A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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A Computer Programmer for Megaupload Pleads Guilty to Copyright Infringement Charges

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Jenny Choi

On February 13, 2015, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that Andrus Nomm, a computer programmer for Megaupload.com, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for copyright infringement. Kim Dotcom, a founder of the Megaupload website and a key target of this criminal prosecution and two consecutive civil lawsuits, reacted strongly to the news and sought political recourse with regard to his behaviors.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Anne Woodworth

Report Claims Facebook Privacy Policy in Violation of EU Law

FCC Preempts State Laws Limiting City-Provided Internet Service

Aereo Files Repayment Plan Following Bankruptcy Auction

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief  

By Amanda Liverzani

PTO’s Statutory Interpretation on Patent Term Adjustment Upheld

Federal Circuit Affirms Garmin Fitness Watches Do Not Infringe on Pacing Patents

Online Shopping Cart Patents Deemed Invalid in Infringement Action Against Victoria’s Secret and Avon

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Alleged mastermind behind the undercover trading platform Silk Road convicted in Manhattan court

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Katherine Kwong

On February 4, a federal jury in Manhattan rendered its verdict in the trial against Ross Ulbricht, the person allegedly in charge of the online black market platform Silk Road. The jury found Ulbricht guilty on all charges. The case is important as it represents an attempt by the government to regain control over an area of the internet where tools such as bitcoin and Tor are used to create an online space beyond the reach of the authorities.

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Whack-a-troll Legislation

Written by Asher Lowenstein     —   Edited by Yaping Zhang

Patent assertion entities’ extensive litigation activities in different states enables to assess the efficacy of the proposed bills against legal strategies these trolls, such as MPHJ Technology, have engaged in. The legal battles confirm some of the concerns about the usefulness of proposed regulatory measures.

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By Ken Winterbottom – Edited by Yixuan Long

Virginia v. Baust, No. CR14-1439 (Va. Cir. Oct. 28, 2014) Slip Opinion hosted by Scribd.

smartphone-fingerprintA Virginia state trial court held that a suspect “cannot be compelled [by the police] to produce his passcode to access his smartphone but he can be compelled to produce his fingerprint to do the same.” Id. at 4. The analysis turned on whether a passcode or a fingerprint is “testimonial communication.” Id. at 2.

Judge Frucci ruled that phone passwords were entitled to protection under the Fifth Amendment’s promise that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” Id. He stressed that the password existed only in the defendant’s mind, and thus compelling the defendant to provide a passcode constituted a testimonial communication. The Fifth Amendment protects against such compulsion.

On the other hand, Judge Frucci concluded that smartphone fingerprint protection did not qualify for the Fifth Amendment privilege. He noted that producing a fingerprint did not require the communication of knowledge, but was rather analogous to being ordered to produce a DNA sample or a key, which is constitutionally permissible. Judge Frucci also cited a 1967 Supreme Court case, United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218 (1967), for the proposition that the Fifth Amendment “offers no protection against compulsion to submit to fingerprinting.” Baust, No. CR14-1439, at 3 (Va. Cir. Oct. 28, 2014).

Although some commentators were unsurprised by the decision, others worried about its privacy implications. The Virginian-Pilot and The Hill provide further commentary. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 12 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By: Yunnan Jiang

Federal Circuit denies appeal in Baraclude patent case

On October 20, the Federal Circuit declined to hear an appeal by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s (“BMS”). The denial follows a United States District Court for the District of Delaware decision that held the composition of matter patent covering entecavir, US patent 5,206,244 invalid as obvious, which would allow Israel-based Generics giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries to launch generic production upon the FDA’s final approval. Entecavir is the active ingredient of Baraclude, which is an antiviral medicine developed by scientists at BMS. Baraclude is approved in the United States for the treatment of hepatitis B in adults who have active virus and liver damage and is the global market leader in oral treatments for hepatitis B, with global sales of over $1 billion in 2013.  The district court decided that the invention of entecavir was obvious at the time of its effective filing date and rejected evidence postdating the invention to establish unexpected results.

Federal Circuit denies fee-shifting sanction in patent infringement action over Pfizer

In AntiCancer, Inc. v. Pfizer, Inc, No. 13-1056 (Fed. Cir. October 20, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remanded the United States District Court for the Southern District of California’s decision to grant summary judgment for Pfizer and impose a fee-shifting sanction on AntiCancer as a condition of supplementing their infringement contentions. AntiCancer field a lawsuit against Pfizer in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California for breach of a license agreement, which the district court found “woefully insufficient”, “vague”. However, on appeal, the Federal Circuit rejected such evidence as basis for bad faith and held that the district court exceeded their discretionary authority in imposing such fee-shifting sanction.

