A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news

Federal Circuit Court Provides Clarity on Patent Preemption Post-Alice

By Seán Finan – Edited by Grace Truong

The decision of the Federal Circuit Court clarified the SS101 exceptions to patentability relating to preemption and abstract ideas. The decision has important implications for the application of the Alice test and for software patents.



By Alex Noonan – Edited by Filippo Raso

California Supreme Court to Determine if Courts Can Require Non-Party Content Hosts to Remove Defamatory Reviews


Half of American Adults are in Law Enforcement Facial Recognition Databases


Californian Residents Whose Data Were Exposed in Yahoo Data Breach to Bring Class Action Suit in California State Court




By June Nam – Edited by Ding Ding

The heirs of William Abbott and Lou Costello filed suit against the creators of a Broadway play, Hand to God for using—verbatim—a portion of the iconic comedy routine, Who’s on First?. The Second Circuit affirmed the judgment but rejected the reasoning of the district court, which dismissed allegations of copyright infringement. The Circuit Judge, Reena Raggi, held that the use of the routine in the play was not a fair use under the Copyright Act of 1976. However, the heirs did not have a valid copyright to allege any copyright infringement.



Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Wendy Chu – Edited by Kayla Haran

Delaware Supreme Court Dismisses a Case For Lack of Online Personal Jurisdiction

California District Court Dismisses Trademark Dilution Claim Because of Limited Recognition

eLaw Launches an On-Demand Lawyer Service for Court Appearances




Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Haydn Forrest – Edited by Henry Thomas

Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC, v. Amazon.com, Inc. (Fed. Cir. Sep. 23, 2016)

Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC, v. DirecTV, LLC (Fed. Cir. Sep. 23, 2016)

Intellectual Ventures v. Symantec Corp. (Fed. Cir. Sep. 30, 2016)

Apple v. Samsung (Fed. Cir. Oct. 7, 2016)



By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Anton Ziajka

True Origin of Digital Goods Act, H.R., CS/HB 271, 2015 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Fla. 2015).

The bill is available at the Florida House of Representatives.

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit certain anonymous websites and online services. Under the so-called “True Origin of Digital Goods Act,” owners and operators of websites that disseminate “commercial” recordings or audiovisual works must prominently disclose their true names, physical addresses, and telephone numbers or email addresses on the websites. The bill extends to all websites that deal “in substantial part” in disseminating such works, “directly or indirectly,” to Florida consumers.

One of the rationales provided for the proposal is the protection intellectual property rights. According to staff analysis by the Florida House of Representatives, “bad actors” who run websites that infringe upon the rights of copyright owners are “unlikely to disclose[] the personal information required by this bill.” Thus, the bill would “allow owners of copyrighted works to indirectly protect their intellectual property.”

Opponents of the bill criticize it on a number of grounds. For instance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the bill’s definition of “commercial recording or audiovisual work” — that is, any work that the work’s “owner, . . . agent, or licensee has disseminated or intends to disseminate” — is too abstract and vague. Indeed, a work may be “commercial” under the bill “regardless of whether a person who electronically disseminates it seeks commercial advantage or private financial gain from the dissemination.” As a result of such a broad terminology, virtually anyone could potentially seek a court order to disclose the name and physical address of a covered website’s owner. ArsTechnica provides additional analysis of the proposed bill. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 18 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Yunnan Jiang

Brief of American Civil Liberties Union et al. as Amici Curiae Supporting Plaintiff, Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse et al., No. 12-1043 (E.D. Va. Mar. 5, 2015) ECF No. 76-2.

Football season may be over, but the trademark battle over the Washington Redskins’ team name, mascot, and logo is raging on in federal court. The NFL team has faced heated controversy over its continued use of the term “Redskins,” which is considered by some to be an offensive racial slur for Native Americans. See Redskins Forever?, The New Yorker (May 10, 2013), http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/redskins-forever.

