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

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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

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Sixth Circuit Finds Privacy Interest in Mugshots under FOIA

By Filippo Raso – Edited by Ariane Moss

A split en banc Sixth Circuit reversed the lower courts’ ruling, holding individuals have a privacy interest in their booking photos for the purposes of Exemption 7(C) of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552. In so doing, the Court overruled Circuit precedent established two decades ago. The case was remanded with instructions to balance the public interests against the individual’s privacy interest.

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The EFF Challenges the DMCA Anti-Circumvention Provision: A First Amendment Fight

By Priyanka Nawathe – Edited by Kayla Haran

On July 21, 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the United States government to overturn DMCA Section 1201, commonly referred to as the anti-circumvention provision. The EFF argues that this provision, designed to prevent circumvention of “technological protection measures,” actually chills research and free speech, and thus is a violation of the First Amendment.

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By Jaehwan Park – Edited by Kayla Haran

Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce Bill Encouraging U.S. Government Agencies to Use the Cloud as a Secure Alternative to Legacy Systems

Snapchat Accused of Violating Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Announces New Policy Group to Promote Global Digital Trade

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by Marina Shvarts

Cameras Coming to Federal District Courts

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports that on July 18, 14 federal district courts around the country will launch a pilot program utilizing cameras in court. The project, however, is taking small steps, subject to several restrictions. Cameras will only be allowed in civil proceedings with the consent of both parties. There will be no live broadcasts, and the trial judge will have non-reviewable discretion over which cases will be recorded and when the cameras must be shut off. The recordings will be publicly available on uscourts.gov. Uscourts.gov has a list of participating courts.

Administration Divided over Whether Recent Cyber Threats Constitute a ‘Cyber War’

According to NPR, the Obama administration’s disagreement over how to characterize the recent string of cyber attacks could complicate setting out a response strategy. Compromised information at Google, RSA and Lockheed Martin exemplifies, according to cybersecurity experts, “the most sophisticated hacking efforts ever perpetrated against private computer networks,” reports NPR. According to the pentagon, there is reason “worry about cyberweapons being used to cause actual physical damage.” The pentagon is characterizing the recent threats as a cyberwar. Howard Schmidt, the White House coordinator for cybersecurity, disagrees, stating that “to label every cyber-intrusion, every theft of intellectual property, as cyberwar is just a total mischaracterization of what’s going on in the world today.” Before the Pentagon releases a new cyber strategy, disagreements over how much to emphasize cyberwar scenarios will have to be resolved.

Professor Receives Tenure Based in Part on Wikipedia Contributions

According to the Wikimedia Foundation Community Blog, Michel Aaiji’s substantial contributions to Wikipedia were in part responsible for his award of tenure. Aaiji explained the various peer review features on Wikipedia, noting that articles posted there could be as rigorous as those published in more traditional sources. As other professors follow the lead, the status of Wikipedia contributions will have to be reevaluated.

 

 

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

Supreme Court Adopts “Willful Blindness” Standard for Induced Infringement
By Raquel Acosta – Edited by Matt Gelfand

Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S. A., 563 U. S. ____ (May 31, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The Supreme Court affirms the result but not the “deliberate indifference” standard used by the Federal Circuit.

In an 8-1 decision the Supreme Court held that, under 35 U. S. C. § 271(b), inducement of infringement requires that a defendant have knowledge that the acts they induced constituted patent infringement. Deliberate indifference does not satisfy the knowledge requirement, but “willful blindness” does. In so holding, the court applied the criminal law principle of willful blindness to a civil law case and rejected the “deliberate indifference” standard.

PatentlyO provides an overview of the case. Patent Docs reviews the decision and criticizes the Supreme Court’s approach. SCOTUSblog briefly summarizes the holding and provides links to related briefs and documents.

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Posted On Jun - 10 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

by Michael Adelman

Copyright Suit Fails to Prevent Memorial Day Weekend Release of The Hangover: Part II

On Tuesday May 24, the New York Times reported that Judge Catherine D. Perry of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri denied tattoo artist Victor Whitmill’s preliminary injunction that would have halted the release of the film The Hangover: Part II over Memorial Day weekend. Mr. Whitmill claims that Warner Brothers has infringed on his exclusive rights to the Maori-inspired tattoo which he designed and inked on boxer Mike Tyson’s face by putting it on the face of the character Stu, played by Ed Helm, in the film and promotional merchandise. Wired reports that the litigation has prompted an about face by the nation’s preeminent copyright scholar, UCLA law professor David Nimmer, who testified that tattoos should not be copyrightable while serving as an expert witness for Warner Brothers. Likelihood of Confusion noted that Judge Perry strongly indicated Mr. Whitmill stands to recover on his claim in the future, but that she declined to issue the injunction after finding the public interest in letting the movie be released outweighed the harm of infringement.

