A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Observing Mauna Kea’s Conflict

Written by: Aaron Frumkin

Edited by: Anton Ziajka

Believing the machinery desecrates their sacred summit and the scarce natural resources it shelters, native Hawaiians have opposed telescope development on Mauna Kea. While it seems that their beleaguered resistance to telescope development will fail yet again with the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), 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.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News In Brief

By Cristina Carapezza

Rosen Wins TV Headrest Patent Suit

Federal Circuit Allows for Declaratory Judgment of Noninfringement for Disclaimed Patent

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

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Government Agents Indicted for Wire Fraud and Money Laundering in Silk Road Investigation

By Sheri Pan – Edited by Jens Frankenreiter

Two former Drug Enforcement Administration agents 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. The two agents were members of the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force and allegedly used their official capacities and resources to steal Bitcoins for their personal gain.

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Mississippi Attorney General’s investigation of Google temporarily halted by federal court

By Lan Du – Edited by Katherine Kwong

On March 2, 2015, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s investigation of Google was halted by a federal court granting Google’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate issued the opinion. Judge Wingate found a substantial likelihood that Hood’s investigation violated Google’s First Amendment rights by content regulation of speech and placing limits of public access to information.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Ken Winterbottom

J.P. Morgan Appeal Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction

Court Agrees with USPTO: Settlement Agreements Are Not Grounds for Dismissing Patent Validity Challenges

Attorney Misconduct-Based Fee-Shifting Request Revived in Light of Recent Supreme Court Decision

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Photo By: darkuncleCC BY 2.0

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

Decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, Case Number G 002/13 (Mar. 25, 2015)

Everything’s coming up roses for plant patent holders, following the European Patent Office’s recent endorsement of patents for tomato and broccoli plants.  In a March 25, 2015 decision, the Enlarged Board of Appeal (“EBA”) held that the European Patent Convention’s Article 53(b) prohibition on patents for production of plants by “essentially biological processes . . . does not have a negative effect on the allowability of a product claim directed to plants.” Decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, Case Number G 002/13 (Mar. 25, 2015) at 68.

The European Patent Office’s Technical Board of Appeals referred the question of Article 53(b) scope to the EBA in connection with two cases, “Tomato II” and “Broccoli II.” The patent at issue in Tomato II, European patent No. 1 211 926, concerns “a method for breeding tomatoes having reduced water content, and the product of the method.” Id. at 4. Broccoli II involves European patent No. 1 069 819, which was directed at broccoli produced through “a method for selective increase of the anticarcinogenic glucosinates in brassica species.” Id. at 12. 

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Posted On Apr - 13 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Saukshmya Trichi

Application

Stephen Hawking is posed to leverage his physics fame into a brand name. The renowned theoretical physicist has filed an application seeking trademark protection of his name with the U.K. Intellectual Property Office. The trademark, if approved, will give Hawking greater control over how his name is used in connection with certain goods and services including charitable endeavors, scientific research, and medical devices.

Hawking, the director of research at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Theoretical Cosmology and author of popular-science books including the 1988 bestseller A Brief History of Time, has enjoyed increased popularity in recent years following appearances on The Simpsons, Futurama, and The Big Bang Theory, as well as the release of the 2014 critically-acclaimed biographical film The Theory of Everything.

The University of Cambridge declined to comment on the rationale behind Hawking’s trademark application, stating: “It’s a personal matter for Stephen Hawking, it is not a university issue, but he has taken measures to protect his name and the success it has bought.” Toby McDonald and Jonathan Leake, “It’s the Big Brand Theory as Cox and Hawking Trademark Names,” The Sunday Times, Mar. 29, 2015. Some however, have suggested that Hawking’s decision was motivated by a desire to stop exploitation of his name through unauthorized or inappropriate products. See Thomas Burrows, “Big Brand Theory for Professors Brian Cox and Stephen Hawking who Trademark Own Names To Turn Themselves Into Brands,” Daily Mail, Mar. 29, 2015.

