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

By Ellora Israni – Edited by Filippo Raso

IMDb is challenging the constitutionality of Assembly Bill 1687 (“AB 1687”), a California law requiring IMDb to remove ages from its website upon request from paid subscribers, claiming that the law violates the First Amendment’s free speech protections.



Facebook Blocks British Insurance Company from Basing Premiums on Posts and Likes

By Javier Careaga– Edited by Mila Owen

Admiral Insurance has created an initiative called firstcarquote, which analyzes Facebook activity of first-time car owners. The firstcarquote algorithm determines risk based on personality traits and habits that are linked to safe driving. Firstcarquote was recalled two hours before its official launch and then was launched with reduced functionality after Facebook denied authorization, stating that the initiative breaches Facebook’s platform policy.



Airbnb challenges New York law regulating short-term rentals

By Daisy Joo – Edited by Nehaa Chaudhari

Airbnb filed a complaint in the Federal District Court of the Southern District of New York seeking to “enjoin and declare unlawful the enforcement against Airbnb” of the recent law that prohibits  the advertising of short-term rentals on Airbnb and other similar websites.  Airbnb argued that the new law violated its rights to free speech and due process, and that it was inconsistent with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online intermediaries that host or republish speech from a range of liabilities.



Medtronic v. Bosch post-Cuozzo: PTAB continues to have the final say on inter partes review

By Nehaa Chaudhari – Edited by Grace Truong

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“the Federal Circuit”) reaffirmed its earlier order, dismissing Medtronic’s appeal against a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”). The PTAB had dismissed Medtronic’s petition for inter partes review of Bosch’s patents, since Medtronic had failed to disclose all real parties in interest, as required by 35 U.S.C. §312(a)(2).




California DMV Discuss Rules on Autonomous Vehicles

DOJ Release Guidelines on CFAA Prosecutions

Illinois Supreme Court Rule in Favor of State Provisions Requiring Disclosure of Online Identities of Sex Offenders

Research Shows Concerns for Crucial Infrastructure Information Leaks


UnknownBy Cristina Azcoitia – Edited by Kayla Haran

FTC Explores Crowdfunding Oversight

The Federal Trade Commission has begun holding panels with leaders in the online crowdfunding industry about potential regulations to protect users from scams. Since its advent, online crowdfunding has been a largely unregulated and trust-based industry. Last year, the FTC settled its first case involving a crowdfunding scam and now looks towards creating more definite oversight over the industry in order to protect consumers. While industry experts accept the FTC’s enforcement actions against known fraud, many have expressed hesitance about the possibility of increased government involvement in online crowdfunding and hope that the FTC will allow the industry to further develop its own self-regulation. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 3 - 2016 Add Comments READ FULL POST

hammerBy Mike Donohue – Edited by Colette Ghazarian

Synopsys, Inc. v. Mentor Graphics Corp.

In Synopsys, Inc. v. Mentor Graphics Corp. (Fed. Cir. Oct. 17, 2016), the Federal Circuit held that a procedure that can be performed by talented human artists is an unpatentable mental process even if it is primarily meant to be performed using a computer.

At issue were the “Gregory Patents,” a series of patent claims providing a set of procedures for translating “hardware descriptive language” (HDL) code into a precise schematic for the fabrication of logic circuits. The algorithms were primarily used in circuit design software, but could be used by a human designer familiar with logic board design to do the same task. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 3 - 2016 Add Comments READ FULL POST

13399-surveillance_newsBy Kelly Ding – Edited by Mila Owen

The Federal Communications Commission voted on October 27th to adopt Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal on cable TV set-top boxes, as well as another proposal regulating consumer privacy in broadband ISPs after a brief setback when voting was delayed on September 29. The rules on broadband privacy set forth clear parameters within which broadband internet service providers may use and share customers’ personal data with third parties like online advertisers.

The rules were adopted during the FCC’s Open Meeting and represent a big step in expanding consumer privacy protections, continuing the FCC’s shift towards a more pro-consumer agenda in internet and technology policy. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 2 - 2016 Add Comments READ FULL POST

UnknownBy Seán Finan – Edited by Grace Truong

McRO, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games Am. Inc., Nos. 2015-1080, et al., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16703 (Fed. Cir. Sep. 13, 2016). Opinion hosted by the website of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Court (the “Federal Circuit Court”) reversed the decision of the United States District Court for the Central District of California (the “District Court”), which had found invalid the patents of the plaintiffs, McRO, Inc. (U.S. Patent Nos 6,307,576 and 6,611,278) on the grounds that the claims were directed to patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. §101 (“§101”).

The Federal Circuit Court held that the claim was sufficiently limited and specific that it did not constitute a claim direct to an abstract idea and was therefore patent eligible subject matter under §101. In so holding, the court urged caution against oversimplifying process claims involving abstract ideas. A claim over a genus (or type) of method will not necessarily preempt the field. Where a claim leverages an abstract idea or natural law to achieve a result, its patentability will depend on it being directed to a specific or limited methodology that improves a technical process, rather than to a specific result achievable through generic machinery.

IPWatchdog and Microsoft both welcome the decision, saying it should provide much needed guidance for software designers on how to draft patent claims to avoid rejection under the Alice test. Faegre Barker Daniels notes that it remains unclear whether pre-emption will continue to be considered on both a broad and a narrow basis (see infra). The National Law Review characterizes the decision as a clarification of principles, rather than an upheaval of existing law.   (more…)

Posted On Oct - 25 - 2016 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Alex Noonan – Edited by Filippo Raso

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

The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case Hassell v. Bird. Dawn Hassell, a lawyer, filed a defamation suit against her former client, Ava Bird, after Bird negatively reviewed Hassell on Yelp. The Trial Court entered a default judgment against Bird and demanded Yelp (who was not a party to the case) to remove the defamatory material. The California Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision. Hassell v. Bird, 203 Cal.Rptr.3d 203 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016). Though protected from liability for defamatory reviews by the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230, content hosts such as Yelp voluntarily remove material declared defamatory but rarely receive binding injunctions. On appeal, Yelp argues on-line publishers have a right to notice and an opportunity to be heard before a court may issue an injunction. This case has serious implications for content hosts in light of a number of troubling defamation cases brought by plaintiffs who have hired “reputation management” companies to obtain default judgments against fake defendants in the hopes of having negative material removed.  (more…)

Posted On Oct - 23 - 2016 Add Comments READ FULL POST
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