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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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Written By: Michael Hoven
Edited By: Albert Wang
Editorial Policy

Introduction

When the European Commission recently proposed a “right to be forgotten,” U.S. commentators sprang to criticize it. “More Crap from the EU,” said Jane Yakowitz at the Info/Law blog. At Techdirt, Mike Masnick called it a “ridiculous idea.” Granting people the right to erase information about themselves would give them the power to stamp on the speech rights of others. Allowing this in the aggregate could produce profound social costs: increased costs of doing business could stunt innovation; research data could be lost; history could be erased.

This comment takes a different position. I argue that the right to be forgotten attempts to solve a privacy problem that is serious and deserves our attention. However, the social costs of establishing such erasure rights in data are nonetheless real. Individual privacy rights should not be allowed to decimate our networked information environment, or our ability to study the data within it and learn about ourselves. The right to be forgotten, and analogous privacy frameworks, contain exceptions — for example, for journalism or free expression — but additional measures should be taken to provide sufficient protection for expression and research.

In any privacy regime that incorporates erasure rights, there are two partial solutions that should be instituted to preserve some (if not all) of the social value of personal information. The first partial solution, data anonymization, has many skeptics in the law review literature, but has already reaped many benefits and imposes less of a privacy cost than many other privacy risks that we already tolerate. The second partial solution, eventual opening of suppressed information, is inspired by archival practice and rests on the premise that remembering, not forgetting, is crucial to the democratic process.[i] As a remedy for privacy harms, forgetting is overbroad. Information that was once available but was removed should not permanently vanish, but rather should be restored once the potential for harm is no longer substantial enough to justify the suppression of information.  (more…)

Posted On May - 2 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Written By: Gillian Kassner
Edited By: Matt Gelfand
Editorial Policy

In a 2009 Los Angeles Times article, “Beijing Loves IKEA – But Not for Shopping,” reporter David Pierson offered a humorous account of the weekend excursions of Beijing families to their local IKEA where they enjoyed free soda and Swedish meatballs, snapped family photographs, surveyed the merchandise, and went home. Pierson noted that purchasing anything at the Beijing IKEA “can seem like an afterthought.” What Pierson failed to include was an epilogue: chances are most of these Chinese consumers would later purchase knockoff IKEA furniture online or at a local store.

A combination of cultural and economic factors underlies the current attitude of the Chinese towards the protection of intellectual property. As China has propelled itself onto the global stage by its fast-paced economic growth, external pressures from the United States and other nations and internal tensions between traditional Chinese values and the desire for economic prosperity have earmarked intellectual property as a key issue that will determine China’s economic and political trajectory. The Chinese Communist Party’s recent focus on IP protection signals that while China may continue to condone certain levels of infringement in the interim, in the long term, China’s continued economic growth and the survival of the CCP will require the serious reform of China’s IP enforcement. To be effective rather than cursory, it is evident from China’s history and political structure that such reform must be the natural product of China’s internal weighing of incentives rather than a response to external pressures.  (more…)

Posted On Apr - 24 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court Expands Generic Drug Manufacturers’  Right to Challenge Scope of Patents
By Elettra Bietti – Edited by Lauren Henry

Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Ltd. v Novo Nordisk A/S, No. 10–844 (U.S. April 17, 2012)
Slip opinion

The Supreme Court reversed the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that denied a generic manufacturer the right to compel a brand manufacturer to correct misstatements regarding uses covered by a patent when those corrections would have allowed the generic manufacturer to market their generic drug.

The Court held that a generic manufacturer may rely on 21 U.S.C. § 355(j)(5)(C)(ii)(I), which grants a statutory counterclaim to generic manufacturers sued for patent infringement, to compel a brand manufacturer to modify a use code if it wrongly describes a patent as covering uses which it does not in fact cover. In so holding, the court slightly shifts balance of power in the pharmaceutical industry away from patentees and toward generic manufacturers.

Patently-O provides an overview and describes it as an example of a “nuanced” Supreme Court case. Alison Frankel, writing for Reuters, notes that the decision represents a slight victory for generic manufacturers over the brands. (more…)

Posted On Apr - 23 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Brittany Horth

Oracle v. Google Trial Begins

The Oracle v. Google trial began on Monday, April 16, 2012 in the Northern District Court of California in San Francisco by swearing in twelve jurors for what is expected to be eight weeks of testimony, reports Ars Technica. According to an overview by All Things D, Oracle alleges that Google’s Android mobile operating system violates both copyright and patents on Java, which Oracle acquired from SunMicrosystems in 2010. The New York Times reports that both Google CEO Larry Page and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison appeared as witnesses in the first week of trial, as Google argued that Java is free and Oracle argued that Google knew it needed to get a license to use Java. The case is likely to address the issue of whether application programming interfaces (APIs) can be copyrighted in general.

FCC Says Google’s Wi-Fi Sniffing Did Not Violate Wiretapping Laws

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stated that Google did not violate federal wiretapping law when its street view cars collected data such as e-mails, passwords, and text messages from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks, reports Wired.  The FCC’s conclusion is in direct contrast to the holding of the Northern District of California in 2011. In support of its decision not to take enforcement action, the FCC cited the fact that the unencrypted Wi-Fi networks are accessible to the public, which has broader implications for customers who use the free, unencrypted Wi-Fi networks provided by businesses such as coffee shops. But the FCC also explained that it was “impossible” to uncover whether Google had accessed the encrypted data that it collected from the unencrypted Wi-Fi networks because a Google engineer who developed the relevant program refused to share information with the FCC.

Teller of Penn & Teller Alleges Violation of His Copyrighted Magic Trick

Raymond Teller of Penn & Teller is suing Gerard Dogge for copyright infringement of his magic trick entitled Shadows after Dogge posted a YouTube video of a magic trick called The Rose & Her Shadow and offered to reveal the secret for $3,050, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Teller sent YouTube a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice and attempted to pay Dogge not to reveal the secret but initiated a lawsuit when negotiations failed. Teller registered the trick with the U.S. Copyright Office, which requires that magic tricks be “fixed in a tangible medium of expression,” back in 1983. The success of the claim will depend on whether Teller can demonstrate that Dogge’s trick is a “substantially similar expression” of Shadows.

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

Second Circuit Holds that Goldman Sachs’s Proprietary Source Code Is Intangible Property under the NSPA
By Laura Fishwick – Edited by Lauren Henry

United States v. Aleynikov, No. 11-1126, 2012 WL 1193611 (April 11, 2012).
Slip Opinion

The Second Circuit reversed the holding of the District Court of the Southern District of New York, and found that source code is not a good, ware, or merchandise under the National Stolen Property Act (“NSPA”), a criminal statute that applies to anyone who “transports, transmits, or transfers in interstate or foreign commerce any goods, ware, merchandise, securities or money … knowing the same to be stolen, converted or taken by fraud.” 18 U.S.C. § 2314. The district court had found that because the source code was related to Goldman Sachs’s high-frequency trading (“HFT”) system, and this system contained confidential trade secrets that would be highly valuable to other firms, the source code was a “good” that was “stolen” within the meaning of the NSPA and Aleynikov had violated the statute.

Wired provides an overview of the case. While agreeing with the Second Circuit’s holding, Techdirt admonished the court for incorrectly calling the charges against Aleynikov “theft,” when should be more accurately described as “infringement.” (more…)

Posted On Apr - 19 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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