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Google Refuses to Expand the Right to be Forgotten

By Leonidas Angelakos – Edited by Henry Thomas

Last Thursday, Google announced its refusal to comply with a June 2015 right-t0-be-forgotten order issued by a French regulatory agency. The tech giant called the order, which demanded that it remove qualifying links from all Google search results, not just those on its European domains,  “a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web.”

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German Commission Orders Facebook to Allow Fake Names

By Annie Woodworth – Edited by Ariane Moss

Last Tuesday, the Hamburg Data Protection Authority, a German regulatory body, ordered Facebook to lift its policy prohibiting users from choosing pseudonyms. Although there was some dispute over whether the order applied to Facebook, the social media giant agreed to change the policy and issued an apology.

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Nintendo Wins Summary Judgment Based on Doctrine of Prosecution History Estoppel

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Stacy Ruegilin

On July 17, 2015, the Northern District Court of California granted a summary judgment motion in Nintendo’s favor in a patent suit, construing disputed term in accordance with Nintendo’s interpretation and finding that the patent had not been infringed. The court based its decision on prosecution history estoppel, highlighting differences between the processes of obtaining and enforcing a patent.

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District Court Holds that Internet-Based Television Provider, FilmOn X is Entitled to a Compulsory License

By Anne Woodworth – Edited by Henry Thomas

The U.S. District court for the Central District of California ruled that an online streaming service that rebroadcasted network television fit the definition of a cable company, and was entitled to compulsory licensing under § 111 of the Copyright Act.  The order relied on the Supreme Court’s Aereo decision, which held that internet streaming was fundamentally the same as cable. The ruling conflicts with a Second Circuit case decided on similar facts, and is immediately appealable.

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Data Breach Victims, Rejoice: Seventh Circuit Finds that Threat of Injury is Sufficient for Article III Standing in Data Breach Class Actions

By Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ariane Moss

Last Monday, the Seventh Circuit Courto of Appeals ruled that victims of a data breach had standing to pursue a class action even when they had not suffered direct financial harm as a result of the breach or when they had already been compensated for financial harm resulting from the breach. The opinion reversed a contrary district court decision, which the Seventh Circuit said had incorrectly read the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA.

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Charitable Activities Do Not Create Commercial Interests in Untrademarked Names
By Harry Zhou – Edited by Ryan Ward

Stayart v. Yahoo! Inc., __ F.3d __, 2010 WL 3785147, No. 09-3379 (7th Cir. Sept. 30, 2010)
Slip Opinion hosted by Seattle Trademark Lawyer

On September 30, 2010, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, dismissing a complaint filed by Beverly Stayart alleging false endorsement under the Lanham Act and various state law claims against Yahoo! Inc. [hereinafter “Yahoo”] and other defendants.

Stayart’s complaint centered on the unfavorable search results generated by Yahoo’s search engine when she used her name as the search string. In finding that Stayart lacked standing under § 43(a) of the Lanham Act, the court held that Stayart’s charitable activities such as protests, publication, and boycotts did not imbue into her name a “commercial interest” necessary for a finding of Lanham Act violation. The court also affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Stayart’s state law claims under the abuse of discretion standard.

Lowering the Bar and Internet Cases offer brief summaries of the opinion. Eric Goldman voices support for the court’s ruling. A summary of the facts leading up to the filing of suit can be found at Seattle Trademark Lawyer. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 25 - 2010 1 Comment READ FULL POST

By Dorothy Du

Facebook Plans to Fix Privacy Flaw that Allows “Apps” to Share User Information

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook applications (“apps”) have been transmitting user-IDs to dozens of third parties. These third parties include advertising and data-gathering companies, which use and sell the information. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that all of the top ten Facebook.com “apps,” including FarmVille and Mafia Wars, are guilty of such actions in violation of their web developer agreements with Facebook. User IDs give companies the ability to look up the user’s real name, friends’ names, and other data posted on the user’s public profile. The information leak was made possible by a browser standard that allows the apps to record the URL of the page from which the user came — information that includes the user ID — as the New York Times reports. Facebook has shut down some of the offending apps, but with 550,000 Facebook apps, the task of protecting users may prove difficult to achieve.

Wyeth Wins Latest In String of Suits Over Hormone Replacing Drug that Increases Cancer Risk

Wyeth, which was purchased by Pfizer Inc. in 2009, has won the latest in a string of suits over the health risks of Prempo, a hormone replacement drug for menopausal women, reports Bloomberg and ABC News. After deliberating for less than an hour, the jury found that Wyeth had properly disclosed the link between increased risk of cancer and Prempo and rejected the plaintiff’s claim of $3.5 million for pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Wyeth’s lawyers had argued that the drug’s label disclosed the link and that the studies did not conclusively show that the drug caused breast cancer. Wyeth has now won six of thirteen jury trials regarding the effects of Prempo since 2006, and has been granted motions to dismiss in more than 3,000 cases. Over 6 million women had already taken Prempo when a 2002 study by the Women’s Health Initiative showed that the drug increased the risk of cancer. The New York Times has cast Prempo into the spotlight once again with its report on a follow-up study of the 12,788 women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative study, which revealed that cancers suffered after taking the drug also tend to be more advanced and deadly. Pfizer still faces over 8,000 lawsuits involving Prempo.

