obvious) attempt at humor in the face of annoyance, and while a couple of people were offended, as is typical behavior from me, I saw something shiny and forgot about it, thinking that the whole thing was over and done and nothing else would come of what I said.

I was wrong.

At 9:45 last night, the Secret Service showed up on my mother's front door to talk to me about what I said about the President

Re:rUSsiA (1)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660180)

John Hinckley Jr. did the same just prior to shooting President Reagan. You didn't reveal the content of your rant but maybe you said things that sounded pretty bad taken out of the context of the group that you were in. They didn't actually take you away or otherwise harm you did they?

Re:rUSsiA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660205)

That's the most hysterical ranting I've ever heard. I don't know what the person said or if the FBI's reaction was proper, but they are clearly playing it up to be a much bigger deal than it really was. It's all about maximum scare tactics for the publicity factor, which is pretty much what has always sustained the American Left.

Re:rUSsiA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660238)

Well? What did you say? They can't allow people to make threats against the President without at least asking a few pointed questions.

Re:rUSsiA (4, Interesting)

OneArmedMan (606657) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660243)

a buddy of mine just came back from Canada, via USA

Zandecks [easyjournal.com]

**Snip--From the end of the Blog**

After about half an hour of searching they let me go and everything was ok. The customs girl who searched me was really nice and I've got nothing against her, but now there is a file on me that they found traces of cocain in my bag. I thought about how the hell this could happen, and when I got home I realised that the lock on my bag was missing (I had noticed earlier but forgot when I was being searched). I opened up my bag again and found a note from US customs. Apparently they had broken open my bag to search it. I guess ing these fuckers searched my bag and accidently contaminated my bag with some cocain they found on an ealier search. Thanks guys...

**Snap**

Re:rUSsiA (1)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660139)

That's just plain silly.

Re:rUSsiA (1)

MoronGames (632186) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660163)

Nah, I say a ton of things wrong. I haven't been arrested yet. Like there was this one time when I ... Hang on, someone is knocking on the door...

[no carrier]

Re:rUSsiA (4, Funny)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660175)

The only reason I would go to the USA would be to help in the next revolution.

And that wouldn't look good on a visa application...

Re:rUSsiA (1)

lobotomy (26260) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660215)

You would not be arrested as long as you made your comments in a designated free-speech zone. Yes, we really have such things.

1984 was about 20 years late.

Just Wow. (2, Interesting)

Ryvar (122400) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660116)

Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said agents went to Pufferbelly based on a trademark infringement complaint filed in the agency's intellectual property rights center in Washington, D.C.


"One of the things that our agency's responsible for doing is protecting the integrity of the economy and our nation's financial systems and obviously trademark infringement does have significant economic implications," she said.


This sounds like really great news. What next? Every person who downloads MP3s is automatically branded a 'terrorist' because they might be threatening the integrity of the economy? Even if they own the CD in question (which is analogous here, because legally there's nothing wrong with the Majick Cube either now that the Rubik's patent has expired)?

--Ryvar

Confusion (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660122)

The title says, "trademark", the blurb says, "copyright" then takes about "patent". These terms are not interchangeable. The article clearly says this is a trademark issue.

Customs is part of Homeland Security and customs has been enforcing these laws for as long as I can remember. These are imported goods.

Uh huh (5, Funny)

mr.henry (618818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660124)

This is a surprise? Here [dailytexanonline.com] is a nice quote on abuse of the Patriot Act:

"Within six months of passing the PATRIOT Act, the Justice Department was conducting seminars on how to stretch the new wiretapping provisions to extend them beyond terror cases," said Dan Dodson, a spokesman for the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. "They say they want the PATRIOT Act to fight terrorism. Then, within six months, they are teaching their people how to use it on ordinary citizens."

Re:Uh huh (5, Insightful)

LardBrattish (703549) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660176)

Fahreinheit 911 had a good take on the Patriot act with that Senator going "we don't have enough time to read all the bills" etc. I'm sorry but THAT'S YOUR FUCKING JOB. That's why it's called "a reading" before the law is passed - YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO READ IT. During the "reading" if it turns up late and if it takes a week to read it, fine, that'll teach the legislators to publish the draft bills early enough to get them thouroughly read before the reading.

Democracy is quietly dying because a buch of lazy people will happily pass the "Happy fluffy bunny (you'd be a nasty pinko liberal for not passing this) bill" without actually reading it and finding out that it disbands senate & congress and leaves all legislative & executive power in the hands of the president who now has an extended (life) term of office.

two words (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660125)

fucking awesome.

Seriously, I'm happy I live in a country that will protect me from the ROUGE RUBICS CUBE!

Re:two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660201)

Yeah! Red is scary!