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Posted On Apr - 8 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Jeanne Jeong

European Regulators and Watchdogs Increase Investigation of “Technology Giants”

European Union officials have taken steps to increase pressure on U.S. technology companies including Facebook, Apple, and Google, on a range of matters including privacy and competition. European watchdogs in France, Spain, and Italy have escalated scrutiny of Facebook’s privacy controls, following the footsteps of Dutch, Belgian, and German officials.  Privacy watchdogs in those countries have joined a group looking into the company’s access to and use of personal information from its millions of users in Europe.  In connection with Apple’s plans to market a subscription-based music streaming service, European competition officials sent questionnaires to record labels for information into agreements with Apple.  Officials are concerned whether Apple, using its clout in the music industry, may attempt to persuade labels to use its service over others.  The recent surge of privacy and competition investigations suggests a trend toward more aggressive stances on these issues in Europe.

Snapchat Published Transparency Report Revealing Government Data Sharing

On April 2, 2015, Snapchat published its first-ever transparency report, revealing its sharing of data with the government.  During the reporting period of November 2014 and February 2015, Snapchat received 375 criminal legal requests for user information by U.S. law enforcement, and produced at least some data in 92% of those requests.  The majority of the requests came in the form of search warrants and subpoenas.  The report shows during the same period, Snapchat received a total of 28 requests for such information from government entities outside the United States.

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Posted On Apr - 6 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Jenny Choi – Edited by Katherine Kwong

Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015

Link to the Full Text of the Bill

On March 26th, 2015, the Australian Senate passed the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015. This legislation requires Internet service providers (“ISPs”) and telecommunication providers to encrypt and retain user metadata for two years. On October 30th, 2014, the bill was introduced to the House of Representatives, while it was first introduced to the Senate on March 24th, 2015. According to Yahoo News, Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull jointly stated that the purpose of the Bill is to ensure national security and provide law enforcement agencies adequate access to the information they need.

A summary of the history surrounding the bill is available here. The Wall Street Journal, ArsTechnica, CNET, and Mashable all describe controversies about the bill. 

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Posted On Apr - 6 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Henry Thomas – Edited by Anton Ziajka

Chan v. Ellis, No. S14A1652, 2015 WL 1393410 (Ga. Mar. 27, 2015).

Opinion hosted by Justia.

The Georgia Supreme Court, in Chan v. Ellis, clarified the meaning of the word “contact” as it applies to Georgia’s stalking law, OCGA § 16-5-90 et seq., holding that the defendant’s publication of messages about the plaintiff on an online message board did not amount to prohibited contact under the statute. Chan, 2015 WL 1393410, at *1. According to the court’s opinion, the defendant, Matthew Chan, runs a website on which he and others criticize “copyright enforcement practices that they consider predatory.” Id. Chan and fellow commentators published on the website’s message board numerous posts about the plaintiff, a poet named Linda Ellis, criticizing Ellis’s aggressive pursuit of infringers of her poetry’s copyright. Id. The court described some of these posts as “mean-spirited, . . . distasteful and crude,” and some of the commentators threatened to publish personal information about Ellis and her family. Id. Ellis discovered the inflammatory comments, and filed a restraining order against Chan under the Georgia stalking law. Id.

JOLT Digest, in a prior post, details the procedural background of the case. The Technology & Marketing Law Blog and the Washington Post provide additional reporting and commentary on the case.

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Posted On Apr - 6 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST
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Photo By: Jeff Ruane - CC BY 2.0

Observing Mauna Kea'

Written by: Aaron Frumkin Edited by: Anton Ziajka I.     Introduction Perched quietly atop ...

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Federal Circuit Flas

By Cristina Carapezza Rosen Wins TV Headrest Patent Suit The Federal Circuit ...

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Government Agents In

By Sheri Pan - Edited by Jens Frankenreiter United States v. ...

Photo By: Robert Scoble - CC BY 2.0

Mississippi Attorney

[caption id="attachment_3907" align="alignleft" width="150"] Photo By: Robert Scoble - CC ...

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Federal Circuit Flas

By Ken Winterbottom J.P. Morgan Appeal Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction In ...