A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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By Ellora Israni – Edited by Filippo Raso

IMDb is challenging the constitutionality of Assembly Bill 1687 (“AB 1687”), a California law requiring IMDb to remove ages from its website upon request from paid subscribers, claiming that the law violates the First Amendment’s free speech protections.

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Facebook Blocks British Insurance Company from Basing Premiums on Posts and Likes

By Javier Careaga– Edited by Mila Owen

Admiral Insurance has created an initiative called firstcarquote, which analyzes Facebook activity of first-time car owners. The firstcarquote algorithm determines risk based on personality traits and habits that are linked to safe driving. Firstcarquote was recalled two hours before its official launch and then was launched with reduced functionality after Facebook denied authorization, stating that the initiative breaches Facebook’s platform policy.

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Airbnb challenges New York law regulating short-term rentals

By Daisy Joo – Edited by Nehaa Chaudhari

Airbnb filed a complaint in the Federal District Court of the Southern District of New York seeking to “enjoin and declare unlawful the enforcement against Airbnb” of the recent law that prohibits  the advertising of short-term rentals on Airbnb and other similar websites.  Airbnb argued that the new law violated its rights to free speech and due process, and that it was inconsistent with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online intermediaries that host or republish speech from a range of liabilities.

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Medtronic v. Bosch post-Cuozzo: PTAB continues to have the final say on inter partes review

By Nehaa Chaudhari – Edited by Grace Truong

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“the Federal Circuit”) reaffirmed its earlier order, dismissing Medtronic’s appeal against a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”). The PTAB had dismissed Medtronic’s petition for inter partes review of Bosch’s patents, since Medtronic had failed to disclose all real parties in interest, as required by 35 U.S.C. §312(a)(2).

 

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California DMV Discuss Rules on Autonomous Vehicles

DOJ Release Guidelines on CFAA Prosecutions

Illinois Supreme Court Rule in Favor of State Provisions Requiring Disclosure of Online Identities of Sex Offenders

Research Shows Concerns for Crucial Infrastructure Information Leaks

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Senate Debates Historic Patent Reform Act
By Lauren Henry – Edited by Jad Mills

S. 23: Patent Reform Act of 2011
Bill

The Senate is currently debating the Patent Reform Act of 2011, also known as the Invent America Act (“the Act”).  If passed, the Act would be the first major reform to the patent system in over fifty years. The Act is co-sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Ut, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Ia. It enjoyed bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee, passing unanimously in early February of this year. According to The Washington Post, Leahy’s office listed major drug companies, IBM, the AFL-CIO, the Association of American Universities, Caterpillar and USPIRG as supporters of the Act.

The two major points of debate are: 1) the shift to a “first-to-file” regime from the existing “first-to-invent” regime, which would simplify patent priority disputes; and 2) altering the grace period to file after third-party disclosures to push inventors to patent inventions earlier. Another area to watch is the Act’s potential impact, or lack thereof, on the status of business method patents. (more…)

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

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
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