A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Apple Ordered to Pay $533M for Patent Infringement

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Saukshmya Trichi

In 2013, Smartflash filed a claim in Southern District of Texas claiming that Apple willfully infringed three of its patents related to digital copyright management, payment method as well as data storage. On February 24, 2015, in Smartflash LLC v. Apple Inc., the federal jury in state of Texas ordered Apple to pay $532.9 million for infringing a patent owned by Texas-based Smartflash Inc.

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A Computer Programmer for Megaupload Pleads Guilty to Copyright Infringement Charges

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Jenny Choi

On February 13, 2015, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that Andrus Nomm, a computer programmer for Megaupload.com, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for copyright infringement. Kim Dotcom, a founder of the Megaupload website and a key target of this criminal prosecution and two consecutive civil lawsuits, reacted strongly to the news and sought political recourse with regard to his behaviors.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Anne Woodworth

Report Claims Facebook Privacy Policy in Violation of EU Law

FCC Preempts State Laws Limiting City-Provided Internet Service

Aereo Files Repayment Plan Following Bankruptcy Auction

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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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By Evan Kubota

The JOLT Digest is proud to reintroduce the Flash Digest! Flash Digest posts will provide brief summaries of recent news and developments in law and technology, along with links to more in-depth discussions. Flash Digest will allow us to expand our coverage to legal issues that have not yet reached the courts or passed through Congress, but that will likely be of interest to our readers. We have posted Flash Digests in the past, but we hope to make them a more regular occurrence. We hope you find Flash Digest interesting and informative!

- The Digest Staff Editors

Congress Holds Hearing on Digital Piracy

Losses from piracy of copyrighted movies and music amount to $20 billion each year, industry executives and House members asserted at a Congressional field hearing in Los Angeles on Monday. The New York Times describes the panel as recounting “what appeared to be a largely failed effort to stem the illegal sale of copyrighted material in an increasingly wired world.”

Associated Press Declares Policy of Protecting its Content from “Misappropriation”

As reported in the New York Times, the Associated Press has declared it will pursue “misappropriation” and infringement claims against those who do not obtain permission before using its headlines and content. Ars Technica explains that misappropriation, a doctrine developed by the Supreme Court in the 1918 case of International News Service v. Associated Press, effectively grants a short-term monopoly over “hot news” to agencies. Now, more than ninety years later, AP is suing competitor All Headline on a misappropriation theory, alleging that All Headline exploits AP’s stories by rewriting and publishing them without doing its own reporting. The case, Associated Press v. All Headline, is pending in the Southern District of New York.

Proposed Legislation Would Authorize the President to Declare “Cybersecurity Emergency” and Close Portions of the Internet

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009, a bill proposed by Senators Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Snowe (R-Maine) last Wednesday, states that the President may “declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network.” The Act also requires the President to designate an agency to coordinate the “response and restoration” of any such network affected by a “cybersecurity emergency declaration.” In a statement, Senator Snowe called the legislation necessary to avoid risking a “cyber-Katrina.” Mother Jones reports that advocacy groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have raised concerns about the proposed legislation’s effect on Internet users’ privacy rights.

Posted On Apr - 8 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

District Court Applies Bilski to Deny Validity of Business Method Patent Claims
By Evan Kubota – Edited by Caitlyn Ross

Cybersource Corp. v. Retail Decisions, Inc.
N.D. Cal., March 26, 2009, No. C. 04-03268 MHP
Opinion

On March 26, 2009, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted defendant Retail Decisions’ motion for summary judgment on the invalidity of two business method patent claims. The ruling invalidated the claims asserted in CyberSource Corp. U.S. Patent No. 6,029,154, titled “Method and system for detecting fraud in a credit card transaction over the Internet.”

California-based CyberSource sued U.K.-based Retail Decisions in 2004, claiming that Retail Decisions’ fraud prevention software products infringed the patent owned by CyberSource.  Retail Decision moved for summary judgment, arguing that CyberSource’s patent failed the Bilski test.

In last year’s In re Bilski decision (covered here by Digest), the Federal Circuit articulated a patentability test requiring that a process either be tied to a machine or apparatus or involve a transformation.  Applying the Bilski test, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel held that plaintiff CyberSource’s claims, both describing processes for detecting credit card fraud in Internet transactions, failed to meet either prong of the “machine-or-transformation” test.

