A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Steven Wilfong

Multimedia car system patents ruled as unenforceable based on inequitable conduct

ITC’s ruling that uPI violated Consent Order affirmed

Court rules that VeriFone devices did not infringe on payment terminal software patents

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Viviana Ruiz

Converse attempts to protect iconic Chuck Taylor All Star design

French Court rules that shoe design copyright was not infringed

Oklahoma Court rules that Facebook notifications do not satisfy notice requirement

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Silk Road Founder Loses Argument That the FBI Illegally Hacked Servers to Find Evidence against Him

By Travis West  — Edited by Mengyi Wang

The alleged Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was denied the motion to suppress evidence in his case. Ulbricht argued that the FBI illegally hacked the Silk Road servers to search for evidence to use in search warrants for the server. The judge denied the motion because Ulbricht failed to establish he had any privacy interest in the server.

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Trademark Infringement or First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech?

By Yunnan Jiang – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

On October 11, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, Inc. (“ACLU”) filed a joint brief in the U.S. Court Of Appeals, urging  that “trademark laws should not be used to impinge the First Amendment rights of critics and commentators”. The brief argues that the use of the names of organizations to comment, critique, and parody, is constitutionally protected by the speaker’s First Amendment right of freedom of expression.

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Twitter goes to court over government restrictions limiting reporting on surveillance requests

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Michael Shammas

Twitter on Oct. 7 sued the government, asking a federal district court to rule that it was allowed to reveal the numbers of surveillance requests it receives in greater detail. Twitter opposes complying with the rules agreed upon by the government and other tech companies in a settlement earlier this year, and argues that the rules violated its rights under the First Amendment.

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By Mengyi Wang

Protecting Dwindling Elephant Populations in Kenya: Google Earth, Drones, and Legislation

The lucrative ivory trade continues to fuel elephant poaching, spurring the alarming decline in Kenya’s elephant population. To halt the decline, conservationists working near Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve have been tracking and redirecting elephants, Bloomberg reports. The conservationists have equipped 15 elephants with GPS devices to track their locations via Google Earth. When the elephants have strayed near poaching areas or human conflict, drones frighten them toward safe places using unpleasant sounds. Kenya has also proposed legislation penalizing the slaughter of elephants with fines of as much as 10 million Kenyan shillings ($117,000) and 15-year sentences.

California Governor Vetoes State Electronic Privacy Bill

Last Saturday, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 467 (“SB 467”), which would have required state law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant before accessing the contents of electronic communications and to notify a user within three days of receiving those contents. Brown, in his veto message, questioned the wisdom of imposing “new notice requirements that go beyond those required by federal law and could impede ongoing criminal investigations.” Electronic Frontier Foundation, a sponsor of the bill, disagrees. It argues that the 27-year-old federal Stored Communications Act, which allows police to access without a warrant the contents of electronic communications that have been stored on a server for more than 180 days, is “woefully outdated.” It also explains that SB 467 would have incorporated the delayed notice provisions in federal law in order to avoid hindering criminal investigations. The Hill and Electronic Frontier Foundation discuss the factual and legal background of the legislation in more detail.

SeaChange Prevails in ARRIS Patent Dispute

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit unanimously affirmed a lower court’s rejection of ARRIS Group, Inc.’s (“ARRIS”) (formerly nCUBE Corporation) allegations that SeaChange International Inc. (“SeaChange”) was in contempt of a 2006 permanent injunction enjoining SeaChange from selling products that infringe ARRIS’s media server patent. nCUBE Corp.  v. Seachange Int’l Inc., No. 13-1066 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 10, 2013). The litigation dates back to 2001, when nCUBE Corporation, the owner of U.S. Patent No. 5,805,804 (“the ‘804 patent”), commenced a patent infringement suit against SeaChange for its Interactive Television (“ITV”). Id. at 2-3. Following an adverse jury verdict in 2002, SeaChange released a redesigned version of its ITV that it believed to be non-infringing. Id. at 3. In 2009, ARRIS filed a motion for contempt in a federal district court and alleged that the minor changes in SeaChange’s new ITV system did not bring it outside of the scope of the ’804 patent. Id. The Federal Circuit concluded that the lower court did not err in finding that ARRIS failed to show that SeaChange’s new ITV was “not more than colorably different” from the infringing ITV, TiVo Inc. v. EchoStar Corp., 646 F.3d 869, 882-83 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (en banc), and affirmed the denial of ARRIS’s motion. nCUBE, No. 13-1066 at 10. Multichannel and MarketWatch feature summaries of the litigation history and Seagate’s reaction to the decision.

