A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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U.S. Marshals Service Uses Airborne “Dirtboxes” to Collect Cell Phone Data

By Katherine Kwong – Edited by Mengyi Wang

The U.S. government has been using “dirtboxes” to collect cell phone data. The program, designed for criminal suspect surveillance, is accused of also collecting cell phone data on numerous Americans not suspected of any crime. While many commentators express concern about the program’s legality, others argue that the program is an effective method of catching criminals.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News In Brief

By Henry Thomas

Ads For Content Scheme Held To Be Abstract Idea, Not Patentable Process

Federal Circuit Limits Application of Collateral Estoppel in Patent Litigation

Electronics Company Avoids Patent Enforcement By Directing Sales Outside U.S.

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Silk Road 2.0 Takedown Indicates Law Enforcement May Have Developed a Method to Trace Hidden Tor Websites

By Steven Wilfong — Edited by Travis West

The complaint filed against Blake Benthall, the alleged operator of Silk Road 2.0, indicates that the FBI identified a server that was used to host the popular drug market website, despite the fact that the website’s location was hidden by the Tor anonymity software.  Law enforcement may have developed a method of compromising Tor anonymity, a possibility that would prove useful in future operations, but that also raises concerns for legitimate users.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Ken Winterbottom

Motion to Dismiss in Hulu Patent Infringement Suit Affirmed

“Virtual Classroom” Patent Infringement Case Remanded for Further Determination

Attorney Publicly Reprimanded for Circulating Email from Judge

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Spain Passes a “Google Tax,” Analysts Predict it Will be Short-Lived

By Michael Shammas — Edited by Yixuan Long

Spain recently amended its Intellectual Property Law and Code of Civil Procedure to levy fees on aggregators that collect snippets of other webpages. It is at least the third example of a European government fining search aggregators to support traditional print publishing industries, a practice often labeled a “Google tax” because of the disproportionate impact such laws have on the search giant. Some analysts are already predicting that Spain’s new law will fail.

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By Sarah Sorscher

European Court of Justice Cracks Down on International News Search Engine

Slashdot reports that on July 16, Europe’s high court held in Infopaq International v. Danske Dagblades Forening that newspapers have a claim against a media monitoring service providing 11-word excerpts from newspaper articles. DDF, a group representing newspaper interests, has sued Infopaq, a service that searches newspaper articles for key words and then shares snippets with clients. The court ruled that the news articles were covered as copyrighted material by several directives of the European Parliament, and remanded the case to the national courts to determine whether the copyright laws in each state would be subject to the ruling.

Posted On Aug - 2 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Class Action Seeks Compensation for Use of Likeness of Former NCAA Players

By Ian B. Brooks – Edited by Sarah Sorscher
Class Action Complaint, O’Bannon v. NCAA, No. CV 09-3329 (N.D. Cal. July 21, 2009)
Complaint

Former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) player Edward C. O’Bannon, Jr. filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of former NCAA student-athletes in the US District Court for the Northern District of California against the NCAA, the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), and multiple alleged co-conspirators for unlawful use of class member’s images. The complaint seeks unspecified damages and injunctive relief for violations of the Sherman Act and unjust enrichment of the defendants as well as accounting of licensing revenues. In support of his complaint, O’Bannon cites sources of NCAA licensing of players images for which the players receive no direct compensation including DVDs, rentals of game films, on-demand sales of game footage, cable and network broadcasts of games, photographs, action-figures, posters, and video games. The complaint further seeks injunctive relief on behalf of current students with respect to their rights to control the use of their image and likeness.

Sports Illustrated provides an overview of the case and Projo Sports Blog provides background. Kevin Arnovitz and Rush the Court have weighed in their support in favor of the athletes. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 26 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Finds Infringement Even After Product No Longer Meets Claim Limitations At Final Sale

By Ezra Pinsky – Edited by Sarah Sorscher
Gemtron Corp. v. Saint-Gobain Corp., No. 2009-1001 (Fed. Cir. July 20, 2009).
Slip Opinion

On July 20th, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court (Western District of Michigan) decision to grant a permanent injunction against Saint-Gobain because their refrigerator shelves infringed on Gemtron’s patent. The district court held that the patent encompasses shelves that are “relatively resilient” and flexible “when glass is being inserted into the frame” and not only “in the finished product.” It therefore covered several types of Saint-Gobains shelves and the court granted a partial summary judgment of infringement against those particular models.  In an ensuing trial, a jury found that several other Saint-Gobains models infringed on the patent as well. The court then entered judgment in favor of Gemtron and granted a permanent injunction against further infringement. Writing for the Court of Appeals, Judge Linn affirmed both the lower court’s grant of summary judgment and its permanent injunction.

