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

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Jennifer Chung and Ariel Simms

Despite its increasing availability, patent insurance—providing defensive protection against claims of patent infringement and funding offensive actions against patent infringers—continues to be uncommon. This Note aims to provide an overview of the patent insurance landscape.

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Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 Seeks to Establish Federal Cause of Action for Trade Secrets Misappropriation

By Suyoung Jang – Edited by Mila Owen

Following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval in January of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, the Committee has released Senate Report 114-220 supporting the bill. The bill seeks to protect trade secret owners by creating a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Evan Tallmadge – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

The Linked Inheritability Between Two Regions of DNA is an Unpatentable Law of Nature

HP Setback in Challenging the Validity of MPHJ’s Distributed Virtual Copying Patent

CardPool Fails to Escape an Invalidity Judgment But Can Still Pursue Amended Claims

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Amicus Brief by EFF and ACLU Urging Illinois State Sex Offender Laws Declared Unconstitutional under First Amendment

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Mila Owen

With the Illinois Supreme Court gearing up to determine the constitutionality of the state’s sex offender registration statute, two advocacy non-profits have filed amicus briefs in support of striking the law down.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Gia Velasquez – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Federal Court Grants Uber’s Class Action Certification Appeal

Independent Contractor Classification of Uber Drivers May Violate Antitrust Laws

Self-Driving Car Will Be Considered Autonomous Driver

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By Emily Hoort

Attorneys General Demand Removal of Craigslist’s “Adult Services” Section

ScrippsNews reports that attorneys general in at least 18 states have demanded that Craigslist remove its adult services section. A failure to comply with this request will likely lead to a court battle, with possible charges that Craigslist is aiding and abetting illegal activity. There may also be legislative action calling for reforms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Communications Decency Act. These statutes generally protect websites, such as Craigslist, from third parties’ illegal actions on their sites. Some observers point out that removing the adult services section will likely shift illegal sexual solicitations elsewhere, and will result in losing many of the screening benefits of a website such as Craigslist. Indeed, according to The Boston Globe, Craigslist has many screening and tracking safeguards in place that are stronger than other classified advertisement platforms.

Update: The New York Times reports that Craigslist has blocked access to its “adult services” content, replacing the link with a “censored” label.

Individuals Can Pursue Lawsuits Against Companies Who Label Products with Expired Patent Numbers

The Wall Street Journal reports that on Tuesday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington held, in Stauffer v. Brooks Brothers, that patent lawyer Raymond Stauffer can pursue claims against Brooks Brothers stemming from the apparel chain marking its bow ties with expired patent numbers. It is illegal to erroneously label products with the wrong patent numbers, and individuals are allowed to sue for such mislabeling on the government’s behalf. Penalties range up to $500 per item, and successful plaintiffs are allowed to keep one-half of all penalties; they must submit the other half to the government. The Federal Circuit’s decision reversed a lower court ruling that dismissed Mr. Stauffer’s case for lack of standing. Bloomberg notes that this decision strengthens similar lawsuits against more than 350 companies.

Hewlett-Packard to Pay $55 Million to Settle Kickback Allegations

The Wall Street Journal reports that Hewlett-Packard has agreed to pay the U.S. Government $55 million to settle allegations that H-P paid illegal kickbacks to other companies for recommending H-P products to federal agencies. The Economic Times notes that this Justice Department case arose after whistleblowers revealed that H-P and other companies paid each other “influencer fees” for recommending their products to U.S. government agencies. H-P denies any wrongdoing, stating that it entered this $55 million settlement because it believes it will be best for stakeholders to resolve the matter and move forward.

Posted On Sep - 4 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Lawyer Violates Telephone Consumer Protection Act with Outsourced Newsletters
By Ian B. Brooks – Edited by Jad Mills

Holtzman v. Turza, No. 08-C-2014 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 3, 2010)
Opinion hosted by Google

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that a lawyer makes unsolicited advertisements under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) when his primary purpose for hiring a company to distribute his materials via facsimile was to advertise his services.  Granting the plaintiff’s summary judgment motion, the court noted that the defendant hired a marketing company to send newsletters for the purpose of developing business and not for the purpose educating recipients.  The court further noted that although the primary advertising portion of the solicitation comprised only 25% of the fax, its prominence relative to the remaining portion of the fax countered the argument that the fax was not an advertisement.

