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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Olga Slobodyanyuk

ICANN responds to terrorism victims by claiming domain names are not property

D.C. District Court rules that FOIA requests apply to officials’ personal email accounts

Class-action lawsuit brought against ExamSoft  in Illinois

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Federal Circuit Applies Alice to Deny Subject Matter Eligibility of Digital Imaging Patent

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Mengyi Wang

In Digitech Image Technologies, the Federal Circuit embraced the opportunity to apply the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Alice to resolve a question of subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. §101. The Federal Circuit affirmed summary judgment on appeal, invalidating Digitech’s patent claims because they were directed to intangible information and abstract ideas.

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Unlocking Cell Phones Made Legal through Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Insue Kim

Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act allows consumers to unlock their cell phones when changing service providers, but the underlying issue of “circumvention” may have broader implications for other consumer devices and industries that increasingly rely on software.

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SDNY Magistrate Grants Government Search Warrant for Full Access to Suspect’s Gmail Account in Criminal Investigation

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Travis West

In an opinion that conflicts with decisions from the DC District Court and the District of Kansas, a SDNY magistrate granted the government’s search warrant for full access to a criminal investigation suspect’s Gmail account.

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Creating full-text searchable database of copyrighted works is “fair use”
By Yixuan Long- Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Judge Parker, the Second Circuit held that under the fair use doctrine universities and research libraries are allowed to create full‐text searchable databases of copyrighted works and provide such works in formats accessible to those with disabilities. The court also decided that the evidence was insufficient to decide whether the plaintiffs had standing to bring a claim regarding storage of digital copies for preservation purposes.

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European Union Court of Justice Holds that Individuals Browsing Websites are not in Violation of Copyright Law
By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Yixuan Long

Case C‑360/13, Pub. Relations Consultants Ass’n v. Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd. (E.C.R., June 5, 2014)

Slip opinion

Hacked By Over-XThe Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) affirmed the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, which had held that webpage browsers do not need license to view copyrighted materials online. The court concluded that the on-screen and cached copies meet the criteria for exemption from reproduction laws laid out in Articles 5(1) and 5(5) of the Directive 2001/29, art. 5, 2001 O.J. (L 167/10) 16, 17 (EC) (hereinafter “Directive”), finding both types to be: temporary, created in the context of the technological process of viewing webpages, contributing to the efficiency of browsing, and transient and/or incidental in nature. The court also concluded that these reproduction acts do not unreasonably prejudice the interests of rightholders and do not conflict with the normal exploitation of the reproduced works.

With this holding, the CJEU issued a crucial decision for European Union law, balancing the rights of copyright holders and the rights of individuals to browse authorized content without being liable for infringement.

The Guardian and PCWorld provide overviews of the case. Ars Technica offers a critical perspective on the decision, claiming that the real issue was much narrower than the CJEU portrayed with its decision.  (more…)

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST

Georgia Supreme Court Takes Chan v. Ellis Appeal to Redefine First Amendment Right on the Internet
By Yixuan Long – Edited by Emma Winer

Chan v. Ellis, A14A0014, (Court of Appeals of Georgia, July 02, 2014)

Transfer order (hosted by Scribd)

Photo By: André Natta - CC BY 2.0

Photo By: André NattaCC BY 2.0

The Georgia Court of Appeals ordered that the appeal in Ellis v. Chan be transferred to the Georgia Supreme Court on July 02, 2014. Chan, an interactive website owner, had appealed the trial court’s permanent protective order in August of 2013. The protective order commanded him to take down more than 2000 posts on his website that mentioned Ellis, and forbade him from approaching within 1000 yards of Ellis. The Court of Appeals decided that the case “raised significant and novel constitutional issues addressing the interplay of the First Amendment and the wide dissemination of information made possible by the internet,” which are “of first impression in Georgia, and there is very little if any directly applicable law in other jurisdictions.” Order, Chan v. Ellis, A14A0014, (Court of Appeals of Georgia, July 02, 2014) (transferring appeal to Georgia Supreme Court).

Ars Technica provides an overview of the case, and features an interview with Matthew Chan. Electronic Frontier Foundation offers a thorough legal analysis of the decision. Related documents, including appellate briefs, can be found on Scribd.

Linda Ellis is the author of a popular inspirational poem. As Ars Technica reports, she actively searches for people who use her poem without permission and sends out settlement letters to these entities demanding thousands of dollars in damages. Matthew Chan runs Extortion Letter Info (ELI), an interactive website for discussing aggressive copyright enforcement efforts; such aggressive actors have been colloquially termed “copyright trolls”. In 2012, he began criticizing Ellis’ “trolling” practice on ELI, and the discussion soon became heated. Some users allegedly posted threats to Ellis on the website’s message board and Chan posted Ellis’ home address on the website.  (more…)

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST

Icon-newsBy Kellen Wittkop

Appeal of a contempt order for violation of patent injunction agreement dismissed for lack of jurisdiction

In Arlington Industries, Inc. v. Bridgeport Fittings, Inc., 13-1357 (Fed. Cir. July 17, 2014), the United States Court of Apeals for the Federal Circuit dismissed the contempt appeal by Bridgeport Fittings, Inc. (“Bridgeport”) of the Middle District of Pennsylvania’s decision finding the electrical company in contempt of a previously-issued injunction.  Arlington at 2.  Arlington Industries (“Arlington”) manufactured and sold electrical connectors under U.S. Patent No. 6,335,488, and the company brought suit against Bridgeport’s line of electrical connectors for infringement of Arlington’s U.S. Patent Nos. 5,266,050 and 5,171,164. Id. at 3. In April 2004, Bridgeport signed a settlement agreement conceding infringement and agreeing to be “permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly making, using, selling, offering for sale or importing. . .” its line of connectors. Id. Almost eight years later, Bridgeport redesigned its connectors and began selling them, and Arlington filed a motion for contempt to find Bridgeport in violation of the injunction.  Id. at 3–4. The district court found Bridgeport in violation of the injunction but did not order sanctions, and the Federal Circuit dismissed the claim for lack of jurisdiction since sanctions were not entered until the record had been fixed for the appeal.  Id. at 12–13. Justia provides a summary of the opinion.

