Following the YouTube decision in 2010 that gave copyright owners the ability to demand that infringing works be taken down from intermediate sites (so long as the copyright owner found each specific instance of infringement and requested it by address), this Chanel case seems to follow suit. 

Rights-holders must assert their rights in order to gain the benfits of any legal protection they may have, but courts in the US are struggling to balance how to make the system efficient and fair.  It may be an undue burden, as the court found in YouTube,  to hold the ISP responsible for material posted by a user that may or may not infringe the rights of some other third party unless they are given specific notice.  But the Chanel court went way to the other extreme, going so far as not only blocking the commerce from the website, but ordering GoDaddy to take over the websites selling infringing products and post an "outline of the case" in its place.  This unorthodox remedy could pave the way for more website takeovers.

Each case should be decided by the facts within it -- perhaps the company selling infringing Chanel products behaved particularly badly.  But it's hard to imagine more damning evidence than the "smoking gun" emails found in the YouTube case, and YouTube did not get nailed for inequitable conduct there.  It seems that, at least regarding fake high-end branded products, ownership is on the rise.

There is a strong divide between people who believe that "non-practicing entities," or owners of patents who are not currently using or selling those patented technologies, are so-called "patent trolls" and those who believe they serve an invaluable service challenging Goliath-style companies' questionable patents.

Part of the problem is the very long time it takes to patent software technology relative to the speed of evolution of that technology.  It is not uncommon that an idea -- soundly patentable because it is useful, novel, and contributes to the art -- spreads like a virus between developers and becomes incorporated in major markets well before a patent issues. 

Another part of the problem is the appearance by some NPEs of seemingly only being in it for the money.  If you are not practicing the patent, how can you possibly have damages that could be remedied by a lawsuit?  The NPEs hire Top Gun trial attorneys and engage in aggressive litigation instead of trying to license the patent or find a compromise with companies whose entire business may be built around the technology.

It's tough to generalize NPEs as entirely bad because we do need a venue to challenge those Goliath-style companies.  I don't personally believe that a corporation should be immune to litigation or accusations of wrongdoing simply because it is large or popular.  By completely foreclosing NPEs from asserting infringement, the system would then be closed to the small inventor who simply hasn't found a manufacturer or distributor yet.  He, too, is a "non-practicing entity" on the surface, and he's also probably trying to defend an income stream through litigation.  But is he a bad guy? 

There are many facets to a specific lawsuit or negotiation -- that's why we have the adversarial court system in the US, rather than just telling people "Well, that's the rule, tough."  You have a chance to prove your case, whether you are the non-practicing entity or the company who has been served with an infringement suit. 
Remember those stories Grandma or Uncle Al keep sharing over and over?  Don't you wish you could capture that moment in time to share with your kids and grandkids?  Consider recording family gatherings through notes, digital audio or video, or scrapbooking.  You'll be glad you preserved your family's history for future generations, and it's a fun project to involve all family members.  Much preferable to arguing about politics, let me tell you...
Click here for results from the 2011 Wall Street Journal's "Small Business, Big Innovation" competition.

The Wall Street Journal's Small Business, Big Innovation competition for 2011 profiles a dozen small businesses who all had to make major changes to their marketing and business plans to adapt to tumultuous market conditions in the past few years.  They offer small business owners everywhere examples of how boldness and the ability to change what you think you are offering your customers can bring your business from red to black, even in the face of a "bad" market.