A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News In Brief

By Cristina Carapezza

Rosen Wins TV Headrest Patent Suit

Federal Circuit Allows for Declaratory Judgment of Noninfringement for Disclaimed Patent

Federal Circuit Prohibits Third Party Challenges to Patent Application Revivals Under the APA

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Government Agents Indicted for Wire Fraud and Money Laundering in Silk Road Investigation

By Sheri Pan – Edited by Jens Frankenreiter

Two former Drug Enforcement Administration agents have been charged for wire fraud and money laundering in connection with an investigation of Silk Road, a digital black market that allowed people to anonymously buy drugs and other illicit goods using Bitcoin, a digital currency. The two agents were members of the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force and allegedly used their official capacities and resources to steal Bitcoins for their personal gain.

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Mississippi Attorney General’s investigation of Google temporarily halted by federal court

By Lan Du – Edited by Katherine Kwong

On March 2, 2015, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s investigation of Google was halted by a federal court granting Google’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate issued the opinion. Judge Wingate found a substantial likelihood that Hood’s investigation violated Google’s First Amendment rights by content regulation of speech and placing limits of public access to information.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Ken Winterbottom

J.P. Morgan Appeal Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction

Court Agrees with USPTO: Settlement Agreements Are Not Grounds for Dismissing Patent Validity Challenges

Attorney Misconduct-Based Fee-Shifting Request Revived in Light of Recent Supreme Court Decision

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Pass the Patented Peas, Please: EPO Upholds Plant Product Patents

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

Everything’s coming up roses for plant patent holders, following the European Patent Office’s recent endorsement of patents for tomato and broccoli plants.  In a March 25, 2015 decision, the Enlarged Board of Appeal held that the European Patent Convention’s Article 53(b) prohibition on patents for production of plants by “essentially biological processes . . . does not have a negative effect on the allowability of a product claim directed to plants.”

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Interior Minister Ögmundur Jónason Proposes Pornography Ban
By Charlie Stiernberg – Edited by Sarah Jeong

The Associated Press reports that authorities in Iceland are considering a proposal by Interior Minister Ögmundur Jónason to ban pornography on the Internet. Pornography has been illegal in the country for decades, but the law is vague and therefore seldom enforced. The new proposal would not create any new restrictions, but it would reinforce existing law by expressly defining “pornography” as material with violent or degrading content.

Supporters argue the measure would shelter children from violent sexual imagery and serious psychological harm. Opponents claim the move will unduly censor Internet content, undermine Iceland’s international reputation for free speech, and encourage authoritarian regimes abroad.

The Guardian provides an account of the history and research behind the new measure. The Atlantic Wire argues that an effective Internet pornography ban is technologically impossible. The Daily Mail suggests that David Cameron, an outspoken critic of pornography, will be closely monitoring the outcome of the debate, along with others in the U.K. government. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 5 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Michael Hoven

Flash DigestApple v. Samsung Damages Award Cut by $450 Million

Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California, who oversaw last summer’s Apple v. Samsung trial, lowered the jury’s $1.05 billion damages award to apple by $450 million, reports Reuters. According to Koh, the jury used an “impermissible legal theory” to calculate damages. To fix the error, Koh ordered a new damages trial on fourteen of Samsung’s twenty-eight infringing products, to be postponed while the case is in appeal in the Federal Circuit. The decision is the latest of several post-trial victories for Samsung, notes Ars Technica, but the award still stands at $599 million and a new damages trial could add to that figure.

Yelp Review Can Help Show Consumer Confusion

The Middle District of Florida entered a preliminary injunction against the health club Fit U in a trademark infringement suit brought by the gym You Fit, according to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. In considering You Fit’s claim, the court considered an anonymous Yelp review claiming the reviewer’s own confusion regarding the distinction between You Fit and Fit U. As Internet Cases reports, the court noted that, for a preliminary injunction, it could consider material not admissible for a permanent injunction, but the Yelp review did not constitute hearsay in any case.

