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Google Appeals Ruling that Use of Java APIs in Android Violates Oracle’s Copyrights

By Katherine Kwong– Edited by Ashish Bakshi

On October 6, Google filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule on whether copyright protections extend to the software’s “system or method of operation,” such as application programming interfaces (APIs). Google urges the Court to overturn the Federal Circuit’s previous decision, arguing that allowing long-term copyrights on systems and methods of operations would stifle innovation and creativity.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Ariane Moss

Microsoft Tax Banned in Italy

California Responds to Data Breaches by Strengthening Privacy Laws

EU Court Rules Embedding Is Not Copyright Infringement

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Google Appeals Ruling That Use of Java APIs in Android Violates Oracle’s Copyrights

By Katherine Kwong – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

On October 6, Google filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule on whether copyright protections extend to the software’s “system or method of operation,” such as APIs. Google urges the Court to overturn the Federal Circuit’s previous decision, arguing that allowing long-term copyrights on systems and methods of operations would stifle innovation and creativity.

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UN Report Finds Government Mass Surveillance Violates Privacy

By Olga Slobodyanyuk – Edited by Jesse Goodwin

The UN Report from the Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights found that government Internet mass surveillance violates Article 17 of the ICCPR by impinging individuals’ privacy.

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Functional Claim Elements Must Be Backed by Sufficient Structural Guidance

By Asher Lowenstein – Edited by Mengyi Wang

The Federal Circuit found that patent claim terms that offer no guidance to structure and are solely functional are means-plus-function terms and indefinite under § 112(f).

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Harvard Journal of Law & Technology Vol. 22.1 

Happy New Year!  The Digest Staff has returned to start the new year, and we’re thirlled to begin our coverage with the newest volume of the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology! Volume 22.1 is now available online, featuring: 

Rethinking Broadband Internet Access
Daniel F. Spulber & Christopher S. Yoo
Professors Spulber and Yoo discuss the regulation of broadband Internet access and the reasons why the traditional model based on telecommunication regulation is not applicable to broadband internet using a branch of mathematics called graph theory. Spulber and Yoo argue that the failure to properly adjust to this fact has led to current issues regarding the availability of last-mile broadband systems, most notably the recent conflict between the FCC and Comcast.

The Layers of Obviousness in Patent Law
Jeanne C. Fromer 
Professor Fromer reviews recent developments in the obviousness standard for patents arguing that the examination for obvious should be layered – the court should consider both the obviousness of the conception and the obviousness of the reduction to practice of the invention. She then discusses the implication of such a layered process on patentability of inventions in specific subject areas such as biotechnology and software.

Finding a Cure: The Case for Regulation and Oversight of Electronic Health Records Systems 
Sharona Hoffman & Andy Podgurski 
In the past couple of years, both Congress and the President have promoted programs that would incentivize the creation of electronic health records systems that would allow doctors easy access to all of a patient’s medical background. Professor Hoffman and Podgurski argue both that these systems should and will be created.  However, they also propose a system of regulation not only to ensure the privacy and security of patient records, but to make certain that the systems are reliable and contain accurate information.

Electronically Manufacture Law
Katrina Fischer Kuh
The advent of legal databases such as Westlaw and Lexis have substantially altered the way that legal research is performed. Professor Kuh uses principles of cognitive psychology to examine several specific differences in the approach to legal research and the consequences that these changes will have on the practice of law.

Toward a Culture of Cybersecurity Research
Aaron J. Burstein
Burstein argues that while cybersecurity researchers are making great stride in the protection of data, the progress in this field is actually being inhibited by statutory and informal measures aimed at protecting individual privacy. Burstein promotes the creation of research exception to federal privacy laws so that cybersecurity researchers may have access to data that improve security for all. 

Making Available as Distribution: File Sharing and the Copyright Act
John Horsfield-Bradbury
Student Note discussing several recent copyright cases, specifically, whether simply making a copyrighted work available, but not actually transferring it, counts as infringement.

The Web Difference: A Non-CDA-230 Rationale Against Liability for Online Reproduction of Third-Party Defamatory Content
Matt Sanchez 
Student Note arguing that, regardless of how courts and lawmakers end up interpreting the Communications Decency Act, internet speakers should be immune from liability for reproducing defamatory content. The Note supports this through an analysis of the unique nature and benefits of online speech and reproduction. 

Posted On Jan - 3 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Dear Digest Readers,

It’s once again that time of year: The Digest will be taking a short break in the coming weeks as our Staff Writers prepare for final exams and head home for a well-deserved holiday break. We’ll be back shortly after the New Year with the same quality and coverage you’ve come to expect in addition to brand-new student commentary. 

