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July 2017
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Convergence of Blockchain with Emerging Technologies Set to Disrupt the Healthcare Industry by 2025

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Data interoperability, insurance fraud management, drug supply chain provenance, and identity management applications offer growth opportunities, finds Frost & Sullivan's Transformational Health team. In the next five to 10 years, a blockchain ecosystem with healthcare-focused use cases involving health data exchanges, smart assets management, insurance and payment solutions, blockchain platform providers, and consortiums will emerge. [...]

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Jul-2017
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Pubgalaxy Premium Launched to Maximize Publishers Earnings

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New Advanced Monetization Solution for Publishers Officially Launched: Presenting Pubgalaxy Premium. PubGalaxy Premium is a managed service offering that is designed to encompass all advertising-related needs of the publishers. A team of experts will be dedicated to tailoring the monetization strategy of each publisher, driving superior performance and sustainably growing their yield. This will allow [...]

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Court Says Gov't Has To Do More Than Say It Doesn't Believe The Property Owners If It Wants To Keep The Cash It Seized

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The federal government thought it had laid an easy claim to someone else's cash, but the DC Court of Appeals is telling the government it's not quite as easy as it makes it out to be.The court lets everyone know things aren't entirely normal with the first sentence of the opinion [PDF]:

This is a civil-forfeiture case, which is why the plaintiff is the United States of America and the defendant is a pile of cash.
From that starting point we arrive at two sets of claims. First, the government's:
The government claims that the cash is subject to forfeiture because it is connected to the “exchange [of] a controlled substance,” i.e., drug trafficking.
And here is the government's sole basis for this conclusion:
This case traces its roots back to March 28, 2014, when an Amtrak passenger mistakenly removed another person’s backpack from a train at Washington’s Union Station. Later that day, he opened the backpack to find a shopping bag containing $17,900 in cash.Commendably, he turned the backpack over to Amtrak police. In addition to the money, Amtrak police officers found inside the bag a student notebook and other personal effects. One of the papers contained the name Peter Rodriguez, as did the train manifest. A police narcotics dog alerted to the backpack, suggesting the presence of drug residue.
That's basically it. A dog said it smelled drugs. Or, rather, an officer said a dog said it smelled drugs. The only other thing the government has to offer is that it doesn't believe the appellants' story about the legality of the money.
Using a contact number from the manifest, a detective with the Metropolitan Police Department called Peter Rodriguez, who gave a detailed description of the contents of the backpack—except for the money. Twice asked whether there was money in the backpack, Peter said no. Later, the detective called Peter to inform him that currency was found in the backpack, and that the bag—sans cash—could be recovered from Amtrak, though the money would remain with the MPD Asset Forfeiture Unit.Shortly thereafter, appellant Angela Rodriguez, Peter’s mother, contacted MPD, explaining, according to the government’s verified complaint, that the cash belonged to her and her domestic partner, appellant Joyce Copeland, who lives with her in New York City. The couple, she recounted, had left the money in a bag in Peter’s apartment, but neglected to tell him that it contained currency. When Peter later announced that he was coming to New York to visit his mother, she told him to bring the bag along. Unconvinced by Ms. Rodriguez’s story, the police formally seized the currency and turned it over to the DEA, which initiated administrative forfeiture proceedings.
The government says the appellants' story is unbelievable -- that someone wouldn't just stash $18,000 in someone's backpack and not tell them about it. The court points out it really doesn't matter what the government believes.
In this case, the couple has offered sworn testimony detailing how they amassed the money, why they transported it to North Carolina, and how it ended up in Peter’s hands. In fact, there is little in the record other than their declarations. Certainly, nothing in the record directly contradicts the pair’s sworn account—no evidence that they did not travel to North Carolina, for instance, nor evidence that the cash had another source. Given our responsibility to “view[] the evidence in the light most favorable” to the couple and to “accept . . . uncontroverted fact[s],” Johnson, 823 F.3d at 705, we have little trouble concluding that the couple has asserted ownership and offered “some evidence” of ownership sufficient to withstand summary judgment.
It also points out why cash seizures in particular raise these issues, and why the government shouldn't be so quick to assume every story told by appellants is bullshit.
[B]ecause the case concerns cash, it demonstrates how challenging it can be to document ownership of property seized by law enforcement. Indeed, the very qualities that make paper money useful for illicit activity—in particular, its untraceability—often make it difficult to prove that any cash is legitimate, no matter its source. This is especially true for those in our society who rely on cash to the exclusion of banking and other financial services. As Justice Thomas has recognized, it is “the poor and other groups least able to defend their interests in forfeiture proceedings” who bear the brunt of civil asset forfeiture. Leonard, slip op. at 4 (internal citation omitted). And it is these same groups that are “more likely to use cash than alternative forms of payment, like credit cards, which may be less susceptible to forfeiture.” [...] So especially when cash is at issue, requiring more than “some evidence” of ownership would be onerous, unfair, and unrealistic.
The court also has nothing good to say about the government's singular insistence that the appellant's money story is made up, despite being unable to produce any evidence to the contrary. Taking the government at its word eliminates any remaining shreds of due process left in the forfeiture process.
The government’s argument perfectly illustrates why credibility determinations and the weighing of evidence are left to juries rather than judges. Government counsel may well be able to convince judges that it is inconceivable someone would choose to keep sizeable cash savings, to travel with cash, or to pay for routine expenses using cash rather than a credit card, but a jury of laypeople with different and more diverse life experiences might view these very same choices with considerably less suspicion. We are thus especially reticent to circumvent the jury process and throw out sworn testimony because it is out of line with our own lived experiences.
The appeals court reverses the lower court's decision. The government will have to do something it explicitly tries to avoid by using civil asset forfeiture rather than criminal asset forfeiture: taking a case to trial and actually having to provide more definitive evidence than "the dog said it smelled like drugs."

