A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Privacy Concerns in the Sharing Economy: The Case of Uber 

By Sabreena Khalid – Edited by Insue Kim

Recent revelations about Uber’s disconcerting use of personal user information have exposed the numerous weaknesses in Uber’s Privacy Policy. The lack of regulation in the area, coupled with the sensitive nature of personal information gathered by Uber, makes the issue one requiring immediate attention of policy makers.

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San Francisco Court Considers Google’s Search and Ad Services Free Speech

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Henry Thomas

A San Francisco court dismissed a lawsuit against Google, treating Google’s search and advertisement services as constitutionally protected free speech. The lawsuit alleged an antitrust violation based on unfavorable treatment of a website in Google’s search results, and on the withdrawal of third-party advertisement from the website. In throwing out the lawsuit, the court applied California’s “anti-SLAPP” law, which allows quick dismissal of lawsuits against acts protected as free speech.

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EU Unitary Patent System Challenge Unsustainable: Advocate General

By Saukshmya Trichi – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union has rendered an opinion on Spain’s challenges to regulations implementing the European Unitary Patent System. The Advocate General opines that the challenges must be dismissed as the system is intended to provide genuine benefit in terms of uniformity and integration, and safeguard the principle of legal certainty, while the choice of languages reduces translation costs considerably.

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California Sex Offender Internet Identification Law Held Unenforceable

By Jesse Goodwin – Edited by Michael Shammas

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling granting a preliminary injunction prohibiting of the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (“CASE”) Act. In a unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel held that requiring sex offenders provide written notice of “any and all Internet identifiers” within 24 hours to the police likely imposed an unconstitutional burden on protected speech.

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Congress Fails to Pass Act Limiting Collection of Phone Metadata

By Henry Thomas – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

The Senate failed to reach closure and bring the USA FREEDOM Act to a vote. The Act would have extended provisions of the Patriot Act, but would have sharply curtailed the executive’s authority to collect phone conversation metadata. While the bill had broad popular support, the vote failed largely along party lines, passing the onus of drafting and approving a new bill onto the next congressional session.

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Federal Circuit Vacates Lower Court Ruling in Elevator Patent Case
By: Helen (Ye) He – edited by Davis Doherty

Schindler Elevator Corp. v. Otis Elevator Co., No. 2009-1146 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 15, 2010)
Slip opinion

The Federal Circuit vacated the District Court for the Southern District of New York’s grant of summary judgment of noninfringement in favor of Defendant Otis Elevator.  The Federal Circuit concluded that the district court constructed Schindler Elevator’s patent claims too narrowly by construing the terms “hands-free,” “information transmitter” and “recognition device” “to exclude any ‘personal action’ by an elevator user other than ‘walking into the monitored area’.”  The case was remanded in light of the Federal Circuit’s broadened claim construction.

Gray on Claims provides an overview of this case.  717 Madison Place comments on the case and raises some questions. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 24 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court Issues a Stay to Prevent Broadcasting of Proposition 8 Case
By Andrew Segna – Edited by Dmitriy Tishyevich

Hollingsworth v. Perry (on application for stay), Case No. 09A648 (U.S., Jan. 13, 2010)
Slip Opinion

The Supreme Court granted a stay of the order issued by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California for a broadcast of the California lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to define a valid marriage as only between a man and woman.  The District Court issued this order following an amendment to a local rule of the District Court that had forbidden broadcasting of trials outside of the courthouse.  The court had planned to stream the trial live in federal courts in several other cities and to post it on YouTube as part of a pilot program to test broadcasting of court proceedings.  Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order allowing for real-time broadcasting to five federal courthouses, but did not address broadcasting the trial online due to technical difficulties encountered by the District Court staff.  In a per curiam decision, the Supreme Court held that the revision of the local district rule did not follow procedures designated by federal law, found that applicants would suffer irreparable harm if the live broadcast occurred, and granted a stay of the order.

