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

Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Kayla Haran – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Court Finds Negative Claim Limitation Meets Written Description Requirements

International Trade Commission’s Expansion of its Jurisdiction to Include Electronic Transmissions of Digital Data Ruled Improper

Court Holds That Patent Trial and Appeal Board Did Not Deny Procedural Rights in Review



Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Patrick Gallagher – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

TOR Project Head Alleges FBI Paid Carnegie Mellon for Hack in Connection with Silk Road 2.0 Investigation

DOJ Decides Not to Support FCC in Efforts to Preempt States Laws Limiting Municipal Broadband Projects

D.C. Court of Appeals Permits Continuation of Bulk Domestic Phone Data Collection



Senate passes Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act

By Frederick Ding — Edited by Yunnan Jiang

On October 27, 2015, the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which enables companies to share cyber threat indicators with each other and the federal government, and immunizes them from liability for sharing under the act. Tech companies and journalists have vocally expressed opposition to the act, which may enable companies to share users’ personal information.



Senators push bill protecting interstate trade secrets amidst concerns over trolling

By Bhargav Srinivasan – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

The Senate Judiciary Committee is deliberating a bill to provide US companies with extra legal protections for trade secrets for products or services used in interstate commerce. However, some legal scholars believe the bill creates strong potential for companies to engage in “trade secret trolling” by falsely accusing rivals of stealing trade secrets in order to stall their business. The ensuing debate now weighs the intent of the bill with the potential for legal bullying.



Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Keke Wu – Edited by Yunnan Jiang

Federal Circuit Rejects-in-part the District Court’s Claim Construction

No Jurisdiction to Claim Reputational Harm after Settlement

Federal Circuit Affirms-in-part PTAB in Belden vs. Berk-Tek


By Ian B. Brooks

Pennsylvania Takes on Teen Sexting

On August 2 The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Pennsylvania’s proposed bill addressing “sexting” by minors. Sexting is the sending of nude photos between electronic devices, primarily cell phones. Currently, child pornography laws, intended for adults, provide the only ammunition for prosecuting these acts in Pennsylvania. With penalties including felony charges and sex offender registration, some believe the existing laws are too harsh. To strike a balance between dealing with sexting concerns and properly disciplining children, Pennsylvania legislators are considering a bill that provides for a range of penalties. Proponents believe the law will protect children; critics say the proposed law is misguided and violates constitutionally protected rights.

Three Countries Threaten to Shut Down Blackberry Network Over National Security Concerns

The BBC reports that the Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirate governments have each planned to block some of Research in Motion’s (“RIM”) Blackberry messaging services. The governments are concerned that the encryption of the messaging services presents a national security threat. Currently they are unable to monitor the communications from those devices; they believe that terrorists can therefore use the network to avoid detection. Some believe the statements are a tactic to convince RIM to provide the governments with access to user data. Reuters reports that talks between RIM and some governments regarding access are underway. iGeneration reports on a similar threat from India, and discusses the balance between preventing of terrorist threats and protecting privacy.

Delhi Traffic Police Use Facebook to Catch Traffic Law Violators

The New York Times reports that Facebook has become a tool for finding traffic law violators in India. With the help of informants who post photos on its Facebook page, the Delhi Traffic Police has issued tickets to drivers pictured breaking the law. Because they have such limited resources, the Delhi Traffic Police find the Facebook site to be helpful in catching violators. Critics are concerned that citizens providing information to law enforcement through social media is a step onto a slippery slope. However, the Delhi Traffic Police have received a positive response — the site has even resulted in tickets being issued to police officers.

Posted On Aug - 9 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Informing a Patient of a Method’s Effect is Insufficient to Render the Method Patentable
By Harry Zhou – Edited by Chinh Vo

King Pharms., Inc. v. Eon Labs, Inc., No. 2009-1437, -1438 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 2, 2010)
Slip Opinion

On August 2, 2010, the Federal Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York’s entry of summary judgment invalidating two patent claims held by King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“King”). In addition, the court vacated summary judgment against a third-party defendant for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

King’s challenged patent claims pertained to the beneficial increase in bioavailability of a drug when the drug was ingested with food. Such claims were supported by two sources of novelty: the previously undiscovered result of increased bioavailability, and an “informing” limitation consisting of either instructing a patient to ingest metaxalone with food or applying printed labels bearing such instructions to packaging. In invalidating all of King’s claims in question, the Federal Circuit held that both alleged sources of novelty had been inherently anticipated by prior arts.