The NIH Licenses Its Patent on AIDS Drug to International Entity

The New York Times reports that the NIH has become the first patentee to license its patent on an AIDS drug to the Medicines Patent Pool, an international entity run by Unitaid, an independent agency founded at the United Nations in 2006. The drug, darunivir, is a potential third-line treatment for patients who have not experienced success with second-line AIDS medications, according to Doctors Without Borders. The “patent pool” has the potential to increase third world patients’ access to patented medicines by allowing drug companies to use pooled licenses to produce affordable, generic drugs. In return, the participating patent holders will receive royalties. However, this particular NIH patent will not enable drug companies to produce generic versions of darunivir because of additional patents on the drug held by Tibotec, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Posted On Oct - 25 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit holds that Honeywell’s duplication of a previously-invented process does not qualify the company as “another inventor” under 35 U.S.C. § 102(g)(2)
By Abby Lauer – Edited by Janet Freilich

Solvay S.A. v. Honeywell Int’l, Inc., No. 2009-1161 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 13, 2010)
Slip Opinion

The Federal Circuit affirmed-in-part, reversed-in-part, and remanded the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, which had invalidated plaintiff Solvay’s patent on a process for making non-ozone-depleting refrigerant gas based on a finding that defendant Honeywell had previously invented the process addressed in five of the patent’s claims. The district court also found that Honeywell had not infringed the patent’s other claims.

In reversing, the Federal Circuit held that Honeywell did not qualify as an “inventor” of the patented process under 35 U.S.C. § 102(g)(2) because the company had merely copied the work of a Russian agency that it had hired to develop the process. The court agreed with Solvay’s argument that Honeywell could not be an “inventor” of the gas manufacturing process because it did not itself invent the subject matter of the process. Writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, Judge Schall emphasized that the originality provision of 35 U.S.C. § 102(f) requires that “the conception of an invention be an original idea of the inventor.” Because Honeywell did not itself conceive of the gas manufacturing process, Honeywell was not a prior inventor of the process and Solvay’s patent on the process is valid.

The Patent Prospector provides an overview of the case with excerpts from the Federal Circuit opinion. PatentlyO describes and analyzes the case. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 19 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Daniel Doktori

Philadelphia School District Settles Laptop Spying Case

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Tuesday that the Lower Merion school district has settled with two students whose school-issued laptops had webcams that were remotely activated by school officials. Plaintiff Blake Robbins’ parents initiated the suit in February after a school administrator confronted Robbins of wrongdoing using photo evidence of his home taken from the computer’s webcam. CNN reports that the school agreed to pay $175,000 to the family of Blake Robbins and $10,000 to student Jalil Hassan, as well as $425,000 in legal fees to attorney Mark Haltzman. The laptop program, begun in 2008, sought to provide each of the district’s 2,300 students with laptops to be used in school and at home. The Lower Merion school district intends to continue the program but will disable the webcam function on issued computers. Following investigations by the FBI over the summer, school officials were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

Supreme Court grants Certiorari for Patent Infringement Intent Case

SCOTUS Blog reported on Tuesday that the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case of Global Tech v. SEB to clarify the legal standard for intentional patent infringement. The court will hear arguments to address whether the legal standard for intent to “actively induce” infringement is “deliberate indifference of a known risk” or “purposeful, culpable expression and conduct.” As Patently-O explains, the Supreme Court seeks to address inconsistent results in the Federal Circuit regarding the proper standard.

France to Discourage Illegal Downloads with Digital Music Subsidies for Youths

On Thursday, Arstechnica reported that the European Union has approved a French Government program to subsidize purchases of digital music for residents aged 12–25. As Reuters reports, the program would issue one 50 Euro (approximately $70) card per year to eligible residents, at a cost of only 25 Euros. The European Commission, indicating that the program does not violate any anti-competition rules, praised France’s two-year, $35 million program for its cultural and legal benefits.

Posted On Oct - 15 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Chippendales’ “Professional and Classy Sexy Fun” Deemed Not Inherently Distinctive.
By Phillip Hill – Edited by Ian C. Wildgoose Brown

In re Chippendales USA, Inc., Serial No. 78/666,598 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 1, 2010)
Opinion

On October 1, the United States Court for the Federal Circuit affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which ruled that Chippendales USA, Inc. could not register its “abbreviated tuxedo” costume, the “Cuffs & Collar,” as an inherently distinctive mark.

The Court held that even though live adult entertainment typically involves “revealing and provocative” costumes, individual costumes can nevertheless be inherently distinctive. The Cuffs & Collar only qualified for acquired distinctiveness, however, because of shared heritage with the Playboy Bunny costume.

Both the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and the Federal Circuit applied the test articulated in Seabrook Foods, Inc. v. Bar-Well Foods, Ltd., 568 F.2d 1342 (C.C.P.A. 1977) for determining inherent distinctiveness. In applying the Seabrook test, the court agreed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) that inherent distinctiveness must be measured at the time of registration as opposed to the time of first use. The court reasoned that it would be unfair to allow applicants to delay registration and then “preempt intervening uses that might have relied on the fact that registration . . . had not been sought at an earlier time.”

PatentlyO provides an overview of the case. The TTABlog speculates that Chippendales will petition for certiorari. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 13 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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