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Nintendo Wins Summary Judgment Based on Doctrine of Prosecution History Estoppel

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Stacy Ruegilin

On July 17, 2015, the Northern District Court of California granted a summary judgment motion in Nintendo’s favor in a patent suit, construing disputed term in accordance with Nintendo’s interpretation and finding that the patent had not been infringed. The court based its decision on prosecution history estoppel, highlighting differences between the processes of obtaining and enforcing a patent.

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District Court Holds that Internet-Based Television Provider, FilmOn X is Entitled to a Compulsory License

By Anne Woodworth – Edited by Henry Thomas

The U.S. District court for the Central District of California ruled that an online streaming service that rebroadcasted network television fit the definition of a cable company, and was entitled to compulsory licensing under § 111 of the Copyright Act.  The order relied on the Supreme Court’s Aereo decision, which held that internet streaming was fundamentally the same as cable. The ruling conflicts with a Second Circuit case decided on similar facts, and is immediately appealable.

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Data Breach Victims, Rejoice: Seventh Circuit Finds that Threat of Injury is Sufficient for Article III Standing in Data Breach Class Actions

By Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ariane Moss

Last Monday, the Seventh Circuit Courto of Appeals ruled that victims of a data breach had standing to pursue a class action even when they had not suffered direct financial harm as a result of the breach or when they had already been compensated for financial harm resulting from the breach. The opinion reversed a contrary district court decision, which the Seventh Circuit said had incorrectly read the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA.

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How Far Can Law Enforcement Go When Gathering Email Evidence? Former Gov. Scott Walker Employee Files Petition for Writ of Certiorari

By Kasey Wang – Edited by Ariane Moss

Kelly Rindfleisch is serving a six-month sentence for misconduct in public office while working for then-County Executive Scott Walker. Rindfleisch appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming that the government violated her Fourth Amendment rights while searching her emails for evidence for a different case.

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Russia’s “Right To Be Forgotten” and China’s Right To Be Protected: New Privacy and Security Legislation

By Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

The legislatures in Russia and China took steps this month to tighten regulations over Internet companies with access to user data. In Russia, President Vladmir Putin signed a law ensuring a “right to be forgotten” reminiscent of the European Court of Justice’s right to be forgotten ruling of May 2014. And in China, the National People’s Congress released a draft cybersecurity bill that would formalize and strengthen the State’s long-standing regulation of websites and network operators.

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Photo By: Robert Scoble - CC BY 2.0

Photo By: Robert ScobleCC BY 2.0

By Lan Du – Edited by Katherine Kwong

Court Ruling

On March 2, 2015, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s investigation of Google was halted by a federal court granting Google’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. Recently, U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate issued the opinion laying out his reasoning for siding with Google and denying Hood’s motion to dismiss the case.

After several years of back-and-forth, the case escalated on October 27, 2014 when Hood served Google with a 79-page subpoena under the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act. According to Google’s complaint, the Attorney General “threatened to prosecute, sue, or investigate Google unless it agrees to block from its search engine, YouTube video-sharing site, and advertising systems, third-party content (i.e., websites, videos, or ads not created by Google) that the Attorney General finds objectionable.” Google refused to comply with the subpoena, and instead brought federal action against Hood in December 2014. The company’s argument relied on its free speech rights and the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (“CDA”), which shields intermediates like Google from liability arising from third-party content, as well as its rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, the Copyright Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”).  (more…)

Posted On Apr - 20 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Ken Winterbottom

J.P. Morgan Appeal Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction

In Intellectual Ventures II LLC v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., 2014-1724 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 1, 2015), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit dismissed the bank defendants’ interlocutory appeal for want of jurisdiction. Intellectual Ventures, a known patent troll, filed the suit against J.P. Morgan Chase and several other financial institutions in 2013, alleging infringement of five patents. The defendants, who are represented by renowned law and technology scholar Mark Lemley, filed a motion to stay the case pending the outcome of several CBM review petitions they intended to file. The district court denied the motion, citing, among other things, the plaintiff’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. In a 2-1 decision, the Federal Circuit dismissed the defendants’ appeal, which was premised solely upon a grant of jurisdiction in §18 of the America Invents Act, a provision which the court said “must be construed narrowly”. Because the Patent Trial and Appeal Board had not yet acted on the defendants’ CBM review petitions, there was not yet a “proceeding” for the purposes of §18, and thus, the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case. The majority found support for this position in the legislative history of the America Invents Act, as well as through an interpretative analogy to the meaning of “proceeding” in 35 U.S.C. §325.

