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Handcuffed: When the Government Wants Your Invention

A new U.S. court decision gives the government even more rights to use your invention

3 min read
Image: Stockphoto
Image: Stockphoto

In the patent arena, the U.S. Congress has set rules for the federal government that differ from those that apply to everyone else. When a patent is infringed for the benefit of the government, the patentee may have rights but cannot sue to stop the infringement. The government’s needs are deemed to override proprietary rights as a matter of public policy.

In the United States, this principle was established in 1918 by an act of Congress that allowed contractors to furnish the government with needed provisions during World War I without fear of becoming liable to patent owners for infringement. The Supreme Court noted this historical background in Richmond Screw Anchor Co. v. U.S. (1928). Today the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade permits governments to grant compulsory licenses under certain circumstances, and the United States and many other countries do so.

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Poll: Would You Want to Work a Shorter Week?

Weigh in with your thoughts on a four-day workweek

2 min read
Person holding a giant sized pencil standing next to a giant sized calendar with days crossed out to show a four-day workweek.
iStock

When I worked for a company in Texas a few years ago, one of the benefits I enjoyed was a four-and-a-half-day workweek. The system enabled my colleagues and me to run some personal errands, see our doctors, and pick up our kids from school, among other activities.

The COVID-19 pandemic required many companies to adopt a flexible work schedule to keep their operations open. Many allowed their employees to work from home full time. Nowadays plenty of those employers are trying to persuade their workers to return to the office full time, but they are facing some resistance.

One solution some companies are trying is a four-day, 32-hour workweek for the same pay.

​Does your company offer a four-day workweek?

Would you like to work a four-day workweek?

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Xiaomi’s Humanoid Drummer Beats Expectations

Solving drum-playing helped quest for whole-body control

3 min read
A black and white humanoid robot sits at an electronic drum kit

When Xiaomi announced its CyberOne humanoid robot a couple of months back, it wasn’t entirely clear what the company was actually going to do with the robot. Our guess was that rather than pretending that CyberOne was going to have some sort of practical purpose, Xiaomi would use it as a way of exploring possibilities with technology that may have useful applications elsewhere, but there were no explicit suggestions that there would be any actual research to come out of it. In a nice surprise, Xiaomi roboticists have taught the robot to do something that is, if not exactly useful, at least loud: to play the drums.

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Get the Coursera Campus Skills Report 2022

Download the report to learn which job skills students need to build high-growth careers

1 min read

Get comprehensive insights into higher education skill trends based on data from 3.8M registered learners on Coursera, and learn clear steps you can take to ensure your institution's engineering curriculum is aligned with the needs of the current and future job market. Download the report now!