A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules on Protecting and Promoting Open Internet

By Shuli Wang – Edited by Yaping Zhang

Two weeks after voting on regulating broadband Internet service as a public utility, on March 12, the Federal Communications Commission (”FCC”) released a document (the FCC Order and Rules) on net neutrality, which reclassifies high-speed Internet as a telecommunications service rather than an information service, thus subjecting Internet service providers (ISPs) as common carrier to regulations under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The purpose of the new rules is to ensure the free flow of bits through the web without paid-for priority lanes and blocking or throttling of any web content.

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White House releases administration discussion draft for Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2015

By Lan Du – Edited by Katherine Kwong

On February 27, 2015, President Obama released an administration draft of a proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act. The proposed bill’s stated purpose is to “establish baseline protections for individual privacy in the commercial arena and to foster timely, flexible implementations of these protections through enforceable codes of conduct developed by diverse stakeholders.”

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Patrick Gallagher

Federal Circuit Affirms Denial of AT&T Motion to Extend or Re-open Filing Period for Appeal in Patent Infringement Suit

In Patent Suit Against Apple, Federal Circuit Affirms in Part, Reverses in Part

Federal Circuit Reverses DNA Sequencing Technology Patent Construction

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Wikimedia Sues NSA for Upstream Surveillance

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

Wikimedia Foundation filed a suit against the NSA challenging the constitutionality of upstream surveillance programs, which allow the NSA to communicate by Americans and persons abroad. The claim, which was joined by eight other human rights organizations, challenges NSA’s actions as violations of the First and Fourth Amendments of the US Constitution.

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Florida Considers a Bill Outlawing Anonymous Websites

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Anton Ziajka

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill, the “True Origin of Digital Goods Act,”  that would require owners and operators of websites that disseminate “commercial” recordings or audiovisual works to prominently disclose their true names, physical addresses, and telephone numbers or email addresses on the websites. The bill extends to all websites that deal “in substantial part” in disseminating such recordings or audiovisual works, “directly or indirectly,” to Florida consumers.

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The Charles Machine Works, Inc. v. Vermeer Manufacturing Co.
By Mengyi Wang – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness

The Charles Machine Works, Inc. v. Vermeer Manufacturing Co., No. 12-1578 (Fed. Cir. July 26, 2013)
Slip Opinion

20130807 Charles Machine Works v. VermeerOn July 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated-in-part, affirmed-in-part, and reversed-in-part a lower court’s summary judgment of noninfringement, literally or under the doctrine of equivalents, as to Vermeer Manufacturing Company’s (“Vermeer”) commercial products and non-commercial prototypes.

In a unanimous opinion, the Federal Circuit held that The Charles Machine Works (“CMW”) lacked notice that the non-commercial prototypes were within the scope of summary judgment and therefore vacated the relevant part of the lower court’s decision. For the commercial products, the court affirmed the finding of no literal infringement but reversed the grant of summary judgment regarding non-infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. It reasoned that the lower court had improperly discounted CMW’s expert testimony that established genuine factual disputes about equivalence.

Patently-O summarizes the history of the litigation and briefly explains the court’s ruling. Finnegan and McKenna Long & Aldridge feature analyses of prior Federal Circuit jurisprudence regarding the doctrine of claim vitiation. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 8 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Fox Broadcasting Co. v. Dish Network
By Simon Heimowitz – Edited by Samantha Rothberg

Fox Broadcasting Co. v. Dish Network, No. 12-57048 (9th Cir. July 24, 2013)
Slip Opinion, hosted by eff.org

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court decision to deny Fox Broadcasting Company’s (“Fox”) request for a preliminary injunction against Dish Network’s (“Dish”) “AutoHop,” a product associated with Dish’s “Hopper.” The Hopper allows subscribers to automatically record Fox’s primetime television shows and then view them with the commercials fast-forwarded, without manual user involvement.

The Ninth Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in deciding that Fox “did not demonstrate a likelihood of success on its copyright infringement and breach of contract claims regarding Dish’s implementation of [two television recording products].” Fox Broadcasting Co. v.  Dish Network, No. 12-57048, slip op. at 10 (9th Cir. July 24, 2013). The court determined that Dish Network was not responsible for directly infringing Fox’s copyright because the consumer initiates the copying process, not Dish Network. Id. at 12. The court also ruled that Dish would not be held liable for secondary infringement because although Fox carried its burden of proving direct infringement by consumers, Dish successfully raised an “affirmative defense that its customers’ copying was a ‘fair use.’” Id. at 13 (citation omitted). The court affirmed that Fox was unlikely to succeed on its breach of contract claims against Dish, noting that the commercial-skipping function of the Hopper product “does not implicate Fox’s copyright interest because Fox owns the copyrights to the television programs, not to the ads aired in the commercial breaks.” Id. at 14–15. The Ninth Circuit considered a number of related precedents in determining that the Hopper’s noncommercial time-shifting function was non-infringing fair use. See id. at 13–15.