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Posted On Apr - 13 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

 

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By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

Decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, Case Number G 002/13 (Mar. 25, 2015)

Everything’s coming up roses for plant patent holders, following the European Patent Office’s recent endorsement of patents for tomato and broccoli plants.  In a March 25, 2015 decision, the Enlarged Board of Appeal (“EBA”) held that the European Patent Convention’s Article 53(b) prohibition on patents for production of plants by “essentially biological processes . . . does not have a negative effect on the allowability of a product claim directed to plants.” Decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, Case Number G 002/13 (Mar. 25, 2015) at 68.

The European Patent Office’s Technical Board of Appeals referred the question of Article 53(b) scope to the EBA in connection with two cases, “Tomato II” and “Broccoli II.” The patent at issue in Tomato II, European patent No. 1 211 926, concerns “a method for breeding tomatoes having reduced water content, and the product of the method.” Id. at 4. Broccoli II involves European patent No. 1 069 819, which was directed at broccoli produced through “a method for selective increase of the anticarcinogenic glucosinates in brassica species.” Id. at 12. 

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Posted On Apr - 13 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Saukshmya Trichi

Application

Stephen Hawking is posed to leverage his physics fame into a brand name. The renowned theoretical physicist has filed an application seeking trademark protection of his name with the U.K. Intellectual Property Office. The trademark, if approved, will give Hawking greater control over how his name is used in connection with certain goods and services including charitable endeavors, scientific research, and medical devices.

Hawking, the director of research at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Theoretical Cosmology and author of popular-science books including the 1988 bestseller A Brief History of Time, has enjoyed increased popularity in recent years following appearances on The Simpsons, Futurama, and The Big Bang Theory, as well as the release of the 2014 critically-acclaimed biographical film The Theory of Everything.

The University of Cambridge declined to comment on the rationale behind Hawking’s trademark application, stating: “It’s a personal matter for Stephen Hawking, it is not a university issue, but he has taken measures to protect his name and the success it has bought.” Toby McDonald and Jonathan Leake, “It’s the Big Brand Theory as Cox and Hawking Trademark Names,” The Sunday Times, Mar. 29, 2015. Some however, have suggested that Hawking’s decision was motivated by a desire to stop exploitation of his name through unauthorized or inappropriate products. See Thomas Burrows, “Big Brand Theory for Professors Brian Cox and Stephen Hawking who Trademark Own Names To Turn Themselves Into Brands,” Daily Mail, Mar. 29, 2015.

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Posted On Apr - 8 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Jeanne Jeong

European Regulators and Watchdogs Increase Investigation of “Technology Giants”

European Union officials have taken steps to increase pressure on U.S. technology companies including Facebook, Apple, and Google, on a range of matters including privacy and competition. European watchdogs in France, Spain, and Italy have escalated scrutiny of Facebook’s privacy controls, following the footsteps of Dutch, Belgian, and German officials.  Privacy watchdogs in those countries have joined a group looking into the company’s access to and use of personal information from its millions of users in Europe.  In connection with Apple’s plans to market a subscription-based music streaming service, European competition officials sent questionnaires to record labels for information into agreements with Apple.  Officials are concerned whether Apple, using its clout in the music industry, may attempt to persuade labels to use its service over others.  The recent surge of privacy and competition investigations suggests a trend toward more aggressive stances on these issues in Europe.

Snapchat Published Transparency Report Revealing Government Data Sharing

On April 2, 2015, Snapchat published its first-ever transparency report, revealing its sharing of data with the government.  During the reporting period of November 2014 and February 2015, Snapchat received 375 criminal legal requests for user information by U.S. law enforcement, and produced at least some data in 92% of those requests.  The majority of the requests came in the form of search warrants and subpoenas.  The report shows during the same period, Snapchat received a total of 28 requests for such information from government entities outside the United States.

(more…)

Posted On Apr - 6 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST
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