A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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The Court of Justice of the European Union Finds the Harbor No Longer Safe

Written by: Ann Kristin Glenster - Edited by: David Nathaniel Tan

This fall, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered a landmark ruling,  holding that the Safe Harbor Agreement on the handling of personal data by U.S. companies in Europe was invalid. This article will give a brief overview of the case, and explore the salient issues to which the European Court took umbrage. Finally, it will attempt to sketch out some possible consequences of the ruling, and the options that now face E.U. and U.S. legislators.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Yiran Zhang – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

Senators Introduce a Bill which Requires Social Media Companies to Report Terrorist Activity

New EU Copyright Rules Left Possibility for Google Tax

COP21 Reached an “Ambitious and Balanced” Deal on Climate Change

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By David Nathaniel Tan – Edited by Adi Kamdar

Software Pirate Settles Suit Via YouTube

After Paris Attacks, FCC Chairman Calls for Expanded Wiretap Laws

Hoverboards Declared Illegal in New York City

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Belgian Court Demands that Facebook Stop Tracking Non-Members

By Mila Owen – Edited by Kayla Haran

The Belgian Privacy Commission requested a cessation order against Facebook regarding their practice of placing “datr” cookies on devices of non-Facebook users to track activity on other Facebook pages or on pages containing the “like” or “share” button. The court ruled that this tracking violates the Belgian Privacy Act because it amounts to the collection and “processing of personal data.”

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Facebook not liable for discrimination against Sikhs in India

By Ann Kristin Glenster – Edited by Yaping Zhang

By dismissing Sikhs for Justice Inc.’s case against Facebook for discrimination by blocking the group’s page in India, the United District Court of Northern California maintains the neutrality of interactive online providers and exempts them from liability under Title II of the Civil Rights Act.

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District Court Holds Unconstiutional Qui Tam Provisions of False Marking Statute
By Nathan Lovejoy – Edited by Chinh Vo

Unique Prod. Solutions, Ltd. v. Hy-Grade Valve, Inc., No. 5:10-CV-1912 (N.D. Ohio Feb. 23, 2011)
Slip opinion hosted by Inventive Step

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio granted defendant Hy-Grade’s motion to dismiss on the grounds that the qui tam provision of the Patent Act’s False Marking statute, 35 U.S.C. § 292, is unconstitutional.

The district court held that the qui tam provision of 35 U.S.C. § 292(b) violated the Take Care Clause of the Constitution because it does not provide the Department of Justice with the adequate statutory controls under the “sufficient control” analysis of Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 (1988). In so holding, the court relied on the Federal Circuit’s statement in Pequignot v. Solo Cup Co., 608 F.3d 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2010) that “the statute is a criminal one[,]” while simultaneously rejecting the Pequignot district court’s historically-grounded analysis of the qui tam provision. The court found instead that “[t]he False Marking statute essentially represents a wholesale delegation of criminal law enforcement power to private entities with no control exercised by the U.S. Department of Justice.”

Law360 provides an overview of the case. IPFrontline believes this decision suggests that “we may see some clarity regarding the constitutionality” of the False Marking statute from the Federal Circuit in the pending case FLFMC, LLC v. Wham-O, Inc., No. 2011-1067. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 6 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Vivian Tao

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in HIV Test Patent Dispute

Mercury News reports that oral arguments in the Supreme Court began this week over whether a Stanford University researcher’s patent on an HIV test belongs to Stanford or pharmaceutical company Roche. Researcher Mark Holodniy developed the test while he was employed as a professor at the Stanford School of Medicine. The dispute centers around whether he could transfer Stanford’s patent rights while working as a visiting researcher at Cetus laboratories, which later sold that line to Roche. Although the Bayh-Dole Act assigns the patent to Stanford automatically, Holodniy signed a form assigning rights to Cetus for patents that resulted from their collaboration. The decision will determine whether the Bayh-Dole Act remains the source of governance on research patents when researchers sign off on those rights.

Motorola Sues TiVO for Infringement on DVR Patents

Bloomberg reports that Motorola has filed a complaint against TiVo for infringing its patents on digital video recording (“DVR”) technology. General Instrument, a Motorola subsidiary, applied for its DVR patents in 1995; TiVo applied for its own patents for allegedly infringing technology in 1998. PCMag suggests that this suit may be in response to TiVO’s ongoing 2009 suit against Motorola client Verizon on similar claims of infringement related to Verizon’s FiOS service. PCMag notes that this is just the latest in an ongoing battle over DVR providers: in 2009, TiVO sued AT&T U-Verse and was awarded damages from DISH and Echostar on similar claims, while Microsoft sued TiVO last month on software patent violations.