ISPs Announce “Copyright Alert System” to Combat Infringement

Several Internet service providers (ISP)—including AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon—stated that they would initiate a new monitoring and notification program designed to curb copyright infringement, Wired reports. The “Copyright Alert System” will monitor peer-to-peer file-sharing services and, as NBC News reports, implement a six-strike scheme of alerts culminating in service slowdowns or redirects. Record labels and movie studios have lobbied for the plan, which also has the support of the Obama administration.

Drug Testing of Welfare Recipients Likely Violates Fourth Amendment, Says 11th Circuit

The 11th Circuit upheld an injunction against the enforcement of a Florida law requiring drug testing of beneficiaries of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), reported Fox News and Courthouse News Service. Such drug testing was likely to be an unconstitutional search and Florida showed no “substantial special need” for the testing, according to the court, making an injunction appropriate. Despite this, bills that would require random drug testing of TANF beneficiaries were recently introduced in Maine and the United States House of Representatives.

Posted On Mar - 5 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Maryland v. King
By Kathleen McGuinness – Edited by Pio Szamel

Maryland v. King, No. 12-207 (U.S. Feb. 26, 2013)
Transcript of Oral Argument

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Maryland v. King, a challenge to the constitutionality of warrantless DNA sampling of persons arrested for serious crimes. Throughout the hour-long argument, the justices repeatedly jumped in with probing questions over the government’s motivations, the expectations of privacy in DNA, and the future of DNA analysis in law enforcement. If the policy is found to be unconstitutional, twenty-eight other states and the federal government face potential invalidation of similar laws.

SCOTUSBlog, Bloomberg, and ABC News have further coverage. SCOTUSblog also has information about the case’s background and pre-argument predictions. A more detailed analysis of the case is available from the Legal Information Institute. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 4 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Settlement between Zynga and Electronic Arts
By Casey Holzapfel – Edited by Andrew Crocker

Hacked By Over-XThe Chicago Tribune reports that Electronic Arts (EA) and Zynga have reached a settlement agreement regarding competing lawsuits in the Northern District of California. While the details of the settlement were not made public, both parties agreed to drop their respective lawsuits and pay their own legal fees. According to red Orbit, the settlement does not involve compensation from either company.

EA initially filed a complaint against Zynga in August 2012, alleging that Zynga’s game “The Ville” copied EA’s game “The Sims Social” after hiring EA executives who had worked on “The Sims Social.” Six weeks later, Zynga filed its own lawsuit claiming EA had violated a 2011 agreement between the two companies regarding employee solicitation. Zynga accused EA of violating the agreement by attempting to block employees from switching companies. Two of the executives mentioned in EA’s suit for moving to Zynga have left Zynga in the past year.

The Chicago Tribune provides an overview of the events leading to the settlement. The San Francisco Chronicle looks into the details of copyright protection for video games. (more…)

Posted On Feb - 27 - 2013 Comments Off READ FULL POST

In re Innovatio IP Ventures
By David LeRay – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness

In re Innovatio IP Ventures, LLC, Case No. 11 C 9308 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 4, 2013)
Slip opinion

The Northern District of Illinois granted in part and denied in part Innovatio IP Ventures’s motion to dismiss seven claims in a complaint brought by manufacturers of wireless Internet technology. The court dismissed the manufacturers’ claims based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968, the California Business & Professional Code, a theory of civil conspiracy, a theory of interference with prospective economic advantage, and a theory of unclean hands. The court did not dismiss claims based on breach of contract and promissory estoppel.

The court held that the Noerr-Pennington doctrine protecting petitioners of the government from liability extends to patent law cases in the Seventh Circuit, and specifically applies to pre-suit demand letters under Federal Circuit law unless the defendant is engaging in sham litigation. The court reasoned that the doctrine is “today understood [in the Seventh Circuit] as an application of the first amendment . . . ,” and applies readily beyond its origins in antitrust and labor cases. Innovatio at 9. The court held that the doctrine protected pre-suit communications under the logic of the Federal Circuit’s holding in Globetrotter Software. Id. at 13 (discussing Globetrotter Software, Inc. v. Elan Computer Grp., Inc., 362 F.3d 1367 (Fed. Cir. 2004)).

Ars Technica provides an overview of the case. Wall Street Journal Law Blog and The Patent Examiner discuss its history. (more…)

Posted On Feb - 26 - 2013 1 Comment READ FULL POST
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