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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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

Written by Nathan Lovejoy
Edited by Harry Zhou
Editorial Policy

The September 30th issue of Rolling Stone featured an article provocatively titled “How to Save the Music Business” by U2 manager Paul McGuinness. In it, McGuinness shifts a hefty portion of responsibility for online copyright infringement to Internet service providers: “Let’s get real: Do people want more bandwidth to speed up their e-mails or to download music and films as rapidly as possible?”[i] He goes on to argue that service providers should take affirmative steps on behalf of rights holders to prevent illegal file sharing by their customers. This is not a new line of attack, especially in the two years since the Recording Industry Association of America’s (“RIAA”) efforts at suing individual file-sharers have come to an end. McGuinness might have, however, underestimated some of the pitfalls in implementing such a proposal. As rights holders, service providers, and governments in France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and elsewhere begin to embark on various forms of this “graduated response” — an enforcement regime predicated on suspension of accused infringers’ Internet access — we are only now beginning to understand the full range of its complications.

This comment will address procedural due process concerns within a hypothetical legislative-backed graduated response regime in the United States. Although no such system is currently in place, this comment will look to the recently implemented French scheme as a model. Commonly referred to by the acronym of its governing authority — Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Œuvres et la Protection des Droits sur Internet (“HADOPI”) — France’s HADOPI overcame constitutional challenges and began enforcement action earlier this year. If we were to import this type of scheme to the US with the exact same set of procedures, it would run against some of our core procedural values.

This comment begins with a description of what graduated response is in the abstract and addresses some of the motivations for rights holders in pursuing this strategy. Next, the HADOPI model as laid out in France’s “Creation on the Internet” legislation[ii] is examined step-by-step, as a series of distinct enforcement procedures. Finally, this comment will argue that should the US adopt a legislatively-created, French-style graduated response regime, its procedures may be subject to criticism on due process grounds. These issues could be — and likely will be — sidestepped, however, through eschewing legislation in favor of private enforcement agreements. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 13 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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