USTR Identifies Top Chinese Search Engine as “Notorious Market”

Business Week reports that the United States Trade Representative’s office has included Baidu.com, China’s top search engine, on its list of “notorious markets” for its use of techniques that link users to commerce sites that sell pirated items. Reuters notes that Baidu.com is the most visited site in China, and one of the top 10 most visited sites in the world. The USTR’s list identified Asian and Latin American regions as the primary markets for these sites, and was followed by a Chamber of Commerce statement encouraging legislators to empower courts to block foreign sites marketing pirated goods.

Former Senator Dodd to Head MPAA

On March 17, former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd will become the new head of the Motion Picture Association of America (“MPAA”). CNET reports that Dodd is “truly excited” about the new position and named the protection of motion picture studio distributions as his “highest priority.” This announcement comes as the MPAA is engaged in lobbying Congress to pass the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, aimed at fighting piracy.

Posted On Mar - 6 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Throws out $1.67 Billion Jury Verdict for Lack of Written Description
Centocor Ortho Biotech, Inc. v. Abbott Lab., No. 2010-1144 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 23, 2011)

By Katie Booth – Edited by Chinh Vo
Slip Opinion

The Federal Circuit recently ruled that a district court erred when it declined to grant the motion of defendant Abbott Laboratories (“Abbott”) for JMOL that the plaintiff’s asserted patent claims were invalid. In so holding, the court set aside a jury verdict of $1.67 billion in damages to plaintiff Centocor Ortho Biotech (“Centocor”) in the infringement suit concerning antibodies used to treat arthritis.

The Federal Circuit found that Centocor’s written description in its patent application was not adequate and conveyed merely a wish or plan to invent an antibody rather than constructive possession of that antibody. The court also held that Centocor’s disclosure of the TNF-α protein did not provide an adequate written description for all binding antibodies, since the protein was already known and the antibody claimed could not be routinely produced at the time of filing.

Patent Docs and Patently-O provide thorough overviews of the case. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 3 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Plaintiff’s Lanham Act false association claims against Google AdWords program survive motion to dismiss
By Abby Lauer – Edited by Matt Gelfand

Jurin v. Google, No. 2:09-cv-03065-MCE-KJM (E.D. Cal. Feb. 14, 2011)
Slip Opinion hosted by Scribd.com

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied in part and granted in part Google’s motion to dismiss in a case involving trademark infringement and breach of contract claims against the search engine.

While granting Google’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s breach of contract claim, the court denied the motion with regard to plaintiff’s claims that the Google AdWords program infringed his trademark rights against false association. In an unexpected decision, the court declined to require the defendant to be the producer of the goods alleged to cause confusion with the plaintiff’s goods.

Technology & Marketing Law Blog criticizes the decision as inconsistent with other keyword ad cases. (more…)

Posted On Feb - 28 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

The Harvard Journal of Law & Technology recently released its Fall 2010 issue, now available online.  John M. Golden, author of “Innovation Dynamics, Patents, and Dynamic-Elasticity Tests for the Promotion of Progress” has written an abstract of his article for the Digest, presented below.

- The Digest Staff

JOLT Print Preview: Innovation Dynamics, Patents, and Dynamic-Elasticity Tests for the Promotion of Progress
John M. Golden

This article develops a model for innovation dynamics and studies its implications for technological development and policies to promote innovation.  The model generates a diverse array of trajectories for technological progress as a function of time.  Among the forms of possible trajectories, trajectories featuring linear or exponential growth are only special cases.  The model suggests that growth according to a supralinear power law might be more common: i.e., the cumulative amount of innovation might frequently be expected to grow like the quantity tz, where t is a measure of time and z is a positive exponent.

The model also suggests that, under a variety of circumstances, whether a given incremental policy change accelerates or decelerates technological progress will be determined by a “dynamic-elasticity” or “double-ratio” test involving comparison of percentage changes in model parameters.  The existence of such double-ratio tests might suggest that patents’ effects on innovation are even more sensitive to technologic and industrial circumstance than has commonly been appreciated. (more…)

Posted On Feb - 28 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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