A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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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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USPTO Proposes New Rules for Micro Entity Status
By Jeffery Habenicht – Edited by Dorothy Du

Changes to Implement Micro Entity Status for Paying Patent Fees, 77 Fed. Reg. 31,806 (proposed May 30, 2012) (to be codified at 37 C.F.R. pt. 1).
Federal Register

On May 30, 2012, the PTO published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register entitled Changes to Implement Micro Entity Status for Paying Patent Fees. The new rules, to be codified as 37 C.F.R. §1.29, set out the proposed requirements for attaining micro entity status. Although narrow in scope, micro entity status provides a significant reduction in patent fees for those who qualify.

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”), enacted on September 16, 2011, created the micro entity status. America Invents Act, Pub. L. No. 112-29, §10 (2011) (codified at 35 U.S.C. § 123). Applicants qualifying as a micro entity would be entitled to a 75-percent reduction in fees. Id. §10(b). Although the AIA set forth a definition of what constituted a micro entity, id. §10(g), it left the specifics of implementation to the PTO. Accordingly, the PTO’s proposed rules attempt to clarify who qualifies as a micro entity and establish the procedures for claiming micro entity status, notifying the PTO of a loss of status, and correcting erroneous payments of fees.

On the whole, commentators have generally welcomed the PTO’s proposed rules. PatentDocs provides an overview and analysis of the changes. PharmaPatents explains that that proposed rules help clarify the AIA’s definition of micro entity status but raise questions about potential abuse of the higher education prong. Patently-O also mentions the clarifications provided by the proposed rules and notes that the PTO is seeking comments on whether “applicant” should be changed to “inventor” anywhere in the rules.

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

California District Court Dismisses Oracle’s Copyright Infringement Claims Against Google, Finds APIs not Copyrightable

By Susanna Lichter – Edited by Jennifer Wong
Oracle America, Inc., v. Google Inc., No. C 10-0361 WHA (N.D. Cal. May 31, 2012) (hosted by Groklaw)

The U.S. District Court of Northern California in San Francisco dismissed Oracle’s claims that Google had infringed Oracle’s copyright in 37 application programming interfaces (“APIs”), holding that the particular elements duplicated in Google’s Android operating system were free for all to use under the Copyright Act.

Oracle filed the billion-dollar lawsuit against Google in August 2010, shortly after acquiring Sun Microsystems, Inc. and its interest in Java, the language used in Android. The suit alleged both copyright and patent infringement by Google’s exact replication of the names, organization, and functions of the APIs.

On May 23 a jury of ten unanimously found that Google did not infringe on patents held by Oracle. Two weeks earlier the jury had unanimously decided that Google infringed Oracle’s copyright in the APIs, but deadlocked on whether Google’s infringement qualified as fair use. Judge William Alsup resolved the copyright claims, finding that the APIs were not copyrightable to begin with. Oracle will be limited to collecting statutory damages for 9 lines of code that were copied from Java, the resulting damages of which may not exceed $150,000.

Wired provides an overview of the case. JOLT Digest reported on the patent claim and
Ars Technica interviewed Google attorneys Kent Walker, and Renny Hwang after the verdict.

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Posted On Jun - 10 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Brittany Horth

United States Orchestrated Cyberattack on Iran’s Main Nuclear Enrichment Facilities with Stuxnet

Interviews with anonymous American, European, and Israeli officials, as well as outside experts, have revealed that President Obama ordered the acceleration of secret cyberattacks, codenamed “Olympic Games,” on Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities during his first months in office, reports the New York Times. The attacks were part of an Israel-United States effort to impair the development of Iran’s nuclear program. The order came after the cyberweapon, nicknamed “Stuxnet” by computer security experts, inadvertently became public in the summer of 2010. A programming error allowed it to escape the Natanz nuclear facility and compromise ordinary computers, prompting Obama to temporarily question whether the program should be shut down. The Natanz nuclear facility was nonetheless subsequently attacked by two newer versions of the Stuxnet computer worm that took out approximately 1,000 of its 5,000 centrifuges, but whether the attacks successfully slowed the progress of Iran’s nuclear program remains in dispute among experts and officials. “Olympic Games,” begun during the Bush Administration, raises the issue of whether such activity invites other countries to carry out cyberattacks against the United States, explains Ars Technica.

