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

By Daniel Etcovitch – Edited by Emily Chan

Florida Judge Rules Bitcoin Is Not Equivalent to Money

Illinois Governor Signs Bill Restricting Use of Stingrays

DMCA DRM Circumvention Provision’s Constitutionality Being Challenged

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Yuan Cao – Edited by Frederick Ding

Mere Commercial Benefit Not Enough to Trigger The On-Sale Bar

Technology-Based Software Solution Can Be Patentable 

Patent Disputes about Siri, iTunes, Notification Push, and Location

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Sixth Circuit Finds Privacy Interest in Mugshots under FOIA

By Filippo Raso – Edited by Ariane Moss

A split en banc Sixth Circuit reversed the lower courts’ ruling, holding individuals have a privacy interest in their booking photos for the purposes of Exemption 7(C) of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552. In so doing, the Court overruled Circuit precedent established two decades ago. The case was remanded with instructions to balance the public interests against the individual’s privacy interest.

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The EFF Challenges the DMCA Anti-Circumvention Provision: A First Amendment Fight

By Priyanka Nawathe – Edited by Kayla Haran

On July 21, 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the United States government to overturn DMCA Section 1201, commonly referred to as the anti-circumvention provision. The EFF argues that this provision, designed to prevent circumvention of “technological protection measures,” actually chills research and free speech, and thus is a violation of the First Amendment.

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By Jaehwan Park – Edited by Kayla Haran

Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce Bill Encouraging U.S. Government Agencies to Use the Cloud as a Secure Alternative to Legacy Systems

Snapchat Accused of Violating Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Announces New Policy Group to Promote Global Digital Trade

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hammerBy Feiran (Felicia) Chen – Edited by Yiran Zhang

Equals Three, LLC. v. Jukin Media, Inc., Case No. 2: 14-cv-09041-SVW-MAN, United States District Court Central District of California, October 13 2015

The rest of the content will be available by clicking this link.

The United States District Court Central District of California granted in part Jukin’s motion for summary judgment to the extent that Jukin asserts Sheep to Balls is not a fair use of Jukin’s videos, and denies Jukin’s motion regarding fair use in all other episodes.

Though at a summary judgment stage, the court almost resolved fair use claims in favor of Equals Three. The court found almost all of Equals Three’s episodes highly transformative as “the jokes, narration, graphics, editing, and other elements that Equals Three adds to Jukin’s videos add something new to Jukin’s videos with a different purpose or character”. The only exception lies when the Sheep to Balls video was used as “news footage without adding transformative to what made the footage valuable”. The court also found speculative employees’ testimony insufficient evidence for market harm despite possibility of substitution. Based on a weighing of the four factors, the court held that the factors weighed in favor of Equals Three’s use within all its videos except the episode titled Sheep to Balls. The court, by ruling this way, noted that commenting on viral videos constituted transformative works, which usually further copyright’s goal to promote the arts and sciences..

Todd Spangler provides an overview of the case. Venkat Balasubramani features a thorough analysis of the decision, especially regarding potential implications this case might have.

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Posted On Nov - 4 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Fed. Cir. Flash DigestBy Colette Ghazarian – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board Under No Obligation to Review Evidence Not Originally Presented

The Federal Circuit, in In Re: Thomas Steed, 2014-1458 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 1, 2015), made clear that the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board “cannot be faulted for not reviewing evidence that was not presented to it or to the [patent] Examiner.” This holding was made in the context of an appeal by Thomas Steed of the rejection of his patent application on the ground of obviousness. During the application process, the patent examiner had rejected Steed’s claims based on a pre-grant publication that anticipated Steed’s invention. Steed appealed to the Board, attempting to “swear back” his invention, whereby Steed would establish that he was in possession of the idea or product before the effective date of the Evans publication. Steed submitted a series of new evidence and documents to the Board on appeal and at the Board hearing. The Board held that the new evidence brought at the hearing should have been presented at the outset of the application process, and therefore should not be considered, and, to the extent any new evidence could be considered by the Board, that information was unintelligible and not self-explanatory. The Court agreed with the Board and held that any proof a patent applicant has of an earlier conception date, should have been presented to the patent examiner in the first instance through a continuation application, and the Board is under no obligation to consider new evidence that was not presented in that manner.

