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Insuring Patents

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Jennifer Chung and Ariel Simms

Despite its increasing availability, patent insurance—providing defensive protection against claims of patent infringement and funding offensive actions against patent infringers—continues to be uncommon. This Note aims to provide an overview of the patent insurance landscape.

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Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 Seeks to Establish Federal Cause of Action for Trade Secrets Misappropriation

By Suyoung Jang – Edited by Mila Owen

Following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval in January of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, the Committee has released Senate Report 114-220 supporting the bill. The bill seeks to protect trade secret owners by creating a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Evan Tallmadge – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

The Linked Inheritability Between Two Regions of DNA is an Unpatentable Law of Nature

HP Setback in Challenging the Validity of MPHJ’s Distributed Virtual Copying Patent

CardPool Fails to Escape an Invalidity Judgment But Can Still Pursue Amended Claims

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Amicus Brief by EFF and ACLU Urging Illinois State Sex Offender Laws Declared Unconstitutional under First Amendment

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Mila Owen

With the Illinois Supreme Court gearing up to determine the constitutionality of the state’s sex offender registration statute, two advocacy non-profits have filed amicus briefs in support of striking the law down.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Gia Velasquez – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Federal Court Grants Uber’s Class Action Certification Appeal

Independent Contractor Classification of Uber Drivers May Violate Antitrust Laws

Self-Driving Car Will Be Considered Autonomous Driver

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By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Insue Kim

On July 25, 2014, the House passed bill S517, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. This legislation was designed to make it legal for consumers to circumvent copy protection mechanisms for cell phone software when changing service providers—a practice known as “unlocking,” which had been illegal under the recommendation of the Library of Congress in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).

The new bill was originally introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy [D-VT] on March 11, 2013, and it has not been amended since its introduction. The House originally passed a version of the bill that included controversial language which would still outlaw unlocking in bulks. After consumer group backlash, however, the Senate passed a version without the controversial language, and the House agreed to approve this version. The new bill essentially aims to increase consumer choice, allowing consumers to unlock their phones freely, as long as their device is fully paid for. Now that President Obama has signed the bill into law, it is now easier for cell phone users to change their phone service provider without having to purchase a new device.

A summary of the history surrounding the bill is available here. The Washington Post discusses the future implications of its passage. PC, Ars Technica, and the National Journal provide additional commentary.

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Posted On Aug - 5 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Travis West

In the Matter of a Warrant for All Content and Other Information Associated with the Email Account xxxxxxx@gmail.com Maintained at Premises Controlled by Google, Inc., Case 1:14-mj-00309-UA (S.D.N.Y. Jul. 18, 2014) Memorandum Opinion

A Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge granted the government’s application for a search warrant in a money laundering investigation to obtain emails and other information from a suspect’s Gmail account, conflicting with the opinions of several other judges.

The SDNY magistrate judge addressed the conflicting opinions, disagreeing with the central issues in both a DC District Court and a District of Kansas opinion. The magistrate concluded that these courts too narrowly interpreted the Fourth Amendment’s particularity requirement, and also that the reasonableness standard of the Fourth Amendment does not require the court to place protocol on how the government conducts its search. In granting the warrant, the magistrate opened the door for government search and seizure of massive amounts of email information, spurring a controversial debate over privacy concerns.

IT World, Reuters, and Tech Times provide an overview of the case. Slate criticizes the decision, stating that the magistrate “furthered an alarming trend” with the decision. Tech Law discusses reactions to the ruling.

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Posted On Aug - 5 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Creating full-text searchable database of copyrighted works is “fair use”
By Yixuan Long- Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust, No. 12‐4547‐cv (2d Circuit, June 10, 2014)

Slip opinion

booksIn a unanimous opinion delivered by Judge Parker, the Second Circuit held that under the fair use doctrine universities and research libraries are allowed to create full‐text searchable databases of copyrighted works and provide such works in formats accessible to those with disabilities. The court also decided that evidence was insufficient to decide whether the plaintiffs had standing to bring a claim regarding storage of digital copies for preservation purposes. In so holding, the Second Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the district court’s opinion.

The Guardian, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Bloomberg BNA overviewed the case. The district court opinion can be found here.