Of course! (5, Funny)

theparanoidcynic (705438) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660126)

Puzzles are an atempt to destroy our national security! If our children had puzzels they, they might become smart, and ask questions. We can't have children asking questions now can we? They'll never make good sheeple that way!

Uh... yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660134)

"One of the things that our agency's responsible for doing is protecting the integrity of the economy and our nation's financial systems and obviously trademark infringement does have significant economic implications," she said.

From the Homeland Security site: [dhs.gov]

How does the mission of the Department of Homeland Security differ from those of other agencies? The new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has three primary missions: Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage from potential attacks and natural disasters.

Another page on what exactly they do... [dhs.gov]

Something's not adding up.

Re:Uh... yeah. (4, Funny)

anon*127.0.0.1 (637224) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660250)

I've figured it out. The Rubiks cube was actually invented by some commie, wasn't it? So the All-American Majick Cube would actually be HELPING our economy, by making sure part of the profits didn't go to those godless communists.

So, if the Dept of Homeland Security confiscated the American cubes.... they must be agents of the Soviet Government. Thats the only thing that makes sense.

Um. Patent (0, Redundant)

Mike Hicks (244) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660140)

Wow. The title of this article (er, the Slashdot blurb) says "trademark," and the body says "copyright" as well as "patent." I think we're just dealing with a patent here. These are fairly distinct things, with wildly different rules...

DHS seems to have morphed (5, Insightful)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660144)

The American Federal government already has a law enforcement agency, that being the ever-venerated FBI. In addition, the Secret Service also acts in some cases as a law enforcement agency, providing protection for the President, government buildings like the U.S. mints, and, of course, as the chief investigator of counterfeiting schemes.

Now the DHS seems to see its role as more than a simple anti-terrorist investigative agency. They think of themselves as another arm of Federal law enforcement. To some extent, they are correct. The role they play is vital to American national security, and to reach the goals of the agency it is mandatory that they have the ability to use law enforcement tactics.

However, to stretch the fairly narrow initial charter of the DHS to include such things as "defending the national economy" is nothing short of stupid and dangerous. When the DHS was formed, their purview only included possible terrorist attacks. Now it is expanded to include just about any crime that someone deems undesirable.

The government should not have many overlapping law enforcement agencies. Indeed, this is what led to the massive intelligence failure on 9/11 with the lack of communication between the various government agencies. The DHS would be better absorbed into the FBI as a anti-terror division than to continue expanding its powers unabated.

But wait... (4, Insightful)

77Punker (673758) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660145)

...expiration violations aside, shouldn't the order be to stop manufacturing them, not to stop selling them? Also, isn't the owner of this (expired) patent responsible for enforcing it instead of Homeland Security just hunting them down?

Re:But wait... (1)

marshmeli (122728) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660249)

I agree... why go to THAT store? That store did not make them and it is not like they are burning bootlegs and selling them, why did they choose that store out of all the others that were most likely selling it? It seems odd to me something else must be going on with this story that the store or newspaper doesn't know or the DHS won't share.

Just the facts ma'am (4, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660146)

"Aren't there any terrorists out there?" she said.

Terrorists? Do you think we'd be mucking around in Iraq if we knew where to find terrorists??

Now just put down the cubes and nobody gets hurt.

Nothing to see here (4, Interesting)

sulli (195030) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660153)

These are US Customs agents. Customs agents enforce, among other things, import regulations against counterfiet goods.

The Customs Service is now part of Homeland Security. Ergo, DHS agents were the ones who investigated this incident.

Re:Nothing to see here (0, Troll)

Snar Bloot (324250) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660187)

Somebody Mod this up. It's a sensible post amongst a pile of knee-jerk one-handed spasm posts from the tin-foil-hat society members.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

Scumbumbo (521718) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660222)

Imported from Auburn, Washington?

Nothing to see here-Santa Arrested. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660232)

Bingo! Someone who reads and thinks. However I should point out that the government should have gone after the supplier, not the purchaser if they had a legitimate complaint. I'm certain her store isn't the only ones selling this particular toy. Were are the visits to these other stores?

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

gareth6889 (745319) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660241)

"Ergo"

I really hate The Matrix for introducing that word to the geek world >:-(

I'm confused (1, Redundant)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660156)

The title of this story says expired trademark. Then it says they were complaining about copyright infringement. Then they say that the patent expired.

Trademarks, copyrights, and patents are completely different. They are *not* interchangeable terms. The laws are different, the terms are different, and they are meant to protect different things.

Patents are important for security (4, Funny)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660157)

Terrorist suppliers cannot be allowed to sell the tools of evil with just one click.

The terrorist must always click twice.