Patent law blogs PatentlyO, The Patent Prospector, and Gray on Claims summarize the court’s opinion and reasoning.  Barry Barnett at Blawgletter examines the question of how Saint-Gobain could have infringed the U.S. patent when the shelves met the claim limitations only during their assembly in Mexico. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 26 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sharona Hakimi

Amazon Threatened with Class Action for Remotely Deleting Orwell E-books on Kindles

On July 20, MediaPost News reported that the law firm KamberEdelson is readying a class action lawsuit on behalf of consumers against Amazon for removing George Orwell books on owners’ Kindles. Amazon remotely deleted the e-books from users after discovering that the company that added them to the online catalog did not have rights to the books. Amazon did issue refunds to the owners, but representatives of KamberEdelson argue that the action infringes on consumer’s property rights and violates Amazon’s user agreement. On Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow discusses the problems that remote deletion poses to Digital Rights Media as a whole.

British Judge Rules that Google is Not Liable for Defamatory Search Results

On July 20, the New York Times reported that a High Court judge in Britain ruled that Google cannot be held liable for defamatory material appearing in its search results. The case arose when Metropolitan International Schools, which runs Internet-based training courses, sued Google over negative comments posted on a third party web site that appeared as text blurbs in Google search results. The judge held that Google “has merely, by the provision of its search service, played the role of a facilitator.” While this decision is consistent with America and other European countries’ libel laws, this case is seen as a significant win for search engines because of England’s reputation as being sympathetic to libel claimants.

USPTO Places Its “Peer-to-Patent” Pilot Program on Hold

In 2007, the United States Patent and Trade Office partnered with New York Law School’s Center for Patent Innovation to create an online collaborative patent review program. After two years, the program has been suspended in order to evaluate its effectiveness, InformationWeek reports. The Center for Patent Innovation also cited the poor economy as a reason for the suspension. Hoping to decrease the backlog in the USPTO, the pilot program encouraged patent applicants to volunteer their submissions to undergo peer review. Peer-to-Patent issued its second anniversary report this July and announced it will stop accepting new applicants. Despite the hiatus, there is hope that the program will be re-launched in the future as David Kappos, Obama’s nominee for director of USPTO, has indicated his support of the program, calling it “the Patent Office of the 21st century.”

Posted On Jul - 24 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Class Action Complaint Alleges Facebook Click Fraud

By Brian Kozlowski – Edited by Jad Mills
RootZoo, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., 5:09-cv-03043-HRL (N.D Cal. July 7, 2009)

In a federal court complaint filed in the Northern District of California on July 7th, sports discussion board and social networking site RootZoo alleged that Facebook charged them for advertising referrals that never occurred and that Facebook failed to “properly guard” against click fraud, the practice of third-party individuals or computer programs repeatedly clicking on the advertisement to inflate the number of referrals.

RootZoo’s complaint accuses Facebook of both breach of the “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing” in their advertising contract and unfair business practices. RootZoo was one of many advertisers who paid Facebook for each click referring a Facebook user to their site. RootZoo claims that Facebook consistently charged them for more outgoing referrals than the RootZoo servers logged as incoming during the period they advertised on Facebook. According to the complaint, when RootZoo submitted server log documentation to Facebook and asked to be refunded for the discrepancy, Facebook refused to provide any refund and would not release any documentation to back up their refusal. The complaint contrasted Facebook’s unwillingness to release data with the more transparent practices of Yahoo! and Google. RootZoo’s filing came only weeks after TechCrunch wrote a series of well-publicized articles on Facebook click fraud prompted by outraged advertiser posts on the marketing discussion board WickedFire. Following the TechCrunch articles, Facebook representatives claimed to have “developed a series of sophisticated systems” to detect click fraud and to have refunded any advertisers that were affected. However, RootZoo is seeking class action status and an unspecified amount of damages..

MediaPost and The Register offer overviews of the filing and a response from Facebook, while TechCrunch summarizes some of the preceding controversy and WickedFire discussion board postings.

(more…)

Posted On Jul - 19 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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