A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Steven Wilfong

Multimedia car system patents ruled as unenforceable based on inequitable conduct

ITC’s ruling that uPI violated Consent Order affirmed

Court rules that VeriFone devices did not infringe on payment terminal software patents

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Viviana Ruiz

Converse attempts to protect iconic Chuck Taylor All Star design

French Court rules that shoe design copyright was not infringed

Oklahoma Court rules that Facebook notifications do not satisfy notice requirement

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Silk Road Founder Loses Argument That the FBI Illegally Hacked Servers to Find Evidence against Him

By Travis West  — Edited by Mengyi Wang

The alleged Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was denied the motion to suppress evidence in his case. Ulbricht argued that the FBI illegally hacked the Silk Road servers to search for evidence to use in search warrants for the server. The judge denied the motion because Ulbricht failed to establish he had any privacy interest in the server.

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Trademark Infringement or First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech?

By Yunnan Jiang – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

On October 11, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, Inc. (“ACLU”) filed a joint brief in the U.S. Court Of Appeals, urging  that “trademark laws should not be used to impinge the First Amendment rights of critics and commentators”. The brief argues that the use of the names of organizations to comment, critique, and parody, is constitutionally protected by the speaker’s First Amendment right of freedom of expression.

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Twitter goes to court over government restrictions limiting reporting on surveillance requests

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Michael Shammas

Twitter on Oct. 7 sued the government, asking a federal district court to rule that it was allowed to reveal the numbers of surveillance requests it receives in greater detail. Twitter opposes complying with the rules agreed upon by the government and other tech companies in a settlement earlier this year, and argues that the rules violated its rights under the First Amendment.

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The Digest is celebrating our two-year anniversary! Since January 2007 we have grown from a dedicated group of five to a staff of more than twenty-five; this past year we’ve worked to bring our readers a greater quantity and variety of content, including the reintroduction of Flash Digest and Digest Comments. We hope to continue to be a valuable source of law and technology news.

We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage this year  - Stay Tuned!

The Digest Staff

Posted On Jan - 10 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST
By Dr.Jur. Eric Engle LLM[i]
Editorial Policy

An internet fraudster, a repeat offender, has recently been charged[ii] with “fraud and related activity in connection with computers[iii] in connection with a financial crime – fraudulent currency trading through phishing.[iv] The defendant obtained the passwords to another person’s internet account and then used that person’s account to trade foreign currency. Interestingly, the indictment[v] uniquely charges the fraudster with a computer crime. The fact pattern, however, raises the interesting question of whether the defendant could have been charged under the Securities and Exchange Acts of 1933[vi] and/or 1934[vii].

The threshold question is whether trading in foreign currency is trading in “a security” and, if so, under what circumstances. The Securities and Exchange Acts define “security” broadly.[viii] Though cash itself is not a security,[ix] Ponzi schemes have been found to be a “security”[x] in the context of currency trading. Furthermore, foreign currency options are a security.[xi] The SEC has charged currency fraud under Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act) and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.[xii] Is there a theory which can bring currency trading into the Securities and Exchange Acts? (more…)

Posted On Jan - 7 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Kassity Liu JD ’12
Edited by Joey Seiler

Editorial Policy

On October 6, 2009, Eolas Technologies Inc., a research and development company specializing in web solutions, filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas against 23 prominent companies in the software and Internet industry. Eolas claims that these companies are infringing two of its patents, U.S. Patent No. 5,838,906 (’906 Patent) and U.S. Patent No. 7,599,985 (’985 Patent). These two patents cover technology that enables websites to act as platforms for fully integrated embedded applications. The ’906 Patent was granted in November 1998. It defines a system that would allow Internet users to access and execute an embedded program. The ’985 Patent, which was granted on the same day that the company filed its present lawsuit, extends the reach of the older patent to AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) applications.

The present suit is not Eolas’ first. In a previous patent infringement suit, Eolas targeted Microsoft, claiming that the company had infringed its ‘906 Patent. Eolas alleged that its invention, which was first demonstrated at a SIGWEB meeting in 1994, was the “first instance where interactive applications were embedded in Webpages.”[1] The district court sided with Eolas, and the jury awarded Eolas $521 million in damages.[2] Microsoft appealed this decision, but after unsuccessful attempts at moving the case to the Supreme Court and invalidating the patent, the software giant chose to settle with Eolas. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 3 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Dr. Jur. Eric Engle, LLM[i]
Edited by Gary Pong
Editorial Policy

New technologies have made types of searches possible which could never have been envisioned when the Fourth Amendment was proposed to prohibit unreasonable search and seizure. With remote listening, infrared imaging, and, now, wireless technologies, it is possible to detect movements of people within buildings with no discernible physical impact on the surveilled person’s life.[ii] Are remote searches reasonable? Do they require a warrant?[iii] In my opinion, courts should treat these sorts of remote detection techniques (“surveillance”) as searches subject to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of reasonableness.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution expressly guaranties that:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Fourth Amendment was incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment to apply directly to the states, even though many protections against search and seizure at state common law were more extensive than the Fourth Amendment.[iv] The general rule is that the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unwarranted searches does not apply where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.[v] That leads to the question of when a person has reason to believe that he or she is “in private” as opposed to “in public”. This will depend both on the facts of the case and on social reality.[vi] For example, different cultures within the United States have different senses of what is “public” and what is “private”, and those senses are constantly evolving.[vii] However, one bright line stands out: searches of homes without warrants are presumptively unreasonable because “[a]t the very core [of the Fourth Amendment] stands the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.” [viii] (more…)

Posted On Dec - 29 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Andrew Segna, JD ‘12
Edited by Lee Welling
Editorial Policy

Video games have evolved from a niche hobby to an important mainstream form of entertainment and artistic expression in the United States. A May 2009 Ars Technica article stated that Americans are more likely to spend time playing video games then going to see a movie. Video games can now be considered a peer of music, movies, and television. As in these other industries, there has been a recent movement outside of big-budget and high-profile games. Small development teams with limited resources have begun producing unique games that push the boundaries of gameplay and story-telling. Current independent developers grew up on the personal computer (PC) and are familiar with its open nature, meaning that with the PC developers can have unfettered control over their products’ creation and distribution.

This open nature is not without flaws, such as piracy. In response to these flaws, developers have begun moving to other platforms, most importantly the Xbox 360 and the iPhone. The popularity of these devices and their ease of use present an enormous opportunity for independent developers. The evolution of these platforms, however, also presents a significant impediment to the growth of independent games. The flawed free and restrictive natures of the Xbox 360 and the iPhone threaten the financial success of independent games. In contrast, Microsoft’s control over the Xbox 360 and Apple’s control over the iPhone enables these two platform holders to achieve their own goals. The interests of the platform holder and independent developers often do not align, which negatively impacts the latter entity. Independent developers are so intent on producing profitable games that they focus on surviving on the platform instead of changing its structure for the betterment of their peers. In order to overcome the harms of these platforms, this Comment will argue that a legal aid organization should guide independent developers in overcoming Microsoft’s and Apple’s status as repeat players in their respective platforms. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 22 - 2009 1 Comment READ FULL POST
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