A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news

Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Wendy Chu – Edited by Kayla Haran

Delaware Supreme Court Dismisses a Case For Lack of Online Personal Jurisdiction

California District Court Dismisses Trademark Dilution Claim Because of Limited Recognition

eLaw Launches an On-Demand Lawyer Service for Court Appearances




Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Haydn Forrest – Edited by Henry Thomas

Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC, v. Amazon.com, Inc. (Fed. Cir. Sep. 23, 2016)

Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC, v. DirecTV, LLC (Fed. Cir. Sep. 23, 2016)

Intellectual Ventures v. Symantec Corp. (Fed. Cir. Sep. 30, 2016)

Apple v. Samsung (Fed. Cir. Oct. 7, 2016)




Massachusetts SJC Clarifies Probable Cause for Cell Phone Seizure


By Nehaa Chaudhari – Edited by Ellora Israni


The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) affirmed last month a lower court’s decision to suppress information found on a cell phone seized without warrant or probable cause.


In allowing the Commonwealth’s appeal against the order of the Superior Court, the SJC considered two issues under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution: and Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.



Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Daniel Etcovitch – Edited by Emily Chan

Florida Judge Rules Bitcoin Is Not Equivalent to Money

Illinois Governor Signs Bill Restricting Use of Stingrays

DMCA DRM Circumvention Provision’s Constitutionality Being Challenged



Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Yuan Cao – Edited by Frederick Ding

Mere Commercial Benefit Not Enough to Trigger The On-Sale Bar

Technology-Based Software Solution Can Be Patentable 

Patent Disputes about Siri, iTunes, Notification Push, and Location


By Michael Hoven

TSA to Revamp Full-Body Scanners Despite Legal Victory

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it would upgrade the software on controversial full-body scanners in order to better protect the privacy of travelers, says Wired. Instead of creating a nude image of the traveler, the new Automated Target Recognition software will produce a “generic outline of a person,” according to the TSA. The announcement came shortly after the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the use of full-body scanners at security checkpoints in airports did not constitute an unreasonable search barred by the Fourth Amendment, as the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reported. The court held that the government’s interests in security and anti-terrorism outweighed individuals’ privacy concerns, but the TSA rule implementing the scanners had improperly been enacted without going through a notice-and-comment period.

FBI Arrests Sixteen in Connection with “Anonymous,” “LulzSec” Hackers Collectives

An FBI crackdown spanned ten states and led to the arrest of fourteen suspected members of “Anonymous” and two others accused of crimes in connection with “LulzSec,” reports All Things Digital. Anonymous is the name of a loosely affiliated organization of hackers who have claimed responsibility for the distributed denial of service attacks against PayPal and others who Anonymous believed were withdrawing support for Wikileaks. LulzSec has used similar methods to attack Sony and Senate.gov, among others, and may be a spinoff group of Anonymous, as VentureBeat has reported. The fourteen suspected members of Anonymous were indicted by a federal grand jury in San Jose, CA on charges of conspiracy and intentional damage to a protected computer, according to All Things Digital, and the other two face similar charges. Gizmodo reports that Anonymous and LulzSec have since released a joint statement promising to continue their attacks on corporations and government.

Court Rules Facebook Posts Sufficient for Disciplining College Student

The Minnesota Court of Appeals (via Leagle) rejected a student’s argument that the University of Minnesota could not discipline her for statements made on Facebook because such statements were off campus, reports Eric Goldman at the Technology and Marketing Law Blog. In a series of posts, the mortuary sciences student discussed taking out aggression on a cadaver being dissected in class and threatened to stab an unidentified person, which she later admitted referred to an ex-boyfriend. The court held that the university was allowed to take disciplinary action (namely a failing grade and academic probation) because the student’s posts were threatening and disruptive to the university. At The Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Volokh criticized the court’s reasoning for its potential to restrict student speech.

Direct Infringement Claims Against Cyberlocker Site Dismissed

Hotfile, a “cyberlocker site,” was held not to be a direct copyright infringer by the Southern District of Florida, Ars Technica reports, but the claims of secondary liability for copyright infringement can proceed. Cyberlocker sites are a recent target of MPAA’s anti-piracy efforts. Hotfile users can upload and share files, and affiliate accounts allow for payment based on the popularity of files that are shared. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) alleges that the majority of files uploaded to Hotfile are pirated. Direct infringement claims failed because users, not Hotfile, uploaded the files, failing the “volitional act” requirement. However, Hotfile still faces secondary infringement claims on a theory of inducement (among other things), which Techdirt says is the MPAA’s best case.

Posted On Jul - 25 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

by Michael Adelman

Major US Internet Service Providers and Media Organizations Agree to “Six Strikes” Copyright Enforcement Plan

Last week, major ISP’s such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable voluntarily agreed to help copyright owners by implementing a series of warnings and penalties for users suspected of downloading copyright infringing material, Ars Technica reports. When copyright holders detect alleged illegal file sharing, they will notify the ISP’s, who have committed to forward these notices to subscribers (but will not turn over subscriber names or addresses to content providers without a court order). Eventually, the plan calls for ISP’s to impose punishments on repeat offenders, including redirection to an educational landing page on copyright infringement and temporary reductions of internet speeds. The Obama administration applauded the measure, and Wired reports industry groups like the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America were similarly enthusiastic.

