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Google Appeals Ruling that Use of Java APIs in Android Violates Oracle’s Copyrights

By Katherine Kwong– Edited by Ashish Bakshi

On October 6, Google filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule on whether copyright protections extend to the software’s “system or method of operation,” such as application programming interfaces (APIs). Google urges the Court to overturn the Federal Circuit’s previous decision, arguing that allowing long-term copyrights on systems and methods of operations would stifle innovation and creativity.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Ariane Moss

Microsoft Tax Banned in Italy

California Responds to Data Breaches by Strengthening Privacy Laws

EU Court Rules Embedding Is Not Copyright Infringement

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Google Appeals Ruling That Use of Java APIs in Android Violates Oracle’s Copyrights

By Katherine Kwong – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

On October 6, Google filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule on whether copyright protections extend to the software’s “system or method of operation,” such as APIs. Google urges the Court to overturn the Federal Circuit’s previous decision, arguing that allowing long-term copyrights on systems and methods of operations would stifle innovation and creativity.

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UN Report Finds Government Mass Surveillance Violates Privacy

By Olga Slobodyanyuk – Edited by Jesse Goodwin

The UN Report from the Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights found that government Internet mass surveillance violates Article 17 of the ICCPR by impinging individuals’ privacy.

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Functional Claim Elements Must Be Backed by Sufficient Structural Guidance

By Asher Lowenstein – Edited by Mengyi Wang

The Federal Circuit found that patent claim terms that offer no guidance to structure and are solely functional are means-plus-function terms and indefinite under § 112(f).

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By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Travis West

In the Matter of a Warrant for All Content and Other Information Associated with the Email Account xxxxxxx@gmail.com Maintained at Premises Controlled by Google, Inc., Case 1:14-mj-00309-UA (S.D.N.Y. Jul. 18, 2014) Memorandum Opinion

A Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge granted the government’s application for a search warrant in a money laundering investigation to obtain emails and other information from a suspect’s Gmail account, conflicting with the opinions of several other judges.

The SDNY magistrate judge addressed the conflicting opinions, disagreeing with the central issues in both a DC District Court and a District of Kansas opinion. The magistrate concluded that these courts too narrowly interpreted the Fourth Amendment’s particularity requirement, and also that the reasonableness standard of the Fourth Amendment does not require the court to place protocol on how the government conducts its search. In granting the warrant, the magistrate opened the door for government search and seizure of massive amounts of email information, spurring a controversial debate over privacy concerns.

IT World, Reuters, and Tech Times provide an overview of the case. Slate criticizes the decision, stating that the magistrate “furthered an alarming trend” with the decision. Tech Law discusses reactions to the ruling.

(more…)

Posted On Aug - 5 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST

Creating full-text searchable database of copyrighted works is “fair use”
By Yixuan Long- Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

Authors Guild, Inc. v. HathiTrust, No. 12‐4547‐cv (2d Circuit, June 10, 2014)

Slip opinion

booksIn a unanimous opinion delivered by Judge Parker, the Second Circuit held that under the fair use doctrine universities and research libraries are allowed to create full‐text searchable databases of copyrighted works and provide such works in formats accessible to those with disabilities. The court also decided that evidence was insufficient to decide whether the plaintiffs had standing to bring a claim regarding storage of digital copies for preservation purposes. In so holding, the Second Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the district court’s opinion.

The Guardian, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Bloomberg BNA overviewed the case. The district court opinion can be found here.

The fair use doctrine, set out in the Copyright Act of 1976 as a limitation on authors’ exclusive rights over their works, allows the public to draw upon copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder in certain circumstances. 17 U.S.C.A. § 107

Several research universities made digital copies of books in their collections and created a repository for the books called HathiTrust Digital Library (“HDL”) in 2008. They also founded HathiTrust to operate it. The HDL provides a full-text book database that allows users to search for page numbers where specific text can be found, and permits member libraries to provide patrons with certified print disabilities access to the full text of copyrighted works. HathiTrust currently has 80 members and the HDL contains over ten million books. Twenty authors and authors’ associations sued HathiTrust for copyright infringement.

The court first decided that three authors’ associations plaintiffs, including Authors Guild, Inc., do not have standing as a matter of U.S. law because the Copyright Act of 1976 does not allow third parties to bring suits. The remaining four authors’ associations’ standing came from foreign law that confers upon them exclusive rights to enforce copyrights of their foreign members. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST

European Union Court of Justice Holds that Individuals Browsing Websites are not in Violation of Copyright Law
By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Yixuan Long

Case C‑360/13, Pub. Relations Consultants Ass’n v. Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd. (E.C.R., June 5, 2014)

Slip opinion

Hacked By Over-XThe Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) affirmed the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, which had held that webpage browsers do not need license to view copyrighted materials online. The court concluded that the on-screen and cached copies meet the criteria for exemption from reproduction laws laid out in Articles 5(1) and 5(5) of the Directive 2001/29, art. 5, 2001 O.J. (L 167/10) 16, 17 (EC) (hereinafter “Directive”), finding both types to be: temporary, created in the context of the technological process of viewing webpages, contributing to the efficiency of browsing, and transient and/or incidental in nature. The court also concluded that these reproduction acts do not unreasonably prejudice the interests of rightholders and do not conflict with the normal exploitation of the reproduced works.

