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

Federal Circuit Court Provides Clarity on Patent Preemption Post-Alice

By Seán Finan – Edited by Grace Truong

The decision of the Federal Circuit Court clarified the SS101 exceptions to patentability relating to preemption and abstract ideas. The decision has important implications for the application of the Alice test and for software patents.



By Alex Noonan – Edited by Filippo Raso

California Supreme Court to Determine if Courts Can Require Non-Party Content Hosts to Remove Defamatory Reviews


Half of American Adults are in Law Enforcement Facial Recognition Databases


Californian Residents Whose Data Were Exposed in Yahoo Data Breach to Bring Class Action Suit in California State Court




By June Nam – Edited by Ding Ding

The heirs of William Abbott and Lou Costello filed suit against the creators of a Broadway play, Hand to God for using—verbatim—a portion of the iconic comedy routine, Who’s on First?. The Second Circuit affirmed the judgment but rejected the reasoning of the district court, which dismissed allegations of copyright infringement. The Circuit Judge, Reena Raggi, held that the use of the routine in the play was not a fair use under the Copyright Act of 1976. However, the heirs did not have a valid copyright to allege any copyright infringement.



Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Wendy Chu – Edited by Kayla Haran

Delaware Supreme Court Dismisses a Case For Lack of Online Personal Jurisdiction

California District Court Dismisses Trademark Dilution Claim Because of Limited Recognition

eLaw Launches an On-Demand Lawyer Service for Court Appearances




Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Haydn Forrest – Edited by Henry Thomas

Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC, v. Amazon.com, Inc. (Fed. Cir. Sep. 23, 2016)

Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC, v. DirecTV, LLC (Fed. Cir. Sep. 23, 2016)

Intellectual Ventures v. Symantec Corp. (Fed. Cir. Sep. 30, 2016)

Apple v. Samsung (Fed. Cir. Oct. 7, 2016)



3293465641_b6c5081e87_qBy Keke Wu – Edited by Yunnan Jiang

Federal Circuit Rejects-in-part the District Court’s Claim Construction

On October 29, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in two separate cases related to an Atlas patent on a protocol for controlling wireless network communications between a hub and multiple remotes, in which Atlas sued Medtronic and St. Jude Medical for patent infringement. In Atlas IP, LLC v. Medtronic, Inc., 2015-1071, 2015-1105 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 29, 2015), the Federal Circuit affirmed-in-part, reversed-in-part, and remanded the district court’s summary judgments. The Court first affirmed the district court’s non-infringement finding, where the dispute lies in how to construe the term “establish”. Rejecting Atlas’s argument that “establish” should be construed according to its “plain meaning,” the Court noted that, in the context of the particular patent, a more proper definition is “set up (an organization, system, or set of rules) on a firm or permanent basis.” The Court then reversed the district court’s finding of no anticipation and no obviousness on the ground of the incorrect claim construction. In Atlas IP, LLC v. St. Jude Med., Inc., 2015-1190 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 29, 2015), the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the district court’s decision, which stated that the term “in advance” required a communication be sent before the communication cycle began. The Federal Circuit instead concluded that nothing in the claim language required the communication to be sent before the start of the communication cycle, and that other claims and the specification suggested information may be sent during the communication cycle.

No Jurisdiction to Claim Reputational Harm after Settlement

In Tesco Corp. v. National Oilwell Varco, L.P., 2015-1041 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 30, 2015), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that it possessed no jurisdiction over attorneys’ claim of reputational harm from the district court judge’s critical remarks after the parties reached a settlement. Tesco Corporation and its attorneys filed the appeal from a decision of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas dismissing Tesco’s patent infringement suit with prejudice pursuant to the court’s inherent authority to sanction. At trial, Tesco’s attorneys made a representation to the court that later discovered to be false. The district court found that the representation justified a finding of bad faith and sanctioned Tesco by dismissing its case with prejudice. In the order, it called Tesco’s attorneys’ conduct “troubling.” During the pendency of the appeal, Tesco and defendant-appellees entered into a settlement resolving all outstanding issues. Tesco’s attorneys, however, continued to appeal the district court judge’s order alleging reputational harm. Because the settlement makes it unnecessary to decide whether the sanctions order can be considered a formal reprimand, the Federal Circuit held that Tesco no long had standing and dismissed the appeal. The Court explained that the settlement agreement ended the dispute and none of the parties had any interest in the underlying order, except for Tesco’s attorneys for reputational reasons.

