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Insuring Patents

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Jennifer Chung and Ariel Simms

Despite its increasing availability, patent insurance—providing defensive protection against claims of patent infringement and funding offensive actions against patent infringers—continues to be uncommon. This Note aims to provide an overview of the patent insurance landscape.

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Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 Seeks to Establish Federal Cause of Action for Trade Secrets Misappropriation

By Suyoung Jang – Edited by Mila Owen

Following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval in January of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, the Committee has released Senate Report 114-220 supporting the bill. The bill seeks to protect trade secret owners by creating a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Evan Tallmadge – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

The Linked Inheritability Between Two Regions of DNA is an Unpatentable Law of Nature

HP Setback in Challenging the Validity of MPHJ’s Distributed Virtual Copying Patent

CardPool Fails to Escape an Invalidity Judgment But Can Still Pursue Amended Claims

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Amicus Brief by EFF and ACLU Urging Illinois State Sex Offender Laws Declared Unconstitutional under First Amendment

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Mila Owen

With the Illinois Supreme Court gearing up to determine the constitutionality of the state’s sex offender registration statute, two advocacy non-profits have filed amicus briefs in support of striking the law down.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Gia Velasquez – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Federal Court Grants Uber’s Class Action Certification Appeal

Independent Contractor Classification of Uber Drivers May Violate Antitrust Laws

Self-Driving Car Will Be Considered Autonomous Driver

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Written by: Asher Lowenstein

Edited by: Yaping Zhang

In May 2014, another proposed bill to address abusive practices of patent assertion entities (PAEs), also known as “patent trolls,” came to an end. Senator Patrick Leahy, a sponsor of the bill, said he hoped “to return to the issue this year” because “[w]e can all agree that patent trolls abuse the current patent system.” In an interview, Senator Leahy blamed the bill’s failure on special interests that do not want to protect people from trolls.

There have been extensive legislative efforts to counter abusive patent litigation. According to Intellectual Property Ownership AssociationIntellectual Property Ownership Association, thirteen bills were introduced in Congress between May 2013 and February 2014. Certain PAEs have engaged in particularly obnoxious practices that appear to have motivated some of the legislative efforts.

In particular, provisions aimed at “bad-faith demand letters” are directed against practices exemplified by MPHJ Technology. According to the NY Attorney General’s office, in 2012 MPHJ purchased four patents and one patent application for one dollar. MPHJ began sending letters in September 2012 to businesses in all fifty states with fewer than one hundred employees. See Ex. F at 6, MPHJ Tech. Invs., LLC v. FTC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146288, No. 6:14-cv-11 (W.D. Tex. Jan. 13, 2014). Approximately 16,645 businesses received the letter, which stated that the recipient was likely infringing MPHJ patents by using a machine that could send a scan to email. The letters alleged that “many companies” had agreed to pay a fair price, which was usually between $900 and $1,200 per employee.

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Posted On Dec - 22 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Yixuan Long – Edited by Yaping Zhang

3D Systems, Inc., v. Formlabs, Inc., No. 13-cv-07973-RWS (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 1, 2014) (order granting dismissal with prejudice) Slip Opinion hosted by Scribd.

Complaint for Injunctive Relief and Damages, 3D Systems, Inc., v. Formlabs, Inc., No. 0:12-cv-03323-MBS (D.S.C. Nov. 20, 2012) Complaint hosted by Archive.org.

On December 1, 3D Systems and Formlabs agreed to settle their two-year legal dispute over patent infringement. Terms of the settlement are undisclosed. 3D Systems sued Formlabs in 2012 for infringement of No. 5,597,520 Patent (“the ‘520 Patent”), granted to 3D Systems in 1997. 3D Systems at *5. The patent covered different parts of the stereolithographic three-dimensional printing process, which uses a laser to cure liquid plastic. Id. 5–11. The patent will have expired in 2017.

TechCrunch and Boston Business Journal overview the settlement. Gigaom analyzes its background and impact.

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Posted On Dec - 21 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sabreena Khalid – Edited by Insue Kim

91ea09a6535666e18ca3c56f731f67ef_400x400Following scandals earlier this month revolving around the use of personal user information, the 30 billion dollar tech giant, Uber, hired Harriet Pearson, former chief privacy officer at IBM, to “conduct an in-depth review and assessment of [the] existing data privacy program.” USA Today.

