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Insuring Patents

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Jennifer Chung and Ariel Simms

Despite its increasing availability, patent insurance—providing defensive protection against claims of patent infringement and funding offensive actions against patent infringers—continues to be uncommon. This Note aims to provide an overview of the patent insurance landscape.

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Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 Seeks to Establish Federal Cause of Action for Trade Secrets Misappropriation

By Suyoung Jang – Edited by Mila Owen

Following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval in January of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, the Committee has released Senate Report 114-220 supporting the bill. The bill seeks to protect trade secret owners by creating a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Evan Tallmadge – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

The Linked Inheritability Between Two Regions of DNA is an Unpatentable Law of Nature

HP Setback in Challenging the Validity of MPHJ’s Distributed Virtual Copying Patent

CardPool Fails to Escape an Invalidity Judgment But Can Still Pursue Amended Claims

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Amicus Brief by EFF and ACLU Urging Illinois State Sex Offender Laws Declared Unconstitutional under First Amendment

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Mila Owen

With the Illinois Supreme Court gearing up to determine the constitutionality of the state’s sex offender registration statute, two advocacy non-profits have filed amicus briefs in support of striking the law down.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Gia Velasquez – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Federal Court Grants Uber’s Class Action Certification Appeal

Independent Contractor Classification of Uber Drivers May Violate Antitrust Laws

Self-Driving Car Will Be Considered Autonomous Driver

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Facebook InternationalBy Annie Woodworth – Edited by Ariane Moss

The Hamburg Data Protection Authority, a German regulatory body tasked with protecting data and privacy, said last Tuesday that Facebook is violating the privacy rights of its users by banning pseudonyms. The group ordered Facebook to allow users to choose fake names and has forbidden the company from changing usernames or asking users for their IDs. Facebook has issued an apology to affected users and will allow the use of preferred names.

The order came after a woman complained to the agency when Facebook blocked her account that used a fake name. Facebook then requested a copy of her ID and unilaterally changed her profile to display her real name. The woman purportedly used the pseudonym to avoid receiving business related contact through the site. Other business owners are worried about setting up business pages that must be associated with their real names.

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

Nintendo 3DSBy Yaping Zhang – Edited by Stacy Ruegilin

On July 17, 2015, the Court for the Northern District of California issued an opinion granting summary judgment in favor of Nintendo in a patent infringement suit, construing the disputed claim term in accordance with Nintendo’s interpretation and finding non-infringement based on the doctrine of prosecution history estoppel.

The patent at issue is No. 7,425,944 (‘944 Patent), entitled “Computerized Information Retrieval System”, which was assigned to plaintiff Quintal Research Group from its inventor. The patent related to handheld computing devices, and particularly to “a portable handheld communication device for rapid retrieval of computerized information.” The patent described a handheld device with a display screen and ergonomically placed finger controls, including thumb controls “symmetrically arranged” on either side of the display screen. Renderings of the patent show two buttons, identical in size and shape, along the outer casing of a handheld device. Nintendo’s handheld devices also have ergonomically placed finger controls that are evenly placed on either side of a display screen, though one set of controls is a cross-shaped joystick, and the other is a cluster of circular buttons. The case thus boiled down to a dispute about the meaning of “symmetrically arranged”.

Quintal Research Group argued that “symmetrically arranged” referred merely to the placement or location of controls on the device, while Nintendo contended that “symmetrically arranged” means that the controls are mirror images of one another, having the same size and shape. Judge Armstrong agreed with Nintendo based on the specifications of the ‘944 Patent, and further held that extrinsic evidence supported Nintendo’s interpretation.

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

TelevisionBy Anne Woodworth – Edited by Henry Thomas

Order: Fox Television Stations, Inc. v. FilmOn X, LLC, No. CV-12-6921 (C.D. Cal. July 16, 2015) hosted by loeb.com

A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled last week granted summary judgement for defendant FilmOn X, finding that the internet-based television provider is entitled to a compulsory license under § 111 of the Copyright Act to re-transmit broadcast television. The ruling is at odds with both a Second Circuit ruling and the position of the Copyright Office. Recognizing that the legal issues were close and of “significant commercial importance”, the judge authorized an immediate appeal to the Ninth Circuit and chose to maintain the existing preliminary injunction against FilmOn X.

