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

By Amanda Liverzani

PTO’s Statutory Interpretation on Patent Term Adjustment Upheld

Federal Circuit Affirms Garmin Fitness Watches Do Not Infringe on Pacing Patents

Online Shopping Cart Patents Deemed Invalid in Infringement Action Against Victoria’s Secret and Avon

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Alleged mastermind behind the undercover trading platform Silk Road convicted in Manhattan court

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Katherine Kwong

On February 4, a federal jury in Manhattan rendered its verdict in the trial against Ross Ulbricht, the person allegedly in charge of the online black market platform Silk Road. The jury found Ulbricht guilty on all charges. The case is important as it represents an attempt by the government to regain control over an area of the internet where tools such as bitcoin and Tor are used to create an online space beyond the reach of the authorities.

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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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By Andrew Jacobs

FTC Ready to Regulate Blogs

On June 21, The Washington Post reported that revised FTC advertising guidelines, set to be approved late this summer, will explicitly include blogs within their scope. The guidelines make clear that bloggers must disclose any compensation they receive for product endorsements and that they may be held liable for false claims made in those endorsements. According to the Post, while some bloggers worry about potential chilling effects, others believe that the guidelines will lead to more trust within the blogosphere and increased advertiser comfort with blogs.

City Removes Requirement that Job Applicants Disclose Social Networking Passwords

On June 22, the City Commission of Bozeman, Montana, rescinded a requirement that city job applicants disclose their usernames and passwords for websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace, the Billings Gazette reports. The requirement was part of Bozeman’s background check consent and release form. The commission’s decision came less than a week after a Montana television station discovered and reported on the policy, which quickly provoked additional coverage and criticism from tech media and legal blogs.

Google’s Italian Court Date Set Back

The AP reports that on June 23, the Italian trial of four Google executives for defamation and privacy law violations was postponed until September due to the absence of an interpreter. Italian prosecutors brought the case seeking to hold Google liable for allowing a video of an autistic child being beaten by his classmates to be posted on YouTube. Though an E.U. law similar to the U.S.’s 47. U.S.C. §230 immunizes internet service providers from liability based on third-party content, the suit was brought under an Italian penal statute which holds content providers responsible for user-generated material, according to the Proskauer Privacy Law Blog. Alessandro del Ninno, an expert on Internet law, says the case is the first of its kind in Europe.

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

Minnesota Jury Awards Nearly $2 Million in RIAA File-Sharing Suit

By Anthony Kammer-Edited by Amanda Rice
RIAA/Capitol v. Thomas-Rasset

On Thursday, June 18, 2009, a federal jury in Minneapolis, MN returned a $1.92 million verdict against Jammie Thomas-Rasset for willfully infringing the copyrights of twenty four songs she had made available for download on Kazaa, a file-sharing program. The suit, brought by the Recording Industry Artists of America (“RIAA”), involved copyrights owned by subsidiaries of four major recording companies, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, EMI, and Sony Music Entertainment.

ArsTechnica provides a full account of the trial. IT Blogwatch provides a compilation of some of the blog coverage of this case. As reported by Wire, several copyright academics have suggested that the ‘make available’ standard was not met in this case. (more…)

Posted On Jun - 22 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

California District Court Strikes at “Patent Trolling”

By Tyler Lacey – Edited by Amanda Rice
Diagnostic Systems Corp. v. Symantec Corp., June 5, 2009, No. SACV 06-1211 DOC (ANx) consolidated with No. SACV 07-960 DOC (ANx). Opinion

The United States District Court for the Central District of California granted in part defendant MicroStrategy’s motion requesting a more detailed statement of how its software products infringe on plaintiff Diagnostic Systems Corporation’s (“DSC”) patents, denying only MicroStrategy’s request for monetary sanctions.

