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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Steven Wilfong

Multimedia car system patents ruled as unenforceable based on inequitable conduct

ITC’s ruling that uPI violated Consent Order affirmed

Court rules that VeriFone devices did not infringe on payment terminal software patents

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Viviana Ruiz

Converse attempts to protect iconic Chuck Taylor All Star design

French Court rules that shoe design copyright was not infringed

Oklahoma Court rules that Facebook notifications do not satisfy notice requirement

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Silk Road Founder Loses Argument That the FBI Illegally Hacked Servers to Find Evidence against Him

By Travis West  — Edited by Mengyi Wang

The alleged Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was denied the motion to suppress evidence in his case. Ulbricht argued that the FBI illegally hacked the Silk Road servers to search for evidence to use in search warrants for the server. The judge denied the motion because Ulbricht failed to establish he had any privacy interest in the server.

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Trademark Infringement or First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech?

By Yunnan Jiang – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

On October 11, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, Inc. (“ACLU”) filed a joint brief in the U.S. Court Of Appeals, urging  that “trademark laws should not be used to impinge the First Amendment rights of critics and commentators”. The brief argues that the use of the names of organizations to comment, critique, and parody, is constitutionally protected by the speaker’s First Amendment right of freedom of expression.

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Twitter goes to court over government restrictions limiting reporting on surveillance requests

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Michael Shammas

Twitter on Oct. 7 sued the government, asking a federal district court to rule that it was allowed to reveal the numbers of surveillance requests it receives in greater detail. Twitter opposes complying with the rules agreed upon by the government and other tech companies in a settlement earlier this year, and argues that the rules violated its rights under the First Amendment.

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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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Federal Circuit Flas

By Steven Wilfong Multimedia car system patents ruled as unenforceable based ...

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Flash Digest: News i

By Viviana Ruiz Converse attempts to protect iconic Chuck Taylor All ...

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Silk Road Founder Lo

By Travis West — Edited by Mengyi Wang Order, United States ...

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Trademark Infringeme

By Yunnan Jiang – Edited by Paulius Jurcys Brief for the ...

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Twitter goes to cour

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Michael Shammas Twitter, Inc. vs. ...