“Substantially Pure” Compound Held Obvious When 50/50 Mixture and Pure Compound Prior Art Exists

In Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 2015-1407 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 2, 2015), the Federal Circuit tackled the unusual issue of patent validity, where the patent involves a substantially pure compound, but a 50% mixture and pure compound are both known in the art. Spectrum had developed and patented a pharmaceutical composition of substantially pure levoleucovorin, a compound used to ameliorate the toxic effects of chemotherapy, containing 92% of the active isomer (mixed with another isomer as a carrier). In 2011, Sandoz submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for a similar pharmaceutical levoleucovorin product, claiming that it did not infringe on five of Spectrum’s patent claims, and, though stipulating to infringement of two others, argued that Spectrum’s patent was invalid as to those claims. The prior art showed that both a 50/50 mixture of the two isomers and a pure compound were already known. The Court held that, given these existing compounds, Spectrum’s claim that its 92% pure compound was nonobvious, fails. The Court concluded that the available prior art could have enabled one of skill in the art to make and use the substantially pure levoleucovorin compound. The Court of Appeals also affirmed the District Court’s ruling that Sandoz’ product did not infringe on the remaining claims of Spectrum’s patent because the product did not contain enough of the levoleucovorin compound to constitute infringement.

Federal Circuit Expands Patent Enablement Analysis

In In Re: Steve Morsa, 2015-1107 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 19, 2015), the Federal Circuit addressed for the second time the anticipation of claimed inventions by Steve Morsa in a publication entitled Peter Martin Associates Press Release (PMA). The appeal was brought after a finding by the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board that the anticipating reference (PMA) was enabled. The Board relied on Morsa’s own specification that the system described in his patent “can be implemented by any programmer of ordinary skill” and found that the PMA disclosure combined with what an average-skilled computer programmer would know rendered the reference enabling. The Court, in a 2-1 decision, held that the Board’s enablement analysis was proper. The Court held that the Board did not err in including the patent application specification itself in conducting its enablement analysis. Taking into account the specification, the Court agreed with the Board that it showed an ordinary programmer could implement the invention. This finding, combined with the PMA disclosure would allow an average computer programmer to make the claimed patent herself. Therefore, the Court determined that Morsa’s patents were anticipated. Morsa’s also argued that the Board utilized novel grounds of rejection of his patents, by considering various facts not typically used in enablement analysis. The majority disagreed, contending that the Board’s statements were merely descriptive and not necessary to the Board’s conclusions. Therefore, they were not part of the Board’s enablement analysis.

Posted On Nov - 4 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Apple LogoBy Shailin Thomas – Edited by Cristina Carapezza

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation v. Apple Inc., No. 3:2014cv00062 (W.D. Wis. 2015)

Link to opinion (hosted by Justia)

The District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin granted partial judgment for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) in its patent infringement suit against Apple.

The District Court held that Apple’s A7, A8, and A8X processors infringed on WARF’s patent for “a prediction threshold detector preventing data speculation for instructions having a prediction within a predetermined range,” despite the fact that Apple’s processors do not always operate using the infringing technology. In so holding, the court noted that a product still infringes on a patent even if it only infringes under certain circumstances and non-infringing modes of operation are possible. The court cited a number of opinions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit stating that the existence of non-infringing functionality is irrelevant to a patent infringement analysis. After the partial judgment was granted, a jury ordered Apple to pay $234 million in damages.

While the judgment as a matter of law has not been the subject of much controversy, the Christian Science Monitor has expressed concern that this case signals universities are becoming more aggressive in enforcing their patents — a trend also noted by Ars Technica — and conservative news site Breitbart predicts that the size of the damages will encourage this type of litigation.

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Posted On Nov - 3 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Sony LogoBy Ann Kristin Glenster — Edited by Ariane Moss

Text of Settlement

The Sony film “The Interview” was meant to take the studio laughing all the way to the top of the box office. But when an anonymous group calling itself Guardians of the Peace hacked into the Sony system and released floods of employee data on the internet, allegedly in protest of the film, the story was no longer a comedy matter. Nearly a year later, Sony has reached a settlement, to be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, of $8 million to reimburse its employees for identity theft losses, credit-fraud protections services, and legal fees.

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Posted On Oct - 25 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

California FlagBy Sheri Pan — Edited by Ariane Moss

Text of Law

On October 8, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“CalECPA”), thereby heightening privacy protections for digital records.  Under the new regime, state government entities must secure a search warrant to obtain the content and metadata of electronic communications.

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Posted On Oct - 25 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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