About this Author
Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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June 17, 2005

Licensed Goldfish

Posted by Ernest Miller

GloFish are fluorescent fish that were originally bred to help detect environmental pollutants. Read the GloFish FAQ: About GloFish. Of course, who wouldn't want a flourescent fish for the dull, unexciting fish tank at home? So, they are now available for sale to the general public (Buy GloFish Fluorescent Fish). But be aware. These fish are licensed (GLOFISH FLUORESCENT FISH LICENSE NOTICE):

The GloFish fluorescent ornamental fish are intended solely for visual enjoyment as aquarium fish by end users who have purchased these fish from authorized resellers, and not for commercial reproduction. These fish are the subject of various intellectual property rights owned or controlled by Yorktown Technologies, Inc. (“Yorktown”), both in the U.S. and internationally. These rights include (1) patent rights, including published patent applications (2) copyrights; and (3) trademark rights, including slogans and service marks.

By accepting these fish, and as part of the consideration therefor, the recipient agrees: (1) not to, breed or propagate these fish, permit or encourage others to breed or propagate these fish, or otherwise intentionally engage in any activity that may result in or lead to the breeding or propagation of these fish by anyone without the express written consent of Yorktown; (2) not to sell or transfer these fish to anyone in the State of California, or to possess or otherwise engage in any activity that results in the possession of these fish in the State of California.

These fish are copyrighted? And why aren't Californians allowed to have any?

via Ed Foster's Gripe Log

UPDATE 1255PT A commentor notes that the fish were banned in California. CNN with an AP wirestory (California Blocks Sales of 'Glofish' Pets).

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Copyright | Oddities | Patent | Trademark


1. Richard on June 17, 2005 12:37 PM writes...

California banned them.

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2. Joe Gratz on June 17, 2005 02:39 PM writes...

The Minnesota Journal of Law, Science, and Technology recently published an article on the GloFish. See Rebecca Bratspies, Glowing in the Dark: How America's First Transgenic Animal Escaped Regulation, 6 Minn. J.L. Sci. Tech. ___ (forthcoming-ish May 2005). (I'd grab the exact cite, but my Westlaw password has apparently gone stale, and I don't have my paper copy yet.)

Full disclosure: I was one of the articles editors who accepted the Bratspies piece.

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3. Franco on June 18, 2005 08:20 AM writes...

You're a suck lawyer when you confuse patent and copyright. What a mistake to read your blog.

Permalink to Comment

4. Björn on June 18, 2005 04:55 PM writes...

"These rights include (1) patent rights, including published patent applications (2) copyrights"

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