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

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



Second Circuit Prohibits Extraterritorial Application of Stored Communication Act’s Warrant Provision

The Second Circuit reversed a U.S. Magistrate Judge’s warrant ordering Microsoft to produce customer content stored in Ireland. The Second Circuit held that the warrant provisions in § 2703 of the Stored Communications Act, 18 USC §§2701-2712 (1986) (“SCA”), cannot be used to compel a service provider to disclose user e-mail content stored exclusively on a foreign server.



U.S. District Court Denied TC Heartland’s Writ of Mandamus to Transfer Patent Infringement Suit


In April 2016, the Federal Circuit denied TC Heartland LLC’s writ of mandamus. Hartland requested the court order the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware to dismiss or transfer the patent infringement suit initiated by Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC. In rejecting Hartland’s request, the court explained that a writ of mandamus is an “extraordinary remedy appropriate only in exceptional circumstances” and Hartland did not meet this bar.



Congresswoman Speier’s Revenge Pornography Bill: Crossing the First Amendment Line?

On July 14, 2016, Congresswoman Speier proposed the Intimate Privacy Protection Act, a bill designed to make revenge pornography a federal crime punishable with up to five years in prison. Although the current version is narrower in scope than previous iterations, there are still some concerns that this bill violates the First Amendment’s right to free speech.



Following an unfavorable verdict from a second jury and the Court’s denial of the first motion for judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL”), Oracle America, Inc. (“Oracle”) filed a renewed motion for JMOL pursuant to FRCP Rule 50(b). Oracle’s second motion, filed July 6, 2016, claimed that “no reasonable jury” could find that Google’s “verbatim [and] entirely commercial” copying of Oracle’s code, in order to compete with Oracle, was fair use.[1] The motion will be heard on August 18, 2016.


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

Queen's UniversityBy Kevin Crenny – Edited by Stacy Ruegilin

In re Queen’s Univ. at Kingston, No. 2015-145 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 7, 2016), opinion available here.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, by writ of mandamus, reversed an order by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to compel production of documents containing communications between plaintiff Queen’s University and its non-attorney patent agents.

The Federal Circuit held that communications “relating to ‘obtaining legal advice on patentability and legal services in preparing a patent application’ will be kept privileged,” even if such communications are between a client and a non-attorney patent agent. In doing so, the court relied upon the Supreme Court’s decision in Sperry v. State of Florida ex rel. Florida Bar, 373 U.S. 379 (1963), hosted by justia.com, which had established that patent agents did practice law, albeit to a limited extent. The Circuit reasoned that protecting legal communications, even if neither party is an attorney, would serve Congress’ intent in establishing patent agents as an alternative to attorneys in this limited context. In so holding, the court established for the first time a patent-agent privilege, overcoming the general presumption against finding new forms of privilege.


Posted On Mar - 22 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Fed. Cir. Flash DigestBy Gia Velasquez – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

The Federal Aviation Association Implements a Mandatory Registration Process for Drones

The mandatory registration process of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) by the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) in December drew considerable speculation regarding the necessity of the registration process. Researchers at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center investigated the risk of small drones on air traffic by studying the effects of wildlife collisions with aircraft and estimate that “one damaging incident will occur no more than every 1.87 million years of 2kg UAS flight time.” The study acknowledges that UAS may be more damaging to aircraft than wildlife, but conclude that the probability of a collision occurring is “at an acceptable level.”

The FDA Expedites the Review Process for Generic Pharmaceutical Drugs

The Food and Drug Administration has introduced an expedited review process for generic pharmaceutical drugs that would compete with an off-patent drug produced by a single company. When a patent expires, the patent holder can raise drug prices because of its exclusive hold on the market, making it unattractive for new producers to join. Estimating the change will affect as many as 125 generic drugs, the FDA hopes to foil plans of drug manufacturers such as Martin Shkreli, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who famously increased the price of an antiparasitic drug tablet from $13.50 to $750.