The public relations fiasco was sparked by one of the company’s senior executives suggesting that the company invest in opposition research targeted at critics, particularly at one journalist denouncing the company’s allegedly mysoginistic practices. BuzzFeed and ars technica provide further commentary and details.  The executive has since apologized for his statements. At the same time, the company took another blow when revelations surfaced that its New York general manager was accessing the Uber travel data of another journalist without her permission. Slate provides further details. Further, reports of the company using a “God view” tool to track customers’ location at a launch party resulted in a harsh letter from Senator Al Franken questioning Uber’s privacy policy.

Uber’s recent hire of Pearson is part of the company’s attempt to regain consumer trust in its business and privacy policies. According to BuzzFeed and Slate, the company has explicitly distanced itself from the acts of both officers, stating that it does not conduct any kind of opposition research on journalists, and that it restricts all employees’ access to driver or user data except for “a limited set of legitimate business purposes”.

The story brings attention to the larger and more pertinent issue of the handling and usage of personal user information by tech companies in the sharing economy. Uber’s privacy policy states that the app can gather and use users’ geo-location data for a variety of purposes, including “internal business purposes”. S. 1(b) Uber Privacy Policy. The privacy policy, however, does not define what these purposes are. So far, the company has reportedly used it for purposes such as tracking 30 of its most “notable users” to display an activity map at a launch party. It is reported that these users did not know their location coordinates were being used in such a way. Ars technica. Uber has also tracked a journalist’s location as she arrived at the Uber headquarters in New York, unbeknownst to her. Slate.  (more…)

Posted On Dec - 17 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Henry Thomas

S. Louis Martin vs. Google Inc., No. CGC-14-539972 (Cal. Sup. Ct. Nov. 13, 2014)

Order hosted by Ars Technica

A San Francisco court on November 13, 2014 dismissed a lawsuit against Google, treating Google’s search engine and third-party advertisement service as constitutionally protected free speech. The plaintiff, a website owner, had based its lawsuit on allegations that Google violated antitrust laws by treating the website unfavorably in its search results, and by withdrawing advertisement from the website. In throwing out the lawsuit, the court granted Google’s motion to apply California’s “anti-SLAPP” law, which allows a court to efficiently dismiss lawsuits against acts protected as free speech.

Ars Technica, Law360, and The Guardian provide an overview of the court proceedings. Slate welcomes the decision as acknowledging Google’s role as a media platform “curat[ing] information and present[ing] it to readers in a unique, customized order.”

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Posted On Dec - 9 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Saukshmya Trichi – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

Advocate General’s Opinion in Case C-146/13 Spain v Parliament and Council and C-147/13 Spain v Council.

Press release No.152/2014: November 18, 2014

European union concept, digital illustration.In an opinion released by the Advocate General (“Opinion”) of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“Court”), it has been urged that Spain’s challenges to two implementing regulations of the Unitary Patent System be dismissed. The Court is still deliberating on the challenges and the Opinion though not binding is likely to be of persuasive value.

In 2012, member states of the European Union (EU) agreed to create a unitary patent system, consisting grant of a Unitary Patent and establishing a Unified Patent Court, which would guarantee supranational protection for inventions in 25 countries across Europe. This system would co-exist with national patents and with classical European patents for states that do not participate in the scheme, such as Spain, Italy, etc. More information on the structure and functioning of the system is available on the website of the European Patent Office (EPO).

On December 17, 2012, Regulation (EU) No. 1257/2012 was adopted, which laid down the procedural framework to implement enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection; and Regulation (EU) No. 1260/2012 was adopted to create a framework with regard to translation arrangements.

In March, 2013 Spain challenged these regulations in cases C-146/13 and C-147/13 principally on the ground that the power delegated to the EPO for administering the unitary patent system was improper in view of the genesis of the EPO which functions by virtue of the European Patent Convention (EPC), while the unitary system is formulated under the aegis of legal system of the European Union. Spain also alleges that decisions of the EPO not being subject to judicial review will cause prejudice and further that limiting choice of language to English, French and German was discriminatory against states having different official languages.

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Posted On Dec - 3 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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