A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules on Protecting and Promoting Open Internet

By Shuli Wang – Edited by Yaping Zhang

Two weeks after voting on regulating broadband Internet service as a public utility, on March 12, the Federal Communications Commission (”FCC”) released a document (the FCC Order and Rules) on net neutrality, which reclassifies high-speed Internet as a telecommunications service rather than an information service, thus subjecting Internet service providers (ISPs) as common carrier to regulations under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The purpose of the new rules is to ensure the free flow of bits through the web without paid-for priority lanes and blocking or throttling of any web content.

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White House releases administration discussion draft for Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2015

By Lan Du – Edited by Katherine Kwong

On February 27, 2015, President Obama released an administration draft of a proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act. The proposed bill’s stated purpose is to “establish baseline protections for individual privacy in the commercial arena and to foster timely, flexible implementations of these protections through enforceable codes of conduct developed by diverse stakeholders.”

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Patrick Gallagher

Federal Circuit Affirms Denial of AT&T Motion to Extend or Re-open Filing Period for Appeal in Patent Infringement Suit

In Patent Suit Against Apple, Federal Circuit Affirms in Part, Reverses in Part

Federal Circuit Reverses DNA Sequencing Technology Patent Construction

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Wikimedia Sues NSA for Upstream Surveillance

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

Wikimedia Foundation filed a suit against the NSA challenging the constitutionality of upstream surveillance programs, which allow the NSA to communicate by Americans and persons abroad. The claim, which was joined by eight other human rights organizations, challenges NSA’s actions as violations of the First and Fourth Amendments of the US Constitution.

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Florida Considers a Bill Outlawing Anonymous Websites

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Anton Ziajka

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill, the “True Origin of Digital Goods Act,”  that would require owners and operators of websites that disseminate “commercial” recordings or audiovisual works to prominently disclose their true names, physical addresses, and telephone numbers or email addresses on the websites. The bill extends to all websites that deal “in substantial part” in disseminating such recordings or audiovisual works, “directly or indirectly,” to Florida consumers.

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By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Yunnan Jiang

Brief of American Civil Liberties Union et al. as Amici Curiae Supporting Plaintiff, Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse et al., No. 12-1043 (E.D. Va. Mar. 5, 2015) ECF No. 76-2.

Football season may be over, but the trademark battle over the Washington Redskins’ team name, mascot, and logo is raging on in federal court. The NFL team has faced heated controversy over its continued use of the term “Redskins,” which is considered by some to be an offensive racial slur for Native Americans. See Redskins Forever?, The New Yorker (May 10, 2013), http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/redskins-forever.

On March 5th, the ACLU filed an amicus brief in Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse et al. supporting the NFL team’s right to register six trademarks (the “Redskins marks”). The matter is currently before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, following an appeal by Pro-Football, Inc. (d/b/a the Washington Redskins) of a June 2014 order by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) cancelling the Redskins marks.  Brief of American Civil Liberties Union et al. as Amici Curiae Supporting Plaintiff, Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse et al., No. 12-1043 (E.D. Va. Mar. 5, 2015) ECF No. 76-2 (henceforth “Brief”).

In rejecting the Redskins marks, the TTAB relied on Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act which prohibits registration of any trademark consisting of “immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute,” 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), ultimately finding that the Redskins marks were disparaging to Native Americans, Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc., 111 U.S.P.Q.2d 1080, 2014 WL 2757516, at *29(T.T.A.B. 2014).

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Posted On Mar - 17 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Patrick Gallagher

FCC Announces New Net Neutrality Rules

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission released a 313-page rule document outlining its new Internet regulations subsequent to its decision two weeks ago to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility. Some of the key provisions include rules against blocking non-illegal content, discretionary changes to the speed of online content delivery, and prioritization of web traffic speed to paying sites by Internet service providers. The framework calls for case-by-case adjudication in response to any disputes arising out of the regulations. A House bill has been introduced that would limit the FCC’s power under the current scheme.

