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

Federal Circuit Court Provides Clarity on Patent Preemption Post-Alice

By Seán Finan – Edited by Grace Truong

The decision of the Federal Circuit Court clarified the SS101 exceptions to patentability relating to preemption and abstract ideas. The decision has important implications for the application of the Alice test and for software patents.



By Alex Noonan – Edited by Filippo Raso

California Supreme Court to Determine if Courts Can Require Non-Party Content Hosts to Remove Defamatory Reviews


Half of American Adults are in Law Enforcement Facial Recognition Databases


Californian Residents Whose Data Were Exposed in Yahoo Data Breach to Bring Class Action Suit in California State Court




By June Nam – Edited by Ding Ding

The heirs of William Abbott and Lou Costello filed suit against the creators of a Broadway play, Hand to God for using—verbatim—a portion of the iconic comedy routine, Who’s on First?. The Second Circuit affirmed the judgment but rejected the reasoning of the district court, which dismissed allegations of copyright infringement. The Circuit Judge, Reena Raggi, held that the use of the routine in the play was not a fair use under the Copyright Act of 1976. However, the heirs did not have a valid copyright to allege any copyright infringement.



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)



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

By Dorothy Du

IBM Creation “Watson” May Have the Potential to Assist in Legal Research

Watson, an IBM super computer four years in the making, competed on the popular TV game show Jeopardy! on February 14 through 16. On the 16th, Watson prevailed against former Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, tallying in at a total of $77,147 in winnings — more than triple each human contestant’s totals, as PC World reports. Robert Weber, IBM’s senior vice president of legal and regulatory affairs and general counsel explained in The National Law Journal that Watson could be useful in performing some of the basic legal research that junior associates are often assigned. PC World explains that Watson is equipped with a natural language processing system called DeepQA that allows it to understand a complex question, even one involving wordplay; the system uses six million logic rules in order to mine 200 million pages of content for human-like answers. Weber believes DeepQA could prove useful for “gathering facts and identifying ideas when building legal arguments” and says the technology could even “come in handy, near real-time, in the courtroom.”  Jennifer Chu-Carroll, who helped create Watson, told Computer World: “Watson is a significant step, allowing people to interact with a computer as they would a human being.”

Recent Cases Support the Use of Internet to Assist Counsel in Voir Dire

ABA Journal reports that conducting Internet searches to uncover personal details about potential jurors in order to facilitate in jury selection during voir dire has become increasing popular. Quinn Emanuel reports that a New Jersey appellate court in Carino v. Muenzen held that it was unreasonable to prohibit counsel’s use of the Internet during jury selection. And the Missouri Supreme Court in Johnson v. McCullough affirmed a decision to grant a new trial because a juror had failed to disclose his prior lawsuits, but added the qualification that in light of advances in technology allowing access to information about potential jurors, it was appropriate to increase the burden on parties to bring such matters to the court’s attention earlier. With more than 500 million people on Facebook, 175 million on Twitter, and over 70 million actively using LinkedIn, the Internet has become a revolutionary tool allowing jury consultants and trial lawyers to uncover facts that may be may not be discoverable via traditional jury questionnaires. Internet searches allow counsel to select jurors that with particular political affiliations, community involvement, sexual orientation, or income level, Reuters reports.

FDA Deputy Commissioner Speaks About New Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

On February 17, Michael Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods gave his first speech on imports since the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama this year, Quality Assurance Magazine reports. The FSMA represents the biggest reform of U.S. food safety regulation in decades, and was drafted partially in response to a number of high-profile food-related incidents between 2007 and 2010, as Sidley Austin details.  Taylor indicated that, in light of the fact that 50 percent of our fresh fruits, 20 percent of our vegetables, and 80 percent of our seafood is imported, the FDA sought to establish a new paradigm for regulating imported food through the FSMA, according to the FDA. Taylor stated that “food safety is not only the right thing to do, it is good business,” noting “the major disruptions to our economies and to international trade that occur in the wake of major foodborne illness outbreaks and product recalls.” Food Safety News says the new law gives the FDA new tools to manage imports, such as the power to create agreements with exporting countries that facilitate inspection and certification of food in the country of origin.

California Judge Dismisses Another Class Action Lawsuit Against Pacemaker Manufacturer

MassDevice reports that Judge Manuel Real of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California recently dismissed a class-action lawsuit against Guidant Corp., a subsidiary of medical device company Boston Scientific. The plaintiff, who had the “Insignia 1298” pacemaker implanted in 2004, was understandably concerned when he heard in the news that pacemakers like his were failing, explains Drug and Device Law. Rather than waiting or undergoing surgery, he decided to sue Guidant Corp., the manufacturer of the pacemaker. The plaintiff’s complaint in Cohen v. Guidant Corp. was dismissed on grounds of “preemption and want of injury, facts, and particularity.”  According to the judge’s order, the complaint failed to provide factual support showing that there was a specific defect in the pacemaker. The court also stated that fear of future injury, in the absence of an actual manifestation of a defect that results in injury, is not a legally cognizable claim under California law.

Posted On Feb - 27 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Seventh Circuit Denies Moral Rights Protection to Chicago Garden
By Albert Wang – Edited by Matthew Gelfand

Kelley v. Chicago Park District, Nos. 08-3701 and 08-3712 (7th Cir. Feb. 15, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the Northern District of Illinois’ judgment in favor of the Chicago Park District on Chapman Kelley’s Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) claim, while reversing the court’s judgment in favor of Kelley on his claim of implied contract.

The Seventh Circuit, while affirming on the VARA claim, rejected the district court’s finding that Kelley’s garden was unoriginal and that VARA categorically excluded site-specific art. The court held that the garden was ineligible for copyright not for want of originality, but of authorship and fixation.  As a work not subject to copyright, the garden was not covered by VARA’s grant of moral rights. In addition, the court attacked the district court’s finding that the garden constituted a painting and sculpture for VARA purposes. In reversing on the contract claim, the circuit court held that the commissioner lacked the power to bind the city through her representations.

IPLawChat provides an overview of the case. Clancco and ArtSlant discuss the decision’s ramifications for concept art at large. (more…)

Posted On Feb - 25 - 2011 4 Comments READ FULL POST
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