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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 Christopher A. Crawford – Edited by Abhilasha Nautiyal

AT&T shareholder proposal, hosted by Osc.state.ny.us
Verizon shareholder proposal, hosted by Aclunc.org
American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California Announcement

Photo By: Razor512CC BY 2.0

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (“ACLU”), in collaboration with other shareholders, filed shareholder proposals with Verizon and AT&T to persuade the telecommunications companies to issue transparency reports disclosing data about customer information that was passed on to the National Security Agency. This new tactic in the privacy fight is designed to highlight what activists say are serious costs associated with the telecom companies’ lack of transparency.

The Wall Street Journal and Ars Technica, among others, have reported the filing of these shareholder proposals. (more…)

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

By Mark Verstraete – Edited by Thuy Nguyen

Press Release, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York (Nov. 15, 2013)

On Friday, November 15, 2013, Anonymous and Lulzsec-affiliated hacktivist Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to ten years in prison and three years of supervised release. During his supervised release period, Hammond is proscribed from using computer anonymity devices, such as Tor. See Ars Technica. Hammond was sentenced in a federal courtroom for the Southern District of New York with roughly one hundred supporters and friends in attendance. See RollingStone Politics.

Ars Technica and RollingStone Politics review the background of the case and the context of the sentencing. CNET provides additional background and commentary from supporters and others. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 26 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Mengyi Wang

Icon-newsHaitian Photographer Awarded $1.2M in Copyright Infringement Case

Last Friday, a federal jury awarded Daniel Morel $1.2 million, the maximum statutory damages allowed by law, after finding that Agence France-Presse (“AFP”) and Getty Images willfully violated the Copyright Act, Reuters reports. The story began in 2010 when AFP and Getty Images distributed the photos that Morel took in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake without his permission. They subsequently filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against Morel for noninfringement. In January, a New York District Court judge ruled that AFP was liable for copyright infringement. Agence France Presse v. Morel, No. 10-02730 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 14, 2013). The jury trial was to determine whether AFP’s infringement was willful and the amount of damages. Further coverage can be found at ABC News.

UN Privacy Resolution Stays Strong Despite Orchestrated Challenges

The United Nations draft resolution calling for protection of digital privacy remains largely intact despite the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia’s concerted efforts to dilute the language, The Guardian reports. The resolution was spearheaded by Germany and Brazil in the wake of recent revelations that the United States had tapped the phones of 35 world leaders. As ABC News explains, UN General Assembly resolutions, though not legally binding, hold moral and political sway. Last week, five international human rights and privacy rights organizations – Access
Now, Amnesty International,
 Electronic Frontier Foundation,
 Human Rights Watch, and
 Privacy International – signed an open letter urging that all states meeting at the UN General Assembly back the resolution. The Guardian and Reuters discuss the disagreements among states in greater detail.

China to Launch Crude Oil Futures Market

China, surpassing the United States as the world’s largest oil importer, is expected to introduce crude oil futures in the Shanghai free-trade zone shortly, Bloomberg reports. According to Reuters, the Shanghai Futures Exchange is proposing a yuan-denominated contract and would permit foreign investors without local subsidiaries to trade. The bourse has already established an international energy trading platform and is awaiting Beijing’s nod to launch the contract. Business Insider and South China Morning Post provide overviews of the development.

Posted On Nov - 25 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co.
By Amy Zhang – Edited by Elise Young

Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Appeal No. 2013-1129 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 18, 2013)
Slip Opinion

Photo By: Kai HendryCC BY 2.0

On November 18th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a ruling on the Northern District Court of California’s decision denying Apple’s request for a permanent injunction against Samsung for patent infringement. The ruling is the most recent move in the Apple v. Samsung smartphone saga.

The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s findings that Samsung did not infringe on Apple’s design patents and trade dress, and thus that Apple is not entitled to injunctive relief. However, the Federal Circuit vacated the district court’s denial of injunctive relief for Apple’s utility patents and remanded the case for further considerations. The circuit court’s decision turns on the requirements for showing causal nexus between ongoing infringement and irreparable harm necessary for obtaining injunctive relief.

Patently-O provides a brief overview of the case and Apple’s previous attempts to secure an injunction. Reuters also provides a summary of the case. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 24 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Rita Resende Soares

Federal Circuit Renews Apple’s Hope For Injunction Against Samsung

Icon-newsLast Monday, a unanimous United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated a denial of injunctive relief to Apple against Samsung for the infringement of Apple’s utility patents over rubber-banding, pinch-to-zoom API and tap-to-zoom-and-navigate. Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., No. 13-1129 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 18, 2013), slip op. at 2. The district court abused its discretion in determining whether a “causal nexus” existed between Samsung’s infringement and Apple’s alleged irreparable harm, a nexus that may be satisfied by some connection between the patented features and the demand for Samsung’s products and that may be found by viewing patents in the aggregate. Id. at 19-21. The court also erred in concluding that the “inadequacy of legal remedies” prong weighed in Samsung’s favor because of Apple’s past licensing behavior and Samsung’ ability to pay any monetary judgment. Id. at 29-30. Following the Federal Circuit’s guidance, the district court on remand will likely grant an injunction to Apple with respect to the infringement of its utility patents. The Federal Circuit, however, affirmed the district court’s denial of Apple’s request for a permanent injunction with respect to its design patents and trade dress. Patentlyo and the Wall Street Journal provide a helpful overview of the case.

Google And Microsoft Strengthen Their Commitment Against Child Abuse

Google announced the introduction of new algorithms to prevent online searches for child abuse imagery, with the help of Microsoft picture detection technology. Google had previously avoided censoring its search results directly, developing instead open databases to which abusive imagery could be added by law enforcement agencies. This week, however, in an op-ed in Britain’s Daily Mail, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt revealed that they had “fine tuned Google Search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material,” effectively cleaning up over 100,000 queries possibly related to the sexual abuse of children. To avoid false positives generated by the algorithm, Google employees review the images before blocking them, distinguishing between “innocent pictures of kids at bathtime and genuine abuse.” Google is also developing technology that facilitates the identification of children being abused in YouTube videos, taking into account the growing tendency of pedophiles to film their crimes. The impact of these changes is expected to extend beyond the UK very soon, with implementation in more than 150 languages. Further coverage can be found at Ars Technica and The Verge.

Supreme Court Rejects Petition To Halt NSA Surveillance Of Domestic Telephone Calls

The Supreme Court has refused a petition for a writ of mandamus by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (“EPIC”) to review the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) order requiring Verizon to hand over all local telephonic metadata to the National Security Agency (“NSA”). EPIC claimed that the FISC had exceeded its statutory jurisdiction, as the wholesale handover of such data “[could not] plausibly be relevant to an authorized investigation.” Petition for a Writ of Mandamus and Prohibition, or a Writ of Certiorari, In re Electronic Privacy Information Center (filed July 8, 2013), at 3. EPIC further contended that no other court was open to hear a challenge to the FISC order. Scotusblog and Ars Technica offer an additional summary of EPIC’s contentions. Considering the Court’s refusal to consider the challenge without further comment, Wired estimates as highly unlikely the possibility of a judicial resolution to constitutional challenges of the NSA’s metadata collection programs in the near future.

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