A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news

Federal Circuit Court Provides Clarity on Patent Preemption Post-Alice

By Seán Finan – Edited by Grace Truong

The decision of the Federal Circuit Court clarified the SS101 exceptions to patentability relating to preemption and abstract ideas. The decision has important implications for the application of the Alice test and for software patents.



By Alex Noonan – Edited by Filippo Raso

California Supreme Court to Determine if Courts Can Require Non-Party Content Hosts to Remove Defamatory Reviews


Half of American Adults are in Law Enforcement Facial Recognition Databases


Californian Residents Whose Data Were Exposed in Yahoo Data Breach to Bring Class Action Suit in California State Court




By June Nam – Edited by Ding Ding

The heirs of William Abbott and Lou Costello filed suit against the creators of a Broadway play, Hand to God for using—verbatim—a portion of the iconic comedy routine, Who’s on First?. The Second Circuit affirmed the judgment but rejected the reasoning of the district court, which dismissed allegations of copyright infringement. The Circuit Judge, Reena Raggi, held that the use of the routine in the play was not a fair use under the Copyright Act of 1976. However, the heirs did not have a valid copyright to allege any copyright infringement.



Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Wendy Chu – Edited by Kayla Haran

Delaware Supreme Court Dismisses a Case For Lack of Online Personal Jurisdiction

California District Court Dismisses Trademark Dilution Claim Because of Limited Recognition

eLaw Launches an On-Demand Lawyer Service for Court Appearances




Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Haydn Forrest – Edited by Henry Thomas

Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC, v. Amazon.com, Inc. (Fed. Cir. Sep. 23, 2016)

Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC, v. DirecTV, LLC (Fed. Cir. Sep. 23, 2016)

Intellectual Ventures v. Symantec Corp. (Fed. Cir. Sep. 30, 2016)

Apple v. Samsung (Fed. Cir. Oct. 7, 2016)




By Kate Westmoreland

Edited by Yunnan Jiang

1.     Introduction

Accessing online records and user data is an integral part of modern criminal investigations and prosecutions. However, accessing an individual’s communications, subscriber details or metadata can raise significant privacy concerns.  These issues become even more complex when they involve users and governments from several different countries.  Unfortunately, the legal framework that guides these decisions is out of date and unable to adequately cope with rapidly evolving technologies, cross-border interactions, and exponential growth in data collection.  This means that internet providers[1] are making important decisions about whether or not to hand over user data to law enforcement from all over the world without clear legal guidance.

This paper analyses the law controlling when U.S.-based providers can provide online user data[2] to foreign governments.  The focus is on U.S. law because current U.S. dominance of cloud-based services and internet providers means that U.S. laws and practices affect a large number of global users.  The first half of this paper outlines the legal framework governing these requests.[3] The second half of the paper highlights the gaps in the law and how individual companies’ policies fill these gaps. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 13 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

technology-512210_1280By Deborah Beth Medows, Symposium Editor

When this author first conceived of coordinating a symposium over a year ago relating to the most salient aspects of Internet and computer law and their societal ramifications, she intended to narrowly focus the scope of the symposium on the nexus between net neutrality and 3D printing.  Her intention was to highlight these issues as parallaxes that reflect the ways in which technological advancements pose as harbingers of both hope and challenge for society, while simultaneously addressing the legal quagmires that occur when laws relating to technology in many ways do not yet adequately correspond to these significant advances.

The confluence of 3D printing and net neutrality appeared to be ideally suited for discussion in a joint forum due to the similar legal themes that they evoke.  At the time that this symposium was first conceived, both 3D printing and net neutrality were at the cutting edge of Internet law, discussed seemingly ubiquitously by legal scholars, technological whizzes, and pundits alike with exclamatory declarations regarding the perils and advantages of both facets of technology and conjectures regarding their wide-sweeping effects.

