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 Steven Wilfong

Multimedia car system patents ruled as unenforceable based on inequitable conduct

ITC’s ruling that uPI violated Consent Order affirmed

Court rules that VeriFone devices did not infringe on payment terminal software patents

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Viviana Ruiz

Converse attempts to protect iconic Chuck Taylor All Star design

French Court rules that shoe design copyright was not infringed

Oklahoma Court rules that Facebook notifications do not satisfy notice requirement

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Silk Road Founder Loses Argument That the FBI Illegally Hacked Servers to Find Evidence against Him

By Travis West  — Edited by Mengyi Wang

The alleged Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was denied the motion to suppress evidence in his case. Ulbricht argued that the FBI illegally hacked the Silk Road servers to search for evidence to use in search warrants for the server. The judge denied the motion because Ulbricht failed to establish he had any privacy interest in the server.

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Trademark Infringement or First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech?

By Yunnan Jiang – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

On October 11, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, Inc. (“ACLU”) filed a joint brief in the U.S. Court Of Appeals, urging  that “trademark laws should not be used to impinge the First Amendment rights of critics and commentators”. The brief argues that the use of the names of organizations to comment, critique, and parody, is constitutionally protected by the speaker’s First Amendment right of freedom of expression.

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Twitter goes to court over government restrictions limiting reporting on surveillance requests

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Michael Shammas

Twitter on Oct. 7 sued the government, asking a federal district court to rule that it was allowed to reveal the numbers of surveillance requests it receives in greater detail. Twitter opposes complying with the rules agreed upon by the government and other tech companies in a settlement earlier this year, and argues that the rules violated its rights under the First Amendment.

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Comcast Comments to FCC on Broadband Network Management Practices

By Debbie Rosenbaum — Edited by David Lawson

Comcast Comments to the Wireline Competition Bureau
FCC Request for Comment on Broadband Network Management Practices
FCC Request for Comment on Request for Declaratory Ruling on ISP Network Management Policies
Vuze, Inc. Petition for Rulemaking
FCC Internet Policy Statement

On February 13th, Comcast Corporation, one of the largest Internet service providers (“ISP”) in the United States, filed comments pursuant to two Requests for Comment issued by FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau. The comments addressed 1) whether managing peer-to-peer (“P2P”) traffic generated by Comcast subscribers violates FCC’s Internet Policy Statement and 2) whether the agency should promulgate further regulations defining reasonable network management.

The FCC notices arose from an investigation launched earlier this year after Vuze, Inc., a company that uses P2P to legally distribute video content, filed a Petition for Rulemaking with FCC in objection to Comcast’s treatment of P2P connections initiated by Comcast subscribers.

In its comments, Comcast argues that the tools it uses minimize interference that would otherwise degrade the activities of all Comcast subscribers. The company requests that FCC not initiate a rulemaking proceeding to address which broadband network management practices are reasonable, and further requests that FCC declare that network management practices such as Comcast’s are reasonable and consistent with the Internet Policy Statement.

Peter Svensson of the AP (carried on Wired News) summarizes the story.
Nate Anderson of Ars Technica details Comcast’s argument.
Craig Aaron of Save the Internet argues that Comcast’s practices are much more harmful than the company admits.

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Posted On Feb - 16 - 2008 1 Comment READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Upholds Damages Award Against Echostar

By Andrew Ungberg — Edited by Wen Bu

TiVo, Inc. v. EchoStar Commc’n Corp.
Federal Circuit, January 31, 2008, No. 2006-1574
Slip Opinion

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld in part and reversed in part an Eastern District of Texas jury verdict finding that EchoStar’s DVR machines infringed hardware and software claims of TiVo’s patent.

Writing for a unanimous panel, Judge Bryson found that EchoStar’s devices infringed TiVo’s software claims, but not the hardware claims. The court noted that the trial jury did not award separate damages for each kind of infringement and found the software infringement sufficient to support the entire damages award. Finally, the stay of the trial court’s permanent injunction against EchoStar that the Federal Circuit issued pending appeal will dissolve once the judgment becomes final.

Dennis Crouch of Patently-O adds commentary, including EchoStar’s reaction to the verdict.

Christopher S. Rugaber of the Associated Press examines the business consequences for TiVo.

Bloomberg provides further reporting on the decision.

