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Whack-a-troll Legislation

Written by Asher Lowenstein     —   Edited by Yaping Zhang

Patent assertion entities’ extensive litigation activities in different states enables to assess the efficacy of the proposed bills against legal strategies these trolls, such as MPHJ Technology, have engaged in. The legal battles confirm some of the concerns about the usefulness of proposed regulatory measures.

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3D Systems and Formlabs Settled Two-Year Patent Dispute

By Yixuan Long – Edited by Yaping Zhang

On December 1, 3D Systems and Formlabs settled their two-year legal dispute over the 520 Patent infringement. Terms of the settlement are undisclosed. The patent covered different parts of the stereolithographic three-dimensional printing process, which uses a laser to cure liquid plastic. 3D Systems was granted the ‘520 Patent in 1997. Formlabs views the settlement as enabling it to continue its expansion and keep developing new products.

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Privacy Concerns in the Sharing Economy: The Case of Uber 

By Sabreena Khalid – Edited by Insue Kim

Recent revelations about Uber’s disconcerting use of personal user information have exposed the numerous weaknesses in Uber’s Privacy Policy. The lack of regulation in the area, coupled with the sensitive nature of personal information gathered by Uber, makes the issue one requiring immediate attention of policy makers.

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San Francisco Court Considers Google’s Search and Ad Services Free Speech

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Henry Thomas

A San Francisco court dismissed a lawsuit against Google, treating Google’s search and advertisement services as constitutionally protected free speech. The lawsuit alleged an antitrust violation based on unfavorable treatment of a website in Google’s search results, and on the withdrawal of third-party advertisement from the website. In throwing out the lawsuit, the court applied California’s “anti-SLAPP” law, which allows quick dismissal of lawsuits against acts protected as free speech.

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EU Unitary Patent System Challenge Unsustainable: Advocate General

By Saukshmya Trichi – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union has rendered an opinion on Spain’s challenges to regulations implementing the European Unitary Patent System. The Advocate General opines that the challenges must be dismissed as the system is intended to provide genuine benefit in terms of uniformity and integration, and safeguard the principle of legal certainty, while the choice of languages reduces translation costs considerably.

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By Shuangjun Wang

Icon-newsWorld Wide Web inventor seeks to pass a Magna Carta for the Internet

Twenty-five years ago, British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Today, he’s calling for a new – or very old, depending on how you look at it – invention to complement his first. In an interview with the BBC, Berners-Lee advocated for a global Constitution and Bill of Rights to protect Internet users everywhere from what he perceives to be a declining level of user freedom and independence on the Internet, especially in light of the privacy issues raised by governments’ “mining” of personal data.

Having such a charter will force governments to recognize that Internet user privacy and data protection are “so important, so much part of our lives, that [they] become[] on a level with human rights,” reports The Sydney Morning Herald, quoting Berners-Lee. The British computer scientist also proposes that lawmakers create a codified system of rights to ensure “no surveillance without suspicion, that our digital communication and behavior are treated with the same respect and legal due process that we expect for our offline communication and behavior,” reports Cambridge News. To make his Magna Carta a reality, Berners-Lee has established Web We Want, a campaign focused on initiating national dialogues about Internet usage and privacy rights and on drafting legislation for an “Internet Users’ Bill of Rights.”

Facebook v. Power Ventures celebrates its six-year anniversary in the Ninth Circuit

In 2013, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ordered Power Ventures, a now bankrupt social network aggregation tool, to pay Facebook $3 million after that court found that Power Ventures had violated 18 U.S.C. § 1030 (2008) (“Computer Fraud and Abuse Act” or “CFAA”), 15 U.S.C. ch. 103 (2003) (“CAN-SPAM Act“), and 13 Cal. Penal § 502 (2001) for accessing Facebook data after Facebook had blocked Power Ventures’ IP addresses. Facebook, Inc. v. Power Ventures, Inc., No. 8-cv-5780 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 25, 2013) hosted by Leagle.

Power Ventures has appealed the ruling in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) has filed another amicus brief in order to highlight the “dangers” of upholding Facebook’s claims. Circumventing IP-address blocks typically falls within the scope of “hacking” under the CFAA. According to the EFF, however, because Power Ventures was only a social network aggregating tool, Facebook users were the ones accessing their own Facebook data through Power Ventures’ servers. Criminalizing such aggregators would stunt technological innovation and market competition. In addition, Congress targeted large-scale spammers with CAN-SPAM Act. According to the EFF, if the Ninth Circuit affirms the district court’s decision, that precedent will bring all Facebook users who advertise with Facebook Events under the Act’s scope of liability.

Google’s new encryption sends data through China’s Great Firewall

Tech companies such as Google and Facebook have advertised user privacy as their number one priority for some time, but, as reported by The New York Times, privacy activists and security specialists question the companies’ actual efforts at privacy protection.

