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European Court of Justice Invalidates Data Retention Directive
By Paul Klein – Edited by Alex Shank

In a preliminary ruling requested by courts in Ireland and Austria, the European Court of Justice found that Directive 2006/24/EC was invalid. The Grand Chamber recognized the legitimacy of retaining telecommunications data as a means to combat serious crime and terrorism, but it ultimately held that the far-reaching scope of the Directive disproportionately affected individual privacy under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

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Google to Supreme Court: Snagging Data from Unsecured Wi-Fi is Perfectly Legal
By Michael Shammas – Edited by Mary Schnoor

Google has filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to label its Street View cars’ collection of unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic legal, appealing the Ninth Circuit’s decision that Google may have violated the federal Wiretap Act. Google believes unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic should be classed as “radio communications” accessible to the public.

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Mozilla Announces Resignation of Recently Appointed CEO Brendan Eich Following Controversy over Gay Marriage Opposition
By Sheri Pan – Edited by Corey Omer

On April 3, Mozilla Corporation (“Mozilla”), a subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation most widely known for producing the Firefox browser, announced that its CEO of less than two weeks, Brendan Eich, has resigned, after pressure from Mozilla employees, bloggers, and developers who opposed his appointment in light of a $1000 donation that he made in 2008 in support of Proposition 8, a ballot measure that sought to ban gay marriage in California.

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Flash Digest: News In Brief
By Emma Winer

Third Circuit Vacates Hacker Conviction for Improper Venue

French Unions and Employers Agree to Curb After-Hours Work Email

Limited Sale of Google Glass Slated For April 15

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Supreme Court Weighs Patent Eligibility of Software
By Mary Schnoor — Edited by Elise Young

The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, a case with the potential to determine whether, or when, computer-implemented inventions (i.e., software) are patent-eligible subject matter. Many commentators hope the Court will use this case as an opportunity to clarify what makes an invention an “abstract idea” that is ineligible for patenting.

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Jury Delivers $1.05B Verdict for Apple in Patent Case
By Jeffery Habenicht – Edited by Jennifer Wong

Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., LTD., 11-CV-1846-LHK (N.D.Cal Aug. 24, 2012)
Jury Verdict Form hosted by SB Nation

After two-and-a-half days of deliberation, a nine-person jury returned a $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung for infringing six of seven Apple patents.  The jury found that, in 24 of its phones and tablets, Samsung had infringed on all three utility patents and three of four design patents that Apple had asserted.  The jury rejected Samsung’s defense that the patents were invalid. Furthermore, the jury found that five of the patents had been infringed willfully by Samsung.  Finally, the jury denied all of Samsung’s infringement counterclaims.  United States District Judge Lucy Koh presided over the trial and has scheduled a hearing for post-trial motions on September 20.

Bloomberg describes the case and explores the broader market context of the dispute.  Ars Technica analyzes the jury verdict.  Wired discusses what the effect the verdict will have on consumers.  Patently-O addresses the likely next steps for the case.  Groklaw takes the position that the jury verdict will likely be overturned, at least in part.

(more…)

Posted On Aug - 29 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Michael Hoven

DOJ Seizes Domains for Alleged Piracy of Apps

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) seized the domains of three websites that allegedly offered illegal downloads of apps for Android mobile devices, reports the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. It was the first time that the DOJ had seized domains because of app piracy. Previous seizures (like the Megaupload seizure, previously reported on by the Digest) had focused on combating piracy of movies and music.

Oakland’s Police Radio Problems Caused by Interference from AT&T

Oakland police’s radio communications have failed several times since the city began using a new $18 million police radio system in 2011, reports Ars Technica, and the city and the FCC have determined that the source of the problem was interference caused by AT&T cellular communications. Radio communications were especially hampered when a police car was within a quarter-mile of an AT&T cell tower. In response, AT&T has shut down its 2G frequencies at 16 towers around Oakland.

Kanye West Not Liable for Copyright Infringement, Affirms Seventh Circuit

The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a copyright infringement claim against Kanye West, Techdirt reports. Vincent Peters (who goes by the stage name “Vince P”) alleged that West’s song “Stronger” infringed on Vince P’s song of the same name. The Seventh Circuit held that there was insufficient similarity between the songs, despite each song’s reliance on Friedrich Nietzsche’s aphorism, “what does not kill me, makes me stronger.” The court noted that the aphorism had been used before by many recording artists, including Kelly Clarkson.

