A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Aereo Struggles as Supreme Court Finds It Violated Copyright Law
By Jenny Choi – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

On June 25, 2014, in its 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Aereo, Inc.  The U.S. Supreme Court held that Aereo violated the Copyright Act of 1976 for streaming TV shows shortly after they were broadcast without paying for the copyrighted works.  As a result, Aereo suspended its service and has struggled to find a way to re-operate its business. This decision has not come without criticism, however, as some warn this ad hoc decision could lead to uncertainty in the courts.

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DRIP Bill Expands UK’s Data Surveillance Power

By Yixuan Long – Edited by Insue Kim

House of Lords passed the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (“DRIP”) on July 17, 2014. DRIP empowers the UK government to require all companies providing internet-based services to UK customers to retain customer metadata for 12 months. It also expands the government’s ability to directly intercept phone calls and digital communications from any remote storage. Critics claim the bill goes far beyond what is necessary and its fast-track timeframe prevents meaningful discussion.

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Federal Circuit Grants Stay of Patent Infringement Litigation Until PTAB Can Complete a Post-Grant Review

By Kyle Pietari – Edited by Insue Kim

Reversing the district court’s decision, the Federal Circuit granted a stay of patent infringement litigation proceedings until the PTAB can complete a post-grant patent validity review. This was the court’s first ruling on a stay when the suit and review process were happening concurrently.

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Ninth Circuit Rejects Fox’s Request to Shut Down Dish Services, Despite Aereo Decision

By Sheri Pan – Edited by Insue Kim

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Fox’s motion for a preliminary injunction.  Fox argued that the technologies would irreparably harm Fox because they violate copyright laws, but the Ninth Circuit ruled that the district court did not err in finding that the harm alleged by Fox was speculative, noting that Fox had failed to present evidence documenting such harm.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Patrick Gutierrez

Senate passes bill to make cell phone unlocking legal

ABA urges lawyers to stop pursuing file sharing lawsuits

FBI cautions that driverless cars may be used to assist criminal behavior

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Voter Verified, Inc. v. Premier Election Solutions, Inc.
By Craig Fratrik – Edited by Laura Fishwick

Voter Verified, Inc. v. Premier Election Solutions, Inc., Nos. 2011-1553, 2012-1017, 2012 WL 5382734 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 5, 2012)
Slip opinion

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the Middle District of Florida’s ruling that the defendants, Premier Software Solutions, Inc., Diebold, Inc., and Election Systems & Software, Inc., had not infringed U.S. Reissue Patent No. RE40,449 (the ’449 Patent) held by Voter Verified, Inc., and that one of its claims was invalid for obviousness. The district court had held that claim 49 was invalid for obviousness under 35 U.S.C. § 103 and claim 94 was invalid for indefiniteness under 35 U.S.C. §112. Voter Verified appealed both the rulings of non-infringement and invalidity as to claim 49.

Voter Verified’s patent was issued on August 5, 2008 and claims a system and method for verified voting in an election comprising both generating a temporary digital record of the vote and then a corresponding printed ballot. A computer scans the printed vote for accuracy against the digital vote, and only records accurate votes. Defendants produce and market verified voting systems that use the voter herself to check the printed ballot for accuracy. Critical for the disposition in this case, an online periodical concerned with computer safety and security called the Risks Digest originally published a similar idea in the Benson article in 1986 via a subscription mailing list and made it available online in 1995, well before the ’449 Patent’s priority date in 2000.

Patently-O provides an overview of the prior art and joint infringement holdings in the case, and notes that the opinion, issued the day before the presidential election (and on appeal from the Middle District of Florida), did not force the court to intervene in voting in Florida. Patents4Life discusses how the “sufficiently accessible” standard leads to tricky questions and potential implications for what sort of online resources will constitute prior art.

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Posted On Nov - 12 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Unites States v. Magana
By Casey Holzapfel – Edited by Geng Chen

United States v. Magana, No. 12-CR-154 (E.D. Wis. Oct. 29, 2012)
Order

United States v. Mendoza, No. 12-CR-154 (WCG/WEC) (E.D. Wis. Oct. 9, 2012)
Recommendation

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin ruled that Wisconsin law enforcement officers did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they installed hidden surveillance cameras on private property without a warrant. Judge William Griesbach accepted the recommendation of Magistrate Judge William Callahan to deny the defendants’ requests to suppress evidence obtained through the use of hidden cameras. Magana, slip op. at 1.

