A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news

Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Daniel Etcovitch – Edited by Emily Chan

Florida Judge Rules Bitcoin Is Not Equivalent to Money

Illinois Governor Signs Bill Restricting Use of Stingrays

DMCA DRM Circumvention Provision’s Constitutionality Being Challenged



Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Yuan Cao – Edited by Frederick Ding

Mere Commercial Benefit Not Enough to Trigger The On-Sale Bar

Technology-Based Software Solution Can Be Patentable 

Patent Disputes about Siri, iTunes, Notification Push, and Location



Sixth Circuit Finds Privacy Interest in Mugshots under FOIA

By Filippo Raso – Edited by Ariane Moss

A split en banc Sixth Circuit reversed the lower courts’ ruling, holding individuals have a privacy interest in their booking photos for the purposes of Exemption 7(C) of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552. In so doing, the Court overruled Circuit precedent established two decades ago. The case was remanded with instructions to balance the public interests against the individual’s privacy interest.



The EFF Challenges the DMCA Anti-Circumvention Provision: A First Amendment Fight

By Priyanka Nawathe – Edited by Kayla Haran

On July 21, 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the United States government to overturn DMCA Section 1201, commonly referred to as the anti-circumvention provision. The EFF argues that this provision, designed to prevent circumvention of “technological protection measures,” actually chills research and free speech, and thus is a violation of the First Amendment.



By Jaehwan Park – Edited by Kayla Haran

Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce Bill Encouraging U.S. Government Agencies to Use the Cloud as a Secure Alternative to Legacy Systems

Snapchat Accused of Violating Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Announces New Policy Group to Promote Global Digital Trade


Hertz rent-a-carBy Sheri Pan – Edited by Henry Thomas

Howard v. Hertz Corp., No. 13-00645 (D. Haw. Jan. 25, 2016), Slip Opinion hosted by Wolters Kluwer.

The District Court for the District of Hawaii granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, Hertz, in a negligent supervision, retention, and training lawsuit brought by a customer, Maurice Howard.  Howard initiated the case after Hertz employees wrote disparaging comments about him on Facebook.

The Technology & Marketing Law Blog and National Law Review provide commentary.


Posted On Mar - 29 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Iphone4 and NexusSBy Filippo Raso – Edited by Frederick Ding

In the Matter of the Search of an Apple iPhone Seized During the Execution of a Search Warrant on a Black Lexus IS300, California License Plate 35KGD203, No. ED 15-0451M (C.D. Cal. Feb. 16, 2016) Order hosted by DocumentCloud.

Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym of the United States District Court for the Central District of California ordered Apple to assist federal investigators in accessing data stored on the iPhone that belonged to the San Bernardino gunman who killed 14 people.

In response to an ex parte motion for assistance from the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the magistrate judge ordered Apple to provide the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) with “reasonable technical assistance” to accomplish three functions aimed at circumventing Apple’s security measures. The magistrate judge accepted the DOJ’s explanation in granting the order. Apple moved to vacate the order. Following Apple’s motion, the DOJ moved to compel Apple’s cooperation, and Apple filed an appeal of the order before a district court judge. At the time of writing, the DOJ delayed the next hearing since it may have obtained an alternative method to circumvent the iPhone’s security without Apple’s assistance.

After the December 2015 massacre in San Bernardino, California, the FBI executed a legal search warrant and discovered an iPhone used by the terrorist. It is uncontested that the search warrant authorizes the FBI to access the contents of the iPhone. However, investigators have been unable to circumvent Apple’s anti–brute-force security features, which include multi-layered encryption, an auto-erase function after ten incorrect passcode attempts, artificial delays between attempts, and disallowing electronic passcode submissions.


