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Google Appeals Ruling that Use of Java APIs in Android Violates Oracle’s Copyrights

By Katherine Kwong– Edited by Ashish Bakshi

On October 6, Google filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule on whether copyright protections extend to the software’s “system or method of operation,” such as application programming interfaces (APIs). Google urges the Court to overturn the Federal Circuit’s previous decision, arguing that allowing long-term copyrights on systems and methods of operations would stifle innovation and creativity.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Ariane Moss

Microsoft Tax Banned in Italy

California Responds to Data Breaches by Strengthening Privacy Laws

EU Court Rules Embedding Is Not Copyright Infringement

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Google Appeals Ruling That Use of Java APIs in Android Violates Oracle’s Copyrights

By Katherine Kwong – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

On October 6, Google filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule on whether copyright protections extend to the software’s “system or method of operation,” such as APIs. Google urges the Court to overturn the Federal Circuit’s previous decision, arguing that allowing long-term copyrights on systems and methods of operations would stifle innovation and creativity.

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UN Report Finds Government Mass Surveillance Violates Privacy

By Olga Slobodyanyuk – Edited by Jesse Goodwin

The UN Report from the Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights found that government Internet mass surveillance violates Article 17 of the ICCPR by impinging individuals’ privacy.

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Functional Claim Elements Must Be Backed by Sufficient Structural Guidance

By Asher Lowenstein – Edited by Mengyi Wang

The Federal Circuit found that patent claim terms that offer no guidance to structure and are solely functional are means-plus-function terms and indefinite under § 112(f).

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By Aditya Gupta – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness

Professors’ Letter In Support of Patent Reform Legislation (Nov. 25, 2013), letter hosted by PatentlyO.com
Statement from the Higher Education Community on H.R. 3309, The Innovation Act (Nov. 8, 2013), statement hosted by
Statement from the Higher Education Community on Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 3309 (Nov. 19, 2013), statement hosted by aamc.org

Photo By: Kate Ter HaarCC BY 2.0

The Innovation Act, a legislation that received bipartisan support in the House Judiciary Committee and more recently the House of Representatives, has also received support from a group of sixty professors teaching intellectual property law at universities across the United States. The professors have addressed a letter to Congress expressing strong support for the patent reform legislation, citing the “abusive practices” adopted by patent trolls and the negative impact of such practices on small companies and large manufacturers. In contrast, a group of six major education organizations have issued two statements, dated November 8 and 19, 2013 raising concerns over the draft of the Innovation Act and claiming that, in its current form, the provisions of the Act raise a “specter of unintended problems.”

PatentlyO reports the letter by the law professors stating that the professors’ case has merit but contains certain broad – brush statements and is overtly in favor of large corporate entities. Timothy Lee of The Washington Post is surprised by the stance taken by the university organizations, though he suggests that the unintended effects of the legislation may be beneficial, since they could rein in aggressive patent licensing efforts by universities. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 18 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Automattic Inc. & Hotham v. Steiner
Automattic Inc. & Retraction Watch, LLC v. Chatwal
By Travis West – Edited by Natalie Kim

Complaint, Automattic Inc. & Oliver Hotham v. Nick Steiner (N.D. Cal. filed Nov. 21, 2013)
Complaint, Automattic Inc. & Retraction Watch, LLC v. Narendra Chatwal (N.D. Cal. filed Nov. 21, 2013)
Hotham Complaint, Retraction Watch Complaint hosted by Automattic

Hacked By Over-XAutomattic, the owner of WordPress.com and a major developer of the WordPress software, has sued two parties for using the notice-and-takedown provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to stifle criticism. Automattic alleges that the two parties abused the provision and are seeking damages under 17 U.S.C. § 512(f) for misrepresentation. Automattic is one of the largest blog hosting companies, and its decision to go after parties that use fraudulent copyright takedown notices could mark a shift in how content hosts handle DMCA takedown requests.

Automattic explains why it chose to sue over these two incidents. Ars Technica provides additional coverage of the lawsuit, including some problems Automattic would face in collecting from the defendants if it succeeded. Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”), and TechCrunch praise Automattic for taking a stand against the use of the DMCA to censor critics. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 6 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

GoldieBlox, Inc. v. Island Def Jam Music Group
By Elise Young – Edited by Alex Shank

Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief, GoldieBlox, Inc. v. Island Def Jam Music Group, A Div. of UMG Recordings, Inc., No. 3:13-cv-05428 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2013)
Complaint hosted by Scribd

Photo By: ricaroseCC BY 2.0

Over the last few weeks, hip-hop group the Beastie Boys and GoldieBlox, a start-up company in the business of developing engineering toys for girls, started down the path towards copyright litigation over use of the Beastie Boys’ song “Girls” in a GoldieBlox advertisement. On November 21, after the Beastie Boys’ legal counsel threatened suit, GoldieBlox filed for declaratory judgment that its use of the song was fair use. Complaint, at 2–3. The Beastie Boys responded with an open letter emphasizing the group’s consistent refusal to allow use of their songs in advertising. On November 27, GoldieBlox removed the advertisement and promised to drop the suit if the Beastie Boys’ legal team similarly backed down. GigaOM provides an overview of the fight and some legal analysis on the fair use issue. Forbes examines GoldieBlox’s change in strategy. Mashable discusses how the disagreement benefits GoldieBlox’s PR. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 5 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Elise Young – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness

European Proposal on Protection of Trade Secrets

European Commission, Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Protection of Undisclosed Know-How and Business Information (Trade Secrets) Against their Unlawful Acquisition, Use and Disclosure  (Nov. 28, 2013)
Proposed Directive

Photo By: Thomas QuineCC BY 2.0

On November 28th, the European Commission issued a proposed directive for greater and more uniform protection of trade secrets throughout the European Union. The goal of the proposal is to increase innovation by providing better protection for EU businesses’ trade secrets. Proposed Directive at 2. The Commission identified the currently irregular protection and enforcement of trade secrets within the EU as a significant factor inhibiting cross-border research and development and general innovation. Id. at 3. The proposal is one part of the EU’s “Innovation Union” and IP strategies, adopted in May 2011. Id.

The proposal and other documents related to the directive can be found here. The Commission additionally released a memorandum summarizing trade secret law, the directive, and the reason for its proposal. The New York Times and Bloomberg provide further commentary on the proposed directive. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 4 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Christopher A. Crawford – Edited by Abhilasha Nautiyal

AT&T shareholder proposal, hosted by Osc.state.ny.us
Verizon shareholder proposal, hosted by Aclunc.org
American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California Announcement

Photo By: Razor512CC BY 2.0

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (“ACLU”), in collaboration with other shareholders, filed shareholder proposals with Verizon and AT&T to persuade the telecommunications companies to issue transparency reports disclosing data about customer information that was passed on to the National Security Agency. This new tactic in the privacy fight is designed to highlight what activists say are serious costs associated with the telecom companies’ lack of transparency.

The Wall Street Journal and Ars Technica, among others, have reported the filing of these shareholder proposals. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 3 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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