Senate Rejects GMO Labeling Bill

The Senate rejected a bill that would have established voluntary labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO). Democrat Senator Jon Tester and organic farmer from Montana called the bill a “bad, bad, bad policy” because the voluntary standards “are no standards at all.” If it had passed, the bill would have preempted Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law, which is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2016. Though GMO labeling is a highly disputed issue, General Mills received no sales benefit from labeling Cheerios® as GMO-free.

Posted On Mar - 22 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST


By Ann Kristin Glenster – Edited by David Nathaniel Tan


On October 6, 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) delivered another landmark ruling concerning the handling of personal data by U.S. companies in Europe.[1]Responding to a request from the Irish High Court,[2] the CJEU held that the Safe Harbor Agreement (the “Agreement”), under which companies like Facebook were able to legally transmit personal data from their European subscribers to the U.S., was invalid. This article will give a brief overview of the Agreement and the case, and explore some of the salient issues to which the European Court took umbrage. Finally, it will attempt to sketch out some possible consequences of the ruling, and the options that now face E.U. and U.S. legislators.

According to the CJEU, the Safe Harbor Principles did not provide adequate safeguards as required by the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) (the “Directive”). The decision has led to a flurry of activity on both shores of the Atlantic. On November 3, barely a month after the judgement was announced, it was the hot topic of debate at a House Communications Subcommittee of Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade meeting. Microsoft, Apple and Oracle, among others, urged U.S. legislators to take swift action as “trillions of dollars in global GDP were at stake.”[3]

The CJEU decision has left U.S companies in a quandary as to how they may demonstrate their compliance with European law in handling foreign customer data, as they wait for rescue by Safe Harbor 2.0.[4] But so far, signals are weak that a new Safe Harbor Agreement can provide the much sought-after shelter for personal data making the journey across the Atlantic. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 4 - 2016 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Fed. Cir. Flash DigestBy Yiran Zhang – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

Senators Introduce a Bill which Requires Social Media Companies to Report Terrorist Activity

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Republican Sen. Richard Burr have introduced legislation that would require social media and other technology companies to report online terrorist activity they become aware of to law enforcement. The proposed legislature does not require companies to take additional actions other than to report the information such as attack planning, recruitment, or distribution of terrorist material if companies become aware of terrorist activity. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden opposed the bill, reasoning that the it “would create a perverse incentive for companies to avoid looking for terrorist content on their own networks”.

New EU Copyright Rules Left Possibility for Google Tax

The European Commission’s new “modern, more European” copyright framework left the possibility for the introduction of a new ancillary copyright that would require people to pay a licensing fee for the use of short snippets online, also known as the “Google tax”. The  document describing the Commission’s plans  raises concerns about the fragmentation in EU digital market, referring to individual EU Member States such as Germany and Spain’s attempts to require search engines—particularly Google—to pay publishers for using snippets from their publications in search results.  The framework, however, ruled out a tax on hyperlinks. The framework wants to bring in cross-border portability, instead of its earlier, more expansive promise to stop unjustified geo-blocking. The regulation on cross-border portability is expended to come into force in 2017, without needing any further legislation. As part of the new copyright framework, the Commission also wants to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty, figure out the freedom of panorama issue, and disrupt commercial scale copyright infringement activities. It has launched a public consultation of this legal framework, open for comments until April 1, 2016.

COP21 Reached an “Ambitious and Balanced” Deal on Climate Change

On December 12, the 21st Conference of Parties, or COP21, issued a final draft of the climate change agreement, which the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius described as “fair and legally binding.” If adopted, the agreement would set an ambitious goal of halting average warming at no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures—and of striving for a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible. It sets up a bottom-up system in which each country sets its own goal of greenhouse gas emission reduction, or “nationally determined contribution” as called in the agreement. Bill McKibben, the co-founder of 350.org, said that the agreement “may have saved the chance of saving the planet”, with a cautious optimism typical among environmental activists.

Posted On Dec - 16 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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