Federal Circuit Affirms-in-part PTAB in Belden vs. Berk-Tek

In Belden Inc. v. Berk-Tek LLC, 2014-1575, -1576 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 5, 2015), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed-in-part and reversed-in-part a inter partes review decision made by the Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The decision concerns U.S. Patent No. 6,074,503 owned by Belden Inc., which claims a method for making a communications cable. The Federal Circuit affirmed the Board’s decision to reject claims 1–4 of the ’503 patent. The Court stated that the Board was entitled to rely on its own reading of Japanese Patent No. 19910 to find that a skilled artisan would have understood the importance of aligning the core and conductors and the connection between achieving such alignment and preventing the core from twisting at the aligning die. The Federal Circuit, however, reversed the Board’s upholding of claims 5 and 6. In reaching its conclusion, the Federal Circuit reasoned the Board’s disregard of the insulation-independent alignment teaching of Japanese Patent No. 19910 violated the principle that “[a] reference must be considered for everything it teaches by way of technology and is not limited to the particular invention it is describing and attempting to protect.” The Board erred in determining that Berk-Tek had not proven the obviousness of the methods of claims 5 and 6 of the ’503 patent by a preponderance of the evidence.

Posted On Nov - 18 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

NLRBBy Bhargav Srinivasan – Edited by Henry Thomas

On October 21, 2015, in Triple Play v. National Labor Relations Board, the Second Circuit affirmed a 2014 National Labor Relations Board ruling that Triple Play Sports Bar violated the National Labor Relations Act when it discharged two employees for liking and commenting on a critical Facebook status.

The case involved two employees of the Triple Play Sports bar, Vincent Spinella and Jillian Sanzone who had been fired for their online conduct. A third employee had published a post on Facebook stating: “Maybe someone should do the owners of Triple Play a favor and buy it from them. They can’t even do the tax paperwork correctly!!! Now I OWE money…Wtf!!!!” Spinella acted first when he “liked” that post. Next, Sanzone commented “I owe too. Such an asshole.” These actions were among the later responses in a chain of comments involving the former employee, other current employees, and Facebook friends – at least one of whom was a customer of the sports bar.

Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act guarantees employees the right “to engage in other concerted activity for the purpose of… mutual aid or protection.” An administrative law judge with the NLRB determined that liking and commenting on the original employee’s Facebook post met the definition of concerted activity.  That protection, however, is lost if the activity is sufficiently disloyal.  The Supreme Court, in Labor Board v. Electrical Workers (Jefferson Standard), held that activity was sufficiently disloyal when it was disconnected from any ongoing labor dispute.  That test was used by the NLRB to conclude that Spinalla and Sanzone’s activity was protected.


Posted On Nov - 17 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

UnknownBy Suyoung Jang – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

SEC approves crowdfunding of startups

On October 30, in a 3-1 decision, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved rules allowing the crowdfunding of start-up companies over the internet. Prior to the new rules, companies could only seek funds from accredited investors with a net worth of at least $1 million, excluding the value of their homes, or annual income of more than $200,000. The approved rules allow investors with annual income or net worth of less than $100,000 to contribute $2,000 or five percent of their net worth, whichever is greater. Those with higher incomes can invest up to ten percent of their net worth, but they are limited to $100,000 in all crowdfunding offerings during a 12-month period. While the new rules were implemented to spur job growth, some critics warn investors of unsound investments and fraud.

