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 Esther Kang

AOL Buys Huffington Post for $315 Million

TIME reports that on Monday, AOL announced its plans to acquire The Huffington Post, a progressive Internet news site.  This move follows AOL’s acquisition of TechCrunch in September 2010.  The New York Times reports that The Huffington Post’s founder Arianna Huffington will become president and editor-in-chief of the new Huffington Post Media Group, giving her control of AOL’s news content.  AOL CEO Tim Armstrong says that “the reason AOL is acquiring The Huffington Post is because we are absolutely passionate, big believers in the future of the Internet, big believers in the future of content.”  According to MarketWatch, the acquisition will result in combined base of 117 million unique visitors in the U.S. and 270 million worldwide.

FCC Announces Plans to Expand Broadband Access

Reuters reports that the FCC plans to overhaul the $8 billion Universal Service Fund, a subsidy program for rural phone service, by redirecting the funds to support Internet access.  FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says that the current system is “unsustainable” because “it was designed for a world with separate local and long-distance telephone companies; a world of traditional, landline telephones before cell phones or Skype; a world without the Internet — a world that no longer exists.”  The Washington Post reports that President Obama also unveiled plans to expand broadband networks, pledging to spend $18 billion to bring 4G access to 98% of Americans within the next five years.  According to CNET Obama anticipates raising $27.8 billion from auctions of spectrum currently licensed to TV broadcasters.  However, as The New York Times reports, this estimate depends on whether broadcasters will voluntarily relinquish spectrum to the FCC.

In-flight Internet Provider Aircell Raises $35 Million

Bloomberg reports that Aircell, the largest in-flight wi-fi service provider, has raised $35 million in new funding, bringing its total capital to almost $600 million.  Aircell first introduced its Gogo service in 2008, and the service is now available on flights for nine of the top eleven airlines, as VentureBeat reports.  Aircell also currently provides wi-fi services for about 6,000 private aircraft.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Aircell’s CEO thinks the company is a “viable IPO candidate,” though the company has not yet made any decisions regarding an offering.

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

This week the JOLT Digest site was attacked, causing it to go down for a few days.  We have resolved these problems and will resume our regular update schedule immediately.  Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

– The Digest Staff

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

By Tim Grayson

FCC Moves to Dismiss Net Neutrality Challenges

As PCMag.com reports, the FCC moved to dismiss two challenges to the agency’s December 2010 adoption of controversial net neutrality rules regulating broadband and wireless networks. Verizon and MetroPCS filed suit, each claiming that the FCC lacks the authority to enforce net neutrality. The FCC’s motion to dismiss stems from a timing issue: Verizon and MetroPCS both filed suit before the new rules were published in the Federal Register. This means a dismissal would likely be a temporary reprieve for the agency.  Those on both sides of the debate will watch with interest as courts determine the scope of the FCC’s jurisdiction.

Johnson & Johnson Loses $482 Million Stent Case

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bruce Saffran has scored a big payday at the expense of Johnson & Johnson. A Texas jury awarded Saffran, a New Jersey radiologist, a $482 million verdict after finding that Cordis (J&J’s stent-making subsidiary) had infringed Saffran’s patent for producing “Cypher” drug-coated stents. Stents are small metallic devices designed to hold open arteries, and are used in a variety of cardiac procedures. This isn’t the first big court victory for Saffran—he received a $50 million settlement from Boston Scientific after an initial jury verdict of $431 million. His suit against Abbott Laboratories is still pending.

Mozilla adds “Do not Track” feature for Firefox 4.1

Following recent FCC recommendations, Mozilla has announced that Firefox 4.1 will incorporate a “Do not Track” feature, earning praise from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Privacy advocates say that “Do not Track” additions will protect consumers from surreptitious and difficult-to-avoid mechanisms that allow marketers and advertisers to follow most of users’ browsing histories. Google announced similar—but less thorough—developments for Chrome, which recently became the third browser with a double-digit market share.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Patent Overhaul Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved by a vote of 15-0 a bill designed to reduce the massive damage awards that often arise from patent disputes. The bill would give judges a larger role in determining the importance of a particular patent to a product, and would also grant patents to the first inventor to file rather than the first to invent—aiding companies who file patent applications in multiple countries. The House Judiciary Committee has yet to begin drafting a companion bill, the next step in the legislative process.

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

Federal Circuit continues trend of interpreting “use” under §271(a) broadly
By Philip Yen – Edited by Matthew Gelfand

Centillion Data Systems, LLC v. Qwest Communications International, Inc., No. 2010-1110 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 20, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The Federal Circuit vacated an order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, which had granted summary judgment of noninfringement in favor of Qwest on the grounds that neither Qwest nor its customers individually “practice[d] all of the limitations of the asserted claims.”

The issue was ultimately a question of what the word “use” means under 35 U.S.C. §271(a), which governs infringement of patents. The District Court, drawing from Federal Circuit precedent, had held that to “use” a system for purposes of infringement, a party must either practice every element or control and direct the actions of another that practices the elements in question. NTP, Inc. v. Research in Motion, Ltd., 418 F.3d 1282 (Fed. Cir. 2005). Although the Federal Circuit agreed with the District Court’s definition of “use,” it held that the District Court had misinterpreted the definition “by holding that in order to ‘use’ a system under §271(a), a party must exercise physical or direct control over each individual element of the system. The ‘control’ contemplated in NTP is the ability to place the system as a whole into service.” Slip Op. at 8. Thus, a customer’s use of the front-end application that utilized Qwest’s back office systems satisfied §271(a)’s requirement of “use.” In so holding, the court noted that that the District Court’s contrary interpretation would have effectively overturned NTP, since the customer in that case would not have met the District Court’s threshold of control either.

Patently-O provides an overview of the case. The Patent Prospector discusses the case and provides some commentary. IPWatchdog criticizes the decision based on concern that the holding of NTP and Qwest overextends §271(a), and that the definition of “use” under the statute is being broadened. (more…)

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

Written by Andrew Segna
Edited by Jonathan Allred
Editorial Policy

On October 13, 2010, Valve, a major video game developer, announced Dota 2, its new title, for which it registered the trademark “Dota” with the USPTO on August 6, 2010. This game is a sequel to the extremely popular Defense of the Ancients (abbreviated “Dota”), a“mod” that independent videogame developers created by modifying the game Warcraft III. The trademark registration evoked concern among members of the industry and consumers, especially in light of recent overly aggressive trademark enforcement by Tim Langdell, developer and president of the video game company Edge Games. As developers and publishers acquire and assert control over trademarks, members of the video game community are concerned that mod creators and independent developers could feel intimidated and, fearing liability, not take on certain projects. Naturally, those concerned by aggressive trademark enforcement would prefer that the trademark rights not be granted in the first place. However, even where the law is not able to prevent video game companies from obtaining and enforcing trademark rights in game titles and assets, private policing by members of the video game world can prevent overly aggressive trademark enforcement from disrupting the industry. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 21 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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