Google has taken a step in the right direction by combating government surveillance and censorship of search engines in China. According to SiliconValley.com, Google began working late last year to automatically encrypt searches as part of the global expansion of its privacy technology plan. Google’s automatic encryption – which will take effect in the coming weeks – will prevent the Chinese government from screening searches and eliminating potentially politically controversial hits.

Although Google’s market share in China is only an estimated 10%, its move to subvert and bypass the “Great Firewall of China“ is an initiative that Google hopes will catch on and “encourage the industry to adopt stronger security standards,” reports The Register. Automatic encryption of search terms will not only prevent the government from identifying search terms and censoring hits, it will also protect users’ personal information and data from being immediately available to third parties.

Posted On Mar - 16 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sheri Pan – Edited by Insue Kim

Press release by Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management, Facebook Announcement (Mar. 5, 2014)
Press release

Photo By: mkhmarketingCC BY 2.0

Last Wednesday, Facebook issued a press release announcing policy changes aimed at reducing the sale of guns over its social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. Created after consulting with gun-control organizations and New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the measures respond to concerns over the growing number of guns sold online.

The New York Times, Ars Technica, and CNN reported the story. The Verge describes how Instagram users find guns using the photo-sharing application. The National Rifle Association (“NRA”) and Moms Demand Action responded to the announcement. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 15 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Photo By: NIAIDCC BY 2.0

Written By: Hyeongsu Park

Edited By: Kendra Albert

The recent boom in antibody products in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries created the needs for a clear standard for antibody patents. The market for therapeutic antibodies is projected to reach hundreds of billion dollars within the next several years, and, as such, a huge amount of money will be at stake in future patent infringement cases regarding therapeutic antibodies. However, currently there is an apparent tension between the USPTO guideline with which antibody patents are granted and the case law with which the validity of existing antibody patents is determined. The antibody “exception” of the USPTO written description guideline says that a claim for an isolated antibody binding to an antigen satisfies the written description requirement even when the specification only describes the antigen and does not have working or detailed prophetic examples of antibodies that bind to the antigen. United States Patent and Trademark Office, Revised Interim Written Description Guidelines Training Materials (1999) at 59–60 [hereinafter Training Materials]; United States Patent and Trademark Office, Written Description Training Materials, Revision 1 (March 25, 2008) at 45–46 [hereinafter Revised Training Materials]. In Centocor v. Abbott, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) held that a patentee cannot claim an antibody unless the specification describes it, even if he/she fully characterizes the antigen, and the court vacated a $1.67 billion jury verdict, the largest patent infringement award in U.S. history. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 13 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Mark Verstraete – Edited by Andrew Spore

Garcia v. Google, Inc.,  No. 12-57302 (9th Cir. Feb. 26, 2014)
Slip opinion

Photo By: RojerCC BY 2.0

On February 26, 2014, the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court decision denying Cindy Lee Garcia’s request for a preliminary injunction forcing YouTube to remove the anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims.” Garcia, slip op. at 19. Writing for the majority, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski found that Garcia was entitled to a preliminary injunction because she had shown a likelihood of success on her copyright claim and that irreparable harm would likely result absent injunctive relief.

Techdirt offers a lengthy criticism of the ruling. Electronic Frontier Foundation worries that the opinion’s specious reasoning could set unfavorable copyright precedent. UCLA School of Law Professor Eugene Volokh, writing for the Washington Post, notes that the injunction applies only versions of the film containing Garcia’s performance. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 12 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Insue Kim – Edited by Elise Young

Elcommerce.com, Inc. v. SAP AG, No. 2011-1369 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 24, 2014)
Slip opinion

In re Barnes & Noble, Inc., No. 13-162 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 27, 2014)
Slip opinion

In re Apple Inc., No. 13-156 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 27, 2014)
Slip opinion

Federal CircuitThe United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the transfer of venue of Elcommerce, Inc. v. SAP AG, from the Eastern District of Texas to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In response to Elcommerce’s claim that the declaratory counterclaims could not be transferred to the Pennsylvania court without voluntary or personal jurisdiction, the court emphasized that there is “‘no requirement under § 1404(a) that a transferee court have jurisdiction over the plaintiff . . . [as long as] the transferee court ha[s] jurisdiction over the defendants in the transferred complaint.’” Elcommerce.com, slip op. at 10 (quoting In re Genentech, 566 F.3d 1338, 1346 (Fed. Cir. 2009)). As plaintiff, Elcommerce was subject to the declaratory counterclaims filed by SAP in Texas, and “jurisdiction was preserved when the entire action was transferred to Pennsylvania . . . .” Id. at 9.

The case was one of many “patent troll” cases regularly filed in the District Court of the Eastern District of Texas. Because of the treatment plaintiffs receive in the Eastern District of Texas, many defendants attempt to transfer their cases to another district. This has made procedural decisions from the Federal Circuit increasingly significant. ArsTechnica discusses why the Eastern District of Texas is such a popular venue for patent trolls. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 11 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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Whack-a-troll Legisl

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