Bill introduced to criminalize warrantless use of “stingrays”

On November 2, Representative Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah introduced the Cell-Site Simulator Act seeking to limit the warrantless use of stingrays. Stingrays are cellular phone surveillance devices that mimic wireless carrier cell towers to connect to all nearby phones and capture location data and in some cases calls and text messages. The controversial device came into spotlight after the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen admitted last week that his agency uses stingrays in some investigations. The bill requires agents to acquire warrants before using stingrays, and provides for fines and up to ten years in prison for violations of its prescriptions. Exceptions exist for emergencies that involve “immediate danger of death,” national security, and those that fall under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The full text of the bill is available here.

Newly introduced bill forces UK ISPs to keep a record of Web browsing history for a year

On November 4, the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, introduced a draft piece of legislation known as the Investigatory Powers Bill. The proposed bill, which is the successor to a statute that the British High Court struck down last year, requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to hold a record of Web browsing history for a year. However, it will only record the Internet services a device has connected to, not the details of the individual webpages visited. To balance the heightened surveillance power it grants, the bill implements a “double lock” warrant authorization process whereby a request for emergency authorization by the Home Secretary is subject to judicial review. In addition to its browsing history provisions, the bill creates a new criminal offense with a two-year prison sentence for abuse of communications data by public authorities.

Posted On Nov - 17 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

SenateBy Sheri Pan – Edited by Cristina Carapezza

S. 2044 – The Consumer Review Freedom Act

The text of the bill is available here.

S.2044 on Govtrack.us.

On September 16, 2015, the Senate introduced the Consumer Review Freedom Act (CRFA) of 2015. The bill was originally introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD).  On Wednesday, November 4, 2015, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing to discuss the bill.

CRFA voids any form contract provision that prohibits or penalizes individuals for creating reviews, or transfers the intellectual property rights of reviews to the vendor.  It covers written, verbal, or pictorial reviews, performance assessments, and analyses of products, services, or conduct.  The bill protects against only standardized contracts that the individual did not have a meaningful opportunity to negotiate.  The Federal Trade Commission and state attorney generals can bring civil actions to enforce the bill.  CRFA does not provide for private individuals to bring causes of action.

The bill provides several exceptions.  It allows terms that restrict disclosure of trade secrets, privileged information, confidential information, or personnel, medical, and law enforcement records that implicate personal privacy.  It also does not affect duties of confidentiality or defamation, libel, or slander lawsuits. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 17 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

UnknownBy Matthew P. Ponsford

Edited by Ann Kristin Glenster and Cristina Carapezza


Bitcoin, also known as a decentralized virtual currency (DVC),[1] is regulated differently in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Canada, and the United States, and represents a vastly underdeveloped area of the law. No country has currently backed Bitcoin. Launched in 2009, and founded by Satoshi Nakamoto,[2] Bitcoin is a “decentralized peer-to-peer currency.”[3] Other virtual currencies include Litecoin, Namecoin, Auroracoin, Peercoin, and Dogecoin – about 500 varieties in total – but research here will primarily focus on Bitcoin.[4] A comparative analysis will help discern how these respective countries classify Bitcoin (e.g., a virtual object, currency, or potential security), and how these jurisdictions regulate, or intend to regulate, DVCs. Bitcoin is identified as a “currency,” throughout the paper, but the classification is heavily contested. Questions for analyses include: are there appropriate existing legal frameworks to regulate Bitcoin? What securities regulation challenges does Bitcoin pose? What are the consumer and investor protection concerns associated with Bitcoin compared to traditional financial exchanges? What are the cross-jurisdictional challenges of virtual currency transactions that operate over the Internet (e.g., money laundering, or fraudulent activities)? Research herein incorporates securities commission reports, social and political commentary from secondary sources, and relevant jurisprudence and legislation. The paper helps situate the current climate of Bitcoin globally, and assesses how its regulation differs relative to technological, economic, social, financial, and political forces.


Posted On Nov - 14 - 2015 1 Comment READ FULL POST
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Federal Circuit Cour

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