NJ Appellate Court Rules That Wife Tracking Spouse’s Car Movements Via GPS Not A Privacy Violation

A New Jersey Appellate Court (via Scribd) recently dismissed an ex-husband’s claim against a private investigator who recommended his ex-wife place a GPS tracker in their shared vehicle. The ex-wife used the GPS data to investigate if her spouse was having an affair. The Technology and Marketing Law Blog comments on several small but important details the court focused on, including that the vehicle was jointly owned and the GPS only tracked the ex-husband in public places. The Wall Street Journal notes this case is a forerunner to United States v. Jones, a warrantless GPS tracking case headed to the Supreme Court next year.

ITC Finds That HTC Phones Violate Two Apple Patents

ZDNet reports that the ITC found HTC is infringing two Apple patents. According to Engadget, one of the patents at issue is asserted against Motorola in a separate legal battle, and both seem to cover core features of Google’s Android mobile operating system. TechCrunch reports that Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman and former CEO, said the ruling doesn’t worry him, but that Google will assist HTC in appealing the ruling. The Economic Times perceives an increasing amount of litigation between Apple and HTC, as well as fellow smartphone and tablet competitors Nokia and Samsung resulting from more Android-powered devices being released to challenge Apple’s popular iPhone and iPad.

Posted On Jul - 19 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Heather Whitney – Edited by Esther Kang

On June 28th, Google launched Google+, what appears to be its first major attempt to combat Facebook in the social networking space. While it has been said that Google+ shares more than a little in common with Facebook’s UI, from a policy perspective Google+ has attempted to distinguish itself from Facebook on two main fronts: first, more granular user control of content sharing (i.e. privacy), and second, increased data portability, giving users the ability to easily take their data out of Google+ and go elsewhere. While the introduction of a feasible Facebook competitor has been hailed as a win for users, the possibility of robust competition, resulting in innovation and user-sensitivity, will remain out of reach until users, and not the dominant social networking site, have primary control over their data. In other words, although Google+ has raised the user control and privacy ante, online social networking will never reach its full potential until the costs of switching social networks are drastically lowered.

This article will touch on a few Google+ highlights; for a detailed comparison between Google+ and Facebook, see this Digital Trends piece. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 17 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court to Consider Civil Procedure Issues in Two Patent Cases
By Marina Shvarts – Edited by Dorothy Du

Hyatt v. Kappos, 625 F.3d 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2010)
Petition for Writ of Certiorari hosted by scotusblog.com

Caraco Pharm. Labs., Ltd. v. Novo Nordisk A/S, 601 F.3d 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2010)
Petition for Writ of Certiorari hosted by scotusblog.com

In Kappos v. Hyatt, the Court will consider whether a patent applicant who is seeking to overturn a Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) decision in a Section 145 civil action may introduce new evidence that could have been, but was not, presented to the PTO, and when new evidence is introduced, whether the district court can decide related factual questions de novo or whether it must give deference to the PTO’s prior decision.

In Caraco Pharm. Labs., Ltd. v. Novo Nordisk A/S, the Court will consider the extent of a generic drug manufacturer’s rights to file a counterclaim under the Hatch-Waxman act seeking an order to require the patent holder to correct or delete the patent information submitted to the FDA that misstates the scope of the patent.

Patent Docs summarizes the Federal Circuit en banc decision in KapposPatent Docs also discusses the Federal Circuit holding in Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories.


Posted On Jul - 13 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Eighth Circuit Holds that Use of Public Domain Material Infringes Film Copyright
By Michael Hoven – Edited by Esther Kang

Warner Bros. Entm’t v. X One X Productions, No. 10-1743 (8th Cir. July 5, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The Eighth Circuit unanimously affirmed in part and reversed in part a decision by the Eastern District of Missouri, which had granted summary judgment to Warner Bros. on its copyright infringement claim and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting defendants (collectively “AVELA”) from licensing images from publicity materials for The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and short films featuring Tom & Jerry. The Eight Circuit remanded the case for modification of the injunction in light of their decision.

The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Warner Bros. with regard to AVELA’s reproduction of publicity images, holding that the publicity materials were in the public domain. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment to Warner Bros. and the permanent injunction prohibiting AVELA’s production of items that evoked copyrightable aspects of the film characters, even when the products featured only images and text extracted from the public domain. In so holding, the court noted that the public’s right to use and modify public domain materials ends when it conflicts with an existing copyright. Because the “increments of expression” that a film adds to a public domain character are copyrightable, a combination of materials that do not independently infringe copyright—such as public domain extracts—may nonetheless infringe on an expressive element of that character that is protected under the film’s copyright.

PIT IP Tech Blog provides an overview of the case. Techdirt criticizes the decision for its expansion of copyright protection at the expense of the public domain. Copyright Litigation Blog questions whether other circuits or the Supreme Court will follow the Eighth Circuit’s reasoning and asserts that modifications of public domain material will fuel litigation in coming years. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 12 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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