Carolyn Elefant provides an overview of the case.  Eric Goldman provides an analysis of the facts and outcome. (more…)

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

Federal Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment Finding Non-Infringement
By Leocadie Welling – Edited by Jad Mills

Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc. v. Maersk Contractors USA, Inc., No. 2009-1556 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 18, 2010)
Slip Opinion

On August 18, 2010, the Federal Circuit reversed in part, affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the decision of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, which had granted summary judgment in favor of Maersk on issues of invalidity and non-infringement for three of Transocean’s deepwater drilling patents.

The Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment of invalidity for lack of enablement because there were factual issues precluding summary judgment. The court also reversed the summary judgment of invalidity for obviousness because the district court failed to consider objective evidence of nonobviousness.  Although Transocean had presented contrary objective evidence of obviousness, the court held that the issue could not be resolved at summary judgment.  The court also held that the district court had erred in granting summary judgment of non-infringement.  Importantly, in so holding, the court stated that “a contract between two U.S. companies for performance in the U.S. may constitute an offer to sell within the U.S. under § 271(a)” regardless of whether the contract had been negotiated and/or signed outside of the U.S.

The 271 Patent Blog provides an overview of the case and quotations from the opinion.  Patently O provides a summary of the decision. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 27 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Ian B. Brooks

Lexmark Sues 24 Companies for Patent Infringement

CNET reports that Lexmark is once again attempting to stop sales of aftermarket printer cartridges. In its latest attempt, Lexmark has filed suit against 24 companies in the International Trade Commission and a U.S. district court alleging infringement of at least 15 patents related to laser printer technology. In its ITC complaint, Lexmark seeks the exclusion of imported goods that infringe the company’s patents. The district court case seeks an injunction and damages. The company was previously unsuccessful in its attempt to combat aftermarket cartridge sales when it filed suit under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Lexmark’s press release is available here.

Philadelphia Bloggers Asked to Pay for Business Licenses

The City of Philadelphia is requiring bloggers who operate websites with ads to obtain business licenses, CNN reports. The city, in its attempt to ensure that all locally run commercial businesses operate with the required license, sent letters to various businesses — including bloggers — requiring that they obtain a license. The licenses cost $50/year or $300 for life. The Philadelphia Citypaper reports that the letters upset many bloggers who do not view their blogs as businesses. Many have made less than $50 during several years of operation. Some bloggers see the move as restricting free expression. Some other cities, including Boston and Washington, D.C., similarly claim to require a business license for blogging websites, though Los Angeles reportedly does not require such a license.

RIAA President Sees Failure in Copyright Law

CNET reports that Cary Sherman, the Recording Industry Association of America President, stated that U.S. copyright law ”isn’t working” for content providers. Sherman believes that the DMCA contains loopholes, allowing web companies to function without active concern for illegal activities performed on their websites. Sherman is seeking informal agreements with broadband providers and web companies to address his concern with the DMCA. If unable to form those agreements, Sherman would support further modifications to copyright law. YouTube’s product counsel Lance Kavanaugh disagreed with Sherman, stating that Congress foresaw and intended the current consequences of the DMCA, striking a balance between imposing liability and allowing the freedom to innovate.

Posted On Aug - 26 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Reverses Noninfringement Declaratory Judgment, Dissent Takes on Gene Patentability
By Chinh Vo – Edited by Anthony Kammer

Intervet Inc. v. Merial Ltd., No. 2009-1568 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 4, 2010)
Slip Opinion

On August 4, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed and remanded the declaratory judgment of the United States District Court of the District of Columbia, which held that Intervet’s Porcine Circovirus vaccine (“PCV-2”) did not infringe Merial’s gene patent. The majority reversed the lower court’s ruling on grounds of claim construction and for improper application of the doctrine of equivalents.

Plaintiff Intervet Inc. (“Intervet”) filed a complaint against Merial Limited (“Merial”) in 2006, asking for a declaratory judgment stating that its PCV2 vaccine did not infringe on Merial’s gene patent. The DC District Court granted this declaratory ruling in Intervet’s favor, finding that Merial’s patent covered only the specific DNA sequences disclosed. On appeal, the Federal Circuit rejected the district court’s construction of Merial’s patent claim as overly limiting, finding that Merial had a proper claim directed at the entire genus of PCV2 sequences. The Federal Circuit also held that a narrowing amendment to the claim did not estop Merial from asserting that one or more elements of Intervet’s product were equivalent to the elements in the claim. Dissenting in part, Circuit Judge Dyk argued that mere isolation of a DNA molecule is not sufficient for patentability.

Patently-O and The Patent Prospector provide an overview of the decision. Inventive Step discusses and questions the appropriateness of Judge Dyk’s dissenting opinion. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 19 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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