The 271 Patent Blog and patentability analyze the decision in greater detail. Payment Industry Insights has commentary from Retail Decisions’ CEO and its lead counsel. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 5 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Grants U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office Power to Limit Patent Applications
By Sharona Hakimi – Edited by Caitlyn Ross

Tafas v. Doll
Federal Circuit, March 20, 2009, No. 2008-1352
Opinion

On March 20th, the Federal Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part a decision by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in a suit that challenged rules proposed by the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO). Tafas, the plaintiff, contested the USPTO’s proposed rules that limited the number of continuation applications petitioners may file and the number of claims they can include within each application. Judge Prost, writing on behalf of the Federal Circuit, held that the new rules were procedural and thus “within the scope of the USPTO’s rulemaking authority.” However, the case was remanded to determine if the rules should be invalidated on other grounds. The court’s decision confirmed that USPTO does have the power to change its rules and restrict the way patent applications may be filed.

Patent Docs summarizes the case and outlines the Federal Circuit decision. Patently-O highlights and explains the proposed changes to USPTO rules 78 (Continuations), 114 (Requests for Continued Examinations), and 75 and 265 (Claims). Bnet Pharma discusses the potential effect of the decision on drug companies who rely heavily on their ability to patent chemicals. (more…)

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

Federal Circuit Penalizes ICU Medical, Inc. and Counsel Paul Hastings for Frivolous Patent Infringement Suit
By Jamie Wicks – Edited by Joshua Gruenspecht

ICU Medical, Inc. v. Alaris Medical Systems, Inc.
Federal Circuit, March 13, 2009, No. 2008-1077
Opinion

On March 13th, the Federal Circuit unanimously affirmed the United States District Court for the Central District of California, which had granted summary judgment in favor of Alaris in a suit in which ICU claimed infringement of its patents for spiked medical valves used in intravenous (IV) fluid transmission. Judge Kimberly A. Moore, writing for the Federal Circuit, granted summary judgment of non-infringement against claims by ICU that the Alaris devices were “spiked” according to the terms of the patents, granted summary judgment of invalidity against claims by ICU that its patents covered spikeless and tubed devices, and awarded $4.6 million in attorney fees to Alaris and Rule 11 sanctions against ICU.

The Patent Prospector summarizes the Federal Circuit’s opinion. Dewipat details the section of the opinion regarding the spiked medical valve claims. Law.com highlights the Rule 11 sanctions, quoting patent attorney Neil Smith, who says that sanctions are “really unusual” in patent cases.

(more…)

Posted On Mar - 28 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

S.D.N.Y. Determines Family Guy Parody Is Protected by Fair Use
By Leocadie Welling – Edited by Joshua Gruenspecht

Bourne Co. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
S.D.N.Y, March 16, 2009, 07 Civ. 8580
Opinion (hosted by Exclusive Rights)

On March 16, 2009, Judge Batts of the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment for the defendants in a copyright infringement suit against the creators, producers and broadcasters of the television series Family Guy. Plaintiff Bourne Co. is the sole owner of the copyright to the popular song “When You Wish Upon a Star.” The plaintiff claimed that defendants had copied “When You Wish Upon a Star” in a “thinly veiled” manner in their song “I Need a Jew,” which appeared in an episode entitled “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein.”

Judge Batts first determined that “I Need a Jew” was parody, not satire, with a correspondingly greater need to borrow from source material. The court then established that the song satisfied the four-prong test for fair use forth set forth by the 1976 Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 107, which, as developed by case law, places emphasis on the purpose and character of the use and the effect of the use on the potential market for the copyrighted content. The court therefore held that the importation of the melody was protected fair use. 

Reuters provides the basic facts. Exclusive Rights offers an overview of the opinion, examining the court’s treatment of the parody versus satire distinction and providing a brief video excerpt of “I Need a Jew.”
Legal Geekery also covers the opinion, characterizing it as a victory for fair use, and comments upon society’s willingness to depend on fair use as a shield against aggressive copyright enforcement. 
The animated film site suite101 hosts an article providing background on the Family Guy spoof from an industry perspective. 

(more…)

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