A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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ITC’s review of an ALJ’s order was not procedurally sound
By Mengyi Wang – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit unanimously vacated and remanded a decision of the International Trade Commission (“ITC”), finding that the ITC exceeded its authority in reviewing an administrative law judge’s (“ALJ”) order denying a motion for termination. In so holding, the Court rejected the ITC’s attempt to characterize the ALJ’s decision as an initial determination, which would be subject to review.

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Facebook’s experiment of emotional contagion raises concerns
By Jenny Choi – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

On June 17, 2014, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences released a study in which Facebook reduced positive and negative posts on News Feeds to observe any changes in the participants’ posts to test whether emotional states are contagious through verbal expressions. Many have criticized Facebook for the experiment,  finding that Facebook has deceived its users, violated past Consent Orders, and stretched the users’ terms of service agreements too far.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Ken Winterbottom

Access to nude photos is a ‘perk’ of working at the NSA, Snowden says

Record label slams YouTube star with copyright infringement suit

Study shows women are still underrepresented among technology leaders

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SDNY Holds Bitcoins Fall Under Purview of Federal Money Laundering Statute

By Amanda Liverzani  Edited by Mengyi Wang

The debate surrounding the legal status of Bitcoins continued to heat up, as the Southern District of New York weighed in on whether the virtual currency could be used to launder money under 18 U.S.C. §1956(h). In a July 9, 2014 opinion penned by Judge Forrest in United States v. Ulbricht, the court held that exchanges involving Bitcoins constitute “financial transactions” for purposes of the money laundering statute, noting that “[a]ny other reading would—in light of Bitcoins’ sole raison d’etre—be nonsensical.”

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Aereo Struggles as Supreme Court Finds It Violated Copyright Law
By Jenny Choi – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

On June 25, 2014, in its 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Aereo, Inc.  The U.S. Supreme Court held that Aereo violated the Copyright Act of 1976 for streaming TV shows shortly after they were broadcast without paying for the copyrighted works.  As a result, Aereo suspended its service and has struggled to find a way to re-operate its business. This decision has not come without criticism, however, as some warn this ad hoc decision could lead to uncertainty in the courts.

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By Evan Kubota

Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon Join Opposition to Google Settlement

The New York Times reports that Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon have joined library associations, nonprofits, and individuals in opposing the Google Books settlement in The Authors Guild v. Google. The settlement, which would allow Google to provide digital versions of millions of books, still requires court approval and remains the subject of a Department of Justice antitrust investigation. The opposition group, tentatively called the Open Book Alliance, will argue to the Department of Justice that the settlement agreement is anticompetitive.

Internet Law Group Brings Suit Against Unidentified Hackers

“John Doe” suits brought against unidentified Eastern European hackers may offer a glimpse of the hackers’ targets and techniques through subpoenas against defrauded banks. However, the banks may challenge the subpoenas in order to protect customer privacy. Unspam Technologies, a group that recently filed suit against bank hackers in the Eastern District of Virginia, hopes to improve bank security and potentially identify the hackers. The New York Times outlines the stakes and key players in the case, Project Honey Pot v. Does.

Mozilla Versus Microsoft in EU Browser Investigation

Ryan Paul at Ars Technica criticizes Mozilla’s complaints regarding Microsoft’s Internet Explorer bundling and default-setting practices. Paul not only argues that many of Mozilla’s complaints “lack substance,” but also claims that the European Union has no business intervening to encourage competition because Mozilla’s Firefox browser has a 22 percent market share “amidst an increasingly competitive browser market.” In contrast, Mitchell Baker of Mozilla argues that the Firefox browser is at a disadvantage because Internet Explorer has a “uniquely privileged position on Windows installations.”

Posted On Aug - 21 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Holds Blackboard Patent Claims Invalid for Indefiniteness and Failure to Disclose Sufficient Structure

By Dmitriy Tishyevich – Edited by Amanda Rice
Blackboard, Inc. v. Desire2Learn, Inc., No. 2008-1368, -1396 (Fed. Cir. July 27, 2009)
Slip Opinion

On July 27, 2009, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas’s partial summary judgment, holding that claims 1 through 35 of the patent were invalid for indefiniteness. However, the court reversed the jury’s finding that Desire2Learn had infringed claims 36 through 38, holding that, under proper construction, these claims were anticipated and rendered obvious by prior art.

