A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Steven Wilfong

Multimedia car system patents ruled as unenforceable based on inequitable conduct

ITC’s ruling that uPI violated Consent Order affirmed

Court rules that VeriFone devices did not infringe on payment terminal software patents

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Viviana Ruiz

Converse attempts to protect iconic Chuck Taylor All Star design

French Court rules that shoe design copyright was not infringed

Oklahoma Court rules that Facebook notifications do not satisfy notice requirement

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Silk Road Founder Loses Argument That the FBI Illegally Hacked Servers to Find Evidence against Him

By Travis West  — Edited by Mengyi Wang

The alleged Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was denied the motion to suppress evidence in his case. Ulbricht argued that the FBI illegally hacked the Silk Road servers to search for evidence to use in search warrants for the server. The judge denied the motion because Ulbricht failed to establish he had any privacy interest in the server.

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Trademark Infringement or First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech?

By Yunnan Jiang – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

On October 11, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, Inc. (“ACLU”) filed a joint brief in the U.S. Court Of Appeals, urging  that “trademark laws should not be used to impinge the First Amendment rights of critics and commentators”. The brief argues that the use of the names of organizations to comment, critique, and parody, is constitutionally protected by the speaker’s First Amendment right of freedom of expression.

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Twitter goes to court over government restrictions limiting reporting on surveillance requests

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Michael Shammas

Twitter on Oct. 7 sued the government, asking a federal district court to rule that it was allowed to reveal the numbers of surveillance requests it receives in greater detail. Twitter opposes complying with the rules agreed upon by the government and other tech companies in a settlement earlier this year, and argues that the rules violated its rights under the First Amendment.

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By Jennifer Wong

Government urges SCOTUS to rule in favor of generic drug maker

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments to determine whether generic drug manufacturer Caraco Pharmaceutical could sue Novo Nordisk to narrow its description for the patent on Prandin, a diabetes drug, in FDA filings. As Reuters reports, Caraco alleges that the description for the patent on Prandin is too broad and prevents any similar generic drug from entering the market. The government filed a brief opposing the Federal Circuit’s earlier ruling in favor of Novo Nordisk, noting that generic drugs can save consumers billions of dollars each year. According to FiercePharma, Novo Nordisk’s primary patent on the Prandin has expired, but the company retains a second patent for the use of the drug in combination with metformin. Novo Nordisk claims that its FDA submission was proper. A decision is expected in late June.

Facebook and FTC reach settlement over privacy practices

On November 29th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had reached a draft settlement with Facebook over its privacy practices, reports The Economist. The FTC alleged that it had found several cases where Facebook had engaged in deceptive practices that violated federal law. The privacy breaches included failing to make deleted images and videos inaccessible and passing on personal information to advertisers. According to The Washington Post, under the terms of the settlement, Facebook will not face any monetary fines. Facebook has agreed to seek its users’ permission before it makes any changes to its data sharing policy and to undergo an independent privacy audit every two years for the next 20 years. The settlement should be finalized at the end of December after a period for public comment.

Apple loses iPad trademark suit in China

Reuters reports that the Intermediate People’s Court in Shenzhen, China, has ruled against Apple in its trademark infringement suit against computer display manufacturer Proview Technology (Shenzhen). Apple had alleged that Proview Technology infringed on its “iPad” trademark. However, the court disagreed. According to the Financial Times, Proview Technology had registered trademarks for the “iPad” name in China and several other countries in 2000. Apple agreed to purchase the global trademark rights to the name from Proview Electronics (Taiwan), in 2009, but Proview Technology retained the Chinese rights. Proview Technology and Proview Electronics are both affiliates of Proview International, a Hong-Kong-listed holding group. Apple can still appeal the verdict. Proview Technology filed its own infringement lawsuit against Apple in October claiming 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in damages, reports ZDNet.