Posted On Aug - 26 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Written By: Jacob Rogers
Edited By: Jeffery Habenicht
Editorial Policy

Introduction

On November 18th-20th, 2011, Major League Gaming hosted a Starcraft II tournament in Providence, Rhode Island, where over 250 professional players competed for a $100,000 prize. Starcraft and Starcraft II (collectively “Starcraft”) are a pair of video games set in a futuristic universe in which players compete against each other by controlling armies of humans with advanced technology or one of two alien races, the enigmatic Protoss, or the swarming Zerg.

This Comment addresses the legal ramifications of publicly broadcasted videogames used as a sport by analyzing Starcraft, one of, if not the most  powerful professionally competitive game. Section I addresses the background of real-time strategy games (“RTS”) and provides an introduction to the professional Starcraft industry. Section II analyzes the recent lawsuit and settlement between Activision Blizzard, Inc. and Korean Starcraft broadcasters and considers how it might have been resolved had it not settled. Section III recommends a change to improve copyright law in light of the unique characteristics of game broadcasting. I argue that Starcraft has transformed into a quasi-public good with governmental, corporate, and private stakeholders, which should limit its creators’ right to enjoin its use through copyright law.

(more…)

Posted On Aug - 24 - 2012 2 Comments READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Reaffirms Patent Eligibility of Isolated Human Genes
By Jie Zhang – Edited by Jeffery Habenicht

Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. USPTO, No. 2010-1406 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 16, 2012)
Slip opinion

The Federal Circuit, on remand from the Supreme Court in light of the Court’s decision in Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., affirmed in part and reversed in part a decision by the Southern District of New York, which had held that isolated breast cancer genes and a screening method based on such genes were non-patentable.

The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that it had jurisdiction to hear the declaratory judgment case, finding that at least one plaintiff had standing to challenge Myriad’s patents. On the merits, the Federal Circuit reversed the district court and reiterated its prior holding that isolated genes were patent eligible because they were compositions of matter sufficiently different from the naturally occurring genes. The court also found that the method to screen therapeutics based on the growth rate of cells containing mutated genes was patentable as it included transformative steps and was more than a restatement of the law of nature. However, the court affirmed the district court’s holding that the method to compare gene sequences was non-patentable because it involved only abstract mental steps.

JOLT Digest previously covered both this case and Prometheus. Reuters provides an overview of the case and reports on reactions of the scientific community and the biotech industry. Patently-O criticizes the court’s analysis for ignoring the impact of Prometheus and predicts an en banc rehearing or a grant of certiorari by the Supreme Court. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 22 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Michael Hoven

Facebook’s “Sponsored Stories” Settlement Rejected by Court

District Judge Richard Seeborg of the Northern District of California rejected a $20 million settlement of a class-action suit against Facebook over its “Sponsored Stories” feature, reports Wired. In his order, Judge Seeborg questioned the fairness of the proposed settlement, under which Facebook would pay $10 million in attorney’s fees and $10 million to charity, to class members, especially given the size of the award to plaintiffs’ attorneys and the uncertain process by which the parties arrived at the $20 million figure.

Google Adds Prior Art Finder to Its Patent Search

Google improved its patent search feature by adding European patents and a tool to search for prior art, reports GigaOM. According to Google’s Research Blog, “[t]he Prior Art Finder identifies key phrases from the text of the patent, combines them into a search query, and displays relevant results from Google Patents, Google Scholar, Google Books, and the rest of the web.” GigaOM questioned the propriety of having a private company play a pivotal role in patent disputes, while Forbes called the Prior Art Finder “an extremely useful tool.”

Linking Helps Gizmodo Defeat Defamation Lawsuit

California appellate court affirmed a trial court’s decision to strike, on anti-SLAPP grounds, a defamation complaint against Gawker Media, reports the Atlantic. Scott Redmond, the CEO of Peep Telephony, sued Gawker because of a Gizmodo post critical of Peep Telephony. The Gizmodo post was protected in part because its use of outbound links made the article transparent and showed that it consisted of protected opinion rather than assertions of fact.

Privacy Suit against Hulu Allowed to Continue

In a decision that could have implications for all online streaming-video services, the Northern District of California (order hosted by Scribd) denied Hulu’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it under the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”), reports the New York Times. Plaintiffs allege that Hulu allowed third-party companies to place cookies on viewers computers and track their actions across the Internet. Hulu argued, unsuccessfully, that the VPPA did not apply because Hulu was not a video rental company.

 

Posted On Aug - 20 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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European Court of Ju

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Google to Supreme Co

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Mozilla Announces Re

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Flash Digest: News I

By Emma Winer Third Circuit Vacates Hacker Conviction for Improper Venue The ...

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Supreme Court Weighs

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