A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Aereo Struggles as Supreme Court Finds It Violated Copyright Law
By Jenny Choi – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

On June 25, 2014, in its 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Aereo, Inc.  The U.S. Supreme Court held that Aereo violated the Copyright Act of 1976 for streaming TV shows shortly after they were broadcast without paying for the copyrighted works.  As a result, Aereo suspended its service and has struggled to find a way to re-operate its business. This decision has not come without criticism, however, as some warn this ad hoc decision could lead to uncertainty in the courts.

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DRIP Bill Expands UK’s Data Surveillance Power

By Yixuan Long – Edited by Insue Kim

House of Lords passed the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (“DRIP”) on July 17, 2014. DRIP empowers the UK government to require all companies providing internet-based services to UK customers to retain customer metadata for 12 months. It also expands the government’s ability to directly intercept phone calls and digital communications from any remote storage. Critics claim the bill goes far beyond what is necessary and its fast-track timeframe prevents meaningful discussion.

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Federal Circuit Grants Stay of Patent Infringement Litigation Until PTAB Can Complete a Post-Grant Review

By Kyle Pietari – Edited by Insue Kim

Reversing the district court’s decision, the Federal Circuit granted a stay of patent infringement litigation proceedings until the PTAB can complete a post-grant patent validity review. This was the court’s first ruling on a stay when the suit and review process were happening concurrently.

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Ninth Circuit Rejects Fox’s Request to Shut Down Dish Services, Despite Aereo Decision

By Sheri Pan – Edited by Insue Kim

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Fox’s motion for a preliminary injunction.  Fox argued that the technologies would irreparably harm Fox because they violate copyright laws, but the Ninth Circuit ruled that the district court did not err in finding that the harm alleged by Fox was speculative, noting that Fox had failed to present evidence documenting such harm.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Patrick Gutierrez

Senate passes bill to make cell phone unlocking legal

ABA urges lawyers to stop pursuing file sharing lawsuits

FBI cautions that driverless cars may be used to assist criminal behavior

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Ibormeith IP, LLC v Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC
By Aditya Gupta – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness

Ibormeith IP, LLC v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, No. 13- 1007 (Fed. Cir. October 22, 2013)
Slip opinion

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, which had held on summary judgment that certain means-plus-function claims of Ibormeith IP, LLC’s (“Ibormeith”) US Patent No. 6,313,749 (“the ’749 Patent”) – “Sleepiness Detection for Vehicle Driver or Machine Operator” – were invalid for indefiniteness under 35 U.S.C. § 112. Ibormeith IP, slip op. at 2.

The Federal Circuit held that the claim element “computational means” expressed a means for performing a specified function and thus was subject to the requirements of 35 U.S.C. § 112(f), which governs such means-plus-function elements. Id. at 2-3. According to the court, the ‘749 Patent failed to comply with 35 U.S.C. § 112(f) because it failed to adequately define the structure for the “computational means” limitation in the specification. Id. at 7. In so holding, the court noted that Ibormeith’s arguments regarding the breadth of its disclosure, for the purpose of infringement, must also be held against it as “binding admissions” for the purposes of a 35 USC §112(f) inquiry into claim validity. Id. at 10-11.

PatentlyO summarizes the case’s facts and holding and comments on the ramifications of the decision with respect to litigation strategy. iPFrontline briefly explains the decision and the lessons it provides for practitioners. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 30 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

ACLU v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice
By Amy Zhang – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

ACLU v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice (S.D.N.Y. filed Oct. 17, 2013)
Complaint

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Two weeks ago, the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation filed a complaint against the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) seeking immediate processing and release of DOJ records that the ACLU had requested pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) in late March of this year. Complaint, ACLU v. DOJ (S.D.N.Y. filed Oct. 17, 2013).

The ACLU requested information related to the use of evidence derived from surveillance authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008 (“FAA”).  Its complaint alleged that the DOJ had failed to process and release the requested information. In addition to the release of the requested documents, the ACLU is seeking a waiver of search, review, and reproduction fees on the grounds that disclosure of the requested records is “in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii).