Patently-O provides an overview of the decision. Inventive Step provides a detailed summary of the court’s rationale in finding that the “informing” limitation was insufficient to impart patentability into an inherently anticipated claim. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 9 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sharona Hakimi

Gates Denounces WikiLeaks disclosure of sensitive documents from Afghanistan

On July 29, Wired and the New York Times reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen publicly condemned WikiLeaks for publishing 75,000 secret documents relating the Afghanistan War.  During a Pentagon press briefing, Mullen said that the activists who run WikiLeaks “might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier” or an Afghan partner whose identity was exposed. Though the documents did not seem to have strategic value, Gates stated that because of the “massive breach,” “[t]actics, techniques and procedures will become known to our adversaries.” Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has defended his website as providing a truthful portrait of the situation in Afghanistan, and said the organization held back thousands of documents for security reasons. The FBI is currently assisting in an internal departmental investigation to determine the source of the leak.

Google StreetView not liable in UK for WiFi snooping

Ars Technica reported that the British Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found that information captured from WiFi networks by the Google StreetView cars was not “significant” as it did not include “meaningful personal details.” The ICO issued a statement that, although Google was wrong to collect the information, the data could not be linked to an “identifiable person” and thereby cause harm. The ICO and other international agencies are still investigating Google StreetView to see if Google has broken any data privacy laws.

The DOJ sues Oracle for fraudulent software sales

CNET reported that the US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Oracle contending that the company defrauded the government by offering software discounts that were “far inferior” to those provided to its commercial clients. Oracle and the federal General Services Administrations engaged in a software deal from 1998 to 2006 that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. Under the contract, Oracle was to offer any improved commercial discounts to the government agencies. The DOJ brought the suit under the False Claims Act in the U.S. District Court for the District of Eastern Virginia.

Posted On Aug - 5 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Fifth Circuit Limits DMCA by Distinguishing Circumvention to Access Software and Circumvention to Violate Copyright
By Ian B. Brooks – Edited by Helen He

MGE UPS Systems, Inc. v. GE Consumer and Indus. Inc., No. 08-10521 (5th Cir. July 20, 2010)
Slip Opinion

The Fifth Circuit affirmed the ruling of the District Court for the Northern District of Texas, which dismissed MGE UPS Systems Inc.’s (“MGE”) Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) claim against Power Maintenance International, Inc. (“PMI”) and General Electric Company (“GE”) pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P 50(a).

The Fifth Circuit held that the DMCA’s provisions apply to protections designed to prevent infringement of copyrighted material and not protection from mere access to that material.  Thus, the circumvention of a protection measure that fails to shield the copyrighted material from being read and copied is not a violation of the DMCA.  The court further noted that once a protection measure has been circumvented, the DMCA no longer applies to the use of that work.

Barry Sookman provides an overview of the case and an analysis of the court’s ruling.  Info/Law has a critical discussion of the DMCA in light of this case’s holding. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 2 - 2010 1 Comment READ FULL POST

Ninth Circuit reverses court order granting toymaker Mattel ownership of Bratz doll brand
By Abby Lauer – Edited by Janet Freilich

MGA Entertainment, Inc. v. Mattel, Inc., No. 09-55673 (9th Cir. July 22, 2010)
Slip Opinion

In a decision making headlines across the nation, the Ninth Circuit reversed the Central District of California, which had given Mattel ownership rights to the Bratz doll brand after a jury found that the designer who created the dolls was working for Mattel when he conceived the idea. Along with ownership of the Bratz brand, the district court also ordered Bratz manufacturer MGA to pay Mattel $10 million in damages.

The Ninth Circuit held that MGA had significantly improved the value of the Bratz brand as a result of its investment in the product, development efforts, and marketing since the dolls were first sold in 2001. Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski maintained that it would not be equitable to completely revoke MGA’s ownership of the billion-dollar Bratz line, even if development of the brand may have started with a misappropriated idea. In so holding, Judge Kozinski stated that a significant portion – if not all – of the jury’s verdict and damages award should be vacated, and that the entire case will probably have to be retried.

Bloomberg provides an overview of the case. The Wall Street Journal offers additional commentary about the prolonged legal battle between Mattel and MGA to determine the rightful owner of the Bratz brand. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 31 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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