Patent law blogs PatentlyO and The Patent Prospector summarize the opinion. Inside Higher Ed provides commentary about the decision. Sakai Blog speculates about Blackboard’s motives and the future of Blackboard’s numerous patent disputes.
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Posted On Aug - 20 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Mum’s the Word for Microsoft’s XML Functionality

By Jad Mills – Edited by Evelyn Breithaupt
i4i L.P. v. Microsoft Corp., No. 6:07CV113 (E.D. Texas Aug. 18, 2009).
Final Judgment and Injunction

On August 11, 2009, Judge Davis of the Eastern District of Texas entered final judgment awarding i4i L.P., a Canadian company, approximately $290 million in damages and interest for Microsoft’s willful infringement of i4i’s XML patent. The court also issued a permanent injunction ordering Microsoft to stop selling Word 2003 and 2007 within 60 days unless the infringing functionality has been removed.

Commentators have weighed in on the impact of the injunction and the award. Ars Technica summarizes the order and the background of the case, Patently-O summarizes the injunction, and Peter Zura summarizes Judge Davis’ opinion. ZDNet and ArnNet both argue that the injunction is ultimately unlikely to stop sales of Word.

(more…)

Posted On Aug - 19 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sharona Hakimi

WTO Finds China’s Media Laws Violate International Trade Laws

On August 12, Ars Technica and the New York Times reported that the World Trade Organization ruled against China in a complaint by the United States regarding China’s limitation on imports of songs, movies, and books. The Chinese laws constituting trade violations require that many forms of imported media must be distributed by a single, state-owned company. The laws also limit foreign ownership of Chinese media companies and allow domestic companies to bypass trade censors. Ron Kirk, the US trade representative at the WTO conference in Geneva, said that the “decision promises to level the playing field for American companies working to distribute high-quality entertainment products in China so that legitimate American products can get to market and beat out the pirates.”

Hollywood Group Secures Preliminary Injunction against DVD Copying Software

On August 11, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel issued a preliminary injunction against RealNetworks, barring the company from selling its RealDVD copying software until a jury can decide the issue, CNET News reports. She stated that RealNetworks cannot use fair use as a defense under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or the company’s license with the DVD Copy Control Association, but noted that “[i]t may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual’s computer.” While the decision is seen as a major victory for the Motion Picture Association of America, the Electronic Frontier Foundations views it as a setback for innovators and consumers.

David Kappos Sworn in as New Director of USPTO

Patently-O reports that on August 13, David Kappos was sworn as Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Kappos addressed USPTO employees at the ceremony, pledging to work on “reducing the backlog of unexamined patent applications, cutting pendency dramatically, working off the mounting appeals backlog, [and] improving re-exam processing.” He also projected his goals to secure more stable financial backing or the USPTO, hoping there will be no need to utilize the Office’s new authority to use trademark funds to pay for patent operations. A video of Kappos’s swearing in ceremony is available on the blog Anticipate This!

Posted On Aug - 15 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Bayer Schering Pharma v. Barr Labs

By Aaron Dulles – Edited by Evelyn Breithaupt
Bayer Schering Pharma AG and Bayer Healthcare Pharm., Inc. v. Barr Labs., Inc., No. 2008-1282 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 5, 2009)
Slip Opinion

On August 5, 2009, a Federal Circuit panel affirmed the decision of the District of New Jersey, which had found Bayer’s U.S. Patent No. 6,787,531 (“’531 Patent”) invalid because of obviousness. The ’531 Patent concerns a formulation of the well-known contraceptive drug drospirenone. The patent previously protected Bayer’s formulation of a daily oral contraceptive product, marketed as the drug Yasmin. When Barr Labs sought approval from the FDA to market a generic version of Yasmin, Bayer filed a patent infringement suit. The district court found that under KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 550 U.S. 398 (2007), the formulation of drospirenone in the Yasmin product was obvious. The sole issue of appeal was obviousness, and by a 2-1 vote the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision.

Passino PLLC suggests that the majority’s application of the In re O’Farrell, 853 F.2d 894 (Fed. Cir. 1988) standards was too rigid, and thus appeared to go against warnings in KSR concerning rigid application of tests. Patent Docs agreed, asserting that the judges both at the trial and appellate levels disregarded important evidence and emphasizing that the “common sense” of obviousness is that of the practitioner, not the judge. AboutLawSuits.com noted the ruling, but focused on known potential negative side effects of the drospirenone-based contraceptives such as Yasmin. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 13 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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ITC’s review of an

ITC’s review of an ALJ’s order was not procedurally sound By ...

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Facebook’s experim

Facebook’s experiment of emotional contagion raises concerns By Jenny Choi – ...

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Flash Digest: News i

By Ken Winterbottom Access to nude photos is a ‘perk’ of ...

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SDNY Holds Bitcoins

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Mengyi Wang United States v. Ulbricht, ...

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Aereo Struggles as S

Aereo Struggles as Supreme Court Finds It Violated Copyright Law By ...