Federal Circuit rejects patent infringement for products sold oversees

In Halo Electronics, Inc., v. Pulse Electronics Inc., No. 13-1472 (Fed. Cir. October 22, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the District of Nevada’s decision finding no direct infringement of the Halo patents for products Pulse manufactured, shipped, and delivered outside the U.S. The Federal Circuit further affirmed district court’s decision finding direct infringement of the Halo patents for pulse products delivered in the United States and inducement for products Pulse delivered outside the United States but were imported into the United States by others. In this decision, the Federal Circuit court rejected Halo’s argument that domestic sale reduction resulted from Halo’s oversee sale and sales negotiations conducted within the United States for sales oversees constituted evidence for patent infringement.

 Yunnan Jiang is a 1L at Harvard Law School.

Posted On Nov - 12 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Cristina Carapezza

Federal Appeals Court Weighs NSA’s Surveillance Program

A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Tuesday heard arguments over whether the National Security Agency’s surveillance of millions of Americans’ phone records violates the Constitution’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. The panel questioned whether the program, which is conducted under the Patriot Act, is an invasion of privacy if the NSA merely collects the data without using it. Arguing against the NSA program, attorney Larry Klayman argued that the program represents “possibly the biggest violation of freedom in constitutional history.”  Klayman won the first ruling last December when U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, ruled that the NSA’s surveillance program “almost certainly” violates the Constitution.

Argentine Supreme Court Rules on Liability of Internet Intermediaries

The Argentine Supreme Court in R.M.B. c/Google y ot. s/ Ds y Ps (Fallo R.522.XLIX) issued a ruling largely favorable to search engines on whether internet intermediaries, in this case Google and Yahoo, are liable for linking in search results to third-party content that violates fundamental rights or infringes on copyright. At the end of October, the Court established that intermediaries would only be liable for not removing third-party infringing content after being notified by a court of its illegality and the affected party. In this case, the plaintiff did not notify Google and Yahoo prior to the lawsuit. The Court also ruled that search engines are not required to proactively monitor search engines to permanently block links to infringing content.

3D Printed Plastic Guns Withstand New Ammunition Design

Michael Crumling, a 25-year old amateur gunsmith from Pennsylvania, developed a new type of ammunition designed specifically for a 3D printed plastic gun. Typically, the plastic cannot hold up after multiple shots of an exploding metal bullet. However, Crumling constructed a thicker steel shell to house the lead bullet inside. The shell acts as a buffer between the exploding round’s gunpowder and the plastic of the gun by absorbing much of the impact. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has stressed the unreliability and danger of 3-D printed weapons. Selling your own manufactured ammunition in the United States requires a Federal Firearms License. Crumling has no plans to sell the ammunition but is sharing his ammunition designs online.

Posted On Nov - 11 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Michelle Goldring – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

President & Fellows of Harvard v. Lee, No. 2013-1628 (Fed. Cir. October 29, 2014)

Slip Opinion

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which had granted summary judgment to the Patent and Trademark Office. Slip op. at 2. On de novo review, the Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s finding that Harvard’s third patent on a gene sequence used to make research animals more susceptible to cancer had expired and was not eligible for new claims under 37 C.F.R. § 1.530(j). Id. at 4.

In affirming the grant of summary judgment, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit applied the arbitrary and capricious standard in the Administrative Procedure Act to prior court’s determination that the second patent had expired. Id. at 5. Harvard had filed a terminal disclaimer with the second patent, which was intended to run with the patent and any related patents. Id. at 3. It “disclaimed any portion of the term ‘of any patent granted on the above-identified application or on any application which is entitled to the filing date of this application under 35 U.S.C. § 120.” Id. (citing J.A. 1271–72). However, Harvard then argued that the disclaimer was invalid because Harvard had never paid the related fee and the PTO had not properly entered it. Id. at 56. The court reasoned that the rational basis standard had been met, based on the evidence Harvard provided. Id. at 9.

PatentDocs.org provides a detailed overview of the decision and the underlying patents.  (more…)

Posted On Nov - 11 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST

By Michelle Goldring – Edited by Jesse Goodwin

Letter from ACLU and EFF to Williamson Cnty. Sch. Dist. (Oct. 27, 2014) (letter hosted by EFF.org)

Williamson County Schools Technology Policy

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (“ACLU”) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) wrote a letter to the superintendent and board of Williamson County Schools (“WCS”) in response to its new technology policy, protesting certain provisions and asking the board to alter those terms. In the letter, the ACLU and EFF raise concerns about specific portions of the policy that would limit students’ right to freely use social media even when outside the school and which would permit students’ devices to be searched with very few restrictions. In particular, they argue that these portions of the policy offend students’ First and Fourth Amendment rights, respectively.

The Washington Post and The Tennessean provide overviews of the ACLU and EFF’s concerns.  Wired includes some additional factual background. EFF also released its own summary of the letter. (more…)

Posted On Nov - 10 - 2014 Add Comments READ FULL POST
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A Computer Programme

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Jenny Choi On February 13, ...

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Flash Digest: News i

By Anne Woodworth Report Claims Facebook Privacy Policy in Violation of ...

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Federal Circuit Flas

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Alleged mastermind b

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Katherine Kwong   U.S. v. ...

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Whack-a-troll Legisl

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