A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Privacy Concerns in the Sharing Economy: The Case of Uber 

By Sabreena Khalid – Edited by Insue Kim

Recent revelations about Uber’s disconcerting use of personal user information have exposed the numerous weaknesses in Uber’s Privacy Policy. The lack of regulation in the area, coupled with the sensitive nature of personal information gathered by Uber, makes the issue one requiring immediate attention of policy makers.

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San Francisco Court Considers Google’s Search and Ad Services Free Speech

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Henry Thomas

A San Francisco court dismissed a lawsuit against Google, treating Google’s search and advertisement services as constitutionally protected free speech. The lawsuit alleged an antitrust violation based on unfavorable treatment of a website in Google’s search results, and on the withdrawal of third-party advertisement from the website. In throwing out the lawsuit, the court applied California’s “anti-SLAPP” law, which allows quick dismissal of lawsuits against acts protected as free speech.

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EU Unitary Patent System Challenge Unsustainable: Advocate General

By Saukshmya Trichi – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union has rendered an opinion on Spain’s challenges to regulations implementing the European Unitary Patent System. The Advocate General opines that the challenges must be dismissed as the system is intended to provide genuine benefit in terms of uniformity and integration, and safeguard the principle of legal certainty, while the choice of languages reduces translation costs considerably.

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California Sex Offender Internet Identification Law Held Unenforceable

By Jesse Goodwin – Edited by Michael Shammas

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling granting a preliminary injunction prohibiting of the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (“CASE”) Act. In a unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel held that requiring sex offenders provide written notice of “any and all Internet identifiers” within 24 hours to the police likely imposed an unconstitutional burden on protected speech.

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Congress Fails to Pass Act Limiting Collection of Phone Metadata

By Henry Thomas – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

The Senate failed to reach closure and bring the USA FREEDOM Act to a vote. The Act would have extended provisions of the Patriot Act, but would have sharply curtailed the executive’s authority to collect phone conversation metadata. While the bill had broad popular support, the vote failed largely along party lines, passing the onus of drafting and approving a new bill onto the next congressional session.

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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

Novartis AG v. Kappos
By Kathleen McGuinness – Edited by Jennifer Wong

Novartis AG v. Kappos, No. 10-cv-1138 (D.D.C. Nov. 15, 2012)
Slip opinion

In a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) determination of patent term adjustments for twenty-three Novartis patents, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted partial summary judgment in Novartis’s favor on four patents. However, the court rejected tolling arguments that would have allowed challenges regarding the other nineteen patents to survive, granting partial summary judgment in favor of the USPTO on the remaining complaints.

Patent Docs explains the facts and holding of the case in more detail. PharmaPatents outlines the significant legal issues decided.

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Posted On Dec - 2 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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Privacy Concerns in

By Sabreena Khalid – Edited by Insue Kim Following scandals earlier ...

free-speech

San Francisco Court

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Henry Thomas S. Louis Martin ...

European union concept, digital illustration.

EU Unitary Patent Sy

By Saukshmya Trichi – Edited by Ashish Bakshi Advocate General’s Opinion ...

computer-typing1

California Sex Offen

By Jesse Goodwin – Edited by Michael Shammas Doe v. Harris, ...

nsa-tracking-phone-records-325x337

Congress Fails to Pa

By Henry Thomas – Edited by Paulius Jurcys USA FREEDOM Act ...