A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Olga Slobodyanyuk

ICANN responds to terrorism victims by claiming domain names are not property

D.C. District Court rules that FOIA requests apply to officials’ personal email accounts

Class-action lawsuit brought against ExamSoft  in Illinois

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Federal Circuit Applies Alice to Deny Subject Matter Eligibility of Digital Imaging Patent

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Mengyi Wang

In Digitech Image Technologies, the Federal Circuit embraced the opportunity to apply the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Alice to resolve a question of subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. §101. The Federal Circuit affirmed summary judgment on appeal, invalidating Digitech’s patent claims because they were directed to intangible information and abstract ideas.

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Unlocking Cell Phones Made Legal through Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Insue Kim

Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act allows consumers to unlock their cell phones when changing service providers, but the underlying issue of “circumvention” may have broader implications for other consumer devices and industries that increasingly rely on software.

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SDNY Magistrate Grants Government Search Warrant for Full Access to Suspect’s Gmail Account in Criminal Investigation

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Travis West

In an opinion that conflicts with decisions from the DC District Court and the District of Kansas, a SDNY magistrate granted the government’s search warrant for full access to a criminal investigation suspect’s Gmail account.

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

In 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 the evidence was insufficient to decide whether the plaintiffs had standing to bring a claim regarding storage of digital copies for preservation purposes.

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Bayer Healthcare Pharm., Inc. v. Watson Pharm., Inc.
By Erica Larson – Edited by Suzanne Van Arsdale

Bayer Healthcare Pharm., Inc. v. Watson Pharm., Inc., No. 12-1397 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 16, 2013)
Slip opinion

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The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the judgment of the Nevada District Court, which ruled that claims 13 and 15 of Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Bayer Schering Pharma AG (“Bayer”) U.S. Patent RE37,564 were not invalid for obviousness. The patent claimed a combination of synthetic hormones and dosing regimens used by Bayer in the Yaz birth control pill. Three generic manufacturers—Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Sandoz, Inc., and Lupin Ltd.—filed Abbreviated New Drug Applications (“ANDAs”) with the FDA, including Paragraph IV certifications, 21 U.S.C. 355(j)(2)(A)(vii)(IV), asserting that the patent was invalid.

The Federal Circuit held, first, that the patented combinations were obvious in view of prior art:  two foreign patent applications and four scholarly articles. Bayer Healthcare Pharm., Inc. at 11. A person of ordinary skill in the art would have been motivated by the knowledge disclosed in the prior art to craft Bayer’s combination and would have had a reasonable expectation of success. Id. at 11–12. Second, the court rejected Bayer’s arguments on secondary indicia of non-obviousness relating to unexpected results, expert skepticism, industry praise, and copying. Id. at 10, 15.

Reuters and Bloomberg put this ruling into context by describing Bayer’s continuing legal troubles with Yasmin, the precursor to Yaz; the company faces thousands of legal claims that Yasmin increases the risk of blood clots. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 30 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.
By Alex Shank – Edited by David LeRay

Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., No. 12-398 (U.S. Apr. 15, 2013)
Transcript of Oral Argument

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On Monday, April 15, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments to determine the validity of a patent encompassing the use of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Mutations in these genes correlate strongly with the development of breast and ovarian cancers. As the patent owner, Myriad Genetics, Inc. (“Myriad”) possesses and exercises the exclusive right to sell diagnostic testing kits based on these genes.

The ACLU first challenged the constitutionality of the Myriad patent in the District Court of the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”), claiming that the patent violated the First Amendment. The SDNY invalidated the patent on other grounds, holding that the genes were “products of nature” and thus not patentable subject matter. On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) affirmed that “comparing” gene sequences was unpatentable as an “abstract mental step” but reversed the SDNY by holding that Myriad’s “screening” claims were patentable. After deciding Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., the Supreme Court vacated the CAFC’s earlier decision and remanded the case to be decided in light of Mayo. The CAFC reaffirmed that isolated genes were patentable as “markedly different” from genes in the human body and reaffirmed its earlier position on the various method patents. The ACLU appealed to the Supreme Court.

