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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Edwards Lifesciences v. CoreValve
By David LeRay – Edited by Dorothy Du

Edwards Lifesciences v. CoreValve, No. 2011-1215, -1257 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 13, 2012)
Slip opinion

The Federal Circuit affirmed in part and remanded in part the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, which had found that CoreValve infringed upon Edwards Lifesciences’ heart valve patent and awarded lost profits damages, but did not issue an injunction.

The Federal Circuit affirmed the lower court’s claim construction and the findings of validity and infringement. The patent at issue was Patent No. 5,411,552, entitled “Valve Prosthesis for Implantation in the Body and a Catheter for Implanting Such Valve Prosthesis.” The patent relates to prosthetic heart valves that can be implanted without open heart surgery, known as transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).

Businessweek and Reuters both provide an overview of the case. Patent Hawk argues the decision was overly favorable to the patent holder plaintiff because of the low enablement threshold and the forgiving analysis of the eBay injunction factors.

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Posted On Nov - 30 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Fox Broad. Co. v. Dish Network L.C.C.
By Charlie Stiernberg – Edited by Laura Fishwick

Fox Broad. Co. v. Dish Network L.C.C., No. CV 12-04529 DMG (C.D. Cal. Nov. 12, 2012)
Slip opinion (hosted by Scribd)

The District Court for the Central District of California denied plaintiff Fox Broadcasting Company’s (“Fox”) motion for preliminary injunction against defendant Dish Network’s (“DISH”) “PrimeTime Anytime” (“PTAT”) and “AutoHop” set-top box (“STB”) features, finding that while Fox established a likelihood of success on the merits of some of its claims, it failed to demonstrate irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction.

Addressing the merits of each of Fox’s claims, Judge Dolly M. Gee held that Fox failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits of its derivative infringement, reproduction right and breach of contract vis-à-vis PTAT, and distribution right claims, but successfully established a likelihood of success on the merits with respect to its reproduction right and breach of contract claims vis-à-vis the AutoHop feature. However, because the alleged harms that Fox would suffer were essentially contractual in nature, the court found that the injuries would be compensable with money damages and would therefore not support a finding of irreparable harm.

The Hollywood Reporter provides an overview of the order. Techdirt opines that the decision was a net win for DISH and criticizes the court’s fair use analysis with respect to the AutoHop feature. FierceCable includes a short statement from DISH Executive Vice President and General Counsel, R. Stanton Dodge.

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Posted On Nov - 27 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

EEOC v. Original Honeybaked Ham Co. of Georgia
By Jessica Vosgerchian — Edited by Geng Chen

Equal Employment Opportunity Comm’n v. Original Honeybaked Ham Co. of Georgia, No. 11-cv-02560-MSK-MEH (D. Colo. Nov. 7, 2012)
Slip opinion (hosted by The Workplace Class Action Blog)

The magistrate judge in a sexual harassment class action against The Original Honeybaked Ham Company of Georgia (“Honeybaked Ham”) has ordered plaintiffs to produce passwords to their social media and email accounts as well as surrender their cell phones to a court-appointed special master who will review the materials for discoverable information.

The class action, brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on behalf of 20–22 women who worked for Honeybaked Ham, alleges that company manager James Jackman subjected the employees to sexual comments and groping, and retaliated against women who complained by firing them. Colorado Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty’s November 7 order marks a novel approach to the problem of how to treat semi-private online communications in discovery.

Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog contends that the court should have ordered plaintiffs to collect and produce relevant information from the accounts themselves rather than provide full access to a special master. The Workplace Class Action Blog, meanwhile, finds Judge Hegart’s plan “relatively low-cost and efficient,” and, because an independent official will screen for irrelevant information, sensitive to the EEOC’s concern that the plaintiffs’ full social media activities could bias the judge against them.

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Posted On Nov - 26 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Pio Szamel

Court Finds Warrant Unnecessary for Tracking of Unauthorized WiFi User

A federal district court has ruled that law enforcement do not need to obtain a warrant in order to track down unauthorized users of an unsecured WiFi account, reports Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy.  After tracking a child pornography suspect to an IP address associated with a Comcast account, Pennsylvania State Police discovered that their suspect was not the Comcast customer but rather a neighbor mooching off the customer’s unsecured WiFi network.  With the permission of the customer, they used free software and a directional antenna to identify the apartment containing the suspect’s computer and obtain a search warrant. In the subsequent criminal proceedings, the defendant moved to suppress the evidence against him on the grounds that tracking down his computer constituted an illegal warrantless search, but Judge Joy Conti of the Western District of Pennsylvania disagreed, finding that the defendant did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy because in connecting to the unauthorized wireless network he was voluntarily sending a signal to a third party. The Wall Street Journal has additional coverage, and the opinion can be found at the Volokh Conspiracy.

Republican Study Committee Releases, then Retracts Report Calling for Copyright Reform

The Republican Study Committee, an influential caucus of more than 170 conservatives in the House of Representatives, released a report on Friday, November 17 calling for wide-reaching copyright reform but then retracted it the next day in response to pushback from content industry groups, reports Ars Technica. The report, preserved by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”), purported to debunk what it called “three myths” about copyright: that its purpose is to compensate copyright holders; that it represents free markets at work; and that the current copyright regime maximizes innovation and productivity.  It went on to call for reductions in statutory damages and in the length of copyright terms, expansion of fair use, and punishment for false copyright claims.  Techdirt hailed the original report, while EFF denounced its retraction as a retreat to a “reality-free zone.”

Texas Student Granted Temporary Restraining Order against School RFID Tracking Requirement

A state judge has granted a Texas high school student a temporary restraining order preventing her district from transferring her to another high school over her refusal to comply with a school-mandated RFID tracking program, reports Wired.  John Jay High School in San Antonio, Texas is piloting a program to track students with RFID tags embedded in student IDs in order to prove that they are present on campus, in the hope of winning more attendance-based state funding.  The student in question objected to the program, claiming it violates her core religious beliefs, and publicized her objections in leaflets distributed to other students.  When she was threatened with transfer out of the magnet school, she sued the school with the assistance of the Rutherford Institute.  Her complaint can be found on the Rutherford Institute’s website; Ars Technica has further coverage.

Posted On Nov - 25 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc. v. Maersk Drilling USA, Inc.
By Suzanne Van Arsdale – Edited by Sounghun Lee

Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc. v. Maersk Drilling USA, Inc., No. 2011-1555 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 15, 2012) (Transocean II)
Slip opinion

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the Southern District of Texas’s ruling that U.S. Patent Nos. 6,047,781, 6,085,851, and 6,068,069 held by plaintiff Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc. (“Transocean”) were invalid for obviousness and lack of enablement, that defendant Maersk Drilling USA, Inc. (“Maersk”) did not infringe some claims, and that Transocean was not entitled to damages. The court of appeals also reversed the district court’s conditional grant of a new trial.

The Federal Circuit held that a person of ordinary skill in the art could practice the claims without undue experimentation and objective evidence was sufficient to rebut a prima facie case of obviousness. As such, the court further held that the jury’s findings and award of $15 million to Transocean were sound, and the district court erred in granting Maersk’s motion for judgment as a matter of law for insufficient evidence. In so holding, the court noted that “we have rarely held that objective evidence is sufficient to overcome a prima facie case of obviousness.” Transocean II at 21.

Bloomberg provides an overview of the decision and the prior ruling. IP Frontline notes that the court has rarely found nonobviousness by looking at objective indicia.

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Posted On Nov - 24 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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Privacy Concerns in

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