The fair use doctrine, set out in the Copyright Act of 1976 as a limitation on authors’ exclusive rights over their works, allows the public to draw upon copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder in certain circumstances. 17 U.S.C.A. § 107

Several research universities made digital copies of books in their collections and created a repository for the books called HathiTrust Digital Library (“HDL”) in 2008. They also founded HathiTrust to operate it. The HDL provides a full-text book database that allows users to search for page numbers where specific text can be found, and permits member libraries to provide patrons with certified print disabilities access to the full text of copyrighted works. HathiTrust currently has 80 members and the HDL contains over ten million books. Twenty authors and authors’ associations sued HathiTrust for copyright infringement.

The court first decided that three authors’ associations plaintiffs, including Authors Guild, Inc., do not have standing as a matter of U.S. law because the Copyright Act of 1976 does not allow third parties to bring suits. The remaining four authors’ associations’ standing came from foreign law that confers upon them exclusive rights to enforce copyrights of their foreign members. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

European Union Court of Justice Holds that Individuals Browsing Websites are not in Violation of Copyright Law
By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Yixuan Long

Case C‑360/13, Pub. Relations Consultants Ass’n v. Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd. (E.C.R., June 5, 2014)

Slip opinion

Hacked By Over-XThe Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) affirmed the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, which had held that webpage browsers do not need license to view copyrighted materials online. The court concluded that the on-screen and cached copies meet the criteria for exemption from reproduction laws laid out in Articles 5(1) and 5(5) of the Directive 2001/29, art. 5, 2001 O.J. (L 167/10) 16, 17 (EC) (hereinafter “Directive”), finding both types to be: temporary, created in the context of the technological process of viewing webpages, contributing to the efficiency of browsing, and transient and/or incidental in nature. The court also concluded that these reproduction acts do not unreasonably prejudice the interests of rightholders and do not conflict with the normal exploitation of the reproduced works.

With this holding, the CJEU issued a crucial decision for European Union law, balancing the rights of copyright holders and the rights of individuals to browse authorized content without being liable for infringement.

The Guardian and PCWorld provide overviews of the case. Ars Technica offers a critical perspective on the decision, claiming that the real issue was much narrower than the CJEU portrayed with its decision.  (more…)

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Georgia Supreme Court Takes Chan v. Ellis Appeal to Redefine First Amendment Right on the Internet
By Yixuan Long – Edited by Emma Winer

Chan v. Ellis, A14A0014, (Court of Appeals of Georgia, July 02, 2014)

Transfer order (hosted by Scribd)

Photo By: André Natta - CC BY 2.0

Photo By: André NattaCC BY 2.0

The Georgia Court of Appeals ordered that the appeal in Ellis v. Chan be transferred to the Georgia Supreme Court on July 02, 2014. Chan, an interactive website owner, had appealed the trial court’s permanent protective order in August of 2013. The protective order commanded him to take down more than 2000 posts on his website that mentioned Ellis, and forbade him from approaching within 1000 yards of Ellis. The Court of Appeals decided that the case “raised significant and novel constitutional issues addressing the interplay of the First Amendment and the wide dissemination of information made possible by the internet,” which are “of first impression in Georgia, and there is very little if any directly applicable law in other jurisdictions.” Order, Chan v. Ellis, A14A0014, (Court of Appeals of Georgia, July 02, 2014) (transferring appeal to Georgia Supreme Court).

Ars Technica provides an overview of the case, and features an interview with Matthew Chan. Electronic Frontier Foundation offers a thorough legal analysis of the decision. Related documents, including appellate briefs, can be found on Scribd.

Linda Ellis is the author of a popular inspirational poem. As Ars Technica reports, she actively searches for people who use her poem without permission and sends out settlement letters to these entities demanding thousands of dollars in damages. Matthew Chan runs Extortion Letter Info (ELI), an interactive website for discussing aggressive copyright enforcement efforts; such aggressive actors have been colloquially termed “copyright trolls”. In 2012, he began criticizing Ellis’ “trolling” practice on ELI, and the discussion soon became heated. Some users allegedly posted threats to Ellis on the website’s message board, as well as Ellis’ home address.  (more…)

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2014 3 Comments READ FULL POST
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