The United States District Court for the Central District of California held that DSC must serve a supplemental answer to one of MicroStrategy’s interrogatories that includes more detailed Preliminary Infringement Contentions (“PICs”) within fifteen days. In so holding, the district court called DSC’s current PICs “vague” and “unacceptable,” especially given DSC’s status “as a company whose sole business is to enforce its patents.” MicroStrategy had given DSC’s software consultants copies of the allegedly infringing programs’ source code almost a year prior to the motion, but DSC had still failed “to provide PICs that explain how MicroStrategy’s source code infringes on the claims of DSC.” According to the court, the “bottom line” is that “after a plaintiff-patentee has had a reasonable opportunity to review the source code for the defendant’s accused software product, the patentee’s time for trolling the proverbial waters for a theory of infringement comes to an end.”

Peter Zurba provides an overview of the decision. (more…)

Posted On Jun - 22 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sharona Hakimi

Senators Urge FCC to Carefully Examine Exclusive Cell Phone Deals

On June 16, Ars Technica reported that senators wrote a letter to the FCC voicing concern over exclusivity agreements between service providers and phone manufacturers. The four senators who signed the letter – Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) – expressed particular concern as to whether the deals restrict consumer choice regarding handsets and geographic regions. They also noted that the agreements may disadvantage competing smaller carriers and discourage new innovation. According to the letter, the “Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will convene a hearing this week to examine issues confronting wireless consumers” and decide if legislative action is necessary. Although the iPhone’s exclusivity agreements have garnered the most attention, the letter considers all cell phone carriers.

Microsoft Files Suit After Finding Evidence of Click Fraud

On June 16, the New York Times reported that Microsoft sued three individuals and several corporations for $750,000 in damages for click fraud – manipulating clicks on online advertisements. After noticing suspicious spikes in traffic from auto insurance and World of Warcraft web advertisements, Microsoft began an investigation that eventually uncovered an alleged click fraud manipulation scheme. Microsoft’s complaint alleges that the defendant directed traffic to his competitors’ Web sites so they would pay for the clicks and exhaust their advertising budgets. Jeremy Fain, a vice president of Interactive Advertising Bureau, said that although there is much precedent for mail and wire fraud, there is little regarding internet fraud. He went on to say that this case may “create more of a legal precedent, and more of a legal library of cases to draw from in the future.”

EU Seizure of Indian Drugs Hinders Medicine Dispersal

According to a recent report by Intellectual Property Watch, an increase in European seizures of Indian medicines believed to infringe intellectual property rights has triggered concerns that there is a strategic pattern in enforcement. On June 16, Spicy IP reported that India has recently protested to the TRIPS Council, expressing strong disapproval of EU’s controversial regulations and demanding more transparency of the various seizures. In May, German officials held about 3 million pounds of Amoxicillin on suspicion of a trademark infringement, delaying shipment to the Pacific by 4 weeks. “These random seizures seriously impact our ability to service the healthcare needs of people living in developing countries in a timely manner,” according to a drug supplier spokesperson. The EU claims that it is merely trying to reduce the “fast growing and dangerous” problem of counterfeits in developing countries.

Posted On Jun - 20 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Fame Helps Sales Director Survive Bon Jovi’s Motion to Dismiss

By Jad Mills – Edited by Caitlyn Ross
AFL Philadelphia LLCl v. Krause, June 4, 2009, No. 09-614.
Slip Opinion hosted by Exclusive Rights.

On June 4, 2009, Judge Baylson of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied Philadelphia Soul’s motion to dismiss defendant Joe Krause’s counterclaims for trademark infringement and misappropriation of name in AFL Philadelphia LLC v. Krause. The judge allowed both counterclaims to go forward because Krause had sufficiently alleged that his name had acquired the necessary “secondary meaning” for trademark protection under the Lanham Act.

Ex©lusive Rights and Shannon Duffy provide summaries of the case, paying particular attention to Judge Baylson’s inclusion of Bon Jovi song references in the opinion. An earlier post by Ex©lusive Rights summarizes the ongoing Pennsylvania State Court litigation between the same parties.  (more…)

Posted On Jun - 14 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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