A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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The Court of Justice of the European Union Finds the Harbor No Longer Safe

Written by: Ann Kristin Glenster - Edited by: David Nathaniel Tan

This fall, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered a landmark ruling,  holding that the Safe Harbor Agreement on the handling of personal data by U.S. companies in Europe was invalid. This article will give a brief overview of the case, and explore the salient issues to which the European Court took umbrage. Finally, it will attempt to sketch out some possible consequences of the ruling, and the options that now face E.U. and U.S. legislators.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Yiran Zhang – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

Senators Introduce a Bill which Requires Social Media Companies to Report Terrorist Activity

New EU Copyright Rules Left Possibility for Google Tax

COP21 Reached an “Ambitious and Balanced” Deal on Climate Change

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By David Nathaniel Tan – Edited by Adi Kamdar

Software Pirate Settles Suit Via YouTube

After Paris Attacks, FCC Chairman Calls for Expanded Wiretap Laws

Hoverboards Declared Illegal in New York City

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Belgian Court Demands that Facebook Stop Tracking Non-Members

By Mila Owen – Edited by Kayla Haran

The Belgian Privacy Commission requested a cessation order against Facebook regarding their practice of placing “datr” cookies on devices of non-Facebook users to track activity on other Facebook pages or on pages containing the “like” or “share” button. The court ruled that this tracking violates the Belgian Privacy Act because it amounts to the collection and “processing of personal data.”

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Facebook not liable for discrimination against Sikhs in India

By Ann Kristin Glenster – Edited by Yaping Zhang

By dismissing Sikhs for Justice Inc.’s case against Facebook for discrimination by blocking the group’s page in India, the United District Court of Northern California maintains the neutrality of interactive online providers and exempts them from liability under Title II of the Civil Rights Act.

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Federal Circuit Overturns Earlier Decision and Holds No Liability for Exporting Components of Method Patents

By Evan Kubota – Edited by Sarah Sorscher
Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. v. St. Jude Medical, Inc., 2007-1296, -1347 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 19, 2009)
Slip Opinion

On August 19, 2009, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, held that 35 U.S.C. § 271(f), a statute providing for liability for exporting components of patented inventions, does not apply to method patents. The ruling overturned the Federal Circuit’s prior panel decision in Union Carbide Corp. v. Shell Oil Co., 425 F.3d 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2006). A Federal Circuit panel also reversed the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana’s grant of summary judgment on the issue of invalidity, restored the jury’s finding of infringement, and remanded the case for determination of damages.

Section 271(f) imposes infringement liability upon anyone who “supplies or causes to be supplied in or from the United States” components of a patented invention and induces their combination in a manner that would infringe the patent if it occurred within the United States.  It was intended to close the loophole created by a Supreme Court decision, Deepsouth Packing Co., v. Laitram Corp., 406 U.S. 518 (1972), that had rejected infringement liability where unassembled parts of a patented shrimp deveining machine were shipped abroad.  In 2007, the Supreme Court had expressly declined to answer the question of whether a method or process patent “qualifies as a patented invention” under section 271(f).  Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp., 550 U.S. 437 (2007).

Patently-O, Patent Prospector, and Conflict of Laws.net summarize the decision.  The AmLaw Litigation Daily provides an overview of the stakes for U.S. business interests, and a brief comment from a lawyer for one of the amici. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 27 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Court of Appeals Vacates Obviousness Jury Verdict

By Stephanie Weiner – Edited by Evelyn Breithaupt
Callaway Golf Co. v. Acushnet Co., 2009-1076 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 14, 2009)
Slip Opinion

On August 14, 2009, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the District Court for the District of Delaware’s order of summary judgment for the plaintiff on anticipation and vacated its entry of a jury verdict that a dependent claim was invalid for obviousness, but that the independent claim from which it stemmed was non-obvious. The Federal Circuit determined that the obviousness judgment was based upon irreconcilably inconsistent jury verdicts. This case raises the controversial issue of whether juries are appropriate in patent validity cases.

IP Watchdog notes that while the Federal Circuit decision itself is not surprising, it is rare to see a decision out of the District of Delaware that is so “
obviously flawed.” The Patent Prospector examines some of the evidentiary issues raised on appeal.  The Wall Street Journal Law Blog gives some useful background of the case. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 23 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Evan Kubota

Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon Join Opposition to Google Settlement

The New York Times reports that Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon have joined library associations, nonprofits, and individuals in opposing the Google Books settlement in The Authors Guild v. Google. The settlement, which would allow Google to provide digital versions of millions of books, still requires court approval and remains the subject of a Department of Justice antitrust investigation. The opposition group, tentatively called the Open Book Alliance, will argue to the Department of Justice that the settlement agreement is anticompetitive.

Internet Law Group Brings Suit Against Unidentified Hackers

“John Doe” suits brought against unidentified Eastern European hackers may offer a glimpse of the hackers’ targets and techniques through subpoenas against defrauded banks. However, the banks may challenge the subpoenas in order to protect customer privacy. Unspam Technologies, a group that recently filed suit against bank hackers in the Eastern District of Virginia, hopes to improve bank security and potentially identify the hackers. The New York Times outlines the stakes and key players in the case, Project Honey Pot v. Does.

Mozilla Versus Microsoft in EU Browser Investigation

Ryan Paul at Ars Technica criticizes Mozilla’s complaints regarding Microsoft’s Internet Explorer bundling and default-setting practices. Paul not only argues that many of Mozilla’s complaints “lack substance,” but also claims that the European Union has no business intervening to encourage competition because Mozilla’s Firefox browser has a 22 percent market share “amidst an increasingly competitive browser market.” In contrast, Mitchell Baker of Mozilla argues that the Firefox browser is at a disadvantage because Internet Explorer has a “uniquely privileged position on Windows installations.”

Posted On Aug - 21 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Holds Blackboard Patent Claims Invalid for Indefiniteness and Failure to Disclose Sufficient Structure

By Dmitriy Tishyevich – Edited by Amanda Rice
Blackboard, Inc. v. Desire2Learn, Inc., No. 2008-1368, -1396 (Fed. Cir. July 27, 2009)
Slip Opinion

On July 27, 2009, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas’s partial summary judgment, holding that claims 1 through 35 of the patent were invalid for indefiniteness. However, the court reversed the jury’s finding that Desire2Learn had infringed claims 36 through 38, holding that, under proper construction, these claims were anticipated and rendered obvious by prior art.

Patent law blogs PatentlyO and The Patent Prospector summarize the opinion. Inside Higher Ed provides commentary about the decision. Sakai Blog speculates about Blackboard’s motives and the future of Blackboard’s numerous patent disputes.
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Posted On Aug - 20 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Mum’s the Word for Microsoft’s XML Functionality

By Jad Mills – Edited by Evelyn Breithaupt
i4i L.P. v. Microsoft Corp., No. 6:07CV113 (E.D. Texas Aug. 18, 2009).
Final Judgment and Injunction

On August 11, 2009, Judge Davis of the Eastern District of Texas entered final judgment awarding i4i L.P., a Canadian company, approximately $290 million in damages and interest for Microsoft’s willful infringement of i4i’s XML patent. The court also issued a permanent injunction ordering Microsoft to stop selling Word 2003 and 2007 within 60 days unless the infringing functionality has been removed.

Commentators have weighed in on the impact of the injunction and the award. Ars Technica summarizes the order and the background of the case, Patently-O summarizes the injunction, and Peter Zura summarizes Judge Davis’ opinion. ZDNet and ArnNet both argue that the injunction is ultimately unlikely to stop sales of Word.

(more…)

Posted On Aug - 19 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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