On March 5th, the ACLU filed an amicus brief in Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse et al. supporting the NFL team’s right to register six trademarks (the “Redskins marks”). The matter is currently before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, following an appeal by Pro-Football, Inc. (d/b/a the Washington Redskins) of a June 2014 order by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) cancelling the Redskins marks.  Brief of American Civil Liberties Union et al. as Amici Curiae Supporting Plaintiff, Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse et al., No. 12-1043 (E.D. Va. Mar. 5, 2015) ECF No. 76-2 (henceforth “Brief”).

In rejecting the Redskins marks, the TTAB relied on Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act which prohibits registration of any trademark consisting of “immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute,” 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), ultimately finding that the Redskins marks were disparaging to Native Americans, Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc., 111 U.S.P.Q.2d 1080, 2014 WL 2757516, at *29(T.T.A.B. 2014).


Posted On Mar - 17 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Patrick Gallagher

FCC Announces New Net Neutrality Rules

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission released a 313-page rule document outlining its new Internet regulations subsequent to its decision two weeks ago to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility. Some of the key provisions include rules against blocking non-illegal content, discretionary changes to the speed of online content delivery, and prioritization of web traffic speed to paying sites by Internet service providers. The framework calls for case-by-case adjudication in response to any disputes arising out of the regulations. A House bill has been introduced that would limit the FCC’s power under the current scheme.


Posted On Mar - 17 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Jeanne Jeong

UnknownSummary Judgment Finding Patent Claim Invalid as Indefinite Reversed and Remanded Due to Specification and Prosecution History

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Eidos Display, LLC v. AU Optronics Corp. reversed and remanded the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas grant of summary judgment finding that Eidos Display, LLC and Eidos III, LLC’s (Eidos) patent claim of U.S. Patent No. 5,879,958 (‘958 patent) was invalid as indefinite.  Eidos Display, LLC v. AU Optronics Corp., 14-1254 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 10, 2015).  The Federal Circuit held that in light of the specification and prosecution history, the claim informed relevant parties with reasonable certainty about the “scope of the claimed invention.”  Eidos at 2.  Eidos alleged that AU Optronic infringed claim 1 of 958 patent, which concerns manufacturing processes for an electro-optical device such as an LCD panel.  Id. at 3.  The limitation at issue involved the construction of the claim’s language, “contact hole for source wiring and gate wiring connection terminals.”  Id. at 10.  Finding that the specifications did not deviate from known industry practice at the time the patent was filed, the history of the patent, and the text of the specification itself, the court adopted Eidos’s construction and concluded that a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand that the language at issue meant separate contact holes for source wiring connection terminals and gate wiring connection terminals.  Id. at 11-15.



District Court Grant of Summary Judgment Finding Affirmed

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in American Energy Co., LLC ex rel. Exelon Generation Co., LLC v. United States affirmed the United States Court of Federal Claims’ decision granting summary judgment below based on the economic performance requirement of 42 U.S.C. § 461(h).  Amergen Energy Co., LLC ex rel. Exelon Generation Co., LLC v. United States, 14-5067 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 11, 2015).  Finding that the district court properly found § 461(h) pertained to the case, the court further determined based on the statutory text that the “all events test” is not limited to expense deductions and applies to basis calculation.  Amergen at 2. Because AmerGen did not economically perform the decommissioning during the relevant tax years, the court held that AmerGen may not, on its 2001 through 2003 tax returns, include future nuclear decommissioning liabilities from its purchase of three nuclear power plants for calculating the basis of an acquired nuclear power plant and associated assets.  Id. at 10-15.


Posted On Mar - 15 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Ken Winterbottom

Judicial Watch Sues to Reveal Clinton Emails

Conservative political watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State last Wednesday seeking to compel disclosure of email correspondence between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nagla Mahmoud, the wife of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. Mahmoud previously threatened to publish the emails last August, as evidence of an alleged “special relationship” between the Obama and Morsi administrations that President Obama disavowed when Morsi’s government was overthrown in the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état. Morsi was a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization later labeled a terrorist organization by Egypt’s successor government. Within a few weeks of Mahmoud’s threat, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking access to the emails. Because the State Department has not yet responded, the watchdog group is now suing to compel the release of the emails, possibly as a move to damage Clinton’s reputation in anticipation of the upcoming presidential election.


Posted On Mar - 11 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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