The court held that the installation of surveillance equipment did not violate the Fourth Amendment because it was placed outside the “curtilage”—the land surrounding the house where private activities are expected to take place. Mendoza, slip op. at 3–4.

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Posted On Nov - 8 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Section 1201 Rulemaking: Fifth Triennial Proceeding to Determine Exemptions
By Jessica Vosgerchian – Edited by Dorothy Du

Recommendation of the Register of Copyrights

On October 25, the Register of Copyrights and the Librarian of Congress announced new recommendations for exemptions to Section 1201(a)(1)(A) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) effective October 28. Section 1201(a)(1)(A) of the DMCA makes it illegal to circumvent technological controls found in electronic devices that control access to copyrighted works. Section 1201(a)(1)(B), however, allows the Register to grant exemptions to be reviewed every three years. In this year’s review, the Register upheld the legality of jailbreaking smartphones and decrypting DVD and e-book controls for the visually- and hearing-impaired. The Register also broadened exemptions for fair use of video excerpts. However, the new rules prohibit “unlocking” smartphones purchased after January 2013, forbid jailbreaking tablets and game consoles, and prohibit “space shifting.”

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Posted On Nov - 7 - 2012 1 Comment READ FULL POST

United States v. Kolon Indus., Inc.
By Suzanne Van Arsdale – Edited by Sounghun Lee

United States v. Kolon Indus., Inc., No. 3:12-Cr-137 (E.D. Va. Aug. 21, 2012)
Indictment hosted by legaltimes.typepad.com

The Department of Justice brought a criminal indictment against South Korea-based Kolon Industries Inc. (“Kolon”) and five of its executives in the Eastern District of Virginia on one count of conspiracy to convert trade secrets, four counts of theft of trade secrets, and one count of obstruction of justice.

According to the indictment, filed on August 21, 2012, Kolon and its executives engaged in years of corporate espionage. The government accused Kolon of paying former and current employees of E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. (“DuPont”) and Teijin Ltd. and its subsidiaries (“Teijin”) to reveal confidential and proprietary information related to the manufacture of synthetic fiber, in violation of the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (the “Act”). Economic Espionage Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104–294, 110 Stat. 3488 (codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. §§ 1831–1839 (2006)).

The Wall Street Journal and Reuters provide an overview of the indictment. Bloomberg Businessweek noted that Kolon’s alleged theft of trade secrets has already resulted in a jury verdict awarding DuPont nearly $920 million and a prison sentence for a former DuPont employee who pled guilty to theft of trade secrets.

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Posted On Oct - 28 - 2012 1 Comment READ FULL POST

DC Comics v. Pacific Pictures Corp.
By Dorothy Du – Edited by Daniella Adler

DC Comics v. Pacific Pictures Corp., No. CV 10-3633 ODW (RZx), (C.D. Cal. Oct. 17, 2012)
Slip opinion

The District Court for the Central District of California ruled that the heirs of Joseph Shuster, the first illustrator of Superman, signed away their right to reclaim Superman copyrights in an agreement with DC Comics (“DC”). The court granted plaintiff DC’s motion for partial summary judgment.

The court held that a 1992 agreement between the Shusters and DC barred the Shusters from terminating copyright grants to DC. DC Comics, slip. op. at 7. The court also found that section 304(d) of the Copyright Act of 1976, which provides former copyright owners a termination right, did not apply. Id. at 5.

Ars Technica explains copyright termination doctrine and points out that Pacific Pictures Corporation is a joint venture owned by the defendants and their attorney in the case, Toberoff. The Los Angeles Times highlights the importance of the victory to Warner Bros., DC’s parent company. If DC had lost the case, the studio, which is releasing the movie Man of Steel next June, would have been unable to continue using certain elements of the Superman mythos.

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Posted On Oct - 24 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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