G8 Nations Issue A Statement on Internet Governance

Ars Technica reports on the recent G8 summit that produced a Declaration of Renewed Commitment for Freedom and Democracy, which extolled the power of the Internet in increasing democratic participation and as a driver of economic growth. The document emphasized the need to safeguard against “arbitrary or indiscriminate censorship” in preserving the Internet as a democratic forum. The G8 nations also announced their commitment to enhancing protections of intellectual property (copyright in particular) through greater international cooperation of governments and private entities.

New Legislation Would Make Unauthorized Internet Streaming a Felony

Ars Technica reported on the testimony of new Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, before the House Judicicary Committee about whether illegal online streaming should be upgraded from the current misdemeanor status to a felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail. Pallante asserted that increased bandwidth and greater scrutiny of file-sharing networks have made video streaming sites that display pirated material increasingly popular, and that the law needed to be adjusted to keep pace with technology. This is also the position espoused by the Obama Administration’s White Paper on Intellectual Property Enforcement. But Techdirt warned that by making “performance” of a copyrighted work a felony, the proposed bill (via GovTrack.us) could potentially render the act of embedding or hosting an infringing video a felony.

Amazon Launches New Mac Software Store to Compete with Apple’s App Store

Amazon has recently launched a subsection of its online downloads store specifically oriented to Mac OSX software. Ars Technica reports that Amazon has called this service the “Mac Downloads Store”, probably to avoid another legal dispute with Apple. Slashdot has covered Apple previously filed lawsuit against Amazon for trademark infringement over Amazon’s ‘Appstore for Android’. ComputerWorld analyzes some of the differences between Amazon’s Mac Download Store and Apple’s Mac App Store, speculating that these differences are largely driven by differences in Amazon and Apple’s licensing agreements with software developers.

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

Federal Circuit Heightens Standard for Inequitable Conduct
By Marina Shvarts – Edited by Dorothy Du

Therasense, Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson and Co., 2008-1511, -1512, -1513, -1514, -1595 (Fed. Cir. May 25, 2011) (en banc)
Slip Opinion

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the decision of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, which found U.S. Patent No. 5,820,551 (“the ’551 patent”) unenforceable due to inequitable conduct.

The Federal Circuit heightened the standard for proving inequitable conduct with respect to both the intent and materiality elements. The new test requires specific intent to deceive. A finding of materiality must show that “but-for” nondisclosure, the claim would not have been approved. The holding was a response to concerns about overuse of the inequitable conduct defense and the harshness of the remedy, characterized as the “atomic bomb of patent law.” The case was remanded to the district court to determine whether defendants’ conduct was inequitable under the new test.

Patently-O summarizes the opinion. The Patent Law Practice Center discuses reactions in the patent community. Patent Docs discusses the dissent.

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Posted On May - 31 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Provides Guidance for Obviousness Determinations by the PTO and the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences
By Abby Lauer – Edited by Dorothy Du

In re Kao, 2010-1307 (Fed. Cir. May 13, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded a decision of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (“Board”), which had rejected patent application 11/680,432 (“the ‘432 application”) for obviousness. The Federal Circuit also affirmed findings of obviousness by the Board regarding patent applications 12/167,859 (“the ‘859 application”) and11/766,740 (the ‘740 application”). All of the patent applications at issue claimed controlled release drug formulations containing the opioid pain reliever oxymorphone.

In vacating and remanding the Board’s decision regarding the ‘432 application, the Federal Circuit held that the Board lacked “substantial evidence” in its determination that it would have been obvious for someone skilled in the art to combine the claims of a prior art reference with the controlled release oxymorphone formulation. In addition, the Board did not properly analyze the evidence of secondary considerations of nonobviousness that were presented by the patent holder. The Court agreed with the Board that both the ‘859 and the ‘740 applications were obvious in view of certain prior art references.

PatentlyO provides an overview of the case. Patent Docs provides detailed commentary and analysis.

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Posted On May - 31 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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