Posted On Oct - 21 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

United States v. Moalin
By Anton Ziajka – Edited by Elise Young

United States v. Moalin, 10-CR-4246 (JM) (S.D. Cal. filed Oct. 22, 2010)
Defendants’ Joint Motion for a New Trial and Prosecution’s Response and Opposition hosted by Ars Technica

Photo By: jeffschulerCC BY 2.0

Basaaly Moalin, a Somali immigrant who earlier this year was convicted of conspiring to provide material support to the terrorist group al-Shabaab, filed a motion for a new trial last month. Moalin based his motion upon facts that surfaced during congressional hearings held in response to Edward Snowden’s release of information about the U.S. government’s electronic surveillance programs. Joint Motion for a New Trial at 1, Moalin (“Motion”). The government filed its response and opposition on September 30.

U-T San Diego reports on Moalin’s conviction and motion for a new trial. Slate and Ars Technica provide analysis of the case and its potential implications. The Washington Post reports on the FBI and NSA’s disclosures about the NSA’s surveillance of Moalin. JOLT Digest has previously reported on the surveillance leaks and related litigation. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 20 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Delfi AS v. Estonia
By Jennifer Garnett – Edited by Elise Young

Delfi AS v. Estonia, no. 64569/09, Eur. Ct. H.R. (October 10, 2013)
Judgment

Photo By: Eugene RegisCC BY 2.0

The European Court of Human Rights  (“ECHR”) upheld Estonian court rulings that Delfi, an online news portal in Estonia, was liable for defamatory comments posted by its users. Delfi AS v. Estonia, no. 64569/09, ¶¶7, 94, Eur. Ct. H.R. (October 10, 2013). Delfi was fined 5,000 kroons (approximately $426) in damages. Id. at ¶23. The ECHR affirmed the finding that Delfi could be held liable as a “publisher” of the work, id. at ¶50, and held that the decisions represented a “justified and proportionate” restriction on Delfi’s freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“Convention”). Id. at ¶94. In so holding, the ECHR noted that Delfi was “expected to exercise a degree of caution” in monitoring comments on predictably controversial articles. Id. at ¶86. The ECHR further held that it was both practical and reasonable to hold Delfi liable, as the actual authors of the comments were anonymous and Delfi derived a commercial benefit from allowing its users to comment. Id. at ¶¶91, 93. The decision, however, may still be appealed.

Index, Forbes, and the International Business Times, strongly criticize the case, arguing that the decision departs from the traditional approach to liability for anonymous comments, and that the result could have far-reaching implications for Internet liability and the freedom of anonymity. Inforrm’s Blog features a thorough and critical analysis of the Court’s decision. The ECHR’s press release may be found here. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 19 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Mark Verstraete

Icon-newsMassachusetts District Court Denies Motion For Preliminary Injunction against Aereo

