A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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European Court of Justice Invalidates Data Retention Directive
By Paul Klein – Edited by Alex Shank

In a preliminary ruling requested by courts in Ireland and Austria, the European Court of Justice found that Directive 2006/24/EC was invalid. The Grand Chamber recognized the legitimacy of retaining telecommunications data as a means to combat serious crime and terrorism, but it ultimately held that the far-reaching scope of the Directive disproportionately affected individual privacy under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

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Google to Supreme Court: Snagging Data from Unsecured Wi-Fi is Perfectly Legal
By Michael Shammas – Edited by Mary Schnoor

Google has filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to label its Street View cars’ collection of unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic legal, appealing the Ninth Circuit’s decision that Google may have violated the federal Wiretap Act. Google believes unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic should be classed as “radio communications” accessible to the public.

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Mozilla Announces Resignation of Recently Appointed CEO Brendan Eich Following Controversy over Gay Marriage Opposition
By Sheri Pan – Edited by Corey Omer

On April 3, Mozilla Corporation (“Mozilla”), a subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation most widely known for producing the Firefox browser, announced that its CEO of less than two weeks, Brendan Eich, has resigned, after pressure from Mozilla employees, bloggers, and developers who opposed his appointment in light of a $1000 donation that he made in 2008 in support of Proposition 8, a ballot measure that sought to ban gay marriage in California.

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Flash Digest: News In Brief
By Emma Winer

Third Circuit Vacates Hacker Conviction for Improper Venue

French Unions and Employers Agree to Curb After-Hours Work Email

Limited Sale of Google Glass Slated For April 15

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Supreme Court Weighs Patent Eligibility of Software
By Mary Schnoor — Edited by Elise Young

The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, a case with the potential to determine whether, or when, computer-implemented inventions (i.e., software) are patent-eligible subject matter. Many commentators hope the Court will use this case as an opportunity to clarify what makes an invention an “abstract idea” that is ineligible for patenting.

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By Heather Whitney – Edited by Esther Kang

On June 28th, Google launched Google+, what appears to be its first major attempt to combat Facebook in the social networking space. While it has been said that Google+ shares more than a little in common with Facebook’s UI, from a policy perspective Google+ has attempted to distinguish itself from Facebook on two main fronts: first, more granular user control of content sharing (i.e. privacy), and second, increased data portability, giving users the ability to easily take their data out of Google+ and go elsewhere. While the introduction of a feasible Facebook competitor has been hailed as a win for users, the possibility of robust competition, resulting in innovation and user-sensitivity, will remain out of reach until users, and not the dominant social networking site, have primary control over their data. In other words, although Google+ has raised the user control and privacy ante, online social networking will never reach its full potential until the costs of switching social networks are drastically lowered.

This article will touch on a few Google+ highlights; for a detailed comparison between Google+ and Facebook, see this Digital Trends piece. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 17 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court to Consider Civil Procedure Issues in Two Patent Cases
By Marina Shvarts – Edited by Dorothy Du

Hyatt v. Kappos, 625 F.3d 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2010)
Petition for Writ of Certiorari hosted by scotusblog.com

Caraco Pharm. Labs., Ltd. v. Novo Nordisk A/S, 601 F.3d 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2010)
Petition for Writ of Certiorari hosted by scotusblog.com

In Kappos v. Hyatt, the Court will consider whether a patent applicant who is seeking to overturn a Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) decision in a Section 145 civil action may introduce new evidence that could have been, but was not, presented to the PTO, and when new evidence is introduced, whether the district court can decide related factual questions de novo or whether it must give deference to the PTO’s prior decision.

In Caraco Pharm. Labs., Ltd. v. Novo Nordisk A/S, the Court will consider the extent of a generic drug manufacturer’s rights to file a counterclaim under the Hatch-Waxman act seeking an order to require the patent holder to correct or delete the patent information submitted to the FDA that misstates the scope of the patent.

Patent Docs summarizes the Federal Circuit en banc decision in KapposPatent Docs also discusses the Federal Circuit holding in Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories.

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Posted On Jul - 13 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Eighth Circuit Holds that Use of Public Domain Material Infringes Film Copyright
By Michael Hoven – Edited by Esther Kang

Warner Bros. Entm’t v. X One X Productions, No. 10-1743 (8th Cir. July 5, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The Eighth Circuit unanimously affirmed in part and reversed in part a decision by the Eastern District of Missouri, which had granted summary judgment to Warner Bros. on its copyright infringement claim and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting defendants (collectively “AVELA”) from licensing images from publicity materials for The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and short films featuring Tom & Jerry. The Eight Circuit remanded the case for modification of the injunction in light of their decision.