FilmOn X gives subscribers access to remote antennae which pick up TV signals and broadcast the programs online where users can view in DVR format.  Though the service is currently free, FilmOn maintains that this is because the service is offering free trials.  Plaintiffs Fox Television Stations, Inc., NBCUniversal Media, LLC, and a host of other broadcasting companies moved for summary judgement, arguing that FilmOn X was not entitled to a compulsory license under § 111 of the Copyright Act. FilmOn X cross-moved that they were entitled to the license. § 111 allows cable broadcast companies to transmit copyrighted media, without negotiating with every copyright holder, as long as they follow specified rules and pay set royalties.

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Posted On Jul - 27 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Neiman MarcusBy Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ariane Moss

Remijas v. Neiman Marcus Grp., LLC, No. 14-3122, 2015 WL 4394814 (7th Cir. July 20, 2015)

The Seventh Circuit reversed the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, which had held that Neiman Marcus cardholders who fell victim to a data breach, but had either been compensated by their credit card companies for any fraudulent activities or had not suffered fraudulent activities on their accounts at all, did not have standing to bring a putative class action against the retailer.

The Seventh Circuit disagreed, finding that the cardholders did have standing: the allegation of impending future harm and the concrete injury they had suffered in taking steps to mitigate or prevent that harm is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Article III. In so holding, the court rejected the district court’s “overreading” of Clapper v. Amnesty Int’l USA, which has buttressed many 12(b)(1) dismissals in data breach class action suits. In Clapper, the Supreme Court found that a group of human rights organizations could not assert standing based on suspicions that the government had intercepted their communications with terrorists. The Seventh Circuit urged the lower courts to recognize an important distinction between mere suspicion of injury and a “substantial risk” of injury. Substantial risk of injury, the court held, was not “jettison[ed]” by the Supreme Court, since a substantial risk “may prompt plaintiffs to reasonably incur costs to mitigate or avoid that harm.” The court accordingly held that in the case of a data breach, where “the purpose . . . is, sooner or later, to make fraudulent charges or assume those consumers’ identities,” plaintiffs may properly assert Article III standing based on a substantial risk of injury.

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Posted On Jul - 27 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Magnifying GlassBy Kasey Wang – Edited by Ariane Moss

State v. Rindfleisch, 857 N.W.2d 456 (Wis. Ct. App. 2014)

Link to opinion (hosted by Leagle)

Kelly Rindfleisch is serving a six-month sentence for misconduct in public office while working for then-County Executive Scott Walker. Rindfleisch claimed that the government violated her Fourth Amendment rights while searching her emails for evidence for a different case. The government, she asserted, obtained warrants that “lacked sufficient particularity” and were general warrants. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed her sentence. After the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear her case, Rindfleisch filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.

In early 2010, Rindfleisch was hired as a Milwaukee County employee working for then-County Executive Scott Walker.  On October 20, 2010, a Milwaukee County District Attorney submitted an affidavit for a warrant to search Rindfleisch’s emails for correspondence from Rindfleisch’s colleague, on suspicion that the colleague had committed a crime. The warrant authorized the seizure of all of Rindfleisch’s emails from Google and Yahoo! servers. The government used evidence obtained from this warrant to charge Rindfleisch with misconduct in public office. Rindfleisch pled guilty and appealed, citing a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that Rindfleisch’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated because the “warrants in question were based on probable cause established by affidavit, were authorized by a judge, and particularly described the place to be searched and items to be seized.” In discussing probable cause, the court cited a similar Ninth Circuit case, United States v. Adjani, in which a search through a defendant’s emails for evidence of a different suspect’s wrongdoing led to the defendant’s conviction. In discussing “sufficient particularity,” the court found that it was sufficient for the warrants to describe specific email addresses within Google’s and Yahoo’s servers.

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Posted On Jul - 20 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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Insuring Patents

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