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Nintendo Wins Summary Judgment Based on Doctrine of Prosecution History Estoppel

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Stacy Ruegilin

On July 17, 2015, the Northern District Court of California granted a summary judgment motion in Nintendo’s favor in a patent suit, construing disputed term in accordance with Nintendo’s interpretation and finding that the patent had not been infringed. The court based its decision on prosecution history estoppel, highlighting differences between the processes of obtaining and enforcing a patent.

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District Court Holds that Internet-Based Television Provider, FilmOn X is Entitled to a Compulsory License

By Anne Woodworth – Edited by Henry Thomas

The U.S. District court for the Central District of California ruled that an online streaming service that rebroadcasted network television fit the definition of a cable company, and was entitled to compulsory licensing under § 111 of the Copyright Act.  The order relied on the Supreme Court’s Aereo decision, which held that internet streaming was fundamentally the same as cable. The ruling conflicts with a Second Circuit case decided on similar facts, and is immediately appealable.

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Data Breach Victims, Rejoice: Seventh Circuit Finds that Threat of Injury is Sufficient for Article III Standing in Data Breach Class Actions

By Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ariane Moss

Last Monday, the Seventh Circuit Courto of Appeals ruled that victims of a data breach had standing to pursue a class action even when they had not suffered direct financial harm as a result of the breach or when they had already been compensated for financial harm resulting from the breach. The opinion reversed a contrary district court decision, which the Seventh Circuit said had incorrectly read the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA.

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How Far Can Law Enforcement Go When Gathering Email Evidence? Former Gov. Scott Walker Employee Files Petition for Writ of Certiorari

By Kasey Wang – Edited by Ariane Moss

Kelly Rindfleisch is serving a six-month sentence for misconduct in public office while working for then-County Executive Scott Walker. Rindfleisch appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming that the government violated her Fourth Amendment rights while searching her emails for evidence for a different case.

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Russia’s “Right To Be Forgotten” and China’s Right To Be Protected: New Privacy and Security Legislation

By Brittany Doyle – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

The legislatures in Russia and China took steps this month to tighten regulations over Internet companies with access to user data. In Russia, President Vladmir Putin signed a law ensuring a “right to be forgotten” reminiscent of the European Court of Justice’s right to be forgotten ruling of May 2014. And in China, the National People’s Congress released a draft cybersecurity bill that would formalize and strengthen the State’s long-standing regulation of websites and network operators.

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By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Anton Ziajka

True Origin of Digital Goods Act, H.R., CS/HB 271, 2015 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Fla. 2015).

The bill is available at the Florida House of Representatives.

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit certain anonymous websites and online services. Under the so-called “True Origin of Digital Goods Act,” owners and operators of websites that disseminate “commercial” recordings or audiovisual works must 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 works, “directly or indirectly,” to Florida consumers.

One of the rationales provided for the proposal is the protection intellectual property rights. According to staff analysis by the Florida House of Representatives, “bad actors” who run websites that infringe upon the rights of copyright owners are “unlikely to disclose[] the personal information required by this bill.” Thus, the bill would “allow owners of copyrighted works to indirectly protect their intellectual property.”

Opponents of the bill criticize it on a number of grounds. For instance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the bill’s definition of “commercial recording or audiovisual work” — that is, any work that the work’s “owner, . . . agent, or licensee has disseminated or intends to disseminate” — is too abstract and vague. Indeed, a work may be “commercial” under the bill “regardless of whether a person who electronically disseminates it seeks commercial advantage or private financial gain from the dissemination.” As a result of such a broad terminology, virtually anyone could potentially seek a court order to disclose the name and physical address of a covered website’s owner. ArsTechnica provides additional analysis of the proposed bill. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 18 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Yunnan Jiang

Brief of American Civil Liberties Union et al. as Amici Curiae Supporting Plaintiff, Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse et al., No. 12-1043 (E.D. Va. Mar. 5, 2015) ECF No. 76-2.

Football season may be over, but the trademark battle over the Washington Redskins’ team name, mascot, and logo is raging on in federal court. The NFL team has faced heated controversy over its continued use of the term “Redskins,” which is considered by some to be an offensive racial slur for Native Americans. See Redskins Forever?, The New Yorker (May 10, 2013), http://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/redskins-forever.

