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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MicrophoneBy Keke Wu – Edited by Erik Mortensen

In People v. Murillo, 238 Cal. App. 4th 1122 (Ca Ct. App. 2015), a California appellate court reversed a trial court decision, which had dismissed a felony complaint against Anthony Murillo alleging two counts of threatening a crime victim.

The Second Appellate District held that a reasonable listener could have understood a rap song as threatening two rape victims. The Court cited People v. Lowery in finding that the trier of fact must determine whether the defendant’s rap lyrics were a “true threat” outside the protection of the First Amendment. It also concluded that Elonis v. United States, a 2015 Supreme Court case interpreting the mens rea standard for threats under a federal statute, did not apply to the state law at issue.

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Posted On Oct - 24 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Fed. Cir. Flash DigestBy Patrick Gallagher

Obama Administration Declines to Pursue Legislation for Access to Encrypted Data

On October 10, the Obama administration announced that it no longer plans to pursue legislation that would enable U.S. law enforcement agencies to access the encrypted data of smartphone and other digital device users. FBI Director James Comey has expressed worry that the failure to pass such a law will hamper the ability of law enforcement to address modern public safety and national security concerns. Tech companies including Apple, Google, and Microsoft, along with leading academic voices in the cryptography and computer science communities, warned that a requirement that providers of digital devices offer the government a gateway to their encrypted data would also make such data vulnerable to hacking. Without a legal mandate for the provision of encrypted customer data, law enforcement will continue to rely on voluntary cooperation to in order to gain access to it.

California Continues Fight Against “Revenge Porn” With New Website

California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced on October 14 the launch of a new website that provides victims of cyber exploitation with resources to help them remove the unauthorized content from the Internet. In addition, the site contains guidelines for tech companies to prevent the sharing of  “revenge porn” as well as educational tools aimed at assisting law enforcement to crack down on the posting of such content.  This action is the latest in a series of moves by California to address the issue of cyber exploitation. Additionally, Attorney General Harris is pushing the state legislature to pass a pair of laws that would allow revenge porn cases to be prosecuted in the victims’ jurisdiction and put in place a formal means for the removal and destruction of the offensive content.

Apple Loses Patent Lawsuit against University of Wisconsin, May Pay Up To $862 Million in Damages

On October 14, a jury in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin found Apple guilty of patent infringement against the University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). The court ruled that chips contained in Apple’s iPhone 5S, 6, and 6S utilize technology that is protected under a 1998 patent filed by WARF. While damages have not yet been determined, Apple may face a penalty of up to $862 million.  In 2009, a similar lawsuit against Intel regarding the same patent resulted in an out of court settlement for $110 million according to court documents from the ongoing case against Apple.

The full complaint can be read here. Ars Technica provides further commentary.

Posted On Oct - 22 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

UnknownBy Kayla Haran

Court Rules Reputational Harm Confers Standing to Sue over Inventorship

In Shukh v. Seagate Technology, LLC, 2014-1406 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 2, 2015), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that “concrete and particularized reputational injury” can confer Article III standing to sue. The court vacated and remanded the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota’s grant of summary judgment to defendant Seagate Technology, LLC on the grounds that reputational harm is in fact a valid basis for standing, and affirmed the district court’s remaining holdings. In the original case, plaintiff Alexander Shukh filed a complaint against his former employer Seagate alleging that Seagate wrongly omitted him as an inventor on six patents, among several other claims relating to the termination of his employment. The district court granted Seagate’s motion for summary judgment on Shukh’s claim for correction of inventorship under 35 U.S.C. § 256, finding that Shukh’s employment at-will barred his financial or ownership interest in the inventions. On appeal, Shukh argued that a trier of fact could conclude that his omission from the disputed patents caused injury to his reputation as an inventor, which he claimed prevented him from obtaining other employment. In a unanimous decision, the court found that there is a material question of fact as to whether these omissions actually caused Shukh reputational injury, but agreed that “if the claimed inventor can show that being named as an inventor on a patent would affect his employment, the alleged reputational injury likely has an economic component sufficient to demonstrate Article III standing.” In its opinion, the court emphasized that the number of patents on which an inventor is listed is a critical component of the inventor’s professional reputation.

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Posted On Oct - 22 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

PatentDraftingToolsBy Jasper L. Tran – Edited by Henry Thomas

“Patenting tends to get people’s juices flowing when you put the word ‘gene’ and the word ‘patent’ in the same sentence.”—Francis Collins

 Alas, naturally occurring genes are not patentable.[1]But what about bioprinting?

Dr. Anthony Atala recently gave two TED talks, Growing New Organs[2] and Printing a Human Kidney[3], presenting that bioprinting, the3D-printing living tissues, is real and may be widely available in the near future. This emerging technology has generated controversies about its regulation; the Gartner analyst group speculates a global debate in 2016 about whether to regulate bioprinting or ban it altogether.[4]

Another equally important issue is whether bioprinting is patentable. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Patent Office) has already granted some bioprinting patents and many more patent applications are pending.[5]Although these patents are presumed valid, their validity will likely be litigated and the U.S. Supreme Court might have to settle this issue in due course.

One might intuitively assume that bioprinting is not patentable because the law generally prohibits patenting human organisms.[6]However, the issue is not so simple. This Article breaks down this complex issue and analyzes the patentability of bioprinting given the current landscape of patent law.

This Article concludes that bioprinting is patentable and that bioprinting process claims are easier to patent than bioprinting product claims. Current bioprinted human living tissues are functionally similar but structurally different than real human living tissues. Until scientists can bioprint structurally similar living tissues, bioprinted products are in the clear to be patent-eligible subject matter.

However, regardless of whether bioprinting is patentable, an interesting question to consider is whether bioprinting should be patentable. After weighing both sides’ arguments, this Article proposes a potential compromise: granting patents for only bioprinting process claims, not product claims. This proposal aligns well with the current landscape of patent-eligible subject matter—bioprinting process claims are being patented whereas bioprinting product claims would likely run into opposition and challenges.

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Posted On Sep - 23 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

UnknownBy Allison E. Butler – Edited by Travis West

I. Introduction

On June 19, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its first software patent case in thirty-three years.[1] In the case of Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank,[2] the Court determined the patent eligibility for computer-implemented inventions. While incorporating its previous analysis of Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Lab., Inc.,[3] the Court verified that computer-implemented inventions have protection through patent subject matter eligibility; however, the Court limited this protection by finding that generic computer implementation must further transform an abstract idea to be a patent-eligible invention under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The ruling of Alice is significant as it replaces the once general view held by the courts that §101 was nothing “more than a ‘course [patent] eligibility filter’”[4] with a defined patent eligibility filter derived through a two-part analysis that has placed patentability under Section 101 at “a higher bar.”[5] It has not only been the courts who have taken notice of Alice. The USPTO issued advisories and instructions for its examiners and the public at large as to the handling of patent eligibility for software patents and denied pending patents upon the issuance of Alice.[6]The impact of Alice is broad but it appears to be a decision that was long overdue to address the many issues facing patentability of subject matter eligibility in various arenas where such issues are dominant.

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Posted On Sep - 19 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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