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

Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Kayla Haran – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Court Finds Negative Claim Limitation Meets Written Description Requirements

International Trade Commission’s Expansion of its Jurisdiction to Include Electronic Transmissions of Digital Data Ruled Improper

Court Holds That Patent Trial and Appeal Board Did Not Deny Procedural Rights in Review



Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Patrick Gallagher – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

TOR Project Head Alleges FBI Paid Carnegie Mellon for Hack in Connection with Silk Road 2.0 Investigation

DOJ Decides Not to Support FCC in Efforts to Preempt States Laws Limiting Municipal Broadband Projects

D.C. Court of Appeals Permits Continuation of Bulk Domestic Phone Data Collection



Senate passes Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act

By Frederick Ding — Edited by Yunnan Jiang

On October 27, 2015, the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which enables companies to share cyber threat indicators with each other and the federal government, and immunizes them from liability for sharing under the act. Tech companies and journalists have vocally expressed opposition to the act, which may enable companies to share users’ personal information.



Senators push bill protecting interstate trade secrets amidst concerns over trolling

By Bhargav Srinivasan – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

The Senate Judiciary Committee is deliberating a bill to provide US companies with extra legal protections for trade secrets for products or services used in interstate commerce. However, some legal scholars believe the bill creates strong potential for companies to engage in “trade secret trolling” by falsely accusing rivals of stealing trade secrets in order to stall their business. The ensuing debate now weighs the intent of the bill with the potential for legal bullying.



Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Keke Wu – Edited by Yunnan Jiang

Federal Circuit Rejects-in-part the District Court’s Claim Construction

No Jurisdiction to Claim Reputational Harm after Settlement

Federal Circuit Affirms-in-part PTAB in Belden vs. Berk-Tek


technology-512210_1280By Deborah Beth Medows, Symposium Editor

When this author first conceived of coordinating a symposium over a year ago relating to the most salient aspects of Internet and computer law and their societal ramifications, she intended to narrowly focus the scope of the symposium on the nexus between net neutrality and 3D printing.  Her intention was to highlight these issues as parallaxes that reflect the ways in which technological advancements pose as harbingers of both hope and challenge for society, while simultaneously addressing the legal quagmires that occur when laws relating to technology in many ways do not yet adequately correspond to these significant advances.

The confluence of 3D printing and net neutrality appeared to be ideally suited for discussion in a joint forum due to the similar legal themes that they evoke.  At the time that this symposium was first conceived, both 3D printing and net neutrality were at the cutting edge of Internet law, discussed seemingly ubiquitously by legal scholars, technological whizzes, and pundits alike with exclamatory declarations regarding the perils and advantages of both facets of technology and conjectures regarding their wide-sweeping effects.

However, one cannot merely focus on 3D printing and net neutrality law in a vacuum, but jurists must widely examine the many challenges that are pervasive among the advents in Internet and computer technology in order to broadly and appropriately ensure that legal systems protect individuals while simultaneously encouraging innovation.  It is precisely due to the legal and societal quagmires that 3D printing and net neutrality pose that ideally position them as springboards from which to delve into broader discussions regarding the array of issues that must be examined with regard to developments in technology law. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 12 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

Microsoft MobileBy Stacy Ruegilin – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Microsoft Corp. v. Motorola, Inc., No. 14-35393, 2015 WL 4568613 (9th Cir. July 30, 2015).

Last week, the Ninth Circuit handed Microsoft a victory against Motorola in a case that tempers hardball tactics to enforce patents on “standards-essential” technologies. A panel of three judges in San Francisco upheld a District Court’s ruling that technology standardization places a patent-holder under contractual obligation to offer licenses at reasonable and non-discriminatory (“RAND”) rates, which may be determined by a court if necessary.

Standards allow consumers to use certain technologies across multiple devices, even if they are produced by different manufacturers. For example, when a consumer purchases a computer from Microsoft, they know that it will be able to read file formats patented by other technology companies, such as PDF, JPEG, Flash, and Bluetooth. These formats are standards that have been accepted and propagated by standards-setting organizations (SSOs).