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Posted On Feb - 4 - 2008 1 Comment READ FULL POST

UK Patents Court Holds Software Patents May Be Enforceable

By Sarah Sorscher — Edited by Wen Bu

In re Astron Clinica, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, Patents Court (EWHC (Pat)), January 25, 2008, Case No. CH/2007/APP/0466
Opinion

On January 25, the United Kingdom High Court ruled that the U.K. Intellectual Property Office (IPO) cannot categorically reject patent claims for computer programs under Section 1(2) of the Patents Act of 1977 (designed to implement Article 52 of the European Patent Convention), which prohibits “programs for computers” from being considered inventions for the purposes of patenting. Noting the “apparent illogicality of allowing claims to a suitably programmed computer and to the method performed by the computer so programmed but not to the program itself,” Justice Kitchin, writing for the court, held that computer programs themselves (as recorded on suitable storage media) may be patentable if the program makes a conventional computer deliver a new technical effect.

The WLR Daily offers a synopsis of the decision.
David Pearce of IPKat expressed surprise at the decision in light of the strong language that had been used in the earlier U.K. Court of Appeal ruling in Aerotel/Macrossan and noted that this decision, if left intact, amounts to “falling into line with the EPO.”
Andres Guadamuz criticizes both this decision and the earlier EPO decisions for changing the meaning of an otherwise clear treaty provision.
The Register’s Kelly Fiveash takes a more positive view, commenting that the ruling “could open up the playing field for small UK businesses looking for a leg-up.”
Finally, Emma Barraclough of Managing Intellectual Property predicts that the ruling might reverse the trend of UK companies applying for patents through the EPO instead of directly through the UKIPO.

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Posted On Feb - 1 - 2008 Comments Off READ FULL POST

European Court of Justice holds that EU law does not require ISPs to disclose subscriber information

By Daniel Ray — Edited by Wen Bu

Productores de Música de España (Promusicae) v. Telefónica de España S.A.U.
European Court of Justice (Grand Chamber), January 29, 2008
Case C-275/06, 2008 CELEX no 62006J0275 (Jan. 29, 2008)
Opinion

On January 29, the European Court of Justice issued a Grand Chamber ruling in Promusicae v. Telefónica. The court held that European law does not require Internet service providers (ISPs) to disclose their subscribers’ identities to trade organizations for the purpose of civil litigation against them, but that European law also does not prohibit member states from imposing such requirements if the legislation sufficiently balances IP and privacy rights.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK summarizes the decision, and quotes a British ISP spokesperson who claims the ruling vindicated ISPs’ self-policing efforts.
Nikki Tait of the Financial Times cites mixed opinions from copyright holders on whether the Court’s leaving open to member states the option of legislating stricter controls will help protect copyrighted content.
Eric Bangeman of Ars Technica notes that copyright holders still have recourse because criminal charges may be brought against infringers, but that some European nations have been unwilling to press charges for copyright infringement.
Gwen Hinze of the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that any victory for privacy advocates may be short-lived, as the decision may impel copyright holders to step up their legislative efforts to impose intermediary liability on ISPs or pan-European criminal penalties on filesharers.

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Posted On Jan - 31 - 2008 2 Comments READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Holds Patent Unenforceable Following Patentee’s Failure to Disclose Material Notes

By Michelle Yang — Edited by Wen Bu

Monsanto Corp. v. Bayer Bioscience N.V.
Federal Circuit, January 25, 2008, No. 2007-1109
Slip Opinion

On January 25, the Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri’s holdings: 1) that Bayer’s patent for certain chimeric genes was unenforceable for inequitable conduct, and 2) that the district court had jurisdiction to declare three related patents unenforceable.

The Federal Circuit held that Bayer’s patent was unenforceable for inequitable conduct. Judge Gajarsa’s opinion held that Bayer breached its duty of candor and good faith to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in failing to disclose its employee’s notes on another researcher’s poster at a scientific conference.

The court also upheld the district court’s jurisdiction over three other patents relating to the chimeric genes, holding that the district court still retained jurisdiction because of Monsanto’s request for attorney fees, despite Bayer’s motion to dismiss the claims on the other patents and subsequent signing of a covenant not to sue Monsanto for infringement of those patents.

Dennis Crouch of Patently-O summarizes the opinion.
Lawrence B. Ebert of IPBiz mentions some interesting aspects of the case’s procedural history.
Stephen Albainy-Jenei of Patent Baristas warns that “note-taking can come back to bite your patent.”

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Posted On Jan - 30 - 2008 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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