With this holding, the CJEU issued a crucial decision for European Union law, balancing the rights of copyright holders and the rights of individuals to browse authorized content without being liable for infringement.

The Guardian and PCWorld provide overviews of the case. Ars Technica offers a critical perspective on the decision, claiming that the real issue was much narrower than the CJEU portrayed with its decision.  (more…)

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST

Georgia Supreme Court Takes Chan v. Ellis Appeal to Redefine First Amendment Right on the Internet
By Yixuan Long – Edited by Emma Winer

Chan v. Ellis, A14A0014, (Court of Appeals of Georgia, July 02, 2014)

Transfer order (hosted by Scribd)

Photo By: André Natta - CC BY 2.0

Photo By: André NattaCC BY 2.0

The Georgia Court of Appeals ordered that the appeal in Ellis v. Chan be transferred to the Georgia Supreme Court on July 02, 2014. Chan, an interactive website owner, had appealed the trial court’s permanent protective order in August of 2013. The protective order commanded him to take down more than 2000 posts on his website that mentioned Ellis, and forbade him from approaching within 1000 yards of Ellis. The Court of Appeals decided that the case “raised significant and novel constitutional issues addressing the interplay of the First Amendment and the wide dissemination of information made possible by the internet,” which are “of first impression in Georgia, and there is very little if any directly applicable law in other jurisdictions.” Order, Chan v. Ellis, A14A0014, (Court of Appeals of Georgia, July 02, 2014) (transferring appeal to Georgia Supreme Court).

Ars Technica provides an overview of the case, and features an interview with Matthew Chan. Electronic Frontier Foundation offers a thorough legal analysis of the decision. Related documents, including appellate briefs, can be found on Scribd.

Linda Ellis is the author of a popular inspirational poem. As Ars Technica reports, she actively searches for people who use her poem without permission and sends out settlement letters to these entities demanding thousands of dollars in damages. Matthew Chan runs Extortion Letter Info (ELI), an interactive website for discussing aggressive copyright enforcement efforts; such aggressive actors have been colloquially termed “copyright trolls”. In 2012, he began criticizing Ellis’ “trolling” practice on ELI, and the discussion soon became heated. Some users allegedly posted threats to Ellis on the website’s message board, as well as Ellis’ home address.  (more…)

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2014 3 Comments READ FULL POST

Icon-newsBy Kellen Wittkop

Appeal of a contempt order for violation of patent injunction agreement dismissed for lack of jurisdiction

In Arlington Industries, Inc. v. Bridgeport Fittings, Inc., 13-1357 (Fed. Cir. July 17, 2014), the United States Court of Apeals for the Federal Circuit dismissed the contempt appeal by Bridgeport Fittings, Inc. (“Bridgeport”) of the Middle District of Pennsylvania’s decision finding the electrical company in contempt of a previously-issued injunction.  Arlington at 2.  Arlington Industries (“Arlington”) manufactured and sold electrical connectors under U.S. Patent No. 6,335,488, and the company brought suit against Bridgeport’s line of electrical connectors for infringement of Arlington’s U.S. Patent Nos. 5,266,050 and 5,171,164. Id. at 3. In April 2004, Bridgeport signed a settlement agreement conceding infringement and agreeing to be “permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly making, using, selling, offering for sale or importing. . .” its line of connectors. Id. Almost eight years later, Bridgeport redesigned its connectors and began selling them, and Arlington filed a motion for contempt to find Bridgeport in violation of the injunction.  Id. at 3–4. The district court found Bridgeport in violation of the injunction but did not order sanctions, and the Federal Circuit dismissed the claim for lack of jurisdiction since sanctions were not entered until the record had been fixed for the appeal.  Id. at 12–13. Justia provides a summary of the opinion.

Federal Circuit affirms summary judgment of Apple’s noninfringement on GBT’s CDMA patents

In Golden Bridge Technology, Inc., v. Apple Inc., 13-1496 (Fed. Cir. July 14, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the District of Delaware’s grant of summary judgment, finding that Apple Inc. (“Apple”) did not infringe on patents held by Golden Bridge Technology (“GBT”) improving the Code Division Multiple Access (“CDMA”) systems—wireless cellular network technology that allows communication between mobile stations and base stations using signals called “preambles.” Golden Bridge at 2.  GBT patented an improvement to the CDMA systems that allows mobile stations to transmit preambles at increasing power levels until they receive an acknowledgment signal from the base station, decreasing the likelihood of signal interference between mobile stations.  Id. at 2–3.  GBT had previously asserted its right to U.S. Patent No. 6,574,267 in Texas, where the Eastern District of Texas held that a preamble is “a signal used for communicating with the base station that is spread before transmission,” and granted summary judgment of anticipation that was subsequently affirmed by the Federal Circuit. Id. at 3. When GBT brought new claims against Apple, the Federal Circuit found that GBT’s failure to rescind or retract the construction of “preamble” during the previous prosecution constitutes a “clear and unmistakable disclaimer of the broader claim scope.” Id. at 8. Accordingly, the Federal Circuit held that the district court properly granted summary judgment of noninfringement. The Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society offers an analysis of the decision.

Posted On Jul - 30 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST
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