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Whack-a-troll Legislation

Written by Asher Lowenstein     —   Edited by Yaping Zhang

Patent assertion entities’ extensive litigation activities in different states enables to assess the efficacy of the proposed bills against legal strategies these trolls, such as MPHJ Technology, have engaged in. The legal battles confirm some of the concerns about the usefulness of proposed regulatory measures.

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3D Systems and Formlabs Settled Two-Year Patent Dispute

By Yixuan Long – Edited by Yaping Zhang

On December 1, 3D Systems and Formlabs settled their two-year legal dispute over the 520 Patent infringement. Terms of the settlement are undisclosed. The patent covered different parts of the stereolithographic three-dimensional printing process, which uses a laser to cure liquid plastic. 3D Systems was granted the ‘520 Patent in 1997. Formlabs views the settlement as enabling it to continue its expansion and keep developing new products.

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Privacy Concerns in the Sharing Economy: The Case of Uber 

By Sabreena Khalid – Edited by Insue Kim

Recent revelations about Uber’s disconcerting use of personal user information have exposed the numerous weaknesses in Uber’s Privacy Policy. The lack of regulation in the area, coupled with the sensitive nature of personal information gathered by Uber, makes the issue one requiring immediate attention of policy makers.

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San Francisco Court Considers Google’s Search and Ad Services Free Speech

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Henry Thomas

A San Francisco court dismissed a lawsuit against Google, treating Google’s search and advertisement services as constitutionally protected free speech. The lawsuit alleged an antitrust violation based on unfavorable treatment of a website in Google’s search results, and on the withdrawal of third-party advertisement from the website. In throwing out the lawsuit, the court applied California’s “anti-SLAPP” law, which allows quick dismissal of lawsuits against acts protected as free speech.

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EU Unitary Patent System Challenge Unsustainable: Advocate General

By Saukshmya Trichi – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union has rendered an opinion on Spain’s challenges to regulations implementing the European Unitary Patent System. The Advocate General opines that the challenges must be dismissed as the system is intended to provide genuine benefit in terms of uniformity and integration, and safeguard the principle of legal certainty, while the choice of languages reduces translation costs considerably.

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Stanford University Patent Infringement Case Is Dismissed and University Learns Lesson in Drafting Assignment Agreements
By Adrienne Baker – Edited by Anthony Kammer

Bd. of Trs. v. Roche Molecular Sys., Inc., 2008-1509, -1510 (CAFC Sept. 30, 2009) Opinion

On September 30, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded with instructions the District Court for the Northern District of California decision. The lower court’s decision held several Stanford University patents invalid for obviousness, dismissed Roche’s counterclaim for judgment on ownership, and declined to consider Roche’s affirmative defense based on ownership.  The CAFC vacated the lower court’s decision that Stanford’s patents were invalid and ruled that the University did not have standing to sue, because of contract language indicating that the patent rights belong to an outside corporation. Additionally, the CAFC affirmed the lower court’s decision that Roche’s counterclaim for judgment on ownership was barred due to a four-year statute of limitations.  However, unlike the lower court, the CAFC held that statute of limitations does not preclude a party from raising affirmative defenses.

PatentlyO provides an overview of the case.  Inside Higher Ed expressed surprise that the case turns on the language of Stanford’s assignment agreement and not on other substantive issues, such as the interplay with federal Bayh-Dole Act and the bona fide purchaser arguments. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 12 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Massive Patent Verdict Overturned
By Jia Ryu – Edited by Stephanie Young

Uniloc v. Microsoft, No. 03-440 S (D. R.I. Sept. 29, 2009)
Opinion

The United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island vacated one of the largest patent verdicts in history, in which a jury held that Microsoft’s “Product Activation System” (“PA”) infringed on Uniloc’s patented “System for Software Registration” (the “‘216 patent”). In holding that Microsoft did not infringe as a matter of law, the District Court found that Uniloc had not shown the presence of each element of the patent claim or its substantial equivalent in the accused device as required by Lemelson v. United States, 752 F.2d 1538 (Fed. Cir. 1985). The Court, while noting that the jury’s finding deserved deference, expressed its “firm belief” that the jury failed to grasp the complex issues in the case and lacked a legally sufficient basis for the finding.

The Microsoft Blog provides an overview of the case. Betanews provides a thorough analysis of the main legal issues. Evidence Prof Blog provides a look at the admissibility of expert damages testimony.  Current Events in IP Law questions the jurors’ ability to understand the issues. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 9 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Michelle Berger

Congressional Bills: Heading Down the Series of Tubes Near You?

On October 2, The Washington Post reported that the recent proposed health care legislation has re-sparked debate over openness and online information availability in Congress.  A group of 180 members of Congress have signed a petition to require that all bills be placed online for at least 72 hours before voting.  Advocates say this would allow greater government transparency and give legislators time to actually read the bills before voting.  Opponents maintain that 72 hours online won’t make the bills more accessible to citizens or legislators due to the dense legalese, and they also point out that many bills are already posted online 48 hours in advance.

Don’t lol – Cyberbullying is No Joke in Congress

On September 30, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony concerning two bills aimed at combating cyberbullying. One bill, the Megan Meier Cyber Bullying Prevention Act, would criminalize cyberbullying, while the other, the Adolescent Web Awareness Requires Education (“AWARE”) Act would provide funding to schools to teach children about cybercrime, including awareness about cyberbullying.  Ars Technica explains that experts at the hearing expressed concerns that the language of the Megan Meier Act would create free speech concerns and be hard to police, though they generally agreed that the AWARE Act took steps in the right direction to combat cyberbullying conduct.

