A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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By Ellora Israni – Edited by Filippo Raso

IMDb is challenging the constitutionality of Assembly Bill 1687 (“AB 1687”), a California law requiring IMDb to remove ages from its website upon request from paid subscribers, claiming that the law violates the First Amendment’s free speech protections.

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Facebook Blocks British Insurance Company from Basing Premiums on Posts and Likes

By Javier Careaga– Edited by Mila Owen

Admiral Insurance has created an initiative called firstcarquote, which analyzes Facebook activity of first-time car owners. The firstcarquote algorithm determines risk based on personality traits and habits that are linked to safe driving. Firstcarquote was recalled two hours before its official launch and then was launched with reduced functionality after Facebook denied authorization, stating that the initiative breaches Facebook’s platform policy.

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Airbnb challenges New York law regulating short-term rentals

By Daisy Joo – Edited by Nehaa Chaudhari

Airbnb filed a complaint in the Federal District Court of the Southern District of New York seeking to “enjoin and declare unlawful the enforcement against Airbnb” of the recent law that prohibits  the advertising of short-term rentals on Airbnb and other similar websites.  Airbnb argued that the new law violated its rights to free speech and due process, and that it was inconsistent with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online intermediaries that host or republish speech from a range of liabilities.

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Medtronic v. Bosch post-Cuozzo: PTAB continues to have the final say on inter partes review

By Nehaa Chaudhari – Edited by Grace Truong

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“the Federal Circuit”) reaffirmed its earlier order, dismissing Medtronic’s appeal against a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”). The PTAB had dismissed Medtronic’s petition for inter partes review of Bosch’s patents, since Medtronic had failed to disclose all real parties in interest, as required by 35 U.S.C. §312(a)(2).

 

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California DMV Discuss Rules on Autonomous Vehicles

DOJ Release Guidelines on CFAA Prosecutions

Illinois Supreme Court Rule in Favor of State Provisions Requiring Disclosure of Online Identities of Sex Offenders

Research Shows Concerns for Crucial Infrastructure Information Leaks

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By Steve Wilfong

Pricing and Contract Negotiations within United States not Sufficient to Constitute “Sale Within” the United States

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., 13-1472 (Fed. Cir. October 22, 2014), affirmed the United States District Court for the District of Nevada’s ruling that Pulse did not directly infringe three of Halo’s patents related to surface mount electronic packages (U.S. Patents #5,656,985, 6,297,720, and 6,344,785), because the accused products were not sold, shipped, manufactured or delivered within the United States.  Halo at 2.  Halo argued that because negotiations and demand projections between Pulse and a buyer occurred in the United States, the accused products were “sold within” the United States as defined in Section 271(a) of the patent statute.  Id. at 9.  The Federal Circuit rejected this argument, holding that pricing and contract negotiations do not constitute a sale within the United States “when substantial activities of [the] sales transaction, including the final formation of a contract for sale . . . [and] delivery and performance under that sales contract, occur entirely outside the United States.”   Id. at 12.  The Federal Circuit stated that the “presumption against extraterritorial application of United States laws” supports this decision.  Id. at 13.  The Federal Circuit also concluded that the fact that Halo suffered economic harm from Pulse’s actions was not sufficient to establish infringement, id. at 14, and upheld the District Court’s judgment that Pulse’s infringement was not willful, id. at 19.  Law360 provides a discussion of the ruling.

Examining Electronic Passports Does Not Constitute Infringement

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Iris Corporation v. Japan Airline Corporation, 10-1051 (Fed. Cir. October 21, 2014), affirmed the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York’s ruling that Japan Airlines Corporation did not infringe Iris Corporation’s patent on secure identification document production (U.S. Patent #6,111,506).  Iris at 2.  Iris argued that Japan Airlines examines passports that are made using methods claimed in the patent, and that this process constitutes patent infringement.  Id. at 3. The Federal Circuit rejected this argument, affirming the District Court’s finding that the infringing acts are carried out “for the United States” as described in 28 U.S.C. §1498(a), and that as a result Iris’s only remedy would be an “action against the United States.”  Id. at 4, citing 28 U.S.C. §1498(a).  The court concluded that Japan Airlines’ passport examination was both “conducted ‘for the government’” and “conducted ‘with the authorization or consent of the government,” and that as a result the United States had assumed liability for the infringing activities.  Id.  In support of this conclusion, the court stated that Japan Airlines could not comply with United States laws without examining passports, id., and that the actions benefited the government by improving national security, id. at 5-6.

