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)



JOLT - AvvoLogoBy Leonidas Angelakos – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

Thomson v. Doe, No. 72321-9-1 (Washington Court of Appeals, July 6, 2015)

Link to opinion (hosted by Citizen.org)

The Washington Court of Appeals affirmed the King County Superior Court’s denial of a motion to compel disclosure of an anonymous critic’s identity.

The Court of Appeals held that—absent evidence of defamation—a third party website is not required to unmask an anonymous defendant who posted a negative review on the plaintiff’s profile. In so holding, the court adopted an analysis similar to the widely cited Dendrite test for the showing a defamation plaintiff must make on a motion to compel disclosure of a Doe defendant’s identity. Dendrite Int’l, Inc. v. Doe No. 3, 775 A.2d 756 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2001). Commentators have called this a victory for anonymity: before the court will unmask an anonymous internet poster in a defamation suit, the plaintiff must provide evidence supporting her claim.

Lexology and the ABA Journal provide an overview of the case. The popular tech website GeekWire has celebrated the decision for the protection it offers to anonymous internet posters, calling it a “victory for anonymous commenters.”


Posted On Jul - 20 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Amazon LogoBy Yaping Zhang – Edited by Henry Thomas

On July 6, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a 2-1 opinion allowing watch manufacturer Multi Time Machine (MTM) to continue pursuing its legal action against Amazon.com. The Court reversed the summary judgment order granted by the Central District Court of California and remanded for a new trial, concluding that the likelihood of confusion created by Amazon.com’s search results presented genuine issues of material fact. This case offers an interesting conflict of opinions on how trademark law applies in e-commerce scenarios.

MTM manufactures high-end, military-style watches, which are not sold on Amazon.com because MTM wants to maintain an image as a high-end exclusive brand. When consumers search for MTM watches, they see watches from other brands instead without being notified that Amazon does not sell MTM watches. Unlike Amazon.com, competitors Buy.com and Overstock.com clearly announce that no search results match the “MTM Special Ops” query before listing competitors’ products. The Central District Court of California granted summary judgment to Amazon, holding that an analysis of the eight factors set forth in the 1979 case of AMF Inc. v. Sleekcraft Boats established that there was no likelihood of confusion in Amazon.com’s use of MTM’s trademark in its search engine or display of search results.

Applying the same Sleekcraft factors, the Ninth Circuit reversed and held that under the doctrine of initial interest confusion – which applies “not where a customer is confused about the source of a product at the time of purchase, but earlier in the shopping process” – triable issues of fact existed.


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

Written by: Aaron Frumkin
Edited by: Anton Ziajka

I.     Introduction
Perched quietly atop a long-dormant volcano on the most isolated landmass of Hawaii, thirteen of the largest and most advanced telescopes known to modern science dutifully survey the night sky, gathering light and information from the nearly unobstructed vantage at the highest point in the Pacific.[1] But long before telescopes and the annexation of Hawaii, Mauna Kea was a tremendous source of astronomical and meteorological understanding. From its peak, native Hawaiians gained much of the profound knowledge necessary to navigate vast distances across the Pacific, sailing from tiny island to tiny island using only skylights — sun, moon, and stars — as their guide.[2]

According to native Hawaiian religion, Mauna Kea is the meeting point between sky and earth, a temple built by the divine creator and the zenith of Hawaii’s ties to creation itself.[3] Believing the machinery desecrates their sacred summit and the scarce natural resources it shelters, native Hawaiians have opposed telescope development on Mauna Kea since it began nearly fifty years ago.[4] Despite this opposition, thirteen telescopes adorn Mauna Kea today.[5] The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), which will be larger and more powerful than any other on Earth, is likely to make fourteen.[6]

The summit land is held by the University of Hawaii, which subleases tracts to telescope corporations in exchange for access to the telescopes.[7] TMT obtained such a sublease and, in September 2010, applied for a Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP), seeking permission from the State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) to develop on Mauna Kea’s summit.[8] A group of Native Hawaiian residents and environmental groups (“petitioners”) challenged the application before the BLNR.[9] The BLNR approved TMT’s application over petitioners’ objections in February 2011 and reaffirmed its initial decision after an administrative appeal in April 2013.[10] Petitioners then filed an appeal in Hawaii State court challenging the BLNR’s final decision, which is pending as of the time of this writing.[11] While it seems that the native Hawaiians’ beleaguered resistance to telescope development will fail yet again, this Note attempts to articulate their best arguments in hopes of properly framing the social costs associated with the great scientific and technological gains that TMT will surely provide.


Posted On May - 19 - 2015 2 Comments READ FULL POST

UnknownBy Cristina Carapezza

Rosen Wins TV Headrest Patent Suit

The Federal Circuit upheld the district court’s decision that Rosen Entertainment Systems LP did not infringe a TMI Products Inc. patent for video devices that can be installed into the back of a car’s headrest. TMI contended that the district court incorrectly interpreted the claim term “to permit selective access.” However, a three-judge appellate panel found that U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner correctly construed the disputed language of claim 1 that constituted the basis for his decision. Thus, the Federal Circuit affirmed the decision of the court to grant Rosen’s motion for summary judgment of noninfringement.


Federal Circuit Allows for Declaratory Judgment of Noninfringement for Disclaimed Patent

The Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of Apotex Inc.’s suit seeking a declaratory judgment on noninfringement of Daiichi Sankyo Inc.’s patent for olmesartan medoxomil, which Daiichi markets as Benicar® for the treatment of hypertension. Apotex seeks to manufacture and sell a generic verison of Benicar®. Although Apotex cannot infringe the patent because Daiichi disclaimed it, a declaratory judgment on noninfringement allows Apotex to obtain marketing approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration and to enter the market sooner than would be possible otherwise. The district court granted Daiichi’s motion to dismiss for a lack of case or controversy. However, the Federal Circuit reversed, in part, because “Apotex has a concrete, potentially high-value stake in obtaining the judgment it seeks; and Daiichi has a concrete, potentially high-value stake in denying Apotex that judgment and thereby delaying Apotex’s market entry.” Thus, the Federal Circuit found that a substantial controversy existed to warrant the issuance of a declaratory judgment.



Federal Circuit Prohibits Third Party Challenges to Patent Application Revivals Under the APA 

The Federal Circuit rejected Excela Pharma Sciences LLC’s appeal of a ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) denying Exela’s challenge of the USPTO’s decision to revive a patent application. The patent at issue is for Ofirmev, an injectable pain reliever, owned by SCR Pharmatop and sublicensed to Cadence Pharmaceuticals Inc. The district court dismissed Exela’s complaint for not meeting the statute of limitations for claims filed against the U.S. Regardless of whether the challenge was time-barred, the Federal Circuit ruled that a third party to a patent cannot use the Administrative Procedure Act to seek judicial review of a USPTO decision to revive a patent application that was abandoned because of late filings.





Posted On Apr - 21 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

UnknownBy Sheri Pan – Edited by Jens Frankenreiter

United States v. Carl Mark Force IV, No. 3-15-70370 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 25, 2015)


Former Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Carl Mark Force IV and Secret Service Special Agent Shaun W. Bridges have been charged for wire fraud and money laundering in connection with an investigation of Silk Road, a digital black market that allowed people to anonymously buy drugs and other illicit goods using Bitcoin, a digital currency. Criminal Complaint at 2. The two agents were members of the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force and allegedly used their official capacities and investigative resources to steal Bitcoins for their own personal gain. Id. at 2–5.

New York Times and Gizmodo provide additional reporting and commentary. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 21 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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