A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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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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Supreme Court Rules Against the FCC, but Avoids First Amendment Issues
By Sarah Jeong – Edited by Jennifer Wong

Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., No. 10-1293 (U.S. June 21, 2012)
Slip Opinion

The Supreme Court ruled last week that the Federal Communication Commission’s (“FCC”) rules on “fleeting expletives” did not give fair notice to networks like Fox and ABC, and were therefore unconstitutionally vague. While all eight justices (Justice Sotomayor recused herself) were unanimous in a judgment against the FCC, Justice Ginsburg split away from the majority opinion, arguing in a separate concurrence that the Supreme Court should overturn its 1978 decision in FCC v. Pacifica Foundation.

The Los Angeles Times reports on the ruling. Forbes and Ars Technica chided the Supreme Court for avoiding the pivotal First Amendment question.

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Posted On Jul - 2 - 2012 1 Comment READ FULL POST

By Susanna Lichter

Fair Use Defense Bolstered by 7th Circuit Decision in South Park Viral Video Lawsuit

In a victory for fair use proponents, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a District Court’s grant of a motion to dismiss based on fair use before any discovery took place in a lawsuit between the makers of the South Park television show and plaintiff Brownmark Films, LLC. Judge Cudahy found South Park’s substantial recreation of Brownmark Films’ viral video “What What (In the Butt)” to be clearly fair use based solely on the two videos, allowing the defendants to avoid costly discovery and trial expenses, Ars Technica reports. South Park’s near shot-for-shot rendition substituted the flamboyant star of the original with a young boy and was considered by the court to be an “obvious” example of parody. The court further commented that Brownmark Films’ broad discovery request gave the plaintiffs the appearance of a “copyright troll.”

24 Arrested by FBI in Global Cyber Crime Sting Operation

“Operation Card Shop,” a two-year FBI investigation into the buying and selling of credit card data, identity theft, and counterfeit documents culminated earlier this week in the arrest of twenty-four people around the globe. The sting was announced in a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and involved the apprehension of eleven suspects located in the United States, thirteen located abroad, and the execution of more than thirty search warrants. According to a report by Wired, the FBI facilitated the bust by setting up a phony web forum to monitor hackers’ online exchange of stolen financial data. Among the suspects arrested was Mir Islam, aka “JoshTheGod,” a self proclaimed founder of the online carding forum Carders.org and member of the hacking group UGNazi.

NZ Court Rules Search of Megaupload Founder’s Mansion Illegal

The High Court of New Zealand found the search and seizure of the infamous Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom’s electronic data, automobiles, and bank accounts performed by New Zealand police to be invalid and illegal. New Zealand police issued warrants and stormed Dotcom’s mansion earlier this year pursuant to an official request for legal assistance by the United States as part of an extradition treaty between the two countries. The High Court’s 56-page decision may prove to be crucial to Dotcom’s effort to avoid extradition to the United States on charges of copyright infringement and money laundering. In their coverage of the ruling, Ars Technica expressed uncertainty that Dotcom will be able to retrieve his unlawfully retained data since the FBI has already returned to the United States with copies of the data.

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

By Jacob L. Rogers

Intel Acquires 1,700 Patents From Interdigital for $375 Million.

Intel has publicly announced its purchase of Interdigital’s patent portfolio, which is primarily composed of wireless patents. In the wake of the deal, Reuters voiced some concerns about the relative value of the deal, noting that the patents in this case were acquired at $220,000 per patent, compared to the $750,000 per patent and $735,000 per patent in the Nortel and Motorola deals, respectively. The acquisition of wireless patents could indicate a desire from Intel to push its chip manufacturing more towards mobile devices, where equipment and software updates are increasingly being applied over a wireless connection. Interdigital stock rose over 25 percent following the news of the Intel acquisition.

Motorola Continues Lawsuits over FRAND Patents

According to a report from Ars Technica, Motorola is continuing to sue companies over patents that it has agreed to license under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (“FRAND”) terms. Although MPEG-LA (an organization that specializes in licensing standards patents) has said that the price of one of Motorola’s patents should be 10-20 cents per unit, Motorola’s standard terms are to ask companies for 2.25 percent of revenues from products that make use of the patented standards. Many companies have already accepted Motorola’s terms, although both Apple and Microsoft continue to fight Motorola’s prices. Last week, Richard Posner referred to the whole patent system as “chaos” and told Motorola that he did not believe they could obtain an injunction for a standards essential patent.

