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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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By Jeanne Jeong

UnknownSummary Judgment Finding Patent Claim Invalid as Indefinite Reversed and Remanded Due to Specification and Prosecution History

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Eidos Display, LLC v. AU Optronics Corp. reversed and remanded the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas grant of summary judgment finding that Eidos Display, LLC and Eidos III, LLC’s (Eidos) patent claim of U.S. Patent No. 5,879,958 (‘958 patent) was invalid as indefinite.  Eidos Display, LLC v. AU Optronics Corp., 14-1254 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 10, 2015).  The Federal Circuit held that in light of the specification and prosecution history, the claim informed relevant parties with reasonable certainty about the “scope of the claimed invention.”  Eidos at 2.  Eidos alleged that AU Optronic infringed claim 1 of 958 patent, which concerns manufacturing processes for an electro-optical device such as an LCD panel.  Id. at 3.  The limitation at issue involved the construction of the claim’s language, “contact hole for source wiring and gate wiring connection terminals.”  Id. at 10.  Finding that the specifications did not deviate from known industry practice at the time the patent was filed, the history of the patent, and the text of the specification itself, the court adopted Eidos’s construction and concluded that a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand that the language at issue meant separate contact holes for source wiring connection terminals and gate wiring connection terminals.  Id. at 11-15.

http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/14-1254.Opinion.3-6-2015.1.PDF

 

District Court Grant of Summary Judgment Finding Affirmed

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in American Energy Co., LLC ex rel. Exelon Generation Co., LLC v. United States affirmed the United States Court of Federal Claims’ decision granting summary judgment below based on the economic performance requirement of 42 U.S.C. § 461(h).  Amergen Energy Co., LLC ex rel. Exelon Generation Co., LLC v. United States, 14-5067 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 11, 2015).  Finding that the district court properly found § 461(h) pertained to the case, the court further determined based on the statutory text that the “all events test” is not limited to expense deductions and applies to basis calculation.  Amergen at 2. Because AmerGen did not economically perform the decommissioning during the relevant tax years, the court held that AmerGen may not, on its 2001 through 2003 tax returns, include future nuclear decommissioning liabilities from its purchase of three nuclear power plants for calculating the basis of an acquired nuclear power plant and associated assets.  Id. at 10-15.

http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/14-5067.Opinion.3-9-2015.1.PDF

Posted On Mar - 15 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Ken Winterbottom

Judicial Watch Sues to Reveal Clinton Emails

Conservative political watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State last Wednesday seeking to compel disclosure of email correspondence between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nagla Mahmoud, the wife of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. Mahmoud previously threatened to publish the emails last August, as evidence of an alleged “special relationship” between the Obama and Morsi administrations that President Obama disavowed when Morsi’s government was overthrown in the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état. Morsi was a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization later labeled a terrorist organization by Egypt’s successor government. Within a few weeks of Mahmoud’s threat, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking access to the emails. Because the State Department has not yet responded, the watchdog group is now suing to compel the release of the emails, possibly as a move to damage Clinton’s reputation in anticipation of the upcoming presidential election.

(more…)

Posted On Mar - 11 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Jenny Choi – Edited by Anton Ziajka

lenovo-n20p-010Jessica N. Bennett v. Lenovo (United States), Inc., and Superfish, Inc., No. 15-CV-00368 (S.D. Cal. filed Feb. 19, 2015)

Lenovo is facing backlash from security experts for pre-installing adware called Superfish on some of its computers. Superfish detects advertisements on websites and replaces them with targeted images based on the user’s browsing habits, AnAndTech reports. Lenovo explained that it pre-installed Superfish to help its users make more informed choices by replacing advertisements with ones that potentially offer lower prices. However, Superfish threatens users’ privacy and data security, ArsTechnica describes in detail here and here.

On February 19, 2015, plaintiff Jessica N. Bennett filed a class action lawsuit in federal court for the Southern District of California against Lenovo and Superfish for pre-installing Superfish on a Lenovo-made laptop that she purchased. Ms. Bennett’s complaint states claims against both defendants for violations of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act, the Federal Wiretap Act, and California’s Unfair Competition Law; and for common law trespass to personal property. MaximumPC reports on the lawsuit. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 10 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Lan Du – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

hp-a-fcc-wireless-100340081-origOn February 26, along with the decision in favor of net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted to preempt the North Carolina and Tennessee state laws preventing the expansion of community broadband networks.  The vote was split 3-2 along party lines, with the Chairman Tom Wheeler joined by fellow Democrats Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel.

The FCC order came in response to petitions filed by two municipal broadband networks: the City of Wilson, North Carolina and the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Both operated broadband networks providing Gigabit-per-second broadband, voice, and video service.  Under Tennessee laws, municipal electric systems like EPB are not allowed to provide internet and cable services out of its electrical system footprints.  A 2011 North Carolina law similarly prevents the City of Wilson from expanding its gigabit fiber network, prohibiting its deployment to any areas in which residents currently have Internet service of at least 786kbps, a speed threshold that falls woefully short of any practical online use and is far below the FCC’s newly revised broadband definition.

In overturning these states laws, the FCC relied on the Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Section 706 requires the FCC to encourage the deployment of broadband to all Americans by using “measures that promote competition in the local telecommunications market, or other regulating methods that remove barriers to infrastructure investment.”  The FCC concluded that the subjected provisions of the Tennessee and North Carolina laws erected such barriers, conflicting with the federal regulation provided by Section 706. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 10 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Yunnan Jiang

UnknownOn March 2, 2015, 51 scholars, in the field of economics and law, submitted a letter to the United States Congress, petitioning for effective legislative reform to reduce patent litigation cost. In the letter, they argue that the substantial patent litigation costs have tended overall to reduce R&D, venture capital investment, and firm startups. They also attach 37 publications on patent litigation and its economic impacts, countering the view by lobbyists and others who claim that there is little empirical evidence to assess the performance of the American patent system. In particular, the scholars express their concern over “patent assertion entities” (PAEs), popularly known as patent trolls, estimating that PAEs litigation has been costing tens of billions of dollars per year since 2007, and has curtailed venture capital investment and firms’ R&D spending.

The letter can be found here. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 10 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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