Posted On Mar - 29 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

3642973520_1451bc1137_bBy Evan Tallmadge – Edited by Stacy Ruegilin

SB 180, SB 182

Text and history of SB 180

Text and history of SB 182

On February 24, 2016, the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, signed Senate Bill 180, Trade Secrets, and Senate Bill 182, Public Records and Meetings/Trade Secrets, into Florida law. This legislation includes financial information under the umbrella of protected trade secrets.  The bills exempt financial information from Florida’s sunshine laws, which mandate public access to both government records and minutes of meetings. This legislation has been a longtime goal of P3s, private companies building public projects in exchange for the ability to collect revenue from them for a period of time. The bill was originally introduced by Republican Senator Garrett Richter. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 28 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Icon-newsBy Evan Tallmadge – Edited by Yunnan Jiang

Patent Agent Privilege

In Re: Queen’s University at Kingston, PARTEQ Research and Development Innovations (Fed. Cir. Mar. 7, 2016)

Queen’s University and its partner in commercializing university-developed IP, PARTEQ R&D, are involved in patent litigation in the Eastern District of Texas against Samsung Electronics. The district court had ordered Queen’s University to produce all communications with its non-attorney patent agents. Queen’s University sought a writ of mandamus directing the district court to withdraw its order on the ground that the communication between a client and non-attorney patent agents is privileged.

Looking at precedent and relying heavily on the logic about the status of patent agents in the legal system found in Sperry v. State of Florida ex rel. Florida Bar, 373 U.S. 379 (1963), the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals held that “the unique roles of patent agents, the congressional recognition of their authority to act, the Supreme Court’s characterization of their activities as the practice of law, and the current realities of patent litigation counsel in favor of recognizing an independent patent-agent privilege.” The scope of the privilege is not unlimited, as the Court held that only communications that are in furtherance of the tasks of a patent agent outlined in 37 C.F.R. § 11.5(b)(1) are covered, but tasks incidental to those goals, such as assessing the validity of a competitor’s patent in contemplation of litigation or sale are not privileged.

For an interesting discussion of the implications and limits of this ruling (and perhaps advice on IPRs not covered), Dennis Crouch’s article on this ruling and the commentary provides good reading. Paul Ackerman over at National Law Review also provides an interesting look at the limits of the ruling.


Posted On Mar - 28 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Fed. Cir. Flash DigestBy Frederick Ding — Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Supreme Court grants certiorari to Samsung on design patent damages

In December 2015, Samsung paid $548 million to Apple after a jury in 2012 found Samsung to be infringing Apple’s utility and design patents. Although this amount had been reduced from the billion-dollar jury award, Samsung contested the calculation of damages using the infringing devices’ total profits. Samsung petitioned the Supreme Court, presenting two questions, including: “Where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, should an award of infringer’s profits be limited to those profits attributable to the component?” On Monday, March 21, 2016, the Supreme Court granted the petition for October Term 2016, limited to this question. Tech companies are closely monitoring the case, which involves nineteenth-century provisions of the Patent Act that they contend did not anticipate complex “multicomponent” products.

Justice Department announces indictments of seven Iranians for state-sponsored cyberattacks

A federal grand jury has indicted seven Iranians alleged to be “experienced hackers … working on behalf of the Iranian government … to conduct a series of cyberattacks against civilian targets in the United States,” according to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. They are accused of conspiracy to commit computer hacking and unauthorized access to a protected computer, in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030, in connection with distributed denial-of-service attacks on several U.S. banks and an apparently successful intrusion into a New York dam’s control systems. Significantly, the Washington Post reports that this is the first time the United States government has charged foreign agents, acting abroad, with hacking civilian targets in the United States.

Civil liberties group warns of NYC’s newest surveillance network: free public Wi-Fi

New York City deployed the first public Wi-Fi kiosks in Manhattan in January 2016, as part of LinkNYC, an initiative to replace phone booths in the city with over 7500 advertising-supported kiosks providing free Internet service. But because the service requires an email address, and acceptance of terms and a Privacy Policy authorizing the collection, retention, and disclosure to government authorities of personally identifiable information transmitted over the service, the New York Civil Liberties Union has recently raised concerns that LinkNYC will serve as a new surveillance vehicle enabling law enforcement to collect information on citizens. The General Manager of LinkNYC issued a statement in response this week, noting that they would share data with law enforcement only upon “subpoena or similar lawful request.” This language is reminiscent of the terms of use and privacy policies of other telecommunications companies, which similarly give leeway to respond to court orders, discovery requests, and even agency request letters, including those that have not received judicial approval.

Posted On Mar - 28 - 2016 1 Comment READ FULL POST
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