A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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By Jaehwan Park – Edited by Kayla Haran

Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce Bill Encouraging U.S. Government Agencies to Use the Cloud as a Secure Alternative to Legacy Systems

Snapchat Accused of Violating Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Announces New Policy Group to Promote Global Digital Trade

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Second Circuit Prohibits Extraterritorial Application of Stored Communication Act’s Warrant Provision

The Second Circuit reversed a U.S. Magistrate Judge’s warrant ordering Microsoft to produce customer content stored in Ireland. The Second Circuit held that the warrant provisions in § 2703 of the Stored Communications Act, 18 USC §§2701-2712 (1986) (“SCA”), cannot be used to compel a service provider to disclose user e-mail content stored exclusively on a foreign server.

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U.S. District Court Denied TC Heartland’s Writ of Mandamus to Transfer Patent Infringement Suit

 

In April 2016, the Federal Circuit denied TC Heartland LLC’s writ of mandamus. Hartland requested the court order the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware to dismiss or transfer the patent infringement suit initiated by Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC. In rejecting Hartland’s request, the court explained that a writ of mandamus is an “extraordinary remedy appropriate only in exceptional circumstances” and Hartland did not meet this bar.

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Congresswoman Speier’s Revenge Pornography Bill: Crossing the First Amendment Line?

On July 14, 2016, Congresswoman Speier proposed the Intimate Privacy Protection Act, a bill designed to make revenge pornography a federal crime punishable with up to five years in prison. Although the current version is narrower in scope than previous iterations, there are still some concerns that this bill violates the First Amendment’s right to free speech.

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Following an unfavorable verdict from a second jury and the Court’s denial of the first motion for judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL”), Oracle America, Inc. (“Oracle”) filed a renewed motion for JMOL pursuant to FRCP Rule 50(b). Oracle’s second motion, filed July 6, 2016, claimed that “no reasonable jury” could find that Google’s “verbatim [and] entirely commercial” copying of Oracle’s code, in order to compete with Oracle, was fair use.[1] The motion will be heard on August 18, 2016.

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By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Jenny Choi

On February 13, 2015, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that Andrus Nomm, a computer programmer from Estonia who worked for Megaupload.com from 2007 until his arrest in January 2012, pleaded guilty in connection with his involvement with Megaupload and associated piracy websites. He is sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for conspiring to commit felony copyright infringement. In court papers, Nomm agreed that Mega Conspiracy’s conduct caused more than $400 million loss to copyright holders and that the group gained at least $175 million in proceeds. He also admitted that he was aware of the stored copyright-infringing content on the websites and that he personally downloaded copyright-infringing files from the Mega websites.

Megaupload.com was a file-sharing company established in Hong Kong by Kim Dotcom in 2005 and soon became one of the world’s largest piracy hubs. At one point, it accounted for 4% of all the Internet traffic and had more than one billion total visits, 150 million registered users, and 50 million daily visitors. According to The Guardian, Megaupload made a huge profit by paying people to upload pirated materials and facilitating unsanctioned exchanges of music and movies. On January 19, 2012, the DOJ shut down Megaupload and prosecuted the Mega group, after intense lobbying by the movie and music industries. Afterwards, according to another statement published by The Guardian, the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America brought civil lawsuits targeting Dotcom.

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Posted On Mar - 5 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Anne Woodworth

Report Claims Facebook Privacy Policy in Violation of EU Law

A report by the Centre of Interdisciplinary Law and ICT in Belgium claims that Facebook’s January privacy policy update remains in violation of European consumer protection law.  The authors stated that collection of device information such as location data defies article 5(3) of the EU e-Privacy Directive, requiring “free and informed prior consent before storing or accessing information on an individual’s device.”  The report criticized Facebook for not allowing users to control their appearance in “sponsored stories” and highlighted the inability of users to opt out of location sharing on the app without going through their mobile operating system.  Facebook responded that it’s updated terms and policies expand user control over advertising and comply with EU laws.

FCC Preempts State Laws Limiting City-Provided Internet Service

In a 3-2 vote, the FCC overrode state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that make it difficult for cities to provide internet service independently.  The move is likely to provoke litigation over limits on Federal Power.  In 2004, the Supreme Court ruled in Nixon v. Missouri Municipal League that Section 253 of the Telecommunications Act did not allow for state preemption in a case concerning the blocking of municipal broadband service.  The FCC Chairman said the current action is allowable under Section 706 which mandates the blocking of growth barriers in the broadband market.