Judge Rules that Netflix May be Required to Provide Subtitles Under the American Disabilities Act

Judge Michael Ponsor ruled against dismissal of a case requiring Netflix to provide closed captioning for its programming pursuant to the American Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Netflix had attempted to claim that the ADA did not apply to services provided over the Internet. Boston.com reports that Judge Ponsor rejected the Netflix interpretation, holding that Congress intended the ADA to apply to evolving forms of technology and keep current with the times. Judge Ponsor extended this to web-based businesses, even though the act, passed in 1990, did not contemplate business conducted over the Internet at the time of its passage. Under Judge Ponsor’s reading, nearly all websites could be required to provide features for improved access by people with disabilities.

Google Reveals Censorship Request Information

Google has revealed that between July and December in 2011 it received more than 1,000 requests from governments around the world asking for the removal of content from its servers. The New York Times reports that some requests included an American police department asking for removal of a video showing police brutality, Canadian authorities asking for removal of a video showing a citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down a toilet, and 14 requests asking for removal of videos that showed information about Spanish authorities such as mayors and public prosecutors. Google has refused to remove these videos, although it has complied with almost 50 percent of requests overall and 93 percent of requests coming from the U.S. government. These statistics do not include removal of Google content from Iran or China, both of which regularly censor Google content without informing the company.

Posted On Jun - 25 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Sets Forth New Standard for Willful Infringement
By Jie Zhang – Edited by Jennifer Wong

Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc. v. W.L. Gore & Assocs., No. 2010-1050 (Fed. Cir. June 14, 2012)
Slip Opinion

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in a 2-1 ruling following an en banc decision that sent the case back to panel for rehearing, partly reversed its earlier decision from February 10, 2012, which had affirmed the verdict of the District Court for the District of Arizona against W.L. Gore and had upheld the district court’s doubling of the jury’s damages award for willful patent infringement.

On panel rehearing, the Federal Circuit reaffirmed the validity of Bard’s patent but vacated its prior opinion on the issue of willful infringement. The Federal Circuit employed the two-prong test for willfulness. The court redefined the first prong of the test and held that the objective determination of the likelihood that a defendant’s conduct constituted infringement is a question of law for the court to decide. Only after the objective threshold is satisfied can the jury consider the subjective recklessness of the defendant’s actions. The court further stated that if the defendant has a reasonable defense or non-infringement theory, then the objective threshold is not overcome and there is no willful infringement. Thus, the court remanded the case to the district court to determine whether the objective prong of willful infringement is satisfied under this new standard and to reconsider whether the enhanced damages award is proper.

JOLT Digest previously reported on the Federal Circuit’s earlier decision in the battle between Bard and Gore. Thomson Reuters provides an overview of the case. Patently-O comments on the implications of the new standard. (more…)

Posted On Jun - 20 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Government Says Megaupload Users Must Pay to Retrieve Their Data
By Jacob L. Rogers – Edited by Heather Whitney

United States v. Kim Dotcom, No. 1:12CR3 (E.D. Va. June 8, 2012)
Kyle Goodwin’s motion for return of property (hosted by EFF)
Government reply brief (hosted by Wired)

In United States v. Kim Dotcom (“the Megaupload case”), the government has filed a reply brief regarding their responsibility (or lack thereof) to provide third parties their data in a situation where the government’s shutdown of a site has made it virtually impossible for that third party to otherwise retrieve their data. Here, in response to Mr. Kyle Goodwin’s motion for return of property pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1963 or Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g), the government claims that non-parties to the case have no recourse to the government in order to obtain the data stored on the previously seized Megaupload servers. (Government’s brief at 12).

JOLT Digest previously covered the Megaupload indictment. A thorough explanation of the issues can be found on CNET. Computerworld and WebProNews assert that the government’s proposal is unrealistic, and might be an effort to deter swarms of Megaupload users from demanding their data.

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Posted On Jun - 18 - 2012 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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