On March 5th, the ACLU filed an amicus brief in Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse et al. supporting the NFL team’s right to register six trademarks (the “Redskins marks”). The matter is currently before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, following an appeal by Pro-Football, Inc. (d/b/a the Washington Redskins) of a June 2014 order by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) cancelling the Redskins marks.  Brief of American Civil Liberties Union et al. as Amici Curiae Supporting Plaintiff, Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse et al., No. 12-1043 (E.D. Va. Mar. 5, 2015) ECF No. 76-2 (henceforth “Brief”).

In rejecting the Redskins marks, the TTAB relied on Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act which prohibits registration of any trademark consisting of “immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute,” 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), ultimately finding that the Redskins marks were disparaging to Native Americans, Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc., 111 U.S.P.Q.2d 1080, 2014 WL 2757516, at *29(T.T.A.B. 2014).

(more…)

Posted On Mar - 17 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Patrick Gallagher

FCC Announces New Net Neutrality Rules

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission released a 313-page rule document outlining its new Internet regulations subsequent to its decision two weeks ago to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility. Some of the key provisions include rules against blocking non-illegal content, discretionary changes to the speed of online content delivery, and prioritization of web traffic speed to paying sites by Internet service providers. The framework calls for case-by-case adjudication in response to any disputes arising out of the regulations. A House bill has been introduced that would limit the FCC’s power under the current scheme.

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Posted On Mar - 17 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Jeanne Jeong

UnknownSummary Judgment Finding Patent Claim Invalid as Indefinite Reversed and Remanded Due to Specification and Prosecution History

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Eidos Display, LLC v. AU Optronics Corp. reversed and remanded the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas grant of summary judgment finding that Eidos Display, LLC and Eidos III, LLC’s (Eidos) patent claim of U.S. Patent No. 5,879,958 (‘958 patent) was invalid as indefinite.  Eidos Display, LLC v. AU Optronics Corp., 14-1254 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 10, 2015).  The Federal Circuit held that in light of the specification and prosecution history, the claim informed relevant parties with reasonable certainty about the “scope of the claimed invention.”  Eidos at 2.  Eidos alleged that AU Optronic infringed claim 1 of 958 patent, which concerns manufacturing processes for an electro-optical device such as an LCD panel.  Id. at 3.  The limitation at issue involved the construction of the claim’s language, “contact hole for source wiring and gate wiring connection terminals.”  Id. at 10.  Finding that the specifications did not deviate from known industry practice at the time the patent was filed, the history of the patent, and the text of the specification itself, the court adopted Eidos’s construction and concluded that a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand that the language at issue meant separate contact holes for source wiring connection terminals and gate wiring connection terminals.  Id. at 11-15.

http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/14-1254.Opinion.3-6-2015.1.PDF

 

District Court Grant of Summary Judgment Finding Affirmed

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in American Energy Co., LLC ex rel. Exelon Generation Co., LLC v. United States affirmed the United States Court of Federal Claims’ decision granting summary judgment below based on the economic performance requirement of 42 U.S.C. § 461(h).  Amergen Energy Co., LLC ex rel. Exelon Generation Co., LLC v. United States, 14-5067 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 11, 2015).  Finding that the district court properly found § 461(h) pertained to the case, the court further determined based on the statutory text that the “all events test” is not limited to expense deductions and applies to basis calculation.  Amergen at 2. Because AmerGen did not economically perform the decommissioning during the relevant tax years, the court held that AmerGen may not, on its 2001 through 2003 tax returns, include future nuclear decommissioning liabilities from its purchase of three nuclear power plants for calculating the basis of an acquired nuclear power plant and associated assets.  Id. at 10-15.

http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/14-5067.Opinion.3-9-2015.1.PDF

Posted On Mar - 15 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Ken Winterbottom

Judicial Watch Sues to Reveal Clinton Emails

Conservative political watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State last Wednesday seeking to compel disclosure of email correspondence between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nagla Mahmoud, the wife of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. Mahmoud previously threatened to publish the emails last August, as evidence of an alleged “special relationship” between the Obama and Morsi administrations that President Obama disavowed when Morsi’s government was overthrown in the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état. Morsi was a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization later labeled a terrorist organization by Egypt’s successor government. Within a few weeks of Mahmoud’s threat, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking access to the emails. Because the State Department has not yet responded, the watchdog group is now suing to compel the release of the emails, possibly as a move to damage Clinton’s reputation in anticipation of the upcoming presidential election.

(more…)

Posted On Mar - 11 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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