ABC v. Aereo, WNET v. Aereo Two-Day Preliminary Injunction Hearing Concludes

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan heard opposing arguments from both television broadcasters and the online television service Aereo in a two-day hearing addressing the television broadcasters’ motion for a preliminary injunction against Aereo, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Aereo, currently available exclusively in New York City, enables subscribers to watch and record live broadcast television through an Internet service for $12 a month by assigning each subscriber to one of several tiny remote antennas in Aereo’s server room, explains Ars Technica and Bloomberg Businessweek. Television broadcasters sued Aereo in March 2012 and allege that Aereo is violating copyrights by retransmitting broadcasters’ programming without paying for the rights to such programming, while Aereo counters that subscribers are legally entitled to access broadcast programming via antennae that just happen to be remote.

Google Files Antitrust Complaint Against Microsoft and Nokia in Europe

Google filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission alleging that Microsoft and Nokia are colluding to raise the costs of Android mobile devices using patents that Microsoft promised it would not use against its competitors, reports Bloomberg. Google claims that Microsoft and Nokia transferred approximately 2,000 patents and patent applications to Mosaid Technologies last year in order to create “patent trolls” that can bypass the promise and engage in patent litigation that threatens manufacturers of Android handsets, reports Ars Technica. Microsoft and Nokia counter that the complaint is “desperate” and “frivolous” and note that the European Union is already investigating Motorola Mobility, which was acquired by Google, for its abuses of standard-essential patents alleged by Apple and Microsoft.

Posted On Jun - 5 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Kentucky District Court Latest to Grapple with Warrantless GPS Tracking after Jones
By Sarah Jeong – Edited by Michael Hoven

United States v. Lee, Criminal No. 11-65-ART (E.D. Ky., May 22, 2012)
Slip opinion (hosted by TalkLeft)

The U.S. District Court of Eastern Kentucky suppressed the discovery of 150 pounds of marijuana in the defendant’s possession, due to the placement of a warrantless GPS tracking device on his car. The search and arrest took place prior to United States v. Jones, No. 10-1259, 2012 WL 171117 (U.S. Jan. 23, 2012), the Supreme Court case that ruled that GPS tracking constitutes a search and therefore requires a warrant. The United States argued in Lee that the agents’ actions fell under the good faith exception to the warrant requirement, but Judge Amul Thapar found that only reliance on binding appellate precedent could create a good faith exception for the police. In this particular case, in contrast, the agents had relied on a national Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) policy supported by non-binding appellate precedent from other jurisdictions. The Lee ruling attempts to articulate a clear and administrable principle for applying (or withholding) the good faith exception to pre-Jones instances of warrantless GPS tracking.

The Associated Press reports on the underlying facts of the case. Wired analyzed the conflicting case law on the good faith exception. (more…)

Posted On Jun - 3 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Jury Decides Google Did Not Infringe Oracle Patents but Question of Whether APIs Can Be Copyrighted Remains
By Brittany Horth – Edited by Michael Hoven

Oracle America, Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 10-03561 (N.D. Cal. 2012)
Special verdict on copyright claims from May 7, 2012 (hosted by Scribd)
Special verdict on patent claims from May 23, 2012 (hosted by Scribd)

A jury in the U.S. District Court of Northern California in San Francisco unanimously decided that Google’s Android mobile operating system does not infringe Oracle’s U.S. Patent No. RE38,104 and U.S. Patent No. 6,061,520. The special verdict came approximately two weeks after the jury unanimously decided that Google infringed Oracle’s copyright on Java application programming interfaces (APIs) but failed to reach any agreement on whether Google had a valid fair use defense.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup canceled the third phase of the trial, which would have addressed damages, and dismissed the jury after the second special verdict. However, the proceedings will continue since Judge Alsup has yet to answer the crucial legal question of whether APIs can be copyrighted in the first place, which will determine the fate of the partial verdict from the copyright infringement segment of the trial.

Bloomberg provides a brief overview of the case and the recent special verdicts. Ars Technica provides a more detailed explanation of the partial verdict from the copyright infringement segment of the trial and its potential ramifications for programmers. CNET provides a more detailed explanation of the verdict from the patent infringement segment of the trial.

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Posted On May - 30 - 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

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Supreme Court Weighs

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