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied a motion for preliminary injunction against Aereo, Inc. (“Aereo”), a company that captures television broadcast signals with individualized antennas and streams the broadcasts to paying subscribers. Hearst Stations Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., No. 13-cv-11649, at 3 (D. Mass. October 8, 2013). Hearst Stations Inc. (“Hearst”) claimed that use of Aereo’s technology directly infringes on exclusive rights guaranteed to Hearst as copyright holder under 17 U.S.C §106. In denying the motion, the court assessed the likelihood of Hearst succeeding on the merits and the likelihood of Hearst suffering irreparable damage without injunctive relief (Hearst, No. 13-cv-11649 at 8). The analysis of Hearst’s success on the merits focused predominately on whether Aereo “perform[ed] the copyrighted [audiovisual] work publicly,” a right exclusively reserved for the copyright holder. Id. at 9. The court reasoned that Aereo’s activities did not constitute a “public performance” because Aereo’s manner of transmitting TV signals creates “copies unique to each user and only at the user’s request.” Id. at 11. The court conceded that it was possible that Hearst could experience irreparable harm but concluded that the harm, if it did occur, would most likely materialize after the litigation and that demonstrating the potential for harm does not outweigh Hearst’s failure to show likelihood of success on the merits. Id. at 18. JOLT Digest covered earlier disputes involving Aereo, including the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s affirming the denial of a preliminary injunction against Aereo brought by several broadcast TV networks. ArsTechnica provides further coverage.

Airbnb Responds to Subpoena from New York Attorney General

Airbnb, Inc. (“Airbnb”), a company that provides an online platform for connecting “Hosts” that seek to rent their accommodations to “Guests” seeking accommodations, responded to a subpoena demanding information about 15,000 of its New York Hosts to determine if the Hosts’ practices violated New York laws regulating rental agreements and taxes. Airbnb, Inc. v. Schneiderman, Memorandum of Law in Support of the Verified Petition, at 1 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. October 9, 2013) (Hosted by ArsTechnica).  Airbnb contends that the subpoena implicates serious privacy concerns because it is overly broad. Id. at 4. That is, Hosts that are “not subject to the laws” or “are exempt from the tax scheme” may fall within the scope of the requested information. Id. at 2. Airbnb also pushed back on the New York housing laws themselves by claiming that they are inherently vague and thus fail to give fair notice. Id. at 6.

Delaware District Court Dismisses Class Action Suit Against Google Regarding Personally Identifiable Information

A federal judge dismissed a class action suit against Google because the plaintiffs had failed to show “an injury in fact” and thus lacked standing to bring the suit. In Re: Google Inc. Cookie Placement Consumer Privacy Litigation, No. 12-md-02358-SLR (D. Del. October 9, 2013) (Hosted by The Am Law Daily). The claim against Google arose from its practice of embedding advertisements with code that deceives Apple Safari and Internet Explorer into accepting third-party cookies. Id. at 1. The plaintiffs claim that the manipulation of an Internet browser into accepting cookies infringes on their economic interests – constituting an injury in fact – because it provides the defendants with the plaintiffs’ valuable information without paying for it. Id. at 4. The plaintiffs supported the idea that their personal information is economically valuable because it can be sold directly to advertisers. Id. at 5. The court reasoned that, although the plaintiffs demonstrated that personal data has value, they failed to show that their ability to monetize their data “has been diminished or lost by virtue of Google’s previous collection of it.” Id. at 6-7. Thus, the plaintiffs failed to allege an injury-in-fact and lacked Article III standing. TechCrunch contextualizes the decision within the larger Federal Trade Commission investigation.

Posted On Oct - 15 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Travis West – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

Photo By: Robson#CC BY 2.0

The National Security Agency (“NSA”) has developed techniques to circumvent the anonymity offered by the Tor network. Tor is a service that anonymizes users’ Internet traffic by routing requests to websites and other services through multiple servers, making it extremely difficult to track. While the NSA can track some Tor users, the agency has been unable to crack the underlying technology and instead relies on tools like browser exploits and its direct access to the Internet backbone to intercept website requests.

The Guardian and The Washington Post published the original stories based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Bruce Schneier of The Guardian provided a technical analysis of the NSA’s techniques. Ars Technica and Time Techland provided additional coverage. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 12 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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Federal Circuit Flas

By Steven Wilfong Multimedia car system patents ruled as unenforceable based ...

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Flash Digest: News i

By Viviana Ruiz Converse attempts to protect iconic Chuck Taylor All ...

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Silk Road Founder Lo

By Travis West — Edited by Mengyi Wang Order, United States ...

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Trademark Infringeme

By Yunnan Jiang – Edited by Paulius Jurcys Brief for the ...

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Twitter goes to cour

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Michael Shammas Twitter, Inc. vs. ...