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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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3D Systems and Formlabs Settled Two-Year Patent Dispute

By Yixuan Long – Edited by Yaping Zhang

On December 1, 3D Systems and Formlabs settled their two-year legal dispute over the 520 Patent infringement. Terms of the settlement are undisclosed. The patent covered different parts of the stereolithographic three-dimensional printing process, which uses a laser to cure liquid plastic. 3D Systems was granted the ‘520 Patent in 1997. Formlabs views the settlement as enabling it to continue its expansion and keep developing new products.

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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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Written By: Sounghun Lee
Edited By: Esther Mulder
Editorial Policy

Introduction

Traditionally, a U.S. patent could only be infringed by activities performed wholly within the United States. In 1972, the Supreme Court held in Deepsouth Packing Co. v. Laitram Corp. that exporting domestically made components of a patented product for assembly abroad was not a direct infringement under U.S. patent law.[i] In an effort to account for the growing global marketplace, Congress has revised and expanded the definition of  “infringing activities” to include extraterritorial activities. This is reflected in 35 U.S.C. § 271, which generally outlines circumstances in which patents are infringed. In particular, § 271(g) provides the authority to enforce a U.S. process patent by prohibiting the importation of products made outside the U.S. that would otherwise violate the patent.[ii] It is important to note that § 271(g) only covers a patent over processes and not the products themselves.[iii]

In Bayer AG v. Housey Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the defining case for § 271(g) jurisprudence, the Federal Circuit held that to have a claim under § 271(g), an imported product must be physical and tangible,[iv] without clearly defining which products are “physical and tangible”. This uncertainty is especially problematic with reference to new technologies. For example, it is unclear whether information contained in electronic signals is considered a physical and tangible product, and this leaves opportunities for infringers to take advantage of the gaps in case law. In light of these ambiguities, understanding the boundaries of § 271(g) is crucial in the age of advancing technologies and the burgeoning global economy. This Comment discusses the extraterritorial reach of § 271(g) and the shortcomings of the two decisions made by the Federal Circuit on this issue. Additionally, this Comment analyzes recent district court cases regarding the question of whether data or information contained in electric signals embedded in physical articles should be considered physical tangible products under § 271(g). (more…)

Posted On Sep - 6 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Jury Delivers $1.05B Verdict for Apple in Patent Case
By Jeffery Habenicht – Edited by Jennifer Wong

Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., LTD., 11-CV-1846-LHK (N.D.Cal Aug. 24, 2012)
Jury Verdict Form hosted by SB Nation

After two-and-a-half days of deliberation, a nine-person jury returned a $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung for infringing six of seven Apple patents.  The jury found that, in 24 of its phones and tablets, Samsung had infringed on all three utility patents and three of four design patents that Apple had asserted.  The jury rejected Samsung’s defense that the patents were invalid. Furthermore, the jury found that five of the patents had been infringed willfully by Samsung.  Finally, the jury denied all of Samsung’s infringement counterclaims.  United States District Judge Lucy Koh presided over the trial and has scheduled a hearing for post-trial motions on September 20.

Bloomberg describes the case and explores the broader market context of the dispute.  Ars Technica analyzes the jury verdict.  Wired discusses what the effect the verdict will have on consumers.  Patently-O addresses the likely next steps for the case.  Groklaw takes the position that the jury verdict will likely be overturned, at least in part.

(more…)

Posted On Aug - 29 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Michael Hoven

DOJ Seizes Domains for Alleged Piracy of Apps

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) seized the domains of three websites that allegedly offered illegal downloads of apps for Android mobile devices, reports the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. It was the first time that the DOJ had seized domains because of app piracy. Previous seizures (like the Megaupload seizure, previously reported on by the Digest) had focused on combating piracy of movies and music.

Oakland’s Police Radio Problems Caused by Interference from AT&T

Oakland police’s radio communications have failed several times since the city began using a new $18 million police radio system in 2011, reports Ars Technica, and the city and the FCC have determined that the source of the problem was interference caused by AT&T cellular communications. Radio communications were especially hampered when a police car was within a quarter-mile of an AT&T cell tower. In response, AT&T has shut down its 2G frequencies at 16 towers around Oakland.

Kanye West Not Liable for Copyright Infringement, Affirms Seventh Circuit

The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a copyright infringement claim against Kanye West, Techdirt reports. Vincent Peters (who goes by the stage name “Vince P”) alleged that West’s song “Stronger” infringed on Vince P’s song of the same name. The Seventh Circuit held that there was insufficient similarity between the songs, despite each song’s reliance on Friedrich Nietzsche’s aphorism, “what does not kill me, makes me stronger.” The court noted that the aphorism had been used before by many recording artists, including Kelly Clarkson.

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

Written By: Jacob Rogers
Edited By: Jeffery Habenicht
Editorial Policy

Introduction

On November 18th-20th, 2011, Major League Gaming hosted a Starcraft II tournament in Providence, Rhode Island, where over 250 professional players competed for a $100,000 prize. Starcraft and Starcraft II (collectively “Starcraft”) are a pair of video games set in a futuristic universe in which players compete against each other by controlling armies of humans with advanced technology or one of two alien races, the enigmatic Protoss, or the swarming Zerg.

This Comment addresses the legal ramifications of publicly broadcasted videogames used as a sport by analyzing Starcraft, one of, if not the most  powerful professionally competitive game. Section I addresses the background of real-time strategy games (“RTS”) and provides an introduction to the professional Starcraft industry. Section II analyzes the recent lawsuit and settlement between Activision Blizzard, Inc. and Korean Starcraft broadcasters and considers how it might have been resolved had it not settled. Section III recommends a change to improve copyright law in light of the unique characteristics of game broadcasting. I argue that Starcraft has transformed into a quasi-public good with governmental, corporate, and private stakeholders, which should limit its creators’ right to enjoin its use through copyright law.

(more…)

Posted On Aug - 24 - 2012 2 Comments READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Reaffirms Patent Eligibility of Isolated Human Genes
By Jie Zhang – Edited by Jeffery Habenicht

Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. USPTO, No. 2010-1406 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 16, 2012)
Slip opinion

The Federal Circuit, on remand from the Supreme Court in light of the Court’s decision in Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., affirmed in part and reversed in part a decision by the Southern District of New York, which had held that isolated breast cancer genes and a screening method based on such genes were non-patentable.

The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that it had jurisdiction to hear the declaratory judgment case, finding that at least one plaintiff had standing to challenge Myriad’s patents. On the merits, the Federal Circuit reversed the district court and reiterated its prior holding that isolated genes were patent eligible because they were compositions of matter sufficiently different from the naturally occurring genes. The court also found that the method to screen therapeutics based on the growth rate of cells containing mutated genes was patentable as it included transformative steps and was more than a restatement of the law of nature. However, the court affirmed the district court’s holding that the method to compare gene sequences was non-patentable because it involved only abstract mental steps.

JOLT Digest previously covered both this case and Prometheus. Reuters provides an overview of the case and reports on reactions of the scientific community and the biotech industry. Patently-O criticizes the court’s analysis for ignoring the impact of Prometheus and predicts an en banc rehearing or a grant of certiorari by the Supreme Court. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 22 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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