However, one cannot merely focus on 3D printing and net neutrality law in a vacuum, but jurists must widely examine the many challenges that are pervasive among the advents in Internet and computer technology in order to broadly and appropriately ensure that legal systems protect individuals while simultaneously encouraging innovation.  It is precisely due to the legal and societal quagmires that 3D printing and net neutrality pose that ideally position them as springboards from which to delve into broader discussions regarding the array of issues that must be examined with regard to developments in technology law. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 12 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Microsoft MobileBy Stacy Ruegilin – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Microsoft Corp. v. Motorola, Inc., No. 14-35393, 2015 WL 4568613 (9th Cir. July 30, 2015).

Last week, the Ninth Circuit handed Microsoft a victory against Motorola in a case that tempers hardball tactics to enforce patents on “standards-essential” technologies. A panel of three judges in San Francisco upheld a District Court’s ruling that technology standardization places a patent-holder under contractual obligation to offer licenses at reasonable and non-discriminatory (“RAND”) rates, which may be determined by a court if necessary.

Standards allow consumers to use certain technologies across multiple devices, even if they are produced by different manufacturers. For example, when a consumer purchases a computer from Microsoft, they know that it will be able to read file formats patented by other technology companies, such as PDF, JPEG, Flash, and Bluetooth. These formats are standards that have been accepted and propagated by standards-setting organizations (SSOs).

The theory is that everyone benefits from this arrangement: it adds value to the products of technology companies and offers compatible devices to consumers. Registering with an SSO is a step toward market ubiquity, but by doing so, the patent holder is usually required to offer licenses on RAND terms. This encourages competition by preventing the holder of a standards-essential patent from demanding exorbitant royalties for standards that reach market dominance.


Posted On Aug - 7 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Google FranceBy Leonidas Angelakos – Edited by Henry Thomas

CNIL Order (France’s National Commission of Information and Liberties, June, 12 2015)

Google v. AEPD, Case C‑131/12, (Court of Justice of the European Union, May, 13 2014) (opinion hosted by CURIA)

Google has taken an affirmative step against expanding the right to be forgotten in a move that has been called a step against online censorship.

In a clash that pits users’ privacy rights against the West’s disdain for censorship, Google has decided that limiting internet censorship is more important, refusing to comply with a French regulator’s order to expand the right to be forgotten.  On May 13, 2014, Europe’s top court ruled that Google had to honor the EU’s right to be forgotten. The right to be forgotten—also known as the right to delist—allows users to remove “irrelevant” or “inadequate” search results associated with their identities. While Google has been removing qualifying links from the European versions of its search engine (such as Google.fr), it refuses to remove those links from its international domains (such as Google.com, ranked by Alexa.com as the world’s most popular website).

In June 2015, the Commission Nationale de L’informatique et des Libertés (CNIL)—the French administrative body that regulates data privacy—ordered Google to begin removing qualifying links from all of Google’s domains worldwide. Google refused in an official blog post by its Global Privacy Counsel, Peter Fleischer. Fleischer called the CNIL order “a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web,” and argues that, while the right to be forgotten is the law in Europe, it is not the law worldwide. Thus Google refuses to remove qualifying links from non-European domains, which it argues are not governed by Europe’s delisting laws.

The New York Times provides an overview of the clash between Google and French privacy regulators. Fortune offers additional commentary, calling Google’s move a “bold challenge to France” and a “dramatic gesture to oppose censorship of its search results.”


Posted On Aug - 4 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Facebook InternationalBy Annie Woodworth – Edited by Ariane Moss

The Hamburg Data Protection Authority, a German regulatory body tasked with protecting data and privacy, said last Tuesday that Facebook is violating the privacy rights of its users by banning pseudonyms. The group ordered Facebook to allow users to choose fake names and has forbidden the company from changing usernames or asking users for their IDs. Facebook has issued an apology to affected users and will allow the use of preferred names.

The order came after a woman complained to the agency when Facebook blocked her account that used a fake name. Facebook then requested a copy of her ID and unilaterally changed her profile to display her real name. The woman purportedly used the pseudonym to avoid receiving business related contact through the site. Other business owners are worried about setting up business pages that must be associated with their real names.


Posted On Aug - 4 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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