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

District Judge Seems to Pilot Test SOPA in a Temporary Restraining Order
By Julie Dorais – Edited by Matt Gelfand

Chanel, Inc. v. Does, et al., 11-cv-01508-KJD-PAL (D. Nev. 2011)
Order

On November 14, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada issued a far-reaching temporary restraining order (TRO) in response to luxury goods company Chanel’s allegations that 288 defendants were selling counterfeit goods online. In addition to ordering the seizure of the defendants’ domain names, the ruling requires that domain registries transfer the domain names to GoDaddy.com, that GoDaddy.com redirect incoming traffic to a separate website, and that search engines and social networks remove the domain names from search results.

Commentators note that the remedy bears an uncanny resemblance to the remedies available under the recently proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). As explained by Information Today, SOPA would give the government the expanded ability to obtain injunctions to seize domains that appear to be hosting infringing material. The injunctions may also direct certain actions by third parties, such as service providers and search engines. JOLT Digest has covered the proposed bill and the surrounding controversy.

CBS News summarizes the Nevada judge’s ruling and comments on its comparison to SOPA. Technology and Marketing Law Blog, Ars Technica, TechNewsWorld and TechDirt offer critical commentary. In particular, Technology and Marketing Law Blog argues that the ruling raises issues about due process, and questions the enforceability of the broad order. (more…)

Posted On Dec - 12 - 2011 1 Comment READ FULL POST

District Court Awards Damages for Tortious Interference of Trademark Holder’s Social Media Site Contracts
By Chinh Vo – Edited by Matt Gelfand

Ordonez v. Icon Sky Holdings LLC, 10-cv-60156-PAS (S.D. Fla. Aug. 30, 2011)
Slip Opinion (hosted by Justia.com)

The District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted the plaintiff’s motion for default judgment, awarding damages and a permanent injunction in a trademark hijacking suit between parties vying for control of an online presence.

The court held that the plaintiff was the senior user of the “Elizabeth Sky” trademark, and that the defendant used the mark in connection with similar goods and services in violation of trademark and unfair competition law. The court also found that the defendant tortiously interfered with the plaintiff’s contracts with various social media sites when the defendant contacted the sites and demanded they take down the plaintiff’s accounts, alleging trademark infringement. The plaintiff also prevailed on her libel per se claims by showing that the defendant had falsely accused her of identity theft on two third-party websites.

Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog provides an overview and analysis of the case. Social Media, Esq. and everydaycounsel discuss the holding’s implications for social media contracts. (more…)

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

By Ivar Hartmann

European Commission VP demands more revenue for artists

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Digital Agenda, publicly supported changes to the current copyright system in Europe. In a speech entitled “Who feeds the artist?” at the Forum D’Avignon on Nov. 19th, Kroes criticized the scarcity of revenue that copyright legislation and other areas of law reserve for artists. “Speaking of economic reward: if that is the aim of our current copyright system, we’re failing here”, stated Kroes. She cited examples of artists in the UK and Germany, the majority of which earn a “paltry payment” often lower than the minimum wage in those countries. She proposed a number of solutions including the use of information and communications technology and Cloud computing to find better ways to distribute creative content and connect artists with their consumers. She also supported adopting improved legislation that would better “feed art, and feed artists.”

ECJ rules against forced surveillance by ISPs

On Nov. 24th, the Court of Justice of the European Union announced in a press release that EU law precludes an injunction imposed by the Brussels First Instance Court, which ordered Scarlet Extended SA, an internet service provider (ISP) to install a system for monitoring its electronic communications to prevent illegal file-sharing. The Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SABAM) had sued Scarlet, alleging that some of its users were using the ISP’s services to illegally download SABAM’s protected catalogs from the internet. After weighing the “right to intellectual property, on the one hand, and the freedom to conduct business, the right to protection of personal data and the right to receive or impart information, on the other,” the Court of Justice held that forcing the ISP to monitor users in order to protect intellectual property was an unfair balance of the rights involved.