I think I say it for everybody (1, Funny)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660162)

but that is fucking RETARTED.

Re:I think I say it for everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660245)

It's "RETARDED" you fool, oh and "Guybrush Threepwood," your going to mod me up right?

Oh come on (0, Troll)

Snar Bloot (324250) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660166)

I submit it's jut possible that there are assholes and idiots everywhere. Not just in a huge government agency, not just in one country, not just on the internet on any given "news" site. The people that fly off the handle crying about all their rights being violated, or that the whole world (or any given country) is fscked up, they're just gonna cry regardless. Wait until the rest of the facts come out, not just one little story. Then focus your howling on the appropriately. Essentially...chill out. Hey...I've actually seen instances before where the press sort of blew an instance out of proportion, or *gasp* even misrepresented it.

Appears to be a patent infringement... (1)

BlastM (663010) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660169)

...rather than a patent one.

This is but one of the many examples of overpolicing, degredation of privacy, mis-allocation of US taxpayers' resources that has come from the USDOHS, and highlights the ludicrous state of the US patent system which needs a major restructure.

If there is any consollation in stories like this, it's that there is no massive terrorist threat like the Bush administration has played up and is likely to win the approaching presidential election on.

Useless summary. (5, Informative)

praksys (246544) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660170)

Trademarks don't expire. Trademark, copyright, and patent are entirely different things. Reading the summary you can't tell which of these areas of law was involved and you get the impression that the action was taken on expired IP.

The article states that the action was taken on the basis of a trademark. With a name like "Magic Cube" if the toy is anything at all like a Rubic's Cube then it almost certainly does infringe on the Rubic's Cube trademark.

And why all the fake wonderment about the department of Homeland Security handling the case? In case anyone missed the press release the department is not some niche organisation that deals specifically with terrorism. It's a big tarball of a whole bunch of departments and old law enforcement angencies that used to deal with all manner of federal law enforcement issues. They do lots of things besides deal with terrorism.

Re:Useless summary. (1)

qqqqarl (678615) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660228)

The article states that the action was taken on the basis of a trademark. With a name like "Magic Cube" if the toy is anything at all like a Rubic's Cube then it almost certainly does infringe on the Rubic's Cube trademark.

so if trademark my nifty cardboard box as "Karl's box", i can stop others from calling their boxes "super box"? i can stop the usage of the word "box" for boxes?

K.

I want one (5, Interesting)

gooman (709147) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660171)

Oh man, I want one of those Magic Cubes so bad, which is funny, because I hated the Rubiks Cube (not because it was hard, it was just too popular).
So how about it ThinkGeek? I want "the toy the government doesn't want you to know about".
How cool would that be.

Huh? (1)

Daniel (1678) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660172)

Is it a trademark, a patent, or a copyright? I thought this was just the /. editors screwing up, but the AP seems to have done the same thing! (well, they only mentioned trademark and patent; the copyright thing seems to be a /. original) Shame on them.

Can you even trademark or copyright a toy design? The DHS spokesdroid comment suggests that it's a trademark violation. What the heck is being trademarked here? The word Cube? If so, I'll be very worried once I get over laughing hysterically...

Daniel

What do you want? Facts? (1)

Media Girl (823578) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660231)

Facts seem to have gone by the wayside in the press. And confusion about simple things seems to be the standard of the day.

I'm totally confused about all this. I know it cannot be copyright. And I think patent infringement would have to be proven in court before any governmental action. Which leaves trademark.

It costs something like $900 to register a trademark. I guess this shows you get your money's worth. :p

Conspiracy Theory (3, Funny)

The_Real_Nire (786847) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660181)

Perhaps all newer true Rubix cubes are embedded with some sort of micro chips/sensors, (perhaps even microphones and/or cameras!) which can detect if and how long it took a person to solve it, then these individuals are added to some sort of watch list, because they arent the typical dumb sheep the government wishes to rule. But I digress

misleading to say DHS (2, Insightful)

janneH (720747) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660189)

That looks like a misleading article title to me. What happened is that DHS inherited Customs because Customs is responsible for controlling things that cross US - which is not unreasonable. But customs also apparently has some trademark enforcement duties - probably on things that are imported. Also not unreasonable - although it leads to trademark enforcement sitting under DHS which is a little weird. But the article should more rightfully have been about a shop owner who was visited by Customs agents.

Whether or not trademarks were actually being violated is a another matter.

Oh, come on, guys! (1)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660191)

So, what law enforcement agency do you think looks into copyright and trademark violations? Especially now that most of them are now part of the HSA [dhs.gov] ?

abuse (1, Offtopic)

alatesystems (51331) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660197)

Abuse of rights, law, and tax dollars. This is why you should vote Libertarian [lp.org] .