The New York Times and Reuters provide an overview of the case. Ars Technica features an analysis of the decision and provides detailed context regarding the rancorous history between Dish and major TV networks over the Hopper. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 6 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

American Civil Liberties Union et al. v. Clapper et al.
By Michelle Sohn – Edited by Katie Mullen

American Civil Liberties Union et al. v. Clapper et al., No. 1:13-cv-03994 (S.D.N.Y. filed June 11, 2013)
Scheduling Order

At a hearing last Thursday,  Judge William Pauley of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied the government ‘s request to delay a hearing date for American Civil Liberties Union et al. v. Clapper et al., reports ArsTechnica.  The denial is the latest in the American Civil Liberties Union’s (“ACLU’s”) challenge to the Obama administration’s metadata collection practices, specifically collecting Verizon’s customer records.

The Guardian provides a synopsis of the case, describing the judge’s dismissal of the government’s request as the administration being “rebuffed.” JOLT Digest has previously reported on the U.S. government’s programs that collect massive amounts of data from Verizon and Internet companies such as Google and Facebook. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) order, which Edward Snowden leaked to the Guardian, authorizing the metadata collection is hosted by the Guardian. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 4 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Mengyi Wang

Icon-news

SEC Charges Texas Man with Running a Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme

Last Tuesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced charges against Trendon Shavers and his company, Bitcoin Savings and Trust (“BTCST”), for operating a Bitcoin-denominated Ponzi scheme. The SEC alleges that, from 2011 to September 2012, Shavers raised more than 700,000 BTC (then worth more than $4.5 million) in principal investments from BTCST investors, falsely promised them a seven percent weekly interest, and misappropriated investor funds. On the same day, the SEC also issued an investor alert warning investors of Ponzi schemes in general and those involving virtual currencies in particular. CNN and the Guardian provide commentary on the case.

Rep. Amash’s Amendment to End NSA’s Blanket Collection of Americans’ Telephone Records Fails in the House

Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated the Amash amendment by a 205-217 vote, Techcrunch reports. According to Congressman Amash’s Fact Sheet, The amendment aimed to “limit[] the government’s collection of records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act to those records that pertain to a person who is subject to an investigation under that provision.” Recent revelations showing the extent of the NSA’s collection of personal electronic information (previously covered by the Digest) motivated in part Congressman Amash’s proposal. The New American and The Week discuss the political implications of the vote, and the Guardian provides legal background and analysis.

Federal Circuit Affirms Insufficiency of Written Description in Novozymes’ Patent

In Novozymes A/S v. DuPont Nutrition Biosciences APS, No. 12-1433 (Fed. Cir. July 22, 2013), the Federal Circuit affirmed the trial court’s entry of judgment as a matter of law, holding that Novozymes’ U.S. Patent No. 7,713,723 (“the ‘723 patent”) claiming a genetically-modified amlyase enzyme did not meet the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112. The majority concluded that no reasonable jury could find that Novozymes’ patent application provided adequate written description to support the later-filed claims of the ‘723 patent because the disclosure did not demonstrate possession of the claimed thermostable enzymes. Id. at 26–28. Chief Judge Rader dissented, arguing that the written description inquiry was a factual question and that the jury verdict was supported by substantial evidence. Id. at 30–32. PharmaPatents and Patent Docs provide commentary on the case.

Posted On Jul - 31 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

State v. Earls
By Casey Clausen – Edited by Mary Grinman

State v. Earls, A-53-11 (N.J. July 18th 2013)
Slip Opinion

Photo By: LinuxbearCC BY 2.0

On July 18, the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed an Appellate Division judgment, which had held that there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in the location information transmitted by a cell phone, which can be used by police as a tracking device.

In a  unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court held that the New Jersey Constitution protects an individual’s privacy interest in the location of his or her cell phone, and that police must accordingly obtain a search warrant before accessing that information. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the Appellate Division to determine whether an exception to the warrant requirement might apply on the facts of the case.

The New York Times and Mashable describe the holding and provide context on the state of the law concerning police use of cell phone location data for surveillance purposes. Talking Points Memo discusses the practical impact of the holding, noting that the decision will only affect the present case and future cases. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2013 3 Comments READ FULL POST
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