DC Dicta has an overview of the Supreme Court’s decision.  SCOTUSblog provides an analysis of the opinion and what it means for the future broadcasting of this challenge to Proposition 8.  An editorial in the New York Times criticizes the effect this decision will have on public discussion regarding this case. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 18 - 2010 1 Comment READ FULL POST

By Tyler Lacey

Comcast Claims It Would Accept Net Neutrality if Rules are “Clear”

Ars Technica reports that on January 11, Comcast’s executive vice president David Cohen has issued a blog post declaring that it “is time to move on, and for the FCC to decide, in a clear and reasoned way, whether and what rules are needed to ‘preserve an open Internet.’” Cohen claims that the FCC’s 2008 sanctions of Comcast are invalid because they were not based on any “applicable federal law,” and notes that the issue is not “a fight about net neutrality.” Ars Technica’s Nate Anderson argues in response that Comcast’s portrayal of the circumstances leading to the sanctioning order has been “disingenuous” and that much of the confusion surrounding the FCC rulemaking “has been emanating from Comcast HQ.”

Canadian Government Misrepresents Websites as Phishing Attempts to Have Them Taken Down Without a Court Order

On January 11, the Toronto Star reported that the Canadian government wrote to an ISP asking that websites operated by activist group Yes Men be taken down. Yes Men had been operating two websites that “looked official” but satirized the Canadian government’s position on climate issues. According to the article, Canadian law requires a court order before an ISP must take down a website, but allows for an exception if a website is engaged in phishing activity. The Toronto Star’s Michael Geist argues that “officials used both the persuasive power of an official government request combined with inaccurate claims that the sites were engaged in phishing to escalate the issue,” ultimately persuading the ISP to take down the sites. Geist concludes that the government’s “phishing claim effectively substituted one hoax for another and, in the process, undermined the trust in a global system designed to guard against identity theft.”

Amendments Tabled to Clarify UK Proposal Authorizizing Officials to Amend Copyright Law Without Legislation

On January 13, the BBC reported that the United Kingdom government has tabled amendments to its forthcoming Digital Economy Bill. Section 17 of the bill is particularly controversial because it “would have allowed ministers to amend existing laws on online piracy without the need for further legislation.” The proposed amendments do not remove this section, but according to a spokesman for the UK’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), they will “clarify the breadth and scope of the clause and further reinforce the transparency of the process and the scrutiny of Parliament.” BIS argues that the bill “will drive the UK’s vital creative and digital sectors to bolster future growth and jobs.”

Posted On Jan - 15 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Rules Against PTO’s Interpretation of Patent Term Adjustments
By Gary Pong – Edited by Dmitriy Tishyevich

Wyeth and Elan Pharma Int’l Ltd. v. Kappos, No. 2009-1120 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 7, 2010).
Slip Opinion

The Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court for the District of Columbia, which had granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs, and held that they were “entitled to extended patent term adjustments under 35 U.S.C. § 154(b) due to the Patent and Trademark Office’s (“PTO’s”) delay in prosecuting their patent applications.”

In promulgating 37 C.F.R. § 1.703(f), the PTO had interpreted § 154(b) as limiting the length of patent term adjustments to the greater of the statutory delay periods, without the possibility of ever combining the two.  The Federal Circuit concluded that this reading was “contrary to the plain language of the statute,” and declined to afford Chevron deference to the agency’s interpretation, holding that the PTO “does not have authority to issue substantive rules, only procedural regulations regarding the conduct of proceedings before the agency.”

Patent Docs provides an overview of the case.  In another article, Patent Docs also provides insight into the PTO’s future course of action.  Patent Prospector features a thorough analysis of the judicial opinion. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 14 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

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
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Privacy Concerns in

By Sabreena Khalid – Edited by Insue Kim Following scandals earlier ...

free-speech

San Francisco Court

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Henry Thomas S. Louis Martin ...

European union concept, digital illustration.

EU Unitary Patent Sy

By Saukshmya Trichi – Edited by Ashish Bakshi Advocate General’s Opinion ...

computer-typing1

California Sex Offen

By Jesse Goodwin – Edited by Michael Shammas Doe v. Harris, ...

nsa-tracking-phone-records-325x337

Congress Fails to Pa

By Henry Thomas – Edited by Paulius Jurcys USA FREEDOM Act ...