Divided Court of Appeals Denies Bristol-Myers Rehearing Petition 

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Bristol-Myers Squibb Company v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., 13-1306 (Fed. Cir. October 20, 2014), denied Bristol-Myers’ combined petition for panel rehearing and rehearing en banc.  Bristol-Myers at 3.  The panel held that a Bristol-Myers patent for a compound used to treat hepatitis B was invalid due to obviousness, because it was based on a prior-art compound.  Id. at 2 (Taranto, dissenting).  The panel concluded that the fact that the prior-art compound was found to be toxic after Bristol-Myers filed their patent should not influence the finding of obviousness.  Id.  The Federal Circuit affirmed the panel’s position, holding that the toxic nature of the prior compound should not be considered in this case under 35 U.S.C. §103, because “an invention is not patentable if it ‘would have been obvious before the effective filing date . . . to a person having ordinary skill in the art to which the claimed invention pertains.”  Id. at 1 (Dyk, concurring), citing 35 U.S.C. §103 (emphasis in original).  The opinion included two dissents, which raised concerns that the majority’s ruling would make the process of establishing patentability of new products unduly difficult.  See, e.g., id. at 3 (Newman, dissenting).  Law360 provides an in-depth discussion of the ruling.

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

By: Olga Slobodyanyuk, Edited by: Saukshmya Trichi

American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., No. 15-cv-1543 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 23, 2014) Opinion and Order hosted by National Association of Broadcasters.

aereo_antenna_array1On October 23, the SDNY District Court granted a preliminary injunction restraining Aereo from retransmitting Live TV programs. In doing so, the Court rejected Aereo’s claim that it offers a cable TV service thus being entitled to a compulsory license for the copyrighted programs. By virtue of the injunction  Aereo is prohibited from “streaming, transmitting, retransmitting, or otherwise publicly performing any Copyrighted Program over the Internet (through websites such as aereo.com), or by means of any device or process throughout the United States of America, while the Copyrighted Programming is still being broadcast.”

Aereo is a tech start-up which offered  live and time-shifted streams of TV shows over the Internet through tiny remote antennas that captured TV signals upon the subscribers’ requests. In June, the Supreme Court held that Aereo’s service of streaming TV shows amounts to  a public performance under the ‘Transmit Clause’ of the Copyright Act. American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo, Inc. 134 S.Ct. 2498 (Supreme Court of the United States, June 25, 2014) Slip Opinion. Digest report of the case for further details. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 4 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Ariane Moss

Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Apple over MacBook Pro GPU Issues

Owners of 15-inch and 17-inch 2011 Series MacBook Pro might finally get compensated for their GPU-related malfunctions. The law firm of Whitfield, Bryson & Mason filed a complaint in a California federal court against Apple on behalf of California and Florida residents who purchased the 2011 MacBook Pro with AMD graphics, although they are considering extending this suit beyond the jurisdictions of California and Florida. The complaint describes the problem as “graphics becoming distorted, followed by software shutdowns, system freezes and, eventually, total system failure” and alleges that Apple has failed to reimburse customers who were forced to pay for repairs costing between $350 to $600 to fix. The complaint also accuses Apple of ignoring customers who have complained including those who attempted to directly contact CEO Tim Cook.

Spain Enacts “Google Tax” Anti-Piracy Law

Spain passed a new copyright law requiring Google to pay newspaper publishers for using their news content or face a fine of up to 600,000 euro. Spain will also require removal of all copyright infringing material from websites if the websites themselves don’t profit from the infringement. European publishers accuse search firms of using their copyrighted material to build news services without doing any original reporting, whereas Google defends itself by claiming that it directs billions of views to newspapers’ websites every month. Germany recently passed a similar law which resulted in Google’s completely removing affected newspapers from their site, but publishers eventually requested to be relisted after suffering from huge traffic drops. The law passed with heavy resistance from the opposing party who regard the legislation as a misguided effort.

