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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Société des Produits Nestlé S.A. v. Cadbury UK Ltd.
By Anton Ziajka – Edited by Abhilasha Nautiyal

Société des Produits Nestlé S.A. v. Cadbury UK Ltd., [2013] EWCA (Civ) 1174 (October 04, 2013)
Judgment hosted by BAILII

Britain’s Court of Appeal (Civil Division) reversed an order of the High Court of Justice (Chancery Division) that had approved for registration Cadbury UK Ltd.’s (“Cadbury”) Trade Mark application No. 2 376 879 (“the ‘879 application”) for a specific shade of purple to be used on the packaging of its chocolate products. The Court of Appeal held that Cadbury’s color mark did not qualify as a trade mark under the Trade Marks Directive 2008/95 (“the Directive”). 2008 O.J. (L 299) 25, 26 (EC). The Court held that “an application to register a trade mark must satisfy three conditions …: (i) there must be a sign; (ii) it must be capable of graphical representation; [and] (iii) it must be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.” Société des Produits Nestlé S.A. v. Cadbury UK Ltd., [2013] EWCA (Civ) 1174 at ¶15. The Court concluded that Cadbury’s impugned mark did not constitute “a sign” that is “graphically represented” and thus failed to satisfy conditions (i) and (ii) of Article 2 of the Directive. Id. at ¶51. To allow registration of a trademark with such vagueness, the Court noted, would offend both “the principle[s] of certainty…[and] of fairness,” in part because “competitors… would not be able to tell from inspecting the register the full scope and extent of the registration.” Id. at ¶52.

The Guardian and World Intellectual Property Review provide coverage of the decision. The Washington Post compares the decision with several prominent United States cases involving color trade marks. The IPKat provides further analysis and commentary on the case and related decisions. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 11 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Simon Heimowitz – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness

Photo By: Sean MacEnteeCC BY 2.0

On August 3, the Obama administration issued a veto on an International Trade Commission (“ITC”) exclusion order that had effectively banned the importation of some older models of the iPhone and iPad. Letter from Michael B. G. Froman, U.S. Trade Representative, to Irving A. Williamson, Chairman, ITC (Aug. 3, 2013). The ITC had ordered the ban on older Apple devices — the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G distributed with cellular service by AT&T — after agreeing with Samsung that Apple had infringed one of Samsung’s standard-essential patents (“SEPs”). The ban would have gone into effect on August 5. Ambassador Froman expressed the administration’s decision to veto the exclusion order as the result of “extensive consultations with the agencies of the Trade Policy Staff Committee and the Trade Policy Review Group, as well as other interested agencies and persons,” after which he “decided to disapprove the USITC’s determination to issue an exclusion order and cease and desist order in this investigation.” Letter at 3. As reported by Forbes.com, Froman noted the administration’s decision was made after taking into account the “effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers.” Id.

(more…)

Posted On Sep - 14 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Elise Young

Flash DigestApple Prevails on Appeal, Re-Opening Door on Motorola Infringement Case

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that Apple could proceed in its patent infringement case against Google-owned Motorola Mobility for two touch-screen patents.  Apple Inc. v. Int’l Trade Comm., No. 12-1338 at 2 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 7, 2013). The court reversed in part the International Trade Commission’s findings that the patents at issue were anticipated and obvious. Id. If Apple prevails in its case, some Motorola devices could be banned from sale in the U.S. CNET provides an overview of the case while FOSS Patents discusses the technology and patents in more detail.

Bitcoin Is a Currency that May Be Regulated Under U.S. Law

Magistrate Judge Mazzant recently ruled that Bitcoin is “currency or a form of money.” SEC v. Shavers, No. 13-00416 at 3 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 6, 2013). This determination was significant because it enabled the court to find that investments made by Bitcoin Savings and Trust were “investment contracts” and thus “securities” over which the court had subject matter jurisdiction. Id. at 4. Securities include investment contracts, and an investment contract “is any contract, transaction, or scheme involving (1) an investment of money, (2) in a common enterprise, (3) with the expectation that profits will be derived from the efforts of the promoter or a third party.” Id. at 3. For more general discussion of the case, see Ars Technica.

Federal Circuit’s Judge Plager Argues that Ambiguous Terms Should Be Construed Against the Drafter

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit panel issued three separate opinions in reversing and remanding the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota’s claim construction in a case of patent infringement brought by 3M. 3M Innovative Props. Co. v. Tredegar Corp., No. 12-1241 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 6, 2013). In his concurring opinion, Judge Plager emphasized that the plaintiff’s “sloppy drafting” and frequently conflicting language put the court in the position of “crystal ball” reader, an arduous and nigh-impossible task. Id. at 2 (Plager, J., concurring). Judge Plager went on to advocate that the court adopt the “contract doctrine of contra proferentum” which resolves ambiguous terms against the drafter. Id. at 4.

Posted On Sep - 3 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Photo By: Nancy PelosiCC BY 2.0

Written By: Natalie Kim
Edited By: Alex Shank

Introduction

Amidst heated debate and unprecedented lobbying in Brussels, European Union lawmakers are currently drafting a General Data Protection Regulation (“DPR”) to replace the outdated 1995 Data Protection Directive. The 1995 Directive has been criticized for being technologically outdated and cumbersome to follow. If enacted, the DPR will be among the toughest data protection laws in existence. Regardless of enaction, the DPR signifies a growing rift between EU and U.S. data protection ideals. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 11 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Written by: Suzanne Van Arsdale
Edited by: Michelle Sohn

Introduction

On May 21, 2013, Twitter launched version 1.0 of the Innovator’s Patent Agreement (“IPA”), which formalizes a company’s commitment to non-offensive patenting and leaves some control in the hands of inventors.

This Comment addresses the incentives for and legal implications of adopting the IPA. Part I broadly discusses the content of the IPA and its adoption. Part II reviews the software industry’s concerns and current practices. Part III examines the practical effect of adopting the IPA, its scope, and its binding and defensive nature. Part IV reviews other defensive patenting mechanisms and compares them to the IPA. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 11 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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