SCOTUSblog comments on the Supreme Court’s skepticism regarding the validity of the Myriad patents. The New York Times offers a summary of the oral argument and background on the case. Nature newsblog and Patently-O predict how the Supreme Court may narrow the scope of its holding to a particular class of genetic material. JOLT Digest previously commented on the implications of a ban on gene patents. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 29 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Charlie Stiernberg

Digital Public Library of America Goes Live, Sans Fanfare

The Digital Public Library of America (“DPLA”) website went live late last week; however, the celebration was postponed in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, reports the Harvard Crimson. After more than two years of planning, the DPLA became the first national digital library in the world—with about two million books, pictures, manuscripts, and other materials. The staff is working to overcome copyright obstacles to add more works. A ceremony was to take place on April 18 and 19 at the Boston Public Library, the first public library in the country. But given its proximity to the site of the bombings, organizers decided to reschedule the event for the fall.

ITC Rules Apple iPhone did not Violate Motorola Patents

The International Trade Commission (“ITC”) terminated its investigation into Apple’s alleged infringement of Motorola U.S. Patent No. 6,246,862 (“the ‘862 patent”), “Sensor controlled user interface for portable communication device,” finding no violation of section 337, reports Ars Technica. The ‘862 patent was the last patent remaining of the six included in the original complaint filed by Motorola in 2010. In a notice issued April 22, the ITC found that the ‘862 patent is obvious in view of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,052,464 and 5,894,298. The case is one piece of a larger patent battle between Apple and Motorola, being waged in courts worldwide.

Parties Race to Register “Boston Strong” Trademark with USPTO

Less than a week after the Boston Marathon bombing, two Massachusetts parties have applied to trademark the phrase “Boston Strong” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), reports the Huffington Post. The first application, filed by Born Into It, Inc., is a standard character mark for “clothing and accessories.” The second application, filed by an individual, is also a standard character mark for “[i]mprinting messages on T-shirts.” The hashtag #BostonStrong has garnered a strong following on Twitter over the last week. The Huffington Post notes that similar applications following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks were denied by the USPTO.

Posted On Apr - 29 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Ron Gonski

Flash DigestHouse Passes CISPA

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, reports Ars Technica. The proposed bill aims to facilitate the sharing of data between Internet companies and the government for cybersecurity purposes. The bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, as a previous version of the bill died there last year, notes NBC News. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, under fears that the bill does not do enough for user privacy, according to the New York Times.


Federal Circuit Renews K-Tech Communications Lawsuit Against DirecTV

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit renewed a lawsuit filed by K-Tech Communications against DirecTV for alleged patent infringement, Bloomberg reports. The court ruled that a complaint for patent infringement does not have to identify the infringing device to satisfy the requirements of Form 18 (the sample complaint for patent infringement in the Appendix of Forms to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure). K-Tech Telecommunications Inc. v. Time Warner Cable Inc., No. 12-1425, slip op. at 17 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 18, 2013). Interestingly, the court also stated that, should there be a conflict between Form 18 and the plausibility standard for pleading requirements set forth in Iqbal and Twombly, Form 18 would control. Id. at 11.

Government Squashes Dozens of Patents a Year for National Security Reasons

Government “secrecy orders” have prevented more than 5,000 inventions from being patented, reports Wired. If the Department of Defense believes that an invention could be a national security threat, it can issue a secrecy order to prevent the inventor from discussing the technology with anyone. Patent applicants can appeal a secrecy order, but that process can often take years. The applicable law is based on a vague standard of “detrimental to national security,” according to Wired.

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

Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc.
By Charlie Stiernberg – Edited by Andrew Crocker

Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc., No. 12 Civ. 95 (RJS) (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2013)
Slip Opinion

Internet startup ReDigi—“the world’s first and only online marketplace for digital used music”—recently suffered a setback in the rollout of its digital music resale platform. Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc., No. 12 Civ. 95 (RJS), slip op. at 1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2013). Judge Sullivan for the District Court for the Southern District of New York granted plaintiff Capitol Records’ motion for partial summary judgment on its claims for defendant ReDigi’s direct, contributory, and vicarious infringement of its exclusive distribution and reproduction rights under the 1976 Copyright Act. The court held, in a case of first impression, that the first sale doctrine,17 U.S.C. § 109(a), does not permit the resale of a digital music file, and that uploading to and downloading from the cloud “incident to a sale” falls outside the scope of the fair use defense, 17 U.S.C. § 107.

The New York Times provides a summary of the case and places it in the context of a broader debate over digital secondary markets, including books and movies. The Electronic Frontier Foundation expresses frustration over the court’s decision not to “bring the first sale doctrine into the 21st century.” Billboard notes that unlike iTunes sales, record labels do not get any proceeds from ReDigi sales of “perfect digital copies of ‘pre-owned’ music.” (more…)

Posted On Apr - 19 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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