Ars Technica provides background information on the lawsuit. JOLT Digest and Wired provide summaries of Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, No.  11–1025 (U.S. Feb. 26, 2013), which provides the backdrop for the ACLU’s current suit. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 29 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Emma Winer

Icon-newsAmerican Dating Website Withdraws Plan to Sell User Information to Peer Canadian Site

True.com, a U.S. dating website, has called off a plan to sell user information to PlentyOfFish, a Canadian dating website, following an objection to the sale raised by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot in federal bankruptcy court. Abbott alleged that the transfer of personal user information without explicit consent violated the True.com’s privacy policy. PlentyOfFish withdrew its offer to purchase True.com’s information on October 23rd, 2013, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Third Circuit Finds Warrantless GPS Tracking Unconstitutional

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held last Tuesday that law enforcement must obtain a warrant before employing a GPS device to track a suspect’s car, Wired reports. United States v. Katzin, No. 12-2548 (3rdCir. October 22, 2013). Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct.  945 (2012), that attaching a GPS device to a suspect’s car qualified as a search under the Fourth Amendment, but the Court did not explicitly address whether such a search was unreasonable without a warrant. Katzin is the first appellate decision since Jones to find a warrantless GPS search unconstitutional, even if law enforcement officials acted with a good faith belief that their actions complied with the law. Ars Technica discusses the significance of the ruling in greater detail.

Sony Sues United Airlines for Copyright Infringement

Sony Music Entertainment filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against United Airlines last Tuesday. Arista Music v. United Airlines, Inc., No. 13-cv-07451-AT (S.D.N.Y filed October 22, 2013). As Law360 reports, Sony alleges that United Airlines used, without authorization, Sony songs and videos in in-flight media services provided to United Airlines by Inflight Productions Ltd. According to the complaint, United Airlines has acknowledged that the materials in question are copyrighted but has continued to use them anyway. The lawsuit seeks both damages and an injunction to enjoin use of the copyrighted works.

Posted On Oct - 28 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Interdigital Commc’ns, LLC v. Int’l Trade Comm’n
By James Grace – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

Interdigital Commc’ns, LLC v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 707 F.3d 1295 (Fed. Cir. 2013), cert. denied, No. 12-1352 (U.S. Oct. 15, 2013)
Petition for a Writ of Certiorari
Denial of Petition

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The Supreme Court denied Nokia’s petition for a writ of certiorari, Denial of Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Interdigital Commc’ns, LLC v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 707 F.3d 1295 (Fed. Cir. 2013), cert. denied, No. 12-1352 (U.S. Oct. 15, 2013), upholding the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s finding that Nokia had violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. §1337 (“Section 337”), by importing into the U.S. cell phones that violated two U.S. patents owned by InterDigital. Interdigital Commc’ns, LLC v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 707 F.3d 1295 (Fed. Cir. 2013).

In denying the petition without comment, the Supreme Court did not address Nokia’s question concerning the International Trade Commission’s (“ITC”) jurisdiction over the case. The Federal Circuit held that “licensing alone” could satisfy the “domestic industry” requirement of Section 337. Petition for Writ of Certiorari at 12, Interdigital, 707 F.3d 1295, cert. denied, No. 12-1352. (“Petition”). Nokia had argued that InterDigital had failed to meet the “technical” prong of the domestic industry requirement because it merely licensed its patents and did not manufacture “articles protected by the patent.” Id. at 17-18.

Bloomberg.com provides an overview of the litigation and comments on the significance of the decision for Nokia, InterDigital and other technology companies. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 26 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Columbia Pictures Indus., Inc. v. Fung
By Sam Callahan – Edited by Jennifer Wong

Columbia Pictures Indus., Inc. v. Fung, No. CV-06-05578SVW(JCx) (C.D. Cal. Filed Sept. 26, 2006)
Proposed Settlement (hosted by Wired)

Gary Fung, operator of the popular file-sharing website isoHunt.com, has agreed to pay $110 million in damages and will permanently shut down his site in order to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by six major film studios. Stipulation and Proposed Settlement, Columbia Pictures Indus., Inc. v. Fung, No. 2:06-cv-05578SVW(JCx) (C.D. Cal Oct. 17, 2013). The settlement comes after more than seven years of litigation with the Motion Picture Association of America (“MPAA”), which represents the studios—Columbia Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, and Disney among others.

Claiming more than 44 million users and indexing over 13 million active BitTorrent files, isoHunt was the fourth most popular website of its kind. Other file-sharing sites operated by Fung, including the popular TorrentBox.com, will also shut down as a result of the settlement.

Prior to the recent settlement, two federal courts had ruled against Fung in the lawsuit, first brought in 2006. The United States District Court for the Central District of California found Fung liable for copyright infringement in 2009, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the relevant parts of that holding in March. Columbia Pictures Indus., Inc. v. Fung, 710 F.3d 1020 (9th Cir. 2013).

The settlement was announced in an official statement from the MPAA. Wired and CNET also report on the recent settlement. A Washington Post blog comments favorably on the outcome, while Techdirt criticizes the settlement’s “bogus” damages value. Patently-O discusses the Ninth Circuit decision preceding the settlement. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 25 - 2013 1 Comment READ FULL POST
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