A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
http://jolt.law.harvard.edu/digest/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/joltimg.pngBy: Chris Crawford and Joshua Vittor This article assumes a base level of knowledge about Bitcoin, bitcoin (BTC), blockchain technology, the Silk Road seizure, and the collapse of MtGox. For a helpful summary of how this technology works, see the first portion of this article, written by Matthew Ly of the Journal of Law and Technology. Bitcoin, and crypto-currency more generally, has risen in the five years since its launch from an academic exercise to what is today a multi-billion dollar ... Read More...
http://jolt.law.harvard.edu/digest/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/joltimg.pngWritten by: Michelle Sohn Edited by: Olga Slobodyanyuk Emulsion: A mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible (nonmixable or unblendable). -Wikipedia  I.               UberX D.C. as Case Study in the Local Sharing Economy If states are laboratories of democracy, then cities are the experiments. A new experiment has bubbled up in cities across the world, reaching a boiling point. The experiment? The local sharing economy. In May, amidst accusations that many of its users were violating New York’s ... Read More...
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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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United States v. Wahchumwah
By Pio Szamel – Edited by Geng Chen

United States v. Wahchumwah, No. 11-30101 (9th Cir. Nov. 27, 2012)
Slip opinion (hosted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a ruling by the Eastern District of Washington which held that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s use of a concealed audiovisual recording device on the person of an undercover agent to record inside a defendant’s home without a warrant did not violate the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. In inviting the undercover agent into his home, the defendant “forfeited his expectation of privacy as to those areas that were knowingly expose[d] to” the undercover agent. Wahchumwah, No. 11-30101 at 8. Since the recording device “reveal[ed] no more than what was already visible to the agent,” it implicated no additional privacy concerns. Id.

FindLaw provides an overview of the case. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”), which had filed an amicus brief in support of Wahchumwah, criticizes the decision for opening the door to government surveillance and recording of “every intimate detail” of a person’s home.

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Posted On Dec - 7 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Gibson v. Texas Dep’t of Ins. – Div. of Workers’ Comp.
By Michael Hoven – Edited by Daniella Adler

Gibson v. Texas Dep’t of Ins. – Div. of Workers’ Comp., No. 11-11136 (5th Cir. Oct. 30, 2012)
Slip Opinion

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the Northern District of Texas, which had dismissed John Gibson’s claim that a Texas law barring him from using the words “Texas” and “workers’ compensation” or “workers’ comp.” in his domain name violated the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Fifth Circuit held that appellant had successfully stated a claim under the First Amendment, remanded the case for further review of that claim, and affirmed the dismissal of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment claims. In so holding, the court did not decide whether appellant’s speech was commercial or noncommercial. Instead, the court found that his speech warranted First Amendment review even if commercial, and explicitly reserved appellant’s right to further develop the argument that his speech was “ordinary, communicative speech.” Gibson, No. 11-11136 at 7.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog provides an overview of the case. JD Supra agrees with the decision and speculates that the Texas Department of Insurance is unlikely to win the case. Techdirt notes that this decision, which opens the door to giving domain names First Amendment protection, conflicts  with the federal government’s history of seizing domain names.

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Posted On Dec - 6 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Dear Digest Readers,

As we are sure you have noticed, Digest has undergone a makeover. We hope you enjoy its new appearance, and we will continue refining it in the coming weeks. Please feel free to give us feedback at any time at digest.jolt@gmail.com. A special thanks goes to Dave LeRay, Catherine Roach, Jeff Dunn, Charlie Stiernberg, Dorothy Du, and Andrew Crocker for enabling this transition.

The Digest Staff

Posted On Dec - 4 - 2012 2 Comments READ FULL POST

United States v. Google, Inc.
By Casey Holzapfel – Edited by Charlie Stiernberg

United States v. Google, Inc., No. CV 12-04177 SI (N.D. Cal. Nov. 16, 2012)
Slip Opinion

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California approved a proposed consent order between the United States and Google that requires Google to pay a $22.5 million civil penalty. Amicus curiae Consumer Watchdog was granted leave to submit a brief challenging the stipulated consent order, after it was filed in August. District Judge Susan Illston was not persuaded by Consumer Watchdog’s brief, however, and rejected its challenge.

The settlement is the result of allegations by the United States that Google violated a previous consent order with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) by overriding Safari software that blocked cookies and secretly collecting cookies from Safari users without authorization. The settlement includes a $22.5 million civil penalty as well as an injunction against Google; however, Google is not required to admit liability.

Bloomberg provides an overview of the order. Newsday details Consumer Watchdog’s other allegations, including a suggestion that FTC’s separate antitrust investigation of Google may be weak. Forbes provides an overview of the settlement proposed in August.

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Posted On Dec - 4 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Craig Fratrik

USPTO Director Kappos to Leave in January

David Kappos, the director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) announced he would leave his position in January, reports Ars Technica. He has served since being confirmed in August, 2009. During his tenure, he successfully reduced the backlog of pending applications, as the chart at PatentlyO shows. In the week before his departure, he spoke strongly in defense of software patents, and the patent system as it stands generally.

SCOTUS to Hear Case on Patentability of Human Genes

In the case, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., the Supreme Court granted certiorari on the question, “Are human genes patentable?” The patent concerns genes which are somewhat predictive of breast and ovarian cancer. In March, the Court remanded the case back to the Federal Circuit in light of their ruling in Prometheus. In August, the Federal Circuit reaffirmed their ruling. PatenltyO does not anticipate a decision until the end of the spring term. See also Wired and Ars Technica.

Syria Cut Off from Internet for 38 Hours

Ars Technica reports that the country of Syria was cut off from the Internet for more than 38 hours starting on Thursday. The blackout was more thorough than the one in Egypt in January, probably because Syria had consolidated its network traffic to a greater extent. Government claims that “terrorists” were the cause were viewed skeptically by many, including the EFF. The EFF further reports on the ways in which Syrians have worked around the blackout to connect to the outside world.

District Court Rules Against Injunctions from RAND Standards Patents

A district court judge in Seattle ruled that Motorola could not get injunctive relief against Microsoft based on patents that were used in open standards, AllThingsD reports. Such patents are required to be licensed in a “reasonable and non-discriminatory” (“RAND”) manner. Ars Technica points out that this hurts Google and Android-based manufacturers who were hoping to use such patents as to defend themselves in lawsuits against competitors. Further, the question remains how the ITC will rule, since it can’t award monetary damages, but can ban imports, which is very similar to an injunction.

Posted On Dec - 3 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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The Silk Road and Mt

By: Chris Crawford and Joshua Vittor This article assumes a base ...

Photo By: Tristan Ferne - CC BY 2.0

Emulsification: Uber

Written by: Michelle Sohn Edited by: Olga Slobodyanyuk Emulsion: A mixture of ...

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Flash Digest: News i

By Olga Slobodyanyuk ICANN responds to terrorism victims by claiming domain ...

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Federal Circuit Appl

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Mengyi Wang Digitech Image Technologies, ...

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Unlocking Cell Phone

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Insue Kim On July 25, ...