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When I look at any deep-green photo of the Brazilian rain forest, my imagination immediately adds the screeching of brightly colored birds, the whirring of large insect wings, and the rustling of exotic creatures in the thick underbrush. These days I also think of new drugs from native remedies, the promise of untapped biodiversity, and, well, patents. In “Green Idea!”, Michael Ryan explores the current state of rain forest exploitation in Brazil. After years of failing to open this great treasure chest, the country has recently produced new laws and new policies to encourage private innovation and technological development. Brazil being Brazil, some of the first beneficiaries of the reformed patent system are soccer players with sore knees. Back in the United States, the complaint is not that our legal system doesn’t encourage the seeking of patents. On the contrary, many people think that too many business methods have been granted intellectual property protection over the past decade or so. But the Patent and Trademark Office has tried to respond to these qualms. And attorneys defending alleged infringers are inventing — or perhaps we should say “rediscovering” — solutions too. In “Close Enough?”, James Hopenfeld and Gene Lee discuss one way to challenge a business method patent: Because so many of these patents were written so quickly and with so little prior-art research, there’s a good chance of finding vague and even indefinite claims. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has recently reminded the patent bar of the value of indefiniteness, defensively speaking. And on the subject of pithy thoughts from the Federal Circuit, Arthur Wellman Jr. points us to a rather clear message from the appeals court on the need for broad disclosure during patent prosecution. In short, disclose everything that the patent examiner might later deem material. And don’t be stingy in your definition of “material.” Wellman explains what happened to a patentee that didn’t tell all in “You’ve Been Warned”. Finally, we take a quick look at copyright in the shadow of 9/11. The effort to rebuild at Ground Zero in New York City has fueled debates over security, politics, money, and respect. It’s also generated a copyright clash over the scope of protection for architecture. Matthew Clanton tells the story in “A Tale of Two Towers”. — Elizabeth Engdahl Managing Editor

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