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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Illinois Prohibits Employers from Requiring Employees to Provide Social Networking Passwords
By Andrew Crocker – Edited by Michael Hoven

H.B. 3782, 97th Gen. Assemb. (Ill. 2012)
Bill

On August 1, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed H.B. 3782, which amends Illinois’ Right to Privacy in the Workplace law to prohibit employers from “request[ing] or requir[ing] any employee or prospective employee to provide any password or other related account information in order to gain access to the employee’s or prospective employee’s account or profile on a social networking website or to demand access in any manner to an employee’s or prospective employee’s account or profile on a social networking website.” H.B. 3782, 97th Gen. Assemb. (Ill. 2012) (to be codified at 820 Ill. Comp. Stat 55/10(b)(1)). Illinois is the second state to enact such a provision, following Maryland’s passage of a similar bill in April, according to the ACLU.

The governor’s office issued a press release that describes the legislature’s intent in passing the bill.

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Posted On Aug - 11 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Third Circuit Subjects Reverse Payments to Strict Antitrust Scrutiny

By Jie Zhang – Edited by Charlie Stiernberg

In Re: K-Dur Antitrust Litigation, No. 10-2077 (3d Cir. July 16, 2012)

Slip opinion

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the summary judgment of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, which had rejected an antitrust challenge to a reverse payment agreement between the K-Dur patent holder Schering-Plough Corporation (“Schering”) and the generic drug manufacturer Upsher-Smith Laboratories (“Upsher”) to delay Upsher’s market entry.

The Third Circuit held that the rule of reason analysis should be applied in antitrust claims involving reverse payments and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.  The rule of reason analysis requires the court to treat reverse payments as prima facie evidence of unreasonable restraint of trade, with the possibility of rebuttal by showing that the payment was not for delayed market entry or had pro-competitive effects.  In so holding, the Third Circuit emphasized Congress’ intent in passing the Hatch-Waxman Act — to provide incentive for competition in the pharmaceutical industry and increase availability of generic drugs.

Bloomberg Businessweek provides an overview of the case.  The Washington Post provides additional background information and reports on the reaction of the FTC and pharmaceutical companies.

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

By Susanna Lichter

FTC Proposes Stricter Rules for Web Sites Visited by Children

The Federal Trade Commission recently proposed new regulations that would require third party advertising applications to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the New York Times reports. COPPA, which took effect in 2000, currently requires web site operators, but not website add-ons, to notify parents and obtain consent when personal information is collected from children under 13 years of age. In addition to extending COPPA to third parties, the proposed rule would change the present requirement that websites attracting both children and adults treat all visitors as children, allowing a web site to screen users by asking their age and applying COPPA privacy protections only to those who say they are under 13. Websites whose content is anticipated to attract primarily children would still be required to treat all users as children, however.

Appeals Court Says Embedding is Not Infringement in Flava Works, Inc. v. Gunter

On Thursday the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that myVidster, a site that allows users to “bookmark” web videos by embedding them on its site surrounded by ads, was not liable to pornography producer Flava Works for copyright infringement when myVidster users embedded copies of Flava videos on myVidster. Flava Works, Inc. v. Gunter, No. 11-3190 (7th Cir. Aug. 2, 2012). Judge Richard Posner, writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, reasoned that because simply viewing an infringing copy of a video isn’t copyright infringement, and the underlying data is actually being streamed directly from third-party servers to user computers, myVidster was not guilty of direct copyright infringement. Posner also found that myVidster was not liable for secondary copyright infringement, comparing myVidster’s level of inducement of its user’s actions to a bookstore from which a thief steals a copyrighted book and reads it: a “bad thing to do,” but not one that violates the rights conferred by the Copyright Act. Posner further requested that Congress clarify how copyright law should be applied in the age of Internet video.

Jury Trial Begins with Testimony by Phil Schiller in Apple v. Samsung

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, testified in the Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. trial Friday that Samsung outright copied all of Apple’s patented design, according to Wired. Apple claims Samsung is infringing on design patents for the iPhone and iPad and utility patents while Samsung claims Apple is infringing on its patent holdings. During questioning by Apple’s legal team Schiller explained his reaction to Samsung’s product, saying “I was pretty shocked when I saw the Galaxy S phone and the extent to which it appeared to copy Apple’s products” and that his “first thought was they’re going to steal our whole product line.” Addressing the issue of consumer “confusion” on cross examination Schiller testified “I looked at this phone and it was my opinion that Samsung has ripped off a number of our design elements and in doing that may be causing confusion.” The two companies have been embroiled in court battles for over a year. The jury trial for the case commenced Monday.

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

Fourth Circuit Holds that Violating Employer’s Computer Use Restrictions Is Not a CFAA Violation

By Andrew Crocker – Edited by Michael Hoven

WEC Carolina Energy Solutions, LLC v. Miller, No. 11-1201 (4th Cir. Jul. 26, 2012)

Slip opinion

On July 26, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the South Carolina District Court in holding that Willie Miller’s violation of his employer WEC’s use restrictions on its proprietary computer systems and information was not a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), 18 U.S.C. § 1030. WEC Carolina Energy Solutions, LLC v. Miller, No. 11-1201, slip op. at 2 (4th Cir. Jul. 26, 2012).

With the decision in WEC, the Fourth Circuit adds to a split among the federal circuit courts over whether an employee’s violation of an employer’s restrictions on use of a computer or computerized information that the employee is otherwise authorized to access can serve as the required element of “access[] . . . without authorization” or access “exceeding authorized access” for proving a CFAA violation. § 1030(a)(1). In the CFAA, to “exceed[] authorized access” is defined as “to access a computer with authorization and to use such access to obtain or alter information in the computer that the accesser is not entitled so to obtain or alter.” § 1030(e)(6). The court held that this definition is best read literally, such that a CFAA violation must involve improper access to a computer or computerized information, and not its “improper use.” WEC, No 11-1201 at 9. This reading is related, although not identical, to the Ninth Circuit’s recent en banc holding in United States v. Nosal, No. 10-10038 (9th Cir. April 10, 2012), previously reported on by the Digest, and in direct conflict with other circuits’ construction of the statute, notably the Seventh Circuit in International Airport Centers, LLC v. Citrin, 440 F.3d 418 (7th Cir. 2006).

Bloomberg BNA provides an overview of the case. Eric Goldman Blog has more context on the circuit split.
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Posted On Aug - 6 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

The Eastern District of Texas Puts End to Eolas’ Patent Trolling
By Dorothy Du – Edited by Jeffery Habenicht

Eolas Techs. Inc. v. Adobe Sys., Inc., No. 6:09-cv-446 (E.D. Tex. July 19, 2012)
Slip opinion (hosted by Justia.com)

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas denied plaintiff Eolas’s motion for judgment as a matter of law that its patents are valid or, alternatively, a new trial. Eolas Techs. Inc. v. Adobe Sys., Inc., No. 6:09-cv-446, slip. op. at 1 (E.D.Tex.July 19, 2012).

Judge Davis of the district court held that Eolas, a non-practicing entity, failed to show either that the jury had insufficient evidence to find the patents invalid or that they were entitled to a new trial under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. First, the court found that, as required under Rule 50(b), the evidence at trial, primarily the defendant’s expert testimony, was sufficient for a reasonable jury to find that the patents were anticipated and obvious. Id. at 11, 12, 15. Second, the court determined that there was no evidence that the jury was influenced by passion or prejudice and, therefore, no new trial was required under Rule 59. Id. at 16.

Ars Technica provides an overview of case. ZDNet strongly approves the decision and predicts that the Federal Circuit would deny an appeal by Eolas.
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Posted On Jul - 31 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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