The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Warner Bros. with regard to AVELA’s reproduction of publicity images, holding that the publicity materials were in the public domain. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment to Warner Bros. and the permanent injunction prohibiting AVELA’s production of items that evoked copyrightable aspects of the film characters, even when the products featured only images and text extracted from the public domain. In so holding, the court noted that the public’s right to use and modify public domain materials ends when it conflicts with an existing copyright. Because the “increments of expression” that a film adds to a public domain character are copyrightable, a combination of materials that do not independently infringe copyright—such as public domain extracts—may nonetheless infringe on an expressive element of that character that is protected under the film’s copyright.

PIT IP Tech Blog provides an overview of the case. Techdirt criticizes the decision for its expansion of copyright protection at the expense of the public domain. Copyright Litigation Blog questions whether other circuits or the Supreme Court will follow the Eighth Circuit’s reasoning and asserts that modifications of public domain material will fuel litigation in coming years. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 12 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Daniel Robinson

Wikileaks Plans to Sue Credit Card Companies for Blocking Payments

Wikileaks intends to sue Visa and Mastercard for blocking payments to the site, CBS News reports. The credit card companies have blocked all donations and payments to WikiLeaks since last December, allegedly in response to pressure by the United States government. Wikileaks claims that the companies’ actions violated the Competition Rules of the European Union, and it intends to file a complaint with the European Commission and file suit in Denmark, according to its press release.

Google Fails to Acquire Nortel Patent Portfolio

Reuters reports a consortium of technology companies acquired the patent portfolio of Nortel Networks, the bankrupt Canadian telecom, last week in an auction. The portfolio contains more than 6,000 patents, many of which concern mobile technology, and was sold for $4.5 billion. Google, which had mystified onlookers by bidding approximations of mathematical constants such as pi, had been expected to win after placing a $900 million “stalking horse” bid in April. According to CNN Money, the winning consortium contained several of Google’s major competitors, including Apple, Microsoft, Ericsson, and RIM, and the winning bid was the largest sum ever paid for an intellectual property portfolio.

Judge Rules Wiretapping Case Against Google Street View Can Go Forward

A federal judge in Silicon Valley has denied Google’s motion to dismiss a wiretapping claim against it, Wired reports. The plaintiffs claim that Google’s Street View vehicles, which travel across public streets recording images to improve Google’s Street View service, intercepted and stored communications from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks, in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Google has claimed that the vehicles, which record the locations of Wi-Fi networks to improve Google’s location services, only stored communications gathered from those networks by mistake, and had further argued that because the networks were not password-protected, intercepting them did not constitute wiretapping.

Amazon Terminates Associates Program in California in Response to Sales Tax Bill

A new California law will, for the first time, require online retailers with no physical stores in the state to collect sales tax on purchases by California residents, Ars Technica reports. In order to avoid being subject to the law, Amazon has sought to reduce its contacts with the state by eliminating its affiliate program in California. According to the Los Angeles Times, online purchases have always been subject to sales tax in California, but consumers, rather than retailers, have previously been responsible for paying it, which has made collection difficult. Amazon has argued that the law is unconstitutional, and is currently fighting a similar New York law in court

Posted On Jul - 6 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court Holds California Ban on Violent Video Games Violates First Amendment
By Raquel Acosta – Edited by Dorothy Du

Brown v. EMA, No. 08-1448 (June 27, 2011)
Slip Opinion via supremecourt.gov

The Supreme Court affirmed a Ninth Circuit decision that had found that a California law that restricted the sale or rental of violent video games to minors did not comport with the First Amendment and permanently enjoined its enforcement.

Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.  In a 7-2 decision, the Court upheld the lower court decisions and repealed California Assembly Bill 1179 (2005), Cal. Civ. Code Ann. §§1746-1746.5 (West 2009) (“the Act”) (a law passed in 2005 by the California State Legislature which required more stringent rating standards on video games), banned the sale of violent video games to anyone under the age of 18, and imposed a maximum $1000 per violation.  The Supreme Court held that video games were afforded the same First Amendment protections as other forms of communication.  Areas in which restrictions on free speech are allowed are limited to obscenity, incitement, and fighting words.  In so holding, the Court rejected the Government’s argument that a balancing test may be used to justify restrictions, holding that a legislature may not add new categories of unprotected speech.

The Virtual World Law Blog provides an overview of the case.  David Kopel, writing for the Volokh Conspiracy, examines the “the weapons effect” (the theory that being exposed to aggressive stimuli will make ordinary individuals more inclined towards aggressive behavior) and uses the Brown decision in his critique of legislative anti-gun laws. Wikipedia provides a thorough analysis of the case and is informative as to the case history and the context in which Brown arises. SCOTUSblog contains an interesting commentary on the litigation strategies used.

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Posted On Jul - 5 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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European Court of Ju

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Google to Supreme Co

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Mozilla Announces Re

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Supreme Court Weighs

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