Take the Advocates.org "World's Smallest Political Quiz" [theadvocates.org] to find out what party you belong in based on real issues. According to them, "Take the Quiz now and find out where you fit on the political map!"

It is my belief that everyone is a Libertarian, but they they just don't know it.

Vote Michael Badnarik [badnarik.org] in 2004. Send a message to Washington and don't choose between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich.

vote for lesser of 2 evils... (1)

dougnaka (631080) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660252)

and you get evil..

screw both the main party candidates, Badnarik and libertarianism are ideals for government..

I AM voting for Badnarik Nov 2.

Well OBVIOUSLY.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660199)

They have caught ALL the TERRORISTS now right? So they have moved on to anything that might be used to FUND a TERRORIST group in the future. The Founding Fathers are spinning so fast you can almost hear it now. Sheesh.

haha holy crap... (1)

ikekrull (59661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660203)

Do people in the US actually believe there is some vast terrorist army out there that the US army is fighting? and who is poised to 'Invade the Homeland', and that there can be any meaningful protection from people hellbent on destroying shit if theyre willing to give their lives to do it?

Cos thats just plain batshit crazy. Surely youre not all so stupid as to believe that the 'Department of Homeland Security' is not there to protect Americans from anyone but each other?

In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660206)

DHS violated a writer's privacy just because of books she checked out from the library. Check it out here at the bottom of the page: http://home.insightbb.com/~d.lawson/Jungle_Beat.ht m [insightbb.com]

I knew I registered all the TMs for a reason (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660211)

Really getting my monies worth from TM registrations, such as for CANNABIS.COM [cannabis.com] , Marihemp [marihemp.com] , and HempNation [hempnation.com] - and is so reassuring [sarcasm] to know the Dept of Homeland security, in light of heighten alert and numerous terror threats, is proactively working 24x7 to protect trademarks and patents; author of the article confused the two.

Ron Bennett

I'm not sure what's more frightening (2, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660216)

Homeland Security raiding toy stores because they've run out of terrorist threats, or the fact that they can't tell the difference between a patent and a copyright. And we're surprised other countries think we're idiots.

You have a chance to do something about it next Tuesday. Go vote.

We're going to have to change our name to the country formerly known as the land of the free.

Abuse of Power (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660217)

Tom Delay, (R-TX), is under indictment in Texas for abusing his power as leader of the majority in the House of Representatives (ie, a powerful man) to sic Homeland Security on a group of Democrats state assemblymembers as part of a bitter redistricting battle. Regardless of the merit of the Democrat strategy, Homeland Security was clearly not appropriate, though Delay was able to use them for his purposes, without any security component.

If we let these powermad tyrants have power, they will abuse it, and maybe apologize later, after the damage is done. We have to get rid of this unaccountable department immediately, and use our National Security system to protect us. Anyone know what is the difference is between "National" Security and "Homeland" Security? Or the Department of Defense, for that matter? We're turning into squalid East Germany, where every fifth German was a "security" henchman, controlling their neighbors through surveillence and intimidation.

POE (2, Interesting)

paulydavis (91113) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660221)

I was watching a movie on the american poet Poe and he was impoverished most of his life becasue he was so vocal about copyright (pro copyright) that knowbody would hire him. We have come full circle.

Re:POE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660240)

Bullshit Meter: 10 Congatulations!! You are completely full of shit!!

Yep (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660224)

Yep. I'm glad I live outside of the USA.
Where I'm *actually* free

Big Government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660236)

Fuck yeah!

Police State, Fuck yeah!

Common Sense, ... [cricket]

chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10660237)

Here's your chance Kerry, attack the Bush administration!

irst (1)

xystren (522982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660247)

First they take away my nailclippers.... but they ain't taking my ROGUE Rubics Cube....

This concerns Trademarks... (2, Insightful)

EMN13 (11493) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660255)

The slashdot story confuses copyrights, trademarks and patents: at issue is trademark infringement (or so it seems). Copyrights have nothing to do with the story, and the patent on rubiks cubes was only mentioned by the copycat manufacturer to clarify that the patent had expired.

Specifically, the trademark probably hasn't expired (in principle trademarks don't while you defend them); A rubiks cube (or anything similar) can't infringe upon copyright (unless you're crazy enough to consider it a medium for information).

I don't like whining about bad slashdot stories; but this really is poorly presented...

--Eamon

How many times? (1)

Fr3d (787062) | more than 9 years ago | (#10660256)

My question is did the DHS do this in every single store selling the magic cube? Isn't an infringement on her rights to confiscate something not illegal without a proper warrent? And why didn't they contact the manufacturer first before going to the tiny little store?
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