Volume 2012 — Issue 2


"More Precious Than Gold: Limited Access to Rare Elements and Implications for Clean Energy in the United States" by Andrew W. Eichner
Download PDF | Abstract

As the United States and the rest of the global community continue their movement into an era of green technology and towards a cleaner environment, the biggest threat to face is not a lack of renewable energy resources, hesitancy of countries to take steps towards adopting or promoting green technology, or an inability to maintain a functional clean energy infrastructure. Instead, one of the primary concerns facing the green technology movement is the potential scarcity of specific key resources necessary to bring about the type of global changes in energy infrastructure that environmental scholars aspire to. This Article examines the relationship between rare elements and green technology and considers the potential negative implications for the clean energy movement in the United States stemming from the country’s looming difficulties in acquiring such elements. The Article then explores potential measures that may help successfully alleviate these barriers and allow the green technology movement to progress as efficiently and effectively as possible. Finally, the question of how to create a sustainable clean energy strategy is addressed, providing an example of the type of energy policy portfolio that will be able to meet national demands while still mitigating the risk of foreign material reliance.

“The First Step in Modernizing Our 911 Emergency Call Centers: Revising the State Enhanced (E) 911 Legislative Funding Scheme to Efficiently Distribute 911 Funds” by Elaine Seeman, James E. Holloway, James Kleckley, Frederick Niswander
Download PDF | Abstract

State policy-makers and managers can over- or under-allocate and distribute 911 funds to municipal and county (local) governments operating 911 emergency call centers, Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), and therefore must periodically review and revise state Enhanced (E)911 legislative funding schemes. North Carolina policy-makers and managers began to consider revisions in 2009 and ended successfully in 2010, with the enactment of the 2010 E911 legislative funding scheme. The new legislation established a more equitable allocation and distribution of 911 funds to municipal and county (local) governments operating PSAPs. This Article explains the review and revision process wherein the North Carolina (NC) 911 Board sponsored the NC E911 Funding Study to determine total NC-eligible E911 cost, propose a state E911 funding model, and make policy and management recommendations. The cost data, funding model, and recommendations were used to review and revise the 2008 NC E911 legislative funding scheme that obligated the NC 911 Board to collect 911 funds from users of wireless and wireline communications devices and distribute 911 funds to local governments operating primary PSAPs. Assuming that local governments would spend nearly all distributions of 911 funds, the 2008 NC legislative funding scheme did not mandate that local governments spend all distributions of 911 funds, but explicitly prohibited the use of 911 funds for non-911 purposes. Consequently, local governments accumulated approximately $91 million in 911 funds. This accumulation of 911 funds and other matters raised public policy concerns and created agency management problems regarding the accumulation or lack of use of 911 funds. These concerns and problems eventually led to a need to review and revise the 2008 NC E911 legislative funding scheme. The North Carolina 911 Board started the review and revision process by sponsoring the NC E911 Funding Study to collect and gather financial, cost, and operational data that would be used to determine the NC-eligible E911 cost and other data, which, in turn, would be used to propose an NC population-based E911 funding model and make E911 policy and management recommendations. This NC E911 Funding Study gathered E911 financial, cost, and operational data that contained past allocations, distributions, and expenditures of 911 funds distributed to local governments over a number of years. The NC E911 Funding Study issued preliminary and final reports to the NC 911 Board, and the final report was accepted and used extensively by the NC 911 Board to propose revisions or amendments that were used by NC policy-makers to enact the 2010 NC E911 legislative funding scheme. Technological and policy changes will eventually require other states to conduct full or partial state E911 funding studies or blindly regulate and manage the allocation and distribution of 911 funds to local governments operating PSAPs within state E911 systems

“Best Practices for Drafting University Technology Assignment Agreements After Filmtec, Stanford v. Roche, and Patent Reform” by Parker Tresemer 
Download PDFAbstract

Since the end of World War II, federally funded universities and private companies have been an integral part of continued American innovation and technological production. However, like most rational economic actors, universities and private companies are only willing to invest in federally funded technologies if they are guaranteed some sort of exclusive return on their investment. By granting federal contractors exclusive patent rights to their employees’ federally funded inventions, the Bayh-Dole Act provided the necessary incentives for private sector investment in federally funded technologies. However, case law subsequent to Bayh-Dole’s enactment has significantly undermined the system of incentives Congress intended to establish for federal contractors and private industry. FilmTec Corp. v. Allied-Signal Inc. established that prior to actual invention, federal contractors could obtain at most equitable title to their employee’s future inventions. Pre-invention assignment agreements were, therefore, put at risk of divestiture by inconsistent assignments. Stanford v. Roche further established that the Bayh-Dole Act does not automatically grant federal contractors title to their employee’s inventions. Instead, contractors are required to obtain properly drafted assignment agreements. In short, no assignment agreement, no patent rights. Although much remains unclear in the wake of FilmTec and Stanford v. Roche, the need for airtight employee assignment agreements has become glaringly apparent. Discerning the particular requirements under Bayh-Dole, recent case law, and U.S. patent law can be trying for even sophisticated contract drafters. By providing a roadmap to draft strong assignment agreements in compliance with recent case law, this comment enables universities to protect their exclusive patent rights.

“Blurry Vision: Parallel Imports, Medical Devices, and Competition in the European Market for Contact Lenses” by P. Sean Morris
Download PDF | Abstract

Shopping for prescription contact lenses is part of a daily routine common to many consumers in major parts of the world. Consumers usually choose to buy their prescription contact lenses from either their local eye care professional or a secondary online supplier. This freedom of choice benefits consumers and enables manufacturers of prescription contact lenses to expand distribution and increase sales. This Article provides an analysis of the market for prescription contact lenses in the European Union (EU). The Article explores the branding and pricing of contact lenses and posits that consumers who wear prescription contact lenses benefit from the option to purchase contact lenses online or offline. In addition, the Article argues that the nature of parallel trade in the EU facilitates such benefits for consumers. Therefore, the main goal of the Article is to determine whether and how the sale and pricing of contact lenses in the EU affects consumers, competition, and competition law. The research found that there is a healthy dose of competition in the market for contact lenses, that European consumers prefer shopping online for contact lenses, and that eye care professionals generally direct their customers to their online stores to purchase contact lenses as opposed to selling them offline in their brick-and-mortar operations.


“Termination Rights in Music: A Practical Framework for Resolving Ownership Conflicts in Sound Recordings” by Abdullahi Abdullahi
Download PDF

“Beyond Brick-and-Mortar: How (Cautiously) Embracing Internet Law Schools Can Help Bridge the Legal Access Gap" by Abigail Cahak
Download PDF

“The New and Evolving Tort of Contributory Cybersquatting: Did the Courts Get it Right?” by Christine A. Walczak
Download PDF

Recent Development

“There’s No App for That: Protecting Users From Mobile Service Providers and Developers of Location-Based Applications” Daniel L. Pieringer 
Download PDF