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Jul-2017
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Two Wangs Of Ireland Battle Over Trademarks Nobody Will Confuse

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It's frankly sort of ridiculous, but the state of trademark protectionism that exists today has rendered the trademarking of a person's own last name somewhat unwise. Given the low bar that has unfortunately been set in terms of judging real or potential customer confusion in the marketplace, simply using one's own name for a commercial brand rife with danger where trademarks are concerned. Something of an example of this is currently taking place between a small New York clothing designer named Thaddeus O'Neil and famed surf wear manufacturer O'Neill. The latter has been blocking a trademark application by O'Neil for over a year now.

In May of 2016, O'Neil the person filed a trademark for the name of his company, Thaddeus O'Neil, as well as his T.O. logo, which looks like an upside down Venus symbol. O'Neill the company, filed a motion in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office asking the court to block the trademark, claiming it was "likely to cause confusion." In June, the USPTO stated that the motion was not sufficient to grant the motion, however O'Neill the company appealed and the decision is now pending. The game of legal ping pong continues.
Let's get this out of the way: the two brands have little in common other than both selling clothing -- very different kinds of clothing -- and having a variation of a common last name. The branding for each company is wildly different and poses no threat to even the most moronic and hurried among us.

Those brands are nothing alike and they don't sell to similar marketplaces. Thaddeus O'Neil's branding includes his entire name. The lengths O'Neill is going to to block his trademark application seem rather heavy-handed given that, but it adds to the strangeness of it all that Thaddeus O'Neill can't name his brand after himself. And that strangeness birthed one of the best quotes I've ever been able to include in a Techdirt post.
"I'm a designer, and this is my work," O'Neill said in an email to The Hollywood Reporter. "Why can't the clothing I create bear my own name? We have Alexander Wang and Vera Wang coexisting unproblematically in same space. Wang is like Smith in China. They get along just fine and so do their customers. O'Neil is the Wang of Ireland."
O'Neil is the Wang of Ireland is something of a gem, but he's also plainly correct. Ownership over so common a last name at best should be wielded with care, if such a trademark ought to have been granted at all. Similar to how high the bars for infringement trademarks utilizing geographical areas are, so too should trademarks utilizing common last names be forced to reserve protectionism for when real confusion is likely or evident.

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