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Posted On Mar - 17 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Jeanne Jeong

UnknownSummary Judgment Finding Patent Claim Invalid as Indefinite Reversed and Remanded Due to Specification and Prosecution History

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Eidos Display, LLC v. AU Optronics Corp. reversed and remanded the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas grant of summary judgment finding that Eidos Display, LLC and Eidos III, LLC’s (Eidos) patent claim of U.S. Patent No. 5,879,958 (‘958 patent) was invalid as indefinite.  Eidos Display, LLC v. AU Optronics Corp., 14-1254 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 10, 2015).  The Federal Circuit held that in light of the specification and prosecution history, the claim informed relevant parties with reasonable certainty about the “scope of the claimed invention.”  Eidos at 2.  Eidos alleged that AU Optronic infringed claim 1 of 958 patent, which concerns manufacturing processes for an electro-optical device such as an LCD panel.  Id. at 3.  The limitation at issue involved the construction of the claim’s language, “contact hole for source wiring and gate wiring connection terminals.”  Id. at 10.  Finding that the specifications did not deviate from known industry practice at the time the patent was filed, the history of the patent, and the text of the specification itself, the court adopted Eidos’s construction and concluded that a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand that the language at issue meant separate contact holes for source wiring connection terminals and gate wiring connection terminals.  Id. at 11-15.

http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/14-1254.Opinion.3-6-2015.1.PDF

 

District Court Grant of Summary Judgment Finding Affirmed

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in American Energy Co., LLC ex rel. Exelon Generation Co., LLC v. United States affirmed the United States Court of Federal Claims’ decision granting summary judgment below based on the economic performance requirement of 42 U.S.C. § 461(h).  Amergen Energy Co., LLC ex rel. Exelon Generation Co., LLC v. United States, 14-5067 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 11, 2015).  Finding that the district court properly found § 461(h) pertained to the case, the court further determined based on the statutory text that the “all events test” is not limited to expense deductions and applies to basis calculation.  Amergen at 2. Because AmerGen did not economically perform the decommissioning during the relevant tax years, the court held that AmerGen may not, on its 2001 through 2003 tax returns, include future nuclear decommissioning liabilities from its purchase of three nuclear power plants for calculating the basis of an acquired nuclear power plant and associated assets.  Id. at 10-15.

http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/14-5067.Opinion.3-9-2015.1.PDF

Posted On Mar - 15 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Ken Winterbottom

Judicial Watch Sues to Reveal Clinton Emails

Conservative political watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State last Wednesday seeking to compel disclosure of email correspondence between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nagla Mahmoud, the wife of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. Mahmoud previously threatened to publish the emails last August, as evidence of an alleged “special relationship” between the Obama and Morsi administrations that President Obama disavowed when Morsi’s government was overthrown in the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état. Morsi was a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization later labeled a terrorist organization by Egypt’s successor government. Within a few weeks of Mahmoud’s threat, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking access to the emails. Because the State Department has not yet responded, the watchdog group is now suing to compel the release of the emails, possibly as a move to damage Clinton’s reputation in anticipation of the upcoming presidential election.

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Posted On Mar - 11 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Jenny Choi – Edited by Anton Ziajka

lenovo-n20p-010Jessica N. Bennett v. Lenovo (United States), Inc., and Superfish, Inc., No. 15-CV-00368 (S.D. Cal. filed Feb. 19, 2015)

Lenovo is facing backlash from security experts for pre-installing adware called Superfish on some of its computers. Superfish detects advertisements on websites and replaces them with targeted images based on the user’s browsing habits, AnAndTech reports. Lenovo explained that it pre-installed Superfish to help its users make more informed choices by replacing advertisements with ones that potentially offer lower prices. However, Superfish threatens users’ privacy and data security, ArsTechnica describes in detail here and here.

On February 19, 2015, plaintiff Jessica N. Bennett filed a class action lawsuit in federal court for the Southern District of California against Lenovo and Superfish for pre-installing Superfish on a Lenovo-made laptop that she purchased. Ms. Bennett’s complaint states claims against both defendants for violations of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act, the Federal Wiretap Act, and California’s Unfair Competition Law; and for common law trespass to personal property. MaximumPC reports on the lawsuit. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 10 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST
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