A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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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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California Sex Offender Internet Identification Law Held Unenforceable

By Jesse Goodwin – Edited by Michael Shammas

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling granting a preliminary injunction prohibiting of the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (“CASE”) Act. In a unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel held that requiring sex offenders provide written notice of “any and all Internet identifiers” within 24 hours to the police likely imposed an unconstitutional burden on protected speech.

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Congress Fails to Pass Act Limiting Collection of Phone Metadata

By Henry Thomas – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

The Senate failed to reach closure and bring the USA FREEDOM Act to a vote. The Act would have extended provisions of the Patriot Act, but would have sharply curtailed the executive’s authority to collect phone conversation metadata. While the bill had broad popular support, the vote failed largely along party lines, passing the onus of drafting and approving a new bill onto the next congressional session.

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By Emma Winer

Icon-newsAmerican Dating Website Withdraws Plan to Sell User Information to Peer Canadian Site

True.com, a U.S. dating website, has called off a plan to sell user information to PlentyOfFish, a Canadian dating website, following an objection to the sale raised by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot in federal bankruptcy court. Abbott alleged that the transfer of personal user information without explicit consent violated the True.com’s privacy policy. PlentyOfFish withdrew its offer to purchase True.com’s information on October 23rd, 2013, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Third Circuit Finds Warrantless GPS Tracking Unconstitutional

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held last Tuesday that law enforcement must obtain a warrant before employing a GPS device to track a suspect’s car, Wired reports. United States v. Katzin, No. 12-2548 (3rdCir. October 22, 2013). Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct.  945 (2012), that attaching a GPS device to a suspect’s car qualified as a search under the Fourth Amendment, but the Court did not explicitly address whether such a search was unreasonable without a warrant. Katzin is the first appellate decision since Jones to find a warrantless GPS search unconstitutional, even if law enforcement officials acted with a good faith belief that their actions complied with the law. Ars Technica discusses the significance of the ruling in greater detail.

Sony Sues United Airlines for Copyright Infringement

Sony Music Entertainment filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against United Airlines last Tuesday. Arista Music v. United Airlines, Inc., No. 13-cv-07451-AT (S.D.N.Y filed October 22, 2013). As Law360 reports, Sony alleges that United Airlines used, without authorization, Sony songs and videos in in-flight media services provided to United Airlines by Inflight Productions Ltd. According to the complaint, United Airlines has acknowledged that the materials in question are copyrighted but has continued to use them anyway. The lawsuit seeks both damages and an injunction to enjoin use of the copyrighted works.

Posted On Oct - 28 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Interdigital Commc’ns, LLC v. Int’l Trade Comm’n
By James Grace – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

Interdigital Commc’ns, LLC v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 707 F.3d 1295 (Fed. Cir. 2013), cert. denied, No. 12-1352 (U.S. Oct. 15, 2013)
Petition for a Writ of Certiorari
Denial of Petition

Photo By: EnoksonCC BY 2.0

The Supreme Court denied Nokia’s petition for a writ of certiorari, Denial of Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Interdigital Commc’ns, LLC v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 707 F.3d 1295 (Fed. Cir. 2013), cert. denied, No. 12-1352 (U.S. Oct. 15, 2013), upholding the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s finding that Nokia had violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. §1337 (“Section 337”), by importing into the U.S. cell phones that violated two U.S. patents owned by InterDigital. Interdigital Commc’ns, LLC v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 707 F.3d 1295 (Fed. Cir. 2013).

In denying the petition without comment, the Supreme Court did not address Nokia’s question concerning the International Trade Commission’s (“ITC”) jurisdiction over the case. The Federal Circuit held that “licensing alone” could satisfy the “domestic industry” requirement of Section 337. Petition for Writ of Certiorari at 12, Interdigital, 707 F.3d 1295, cert. denied, No. 12-1352. (“Petition”). Nokia had argued that InterDigital had failed to meet the “technical” prong of the domestic industry requirement because it merely licensed its patents and did not manufacture “articles protected by the patent.” Id. at 17-18.

Bloomberg.com provides an overview of the litigation and comments on the significance of the decision for Nokia, InterDigital and other technology companies. (more…)

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

Columbia Pictures Indus., Inc. v. Fung
By Sam Callahan – Edited by Jennifer Wong

Columbia Pictures Indus., Inc. v. Fung, No. CV-06-05578SVW(JCx) (C.D. Cal. Filed Sept. 26, 2006)
Proposed Settlement (hosted by Wired)

Gary Fung, operator of the popular file-sharing website isoHunt.com, has agreed to pay $110 million in damages and will permanently shut down his site in order to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by six major film studios. Stipulation and Proposed Settlement, Columbia Pictures Indus., Inc. v. Fung, No. 2:06-cv-05578SVW(JCx) (C.D. Cal Oct. 17, 2013). The settlement comes after more than seven years of litigation with the Motion Picture Association of America (“MPAA”), which represents the studios—Columbia Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, and Disney among others.

Claiming more than 44 million users and indexing over 13 million active BitTorrent files, isoHunt was the fourth most popular website of its kind. Other file-sharing sites operated by Fung, including the popular TorrentBox.com, will also shut down as a result of the settlement.

Prior to the recent settlement, two federal courts had ruled against Fung in the lawsuit, first brought in 2006. The United States District Court for the Central District of California found Fung liable for copyright infringement in 2009, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the relevant parts of that holding in March. Columbia Pictures Indus., Inc. v. Fung, 710 F.3d 1020 (9th Cir. 2013).

The settlement was announced in an official statement from the MPAA. Wired and CNET also report on the recent settlement. A Washington Post blog comments favorably on the outcome, while Techdirt criticizes the settlement’s “bogus” damages value. Patently-O discusses the Ninth Circuit decision preceding the settlement. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 25 - 2013 1 Comment READ FULL POST

Intellect Wireless, Inc. v. HTC Corp.
By Mary Schnoor – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness

Intellect Wireless, Inc. v. HTC Corp., No. 12-1658 (Fed. Cir. October 9, 2013)
Slip opinion

On October 9th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment that two patents owned by Intellect Wireless, Inc. (“Intellect”) are unenforceable due to inequitable conduct. Intellect Wireless, Inc. v. HTC Corp., No. 12-1658, 1 (Fed. Cir. October 9, 2013). Intellect had claimed that HTC Corp., the Taiwanese smartphone maker, infringed patents covering technology allowing a wireless device to receive and display caller identification information. Id.

The Federal Circuit unanimously upheld the lower court’s decision, which found that Daniel Henderson, the founder of Intellect and inventor of the patents in question, intentionally submitted false statements as part of his Rule 131 declaration to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) and that his actions satisfied the Therasense standard for inequitable conduct. Id. at 3. During the prosecution of the patents, Henderson made false statements to the USPTO, claiming that he had actually reduced his invention to practice and that he had demonstrated it at a meeting in 1993. Id. at 4. Although Henderson’s attorney attempted to cure this misconduct by submitting revised declarations, the court’s opinion emphasized that such efforts to cure misconduct will be unsuccessful unless they explicitly acknowledge the false declaration’s existence to the USPTO and clearly state what was false and what the actual facts are. Id. at 5-6.

IPFrontline explains the court’s ruling and the lessons it provides for patent attorneys seeking to correct false declarations.  PharmaPatents also reviews the ruling, and PatentlyO provides a brief summary. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 22 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

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
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