A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules on Protecting and Promoting Open Internet

By Shuli Wang – Edited by Yaping Zhang

Two weeks after voting on regulating broadband Internet service as a public utility, on March 12, the Federal Communications Commission (”FCC”) released a document (the FCC Order and Rules) on net neutrality, which reclassifies high-speed Internet as a telecommunications service rather than an information service, thus subjecting Internet service providers (ISPs) as common carrier to regulations under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The purpose of the new rules is to ensure the free flow of bits through the web without paid-for priority lanes and blocking or throttling of any web content.

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White House releases administration discussion draft for Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2015

By Lan Du – Edited by Katherine Kwong

On February 27, 2015, President Obama released an administration draft of a proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act. The proposed bill’s stated purpose is to “establish baseline protections for individual privacy in the commercial arena and to foster timely, flexible implementations of these protections through enforceable codes of conduct developed by diverse stakeholders.”

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Patrick Gallagher

Federal Circuit Affirms Denial of AT&T Motion to Extend or Re-open Filing Period for Appeal in Patent Infringement Suit

In Patent Suit Against Apple, Federal Circuit Affirms in Part, Reverses in Part

Federal Circuit Reverses DNA Sequencing Technology Patent Construction

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Wikimedia Sues NSA for Upstream Surveillance

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

Wikimedia Foundation filed a suit against the NSA challenging the constitutionality of upstream surveillance programs, which allow the NSA to communicate by Americans and persons abroad. The claim, which was joined by eight other human rights organizations, challenges NSA’s actions as violations of the First and Fourth Amendments of the US Constitution.

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Florida Considers a Bill Outlawing Anonymous Websites

By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Anton Ziajka

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill, the “True Origin of Digital Goods Act,”  that would require owners and operators of websites that disseminate “commercial” recordings or audiovisual works to prominently disclose their true names, physical addresses, and telephone numbers or email addresses on the websites. The bill extends to all websites that deal “in substantial part” in disseminating such recordings or audiovisual works, “directly or indirectly,” to Florida consumers.

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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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