Federal Circuit affirms summary judgment of Apple’s noninfringement on GBT’s CDMA patents

In Golden Bridge Technology, Inc., v. Apple Inc., 13-1496 (Fed. Cir. July 14, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the District of Delaware’s grant of summary judgment, finding that Apple Inc. (“Apple”) did not infringe on patents held by Golden Bridge Technology (“GBT”) improving the Code Division Multiple Access (“CDMA”) systems—wireless cellular network technology that allows communication between mobile stations and base stations using signals called “preambles.” Golden Bridge at 2.  GBT patented an improvement to the CDMA systems that allows mobile stations to transmit preambles at increasing power levels until they receive an acknowledgment signal from the base station, decreasing the likelihood of signal interference between mobile stations.  Id. at 2–3.  GBT had previously asserted its right to U.S. Patent No. 6,574,267 in Texas, where the Eastern District of Texas held that a preamble is “a signal used for communicating with the base station that is spread before transmission,” and granted summary judgment of anticipation that was subsequently affirmed by the Federal Circuit. Id. at 3. When GBT brought new claims against Apple, the Federal Circuit found that GBT’s failure to rescind or retract the construction of “preamble” during the previous prosecution constitutes a “clear and unmistakable disclaimer of the broader claim scope.” Id. at 8. Accordingly, the Federal Circuit held that the district court properly granted summary judgment of noninfringement. The Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society offers an analysis of the decision.

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST

ITC’s review of an ALJ’s order was not procedurally sound
By Mengyi Wang – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

Align Technology, Inc. v. International Trade Commission, No. 2013-1240, -1363 (Fed. Cir. July 18, 2014)

Slip Opinion

invisalign-bracesThe United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit unanimously vacated and remanded a decision of the International Trade Commission (“ITC”), finding that the ITC exceeded its authority in reviewing an administrative law judge’s (“ALJ”) order denying a motion for termination. Slip op. at 2. In so holding, the Court rejected the ITC’s attempt to characterize the ALJ’s decision as an initial determination, which would be subject to review. Id. at 12.

The case arises out of two related proceedings. Align Technology, Inc. (“Align”) conceived of, developed, and marketed Invisalign System – dental aligners that treat teeth misalignment. Id. at 3. It owns patents that cover various methods and orthodontic treatment plans using digital data sets to create custom-designed aligners. Id. Align’s founder and former Chief Executive Office left the company and founded OrthoClear, Inc., OrthoClear Holdings, Inc., and OrthoClear Pakistan Pvt, Ltd. (collectively, “OrthoClear”) that manufactured and sold dental aligners. Id. at 3-4. Align then complained to the ITC that OrthoClear violated 19 U.S.C. § 1337 by “importing, selling for importation, or selling within the United States after importation aligners” that misappropriated Align’s trade secrets and infringed twelve of Align’s patents. Id. at 4. In August 2006, the parties reached a settlement, and the ITC entered a Consent Order that banned the importation of the infringing products and those “in violation” of the trade secrets. Id.

In 2012, Align accused OrthoClear and its affiliated parties (“Intervenors”) of violating the Consent Order and filed a new complaint with the ITC for an enforcement proceeding under 19 C.F.R. § 210.75 (“the enforcement proceeding”). Id. at 5-6. The ITC issued a Notice of Institution (“the Notice”) that recommended the ALJ to consider whether the Consent Order extended to the accused products and to issue that decision using an initial determination. Id. at 7.  Intervenors motioned to terminate the enforcement proceeding, contending that the Consent Order did not encompass the accused conduct. Id. The ALJ disagreed and denied the motion through an order, instead of the recommended initial determination. Id. at 8. Upon Intervenors’s request, the ITC determined that the order was in fact an “initial determination”—thus reviewable—pursuant to its Notice and ultimately reversed the ALJ’s finding. Id. at 9.  (more…)

Posted On Jul - 28 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST

Facebook’s experiment of emotional contagion raises concerns
By Jenny Choi – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

Photo By: mkhmarketing - CC BY 2.0

Photo By: mkhmarketingCC BY 2.0

On June 17, 2014, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences released a study to test emotional contagion through an experiment on Facebook users.   The published study was titled “Experimental Evidence of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion through Social Networks” and was conducted by Adam D. I. Kramer, Jamie E. Guilory, and Jeffrey T. Hancock.  The experiment took place for one week (January 11-18, 2012) and roughly 155,000 participants were randomly selected based on their User ID.  To test whether emotional states are contagious through verbal expressions, Facebook reduced positive and negative posts on News Feeds to observe any changes in the participants’ posts.

While ARS Technica defended Facebook’s experiment, most news articles criticized it for violating users’ privacy without their informed consent.  More can be found in the Independent, InformationWeek, Forbes, Washington Post and Atlantic.  The published results of the experiment can be found here.

According to the study, when users saw more negative posts on their News Feeds, by Facebook reducing positive posts, they were more likely to post negative statuses.  When they saw more positive posts on their News Feeds, they were more likely post positive statuses.  Finally, when Facebook reduced both positive and negative posts in some users’ News Feeds, the users reduced the amount of words used in their posts.    (more…)

Posted On Jul - 28 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST
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Flash Digest: News i

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