Aereo Files Repayment Plan Following Bankruptcy Auction

Last week, eight months after the Supreme Court declared Aereo Inc.’s television streaming business illegal, the company auctioned off intellectual property, technology and other assets for a total of $1.55 million, a much smaller sum than expected.  It’s trademarks, domain names and customer list sold to TiVo for $1 million.  On Friday February 27, the company laid out its plan to repay creditors.  The auction sale is set to be approved in a March 11 hearing, and Aereo hopes to have the repayment plan confirmed by creditors in May.

Posted On Mar - 5 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Amanda Liverzani

UnknownPTO’s Statutory Interpretation on Patent Term Adjustment Upheld 

In Gilead Sciences, Inc. v. Michelle Lee, the Federal Circuit upheld the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“PTO”) interpretation of a statute addressing the type of applicant conduct factored into a Patent Term Adjustment (“PTA”). 2014-1159 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 26, 2015), slip op. at 16. Gilead argued that the PTO’s PTA calculation for U.S. Patent No. 8,148,374 was based on an arbitrary and capricious interpretation of § 154(b)(2)(C)(i) of the Patent Act, which states that a PTA for delay caused by the PTO is to be offset by the time “the applicant failed to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude prosecution of the application.” Id. at 8 (quoting § 154(b)(2)(C)).  The court rejected Gilead’s argument that, contrary to the PTO’s interpretation, the statute should be read only to include applicant conduct that actually delays prosecution.  Applying the Chevron two-step framework, the court concluded that the PTO’s interpretation was entitled to deference because Congress did not specifically address whether an applicant’s failure to engage in reasonable efforts need actually cause delay, id. at 13, and that the PTO’s interpretation was permissible given the broad language of the statute, id. at 13-14. A timeline of the relevant patent prosecution and further explanation of the court’s decision are available at PatentlyO.

 

Federal Circuit Affirms Garmin Fitness Watches Do Not Infringe on Pacing Patent

The Federal Circuit upheld a district court decision that Garmin’s GPS fitness watches do not infringe on a patent held by Pacing Technologies in Pacing Technologies, LLC v. Garmin International, Inc., 2014-1396 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 18, 2015). The patent at issue, U.S. Patent No. 8,101,843 (“the ‘843 patent”), claims a method for pacing users during activities like running or cycling “by providing the user with a tempo . . . corresponding to the user’s desired pace.” Slip op. at 2.  On appeal, the court considered whether the patent claims were limited to devices that convey pace to the user through a play back mechanism such as a song or flashing lights. Id. at 4.  The Federal Circuit agreed with the district court’s finding that claims of the ‘843 patent were limited to devices with play back features, id. at 5, and subsequently held that Garmin’s fitness watches did not infringe on Pacing Technologies’ patent, id. at 10. For additional commentary see Law360, the National Law Review, and PatentlyO.

 

Online Shopping Cart Patents Deemed Invalid in Infringement Action Against Victoria’s Secret and Avon

 Soverain Software’s patent claims directed to online shopping carts were found invalid due to issue preclusion by the Federal Circuit, reversing the decision of the Eastern District of Texas in an infringement action against Victoria’s Secret and Avon. Soverain Software LLC v. Victoria’s Secret Direct Brand Management, LLC, Avon Products, Inc., 2012-1649, 2012-1650 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 12, 2015), slip op. at 2. The patents involved in the case, U.S. Patent No. 5,715,314 and U.S. Patent No. 5,909,492, were previously found invalid by the Federal Circuit in Soverain Software LLC v. Newegg Inc., 705 F.3d 1332 (Fed. Cir. 2013). Id. The court rejected Soverain’s argument that issue preclusion should not apply in the instant action because Soverain did not have full and fair opportunity to litigate. Id. at 6-14.  Further coverage of the decision and related litigation involving shopping cart patents is available at Ars Technica, IPWatchdog, and Law360.

 

Posted On Mar - 2 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Katherine Kwong  

U.S. v. Ulbricht, No. 13-06919 (S.D.N.Y., February 4, 2015)

FBI Press Release
UnknownOn February 4, a federal jury in Manhattan rendered its verdict in the trial against Ross Ulbricht, a 30-year-old U.S. citizen allegedly in charge of the online black market platform Silk Road. The jury found Mr. Ulbricht guilty on all charges. The case is important as it represents an attempt by the government to regain control over an area of the internet where tools such as bitcoin and Tor are used to create an online space beyond the reach of the authorities.

A summary of the case is provided by Ars Technica, Forbes, and Reuters. Wired provides an in-depth analysis of the decision. Details on the course of the trial can be found at Forbes and Forbes. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 2 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

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.

(more…)

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