A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Steven Wilfong

Multimedia car system patents ruled as unenforceable based on inequitable conduct

ITC’s ruling that uPI violated Consent Order affirmed

Court rules that VeriFone devices did not infringe on payment terminal software patents

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Viviana Ruiz

Converse attempts to protect iconic Chuck Taylor All Star design

French Court rules that shoe design copyright was not infringed

Oklahoma Court rules that Facebook notifications do not satisfy notice requirement

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Silk Road Founder Loses Argument That the FBI Illegally Hacked Servers to Find Evidence against Him

By Travis West  — Edited by Mengyi Wang

The alleged Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was denied the motion to suppress evidence in his case. Ulbricht argued that the FBI illegally hacked the Silk Road servers to search for evidence to use in search warrants for the server. The judge denied the motion because Ulbricht failed to establish he had any privacy interest in the server.

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Trademark Infringement or First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech?

By Yunnan Jiang – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

On October 11, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, Inc. (“ACLU”) filed a joint brief in the U.S. Court Of Appeals, urging  that “trademark laws should not be used to impinge the First Amendment rights of critics and commentators”. The brief argues that the use of the names of organizations to comment, critique, and parody, is constitutionally protected by the speaker’s First Amendment right of freedom of expression.

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Twitter goes to court over government restrictions limiting reporting on surveillance requests

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Michael Shammas

Twitter on Oct. 7 sued the government, asking a federal district court to rule that it was allowed to reveal the numbers of surveillance requests it receives in greater detail. Twitter opposes complying with the rules agreed upon by the government and other tech companies in a settlement earlier this year, and argues that the rules violated its rights under the First Amendment.

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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.

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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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