No Pictures Please: Cameras Prohibited in Seventh Circuit Courtrooms

The Wall Street Journal Blog details the order issued by Judge Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit on September 28th, censuring an Illinois district court judge for allowing the filming of a trial in his courtroom.  Easterbrook explained that the allowance violated policies established by both the Judicial Conference of the United States and the Judicial Conference of the Seventh Circuit, with little elaboration.  The Illinois judge responded apologetically, explaining that he thought he could make an exception to the policies due to the public interest at issue in the case.

By Michelle Berger

Congressional Bills: Heading Down the Series of Tubes Near You?

The Washington Post reports that the recent proposed health care legislation has re-sparked debate over openness and online information availability in Congress. A group of 180 members of Congress have signed a petition to require that all bills be placed online for at least 72 hours before voting. Advocates say this would allow greater government transparency and give legislators time to actually read the bills before voting. Opponents maintain that 72 hours online won’t make the bills more accessible to citizens or legislators due to the dense legalese, and they also point out that many bills are already posted online 48 hours in advance.

Don’t lol – Cyberbullying is No Joke in Congress

On September 30, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony concerning two bills aimed at combating cyberbullying. One bill, the Megan Meier Cyber Bullying Prevention Act, would criminalize cyberbullying, while the other, the Adolescent Web Awareness Requires Education (“AWARE”) Act would provide funding to schools to teach children about cybercrime, including awareness about cyberbullying. Ars Technica explains that experts at the hearing expressed concerns that the language of the Megan Meier Act would create free speech concerns and be hard to police, though they generally agreed that the AWARE Act took steps in the right direction to combat cyberbullying conduct.

No Pictures Please: Cameras Prohibited in Seventh Circuit Courtrooms

The Wall Street Journal Blog details the order issued by Judge Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit on September 28th, censuring an Illinois district court judge for allowing the filming of a trial in his courtroom. Easterbrook explained that the allowance violated policies established by both the Judicial Conference of the United States and the Judicial Conference of the Seventh Circuit, with little elaboration. The Illinois judge responded apologetically, explaining that he thought he could make an exception to the policies due to the public interest at issue in the case.

Posted On Oct - 8 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Public Accessibility Prior to Patent
By Stuart K. Tubis – Edited by Caity Ross

In re Lister, No. 2009-1060 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 22, 2009)
Slip Op.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, siding with Dr. Lister, vacated and remanded the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences decision, which had affirmed an examiner’s rejection of Dr. Lister’s patent application under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b).

The Federal Circuit held that the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences erred in affirming the patent examiner’s rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b). In so holding, the court determined that “persons interested and ordinarily skilled in the subject matter or art exercising reasonable diligence” could have located the disputed reference by using either the Westlaw or Dialog commercial databases, which permit keyword searches of reference titles. The court found that this provided sufficient support for a finding of public accessibility under § 102(b).  However, the court also found insufficient evidence that the reference “was in fact included in either Westlaw or Dialog prior to the critical date” of one year before application for patent, as required under § 102(b).

Patentcastle, Patently-O, and Patent Prospector provide overviews of the case, including some historical background. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 6 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sharona Hakimi

EU Court Advisor Supports Google Keyword Searches in Trademark Suit

On September 22, Reuters reported that an advocate general to the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court, stated that Google did not infringe trademark rights of luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton (LVMH). Google sells keywords that use the company’s trademarks, but Advocate General Poiares Maduro concluded that trademark protections do not extend to search advertising keywords because they are not considered a product sold to the public. ZDNet’s Richard Koman argues that this decision does not account for brand confusion arising from keyword searches, and demonstrates the court’s “misunderstanding of the Web as something tangential to ‘real’ commerce.” Although the Luxembourg-based court follows the opinions of its advocates general in most cases, the judges will give their final judgment at a later date.

Facebook Shuts Down Beacon Ad Software as Part of Lawsuit Settlement

Ars Technica reports that on September 18, Facebook announced it will shut down its controversial Beacon ad software as part of a settlement for a class-action privacy suit. The Beacon software, launched in November 2007, allowed off-Facebook activities to be published in users’ news feeds without their explicit consent. After over a year of legal disputes regarding the software, Facebook decided to settle with complaining users, agreeing to discontinue Beacon and offering $9.5 million to create a foundation that would “fund projects and initiatives that promote the cause of online privacy, safety, and security.” Facebook’s director of policy communications said that the company has “learned a great deal from the experience.” The settlement proposal still awaits a district court judge’s approval.

FCC Proposes Net Neutrality Rules for Internet Service Providers

The New York Times reports that on September 12, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission proposed new regulations regarding net neutrality for Internet service providers. The proposal would bar providers from blocking or slowing Internet traffic on the basis of content. Consumer advocates of the policy say networks should not be able to deter users from accessing lawful Internet content or applications by restricting bandwidth. Wired’s Dylan Tweeny warns that the proposed rules may be difficult to enforce, stifle overall service due to capacity limitations, and decrease innovation in a market that has flourished without government intervention. The rules will formally be proposed in an open FCC meeting in October.

Posted On Oct - 5 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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