Virginia Police Can Demand Fingerprint Passcodes

A Virginia Circuit Court judge ruled that requiring a suspect to unlock a phone with a fingerprint is not unconstitutional, although requiring a password to unlock is unconstitutional. This case involves a man charged with assaulting his girlfriend and prosecutors who believed his phone contained video of the conflict. Although the judge agreed with the defense counsel which argued that passcodes are protected by the Fifth Amendment, he decided fingerprints are more similar to providing DNA which the law permits and less like a password which requires the defendant to divulge knowledge. The court pointed out the legal difference between a person’s knowledgeprotected under the Fifth Amendmentand identity.

Posted On Nov - 4 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Henry Thomas

Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act, 12 Del. C. §§ 5001 – 5007 (2014).

Delaware Code

On August 12, 2014, the General Assembly of the State of Delaware adopted the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act sponsored by Rep. Darryl Scott (D-Dover). The Act takes effect on January 1, 2015 and aims to solve the problem of what happens to online accounts after the account holder passes away. The State of Delaware has become one of very few jurisdictions to adopt special rules for this matter.

The Act allows a fiduciary to “have the same access as the [deceased] account holder” within 30 days of making a written request to the account “custodian.”  In a departure from other statutes, the Act assumes that fiduciaries “have the lawful consent of the account holder” even when the account holder has not explicitly provided for this privilege. 12 Del. C. § 5005.

The Act was prepared by attorneys from the Delaware State Bar Association who were cooperating with colleagues from the Uniform Law Commission. The new Delaware Act is largely based on the principles of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (“UFADAA”) adopted by the Uniform Law Commission in its July 2014 session.

One of the notable features of the Delaware Act is that it adopts a relatively broad notion of fiduciaries covering personal representatives appointed by will, guardians, trustees, and agents. 12 Del. C. § 5002(9). Though the Act only applies to estates governed by Delaware law, its effects may be far-reaching; digital assets will be subject to the law even if the tech companies (or the deceased herself) are not residents of Delaware.

The proliferation of various digital communication media facilitated much discussion on whether third parties (such as spouses, children or estate managers) should be given access to the deceased person’s online accounts, and, if so, who should be authorized to get access and how should they be allowed to dispose the digital assets in those accounts. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 4 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Google Appeals Ruling that Use of Java APIs in Android Violates Oracle’s Copyrights

By Katherine Kwong– Edited by Ashish Bakshi

Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Google Inc. v. Oracle Am., Inc., No. 14–410 (U.S. October 6, 2014)

Petition hosted by The American Lawyer.

how-to-draw-an-android-android-phone_1_000000008746_5On October 6, Google filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule on whether copyright protections extend to a software “system or method of operation,” such as an application programming interface (API). Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Google Inc. v. Oracle Am., Inc., No. 14-410 (U.S. October 6, 2014).

Google and Oracle have been embroiled in a legal battle since 2010, when Oracle filed suit alleging that Google’s use of Java method headers and class names in the Android operating system infringed upon Oracle’s copyrights. Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google Inc. 872 F.Supp.2d 974, 975 (N.D. Cal. 2012). Hosted by Casetext.com. Oracle claimed that Google “has replicated the structure, sequence and organization of the overall code” of 37 Java API packages. Id.

The trial court ruled in 2012 that Oracle’s Java API was “a system or method of operation under Section 102(b) of the Copyright Act” that therefore could not be copyrighted.  Id. at 977. The court’s rationale was that the duplicated Java method headers under contention could not be copyrighted because they needed to be duplicated to ensure interoperability. Id. at 976. Java’s class names were likewise ruled ineligible for copyright because “copyright protection never extends to names or short phrases as a matter of law.” Id. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 28 - 2014 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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