Also this winter, the Digest celebrates our one-year anniversary! Since January 2007 we have grown from a dedicated group of five to a staff of more than twenty-five; this past semester we’ve worked to bring our readers more content, faster than before, all while maintaining our high editorial standards. 

We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage this year - Stay Tuned!  

- The Digest Staff 

Posted On Dec - 11 - 2008 Comments Off READ FULL POST

RDR Books Withdraws Appeal in Harry Potter Lexicon Case

RDR Books withdrew its appeal to the Second Circuit on Thursday, December 4th.  The trial court, in an opinion by Judge Patterson, had permanently enjoined its publication of a Harry Potter Lexicon book, along with awarding statutory damages to plaintiffs Warner Brothers and J.K. Rowling.

Anthony Falzone, of the Stanford Fair Use Project and counsel for the defendant, released a blog post entitled “Lexicon Resurrected,” noting that RDR plans to publish a new Lexicon.  The new manuscript addresses concerns expressed by J.K. Rowling at trial as well as those expressed in Judge Patterson’s opinion.  According to Mr. Falzone, both RDR and the author of the Lexicon, Steven Vander Ark, like the new manuscript much more than the old one.

As reported by the Associated Press, Neil Blair, a lawyer for J.K. Rowling’s literary agency, stated that he was “delighted that this matter is finally and favorably resolved and that J.K. Rowling’s rights – and indeed the rights of all authors of creative works – have been protected.”  “We are also pleased to hear that rather than continue to litigate, RDR have themselves decided to publish a different book prepared with reference to Judge Patterson’s decision.”

Previously: Harry Potter Lexicon Found to Infringe J.K. Rowling’s Copyright

Posted On Dec - 8 - 2008 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Affirms Judgment Against Qualcomm, Limits Remedy of Patent Unenforceability
By Aaron Dulles – Edited By Stephanie Weiner
Qualcomm Inc. v. Broadcom Corp., Federal Circuit, December 1, 2008, No. 2007-1545 & 2008-1162
Slip opinion

On December 1, 2008, the Federal Circuit affirmed in part the District Court for the Southern District of California, no. 05-CV-1958, holding that Qualcomm breached its duty to disclose relevant video-compression technology patents during its participation in a standards-setting organization (“SSO”). However the Federal Circuit limited the scope of the remedy; rather than make the patent unenforceable against the world, the court held the patent unenforceable only against products compliant with the standard created by the SSO.

The judgment arises from a patent infringement suit brought against Broadcom in which Qualcomm asserted two patents concerning video compression technology. After a concealment effort that resulted in sanctions for litigation misconduct, it came to light that Qualcomm had participated in an SSO called the Joint Video Team (“JVT”) that was responsible for creating a video compression standard known as H.264. The H.264 standard was intended to be achievable at a baseline by anyone without requiring them to pay royalties. The court found that Qualcomm was required to disclose to the members of JVT any patents it held covering technology that “reasonably might be necessary” to practice the standard. Qualcomm was held to have waived its rights to the two patents by not disclosing those patents to JVT.

The case provides some clarity in a previously murky area: The Wall Street Journal Law Blog notes that this case clarifies the court’s willingness to find a duty to disclose in the SSO context, while Zusha Ellinson of The Recorder observes that it also clarifies the penalties for failing to disclose. The case is also being held up as a demonstration of the disastrous results of withholding evidence. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 6 - 2008 Comments Off READ FULL POST

District Court Enjoins Certain Advertising Practices; Keylogger Software Once Again Available
FTC v. CyberSpy Software, LLC, November 6, 2008, 6:08-cv-1872
Preliminary Injunction

On November 24th, Judge Presnell presided over a hearing regarding the temporary restraining order put in place by the court on November 6th. The preliminary injunction is significanty more limited than the original TRO, which had prevented CyberSpy from selling its “RemoteSpy” keylogger software entirely.

The new order primarily enjoins CyberSpy from

promoting, selling, or distributing RemoteSpy, or its equivalent, by means of informing or suggesting to customers that it may be, or is intended to be, surreptitiously installed on a computer without the knowledge or consent of the computer’s owner including . . . instructions for disguising the name of the executable file that accomplishes the installation and/or recommendation of the use of a stealth email service for sending the executable file to the remote computer.

The ruling focuses on restricting the methods CyberSpy may use to market or sell their product, but does allow the company to sell RemoteSpy once again.

Previously: District Court Halts Sales of Keylogger Software

Posted On Dec - 5 - 2008 1 Comment READ FULL POST
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