The theory is that everyone benefits from this arrangement: it adds value to the products of technology companies and offers compatible devices to consumers. Registering with an SSO is a step toward market ubiquity, but by doing so, the patent holder is usually required to offer licenses on RAND terms. This encourages competition by preventing the holder of a standards-essential patent from demanding exorbitant royalties for standards that reach market dominance.


Posted On Aug - 7 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

Google FranceBy Leonidas Angelakos – Edited by Henry Thomas

CNIL Order (France’s National Commission of Information and Liberties, June, 12 2015)

Google v. AEPD, Case C‑131/12, (Court of Justice of the European Union, May, 13 2014) (opinion hosted by CURIA)

Google has taken an affirmative step against expanding the right to be forgotten in a move that has been called a step against online censorship.

In a clash that pits users’ privacy rights against the West’s disdain for censorship, Google has decided that limiting internet censorship is more important, refusing to comply with a French regulator’s order to expand the right to be forgotten.  On May 13, 2014, Europe’s top court ruled that Google had to honor the EU’s right to be forgotten. The right to be forgotten—also known as the right to delist—allows users to remove “irrelevant” or “inadequate” search results associated with their identities. While Google has been removing qualifying links from the European versions of its search engine (such as Google.fr), it refuses to remove those links from its international domains (such as Google.com, ranked by Alexa.com as the world’s most popular website).

In June 2015, the Commission Nationale de L’informatique et des Libertés (CNIL)—the French administrative body that regulates data privacy—ordered Google to begin removing qualifying links from all of Google’s domains worldwide. Google refused in an official blog post by its Global Privacy Counsel, Peter Fleischer. Fleischer called the CNIL order “a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web,” and argues that, while the right to be forgotten is the law in Europe, it is not the law worldwide. Thus Google refuses to remove qualifying links from non-European domains, which it argues are not governed by Europe’s delisting laws.

The New York Times provides an overview of the clash between Google and French privacy regulators. Fortune offers additional commentary, calling Google’s move a “bold challenge to France” and a “dramatic gesture to oppose censorship of its search results.”


Posted On Aug - 4 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

Facebook InternationalBy Annie Woodworth – Edited by Ariane Moss

The Hamburg Data Protection Authority, a German regulatory body tasked with protecting data and privacy, said last Tuesday that Facebook is violating the privacy rights of its users by banning pseudonyms. The group ordered Facebook to allow users to choose fake names and has forbidden the company from changing usernames or asking users for their IDs. Facebook has issued an apology to affected users and will allow the use of preferred names.

The order came after a woman complained to the agency when Facebook blocked her account that used a fake name. Facebook then requested a copy of her ID and unilaterally changed her profile to display her real name. The woman purportedly used the pseudonym to avoid receiving business related contact through the site. Other business owners are worried about setting up business pages that must be associated with their real names.


Posted On Aug - 4 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST

Nintendo 3DSBy Yaping Zhang – Edited by Stacy Ruegilin

On July 17, 2015, the Court for the Northern District of California issued an opinion granting summary judgment in favor of Nintendo in a patent infringement suit, construing the disputed claim term in accordance with Nintendo’s interpretation and finding non-infringement based on the doctrine of prosecution history estoppel.

The patent at issue is No. 7,425,944 (‘944 Patent), entitled “Computerized Information Retrieval System”, which was assigned to plaintiff Quintal Research Group from its inventor. The patent related to handheld computing devices, and particularly to “a portable handheld communication device for rapid retrieval of computerized information.” The patent described a handheld device with a display screen and ergonomically placed finger controls, including thumb controls “symmetrically arranged” on either side of the display screen. Renderings of the patent show two buttons, identical in size and shape, along the outer casing of a handheld device. Nintendo’s handheld devices also have ergonomically placed finger controls that are evenly placed on either side of a display screen, though one set of controls is a cross-shaped joystick, and the other is a cluster of circular buttons. The case thus boiled down to a dispute about the meaning of “symmetrically arranged”.

Quintal Research Group argued that “symmetrically arranged” referred merely to the placement or location of controls on the device, while Nintendo contended that “symmetrically arranged” means that the controls are mirror images of one another, having the same size and shape. Judge Armstrong agreed with Nintendo based on the specifications of the ‘944 Patent, and further held that extrinsic evidence supported Nintendo’s interpretation.


Posted On Aug - 3 - 2015 Add Comments READ FULL POST
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