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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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Battelle Energy Alliance LLC v. Southfork Sec. Inc.
By Corey Omer — Edited by Abhilasha Nautiyal

Battelle Energy Alliance LLC v. Southfork Sec. Inc., No. 4:13-cv-00442-BLW (D. Idaho Oct. 15, 2013).

Court Order, hosted by DocumentCloud

Last month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho issued a rare ex parte temporary restraining order (“TRO”) against a software developer, Corey Thuen, his company and 10 Does, enjoining them from releasing software code as open source and ordering that Thuen’s computer be seized and its contents copied. Battelle Energy Alliance LLC v. Southfork Sec. Inc., No. 4:13-cv-00442-BLW (D. Idaho Oct. 15, 2013) (“Battelle Energy”).

What made this case one of the “very few circumstances justifying the issuance of an ex parte TRO”? Reno Air Racing Ass’n, Inc. v. McCord, 452 F.3d 1126, 1131 (9th Cir. 2006). The determinative consideration for the court was that Thuen is a self-described “hacker”. His company, Southfork — which is in the business of testing system security for its clients by “hacking” their systems and exposing weaknesses — states on its website, “[w]e like hacking things and we don’t want to stop.” Battelle Energy at 4. Judge Lynn Winmill reasoned that because Thuen was a “hacker” — and therefore had “the necessary computer skills and intent to simultaneously release the code publicly and conceal [his] role in that act” — the ex parte seizure order was justified. Id. at 12.

The Complaint, Court Order, and Thuen’s Declaration provide an overview of the case. Tim Cushing of TechDirt criticizes the complaint, and the resulting decision, as submitting to two government propagated fallacies: first, that “open source is dangerous,” and, second, that all “hackers are bad”. ComputerWorld and TechNewsWorld also feature thorough analyses of the decision. (more…)

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

By Mengyi Wang – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness

H.R. 3309 - Innovation Act

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The perceived “patent troll” problem has plagued the U.S. patent system for years. To curb abusive patent litigation, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), with a bipartisan coalition, introduced the “Innovation Act” in the House of Representatives on Oct 23, 2013. The patent reform bill contains a number of provisions that seek to change the landscape of patent procurement, ownership, and enforcement, Patently-O reports.

Patently-O, Info World, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) provide an overview of the legislation and comment on its significance. The American Intellectual Property Law Association has summarized each section of the bill. Patent Docs and The Software Alliance voice concerns. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 3 - 2013 5 Comments READ FULL POST

Ibormeith IP, LLC v Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC
By Aditya Gupta – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness

Ibormeith IP, LLC v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, No. 13- 1007 (Fed. Cir. October 22, 2013)
Slip opinion

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, which had held on summary judgment that certain means-plus-function claims of Ibormeith IP, LLC’s (“Ibormeith”) US Patent No. 6,313,749 (“the ’749 Patent”) – “Sleepiness Detection for Vehicle Driver or Machine Operator” – were invalid for indefiniteness under 35 U.S.C. § 112. Ibormeith IP, slip op. at 2.

The Federal Circuit held that the claim element “computational means” expressed a means for performing a specified function and thus was subject to the requirements of 35 U.S.C. § 112(f), which governs such means-plus-function elements. Id. at 2-3. According to the court, the ‘749 Patent failed to comply with 35 U.S.C. § 112(f) because it failed to adequately define the structure for the “computational means” limitation in the specification. Id. at 7. In so holding, the court noted that Ibormeith’s arguments regarding the breadth of its disclosure, for the purpose of infringement, must also be held against it as “binding admissions” for the purposes of a 35 USC §112(f) inquiry into claim validity. Id. at 10-11.

PatentlyO summarizes the case’s facts and holding and comments on the ramifications of the decision with respect to litigation strategy. iPFrontline briefly explains the decision and the lessons it provides for practitioners. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 30 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

ACLU v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice
By Amy Zhang – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

ACLU v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice (S.D.N.Y. filed Oct. 17, 2013)
Complaint

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Two weeks ago, the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation filed a complaint against the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) seeking immediate processing and release of DOJ records that the ACLU had requested pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) in late March of this year. Complaint, ACLU v. DOJ (S.D.N.Y. filed Oct. 17, 2013).

The ACLU requested information related to the use of evidence derived from surveillance authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008 (“FAA”).  Its complaint alleged that the DOJ had failed to process and release the requested information. In addition to the release of the requested documents, the ACLU is seeking a waiver of search, review, and reproduction fees on the grounds that disclosure of the requested records is “in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii).

Ars Technica provides background information on the lawsuit. JOLT Digest and Wired provide summaries of Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, No.  11–1025 (U.S. Feb. 26, 2013), which provides the backdrop for the ACLU’s current suit. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 29 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Emma Winer

Icon-newsAmerican Dating Website Withdraws Plan to Sell User Information to Peer Canadian Site

True.com, a U.S. dating website, has called off a plan to sell user information to PlentyOfFish, a Canadian dating website, following an objection to the sale raised by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot in federal bankruptcy court. Abbott alleged that the transfer of personal user information without explicit consent violated the True.com’s privacy policy. PlentyOfFish withdrew its offer to purchase True.com’s information on October 23rd, 2013, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Third Circuit Finds Warrantless GPS Tracking Unconstitutional

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held last Tuesday that law enforcement must obtain a warrant before employing a GPS device to track a suspect’s car, Wired reports. United States v. Katzin, No. 12-2548 (3rdCir. October 22, 2013). Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct.  945 (2012), that attaching a GPS device to a suspect’s car qualified as a search under the Fourth Amendment, but the Court did not explicitly address whether such a search was unreasonable without a warrant. Katzin is the first appellate decision since Jones to find a warrantless GPS search unconstitutional, even if law enforcement officials acted with a good faith belief that their actions complied with the law. Ars Technica discusses the significance of the ruling in greater detail.

Sony Sues United Airlines for Copyright Infringement

Sony Music Entertainment filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against United Airlines last Tuesday. Arista Music v. United Airlines, Inc., No. 13-cv-07451-AT (S.D.N.Y filed October 22, 2013). As Law360 reports, Sony alleges that United Airlines used, without authorization, Sony songs and videos in in-flight media services provided to United Airlines by Inflight Productions Ltd. According to the complaint, United Airlines has acknowledged that the materials in question are copyrighted but has continued to use them anyway. The lawsuit seeks both damages and an injunction to enjoin use of the copyrighted works.

Posted On Oct - 28 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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Flash Digest: News i

By Olga Slobodyanyuk ICANN responds to terrorism victims by claiming domain ...

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Federal Circuit Appl

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Mengyi Wang Digitech Image Technologies, ...

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Unlocking Cell Phone

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Insue Kim On July 25, ...

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SDNY Magistrate Gran

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Travis West In the Matter ...

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Creating full-text s

Creating full-text searchable database of copyrighted works is “fair use” By ...