70th Anniversary of D-Day and the Importance of a Single Patent

On June 6, 1944, more than 130,000 troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France in a campaign called Operation Overlord. To succeed, the operation needed boats that could be landed directly on beaches without using a dock or wharf.

Higgins Industries, a New Orleans company headed by Andrew Jackson Higgins, patented and built a specially designed boat that was used for the D-Day amphibious landings. President Eisenhower later called Higgins “the man that won the war for us.”

A copy of this patent can be found using the U.S. Patent and Trade Mark Office’s Patent and Full-Text Database.The National Archives also has a special virtual exhibit  commemorating D-Day that includes a digital copy of the original patent for the Higgins Boat Landing Craft. Here is the accompanying drawing of the design:

Higgins Boat

 

 

 

 

ost 133,000 troops landed on D-Day.   hat could  transport military equipment to the beaches without the use of wharves or docks was crucial. 

Mass Digitization v. Copyright

There have been two significant developments in the ongoing disputes between copyright holders and information providers.

On October 4, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) settled its longstanding copyright infringement case against Google challenging the Google Books Library Project.  According to an AAP press release, under the parties’ settlement agreement “US publishers can choose to make available or choose to remove their books and journals digitized by Google for its Library Project.” This settlement does not impact the continuing dispute between Google and the Author’s Guild.

Last week, a U.S. District Court Judge dismissed a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by writers’ guilds against the Haithi Trust, a digital repository formed by a consortium of university libraries to preserve and enhance access to library materials. Google has done most of the scanning for the project.

The legal issues here involve the right of “Fair Use” (17 U.S.C. § 107), which permits the reproduction of copyrighted works in certain instances. To learn more about fair use and other U.S. Copyright Laws, see the U.S. Copyright Office Website.  For additional resources, please consult the law library’s Intellectual Property Research Guide.