No Safe Harbor for Grooveshark

CNET reports that the Universal Music Group (UMG) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Grooveshark, a music streaming website, on Nov. 18th. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the grounds for the lawsuit “go[]further than most copyright complaints.” UMG alleges that Grooveshark’s own CEO and employees have committed the infringing activity. TIME reports that at least 1,791 songs were illicitly uploaded by Grooveshark. Despite accounts that the proof of such wrongdoing is somewhat shady, UMG is seeking the maximum compensation for each illegal upload ($150,000) and an injunction to shut down Grooveshark.

Two Wins for Net Neutrality

Within one week of each other, the U.S. Senate and the European Parliament voted in favor of adopting net neutrality regulations. CNET reports that the U.S. Senate voted in favor of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality regulations in a 52-46 vote. Similarly, Computing reports that the European Parliament adopted a resolution that promotes a broad concept of net neutrality. Unlike the FCC’s regulations, the EU’s resolution does not distinguish between mobile and fixed internet service providers (ISPs). But in line with the FCC’s open Internet rules, the EU’s resolution also calls on regulatory bodies to monitor the way ISP manage their traffic on the Internet.

Posted On Nov - 30 - 2011 2 Comments READ FULL POST

By Geng Chen

DOJ Defends Expansive Interpretation of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

NPR reports that Richard Downing, deputy chief of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section at the Department of Justice, testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee on the DOJ’s proposal to broaden its reading of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”). An advance copy of Downing’s written statement, obtained by CNET, advocated for criminal prosecutions based on violations of Web sites’ “terms of service” policies or any “similar contractual agreement with an employer or provider.” As reported by the WSJ, at the hearing, Professor Orin Kerr of George Washington Law School criticized the vague and broad statutory language of the CFAA that would permit such prosecutions and expressed concern that the DOJ’s new interpretation would criminalize routine violations such as lying about one’s physical attributes on Internet dating sites. Though Downing verbally reassured lawmakers that these were “unsubstantiated fears”, given the government’s limited time and resources, he did not repudiate the government’s authority to pursue such cases.

Rambus Loses Antitrust Case Against Micron and Hynix

The Washington Post reports that after five months of deliberations, a California jury has found against Rambus in its antitrust case against Micron and Hynix for conspiracy to fix memory chip prices and interference with its business relationship with Intel. As reported by Bloomberg, though Intel initially collaborated with Rambus to implement its proprietary RDRAM technology, Rambus alleged that Micron and Hynix conspired to artificially raise prices of chips incorporating RDRAM and drove Intel away from adopting RDRAM as an industry standard. A Reuters article, relying on an anonymous source within the jury, indicates that the jury was not convinced that a lone Micron email adequately proved conspiracy and was swayed by the testimony of a former Intel executive that described the souring of the Rambus-Intel relationship as unrelated to pricing. Rambus is considering an appeal, based on grounds that the judge disallowed from evidence certain facts from a Department of Justice price-fixing investigation in 2005.

PhoneDog Sues Former Employee for His Twitter Account

Ars Technica reports developments in the case of a former employee of PhoneDog, an “interactive mobile news and reviews web resource,” who was sued for misappropriation of trade secrets, interference with economic advantage, and conversion over his Twitter account. Noah Kravitz amassed 17,000 followers as “@PhoneDog_Noah” but changed his handle to “@noahkravitz” after leaving the company. The trial judge dismissed PhoneDog’s interference claim but allowed the trade secrets and conversion claims to go forward. According to Forbes, Kravitz says that his employer never asked him to create the account and that he always used it for personal as well as business purposes. The damages of $2.50 per follower claimed by PhoneDog may be complicated by the additional 4,000 followers that Kravitz has accumulated since his resignation. An official statement by PhoneDog, as reported by Computerworld, argues that the company’s Twitter account naming convention establishes company ownership of the account, but does not mention any implied or express contract with Kravitz specifically regarding this particular account.

Posted On Nov - 21 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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Federal Circuit Flas

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