A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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U.S. Marshals Service Uses Airborne “Dirtboxes” to Collect Cell Phone Data

By Katherine Kwong – Edited by Mengyi Wang

The U.S. government has been using “dirtboxes” to collect cell phone data. The program, designed for criminal suspect surveillance, is accused of also collecting cell phone data on numerous Americans not suspected of any crime. While many commentators express concern about the program’s legality, others argue that the program is an effective method of catching criminals.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News In Brief

By Henry Thomas

Ads For Content Scheme Held To Be Abstract Idea, Not Patentable Process

Federal Circuit Limits Application of Collateral Estoppel in Patent Litigation

Electronics Company Avoids Patent Enforcement By Directing Sales Outside U.S.

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Silk Road 2.0 Takedown Indicates Law Enforcement May Have Developed a Method to Trace Hidden Tor Websites

By Steven Wilfong — Edited by Travis West

The complaint filed against Blake Benthall, the alleged operator of Silk Road 2.0, indicates that the FBI identified a server that was used to host the popular drug market website, despite the fact that the website’s location was hidden by the Tor anonymity software.  Law enforcement may have developed a method of compromising Tor anonymity, a possibility that would prove useful in future operations, but that also raises concerns for legitimate users.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Ken Winterbottom

Motion to Dismiss in Hulu Patent Infringement Suit Affirmed

“Virtual Classroom” Patent Infringement Case Remanded for Further Determination

Attorney Publicly Reprimanded for Circulating Email from Judge

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Spain Passes a “Google Tax,” Analysts Predict it Will be Short-Lived

By Michael Shammas — Edited by Yixuan Long

Spain recently amended its Intellectual Property Law and Code of Civil Procedure to levy fees on aggregators that collect snippets of other webpages. It is at least the third example of a European government fining search aggregators to support traditional print publishing industries, a practice often labeled a “Google tax” because of the disproportionate impact such laws have on the search giant. Some analysts are already predicting that Spain’s new law will fail.

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by Dorothy Du

Bipartisan Bill Would End Warrantless GPS Tracking

The Geolocational Privacy Surveillance Act, a new bipartisan bill dubbed the “GPS Act,” seeks to clarify when the government can use GPS tracking technology to obtain geolocational information about individuals without a warrant, according to Nextgov.  Current electronic surveillance laws are behind the times and fail to address specific legal concerns raised by modern GPS technology. Several lawsuits in the past several years have led to a hodgepodge of court rulings over the use of GPS tracking by law enforcement, Wired reports. Ars Technica explains that the new bill would bring these decisions into uniformity by generally requiring a warrant, but creating exceptions for special cases, such as during emergencies or to track organized crime.

Juror Receives Jail Time for Contacting Defendant on Facebook

Joanne Frail, a U.K. juror, has been sentenced to eight months in prison for contacting a defendant online during an ongoing drug trial, reports The Wall Street Journal Blog.  Despite the fact that defendant Jamie Sewart had been cleared of charges, contacting her was directly contrary to Frail’s oath has a juror. BBC News says that Frail had looked up Sewart on Facebook to express her sympathy and discuss the jury deliberations in clear violation of the Contempt of Court Act of 1981.  As a consequence of Frail’s actions, the trial judge decided to discharge the jury and dismiss the case, which had cost £6m. NPR explains the risks jurors create by using the Internet during a trial, including the possibility that jurors could end up considering information deemed inadmissible at trial.

Online Streaming of Copyrighted Performances One Step Closer to Felony

The Senate Judiciary Committee has just approved a bill that would increase the status of streaming copyrighted performances online to a felony, The Minnesota Independent reports. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who introduced the bill last month, says that the bill is not meant to target individuals and families streaming movies at home, but rather is meant to catch those who knowingly steal digital content and make thousands of dollars or more in profit from it. Supporters of the bill say that it would make copyright law more uniform by adding “public performances” to the list of protected rights, but some argue that “performance” is ill-defined and could lead to ordinary people being thrown in jail for posting copyrighted videos on YouTube, says Techdirt. The Wrap explains that without this bill, a “public performance” like streaming is not a “reproduction” of a copyrighted work. Such a definition has left the entertainment industry at risk of losing vast amounts of revenue to unauthorized websites that can be used to stream movies and shows.

Posted On Jun - 20 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court Holds Bayh-Dole Act Does Not Independently Vest Ownership to Federally Funded Contractors
By Daniel Robinson – Edited by Esther Kang

Bd. of Tr. of Leland Stanford Junior Univ. v. Roche Molecular Sys., Inc., 563 U.S. ____ (June 6, 2011)
Slip Opinion
(via supremecourt.gov)

The Supreme Court affirmed the Federal Circuit, which had held that the Bayh-Dole Act did not void an inventor’s assignment of intellectual property rights to a company.

The Court held in a 7-2 decision that Stanford University had no standing to sue Roche Molecular Systems for infringing an HIV testing procedure patent because the company was a co-owner of the patent. In so holding, the Court stated that the Bayh-Dole Act, which permits federally funded contractors to retain patents to their inventions in certain situations, does not independently divest a contractor’s employee and vest title in the contractor.

SCOTUSBlog provides an overview of the case. The New York Times criticizes the decision, saying it undermines the purpose of the Bayh-Dole Act. IPWatchdog features a thorough analysis of the decision. (more…)

Posted On Jun - 16 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court Affirms Clear and Convincing Standard for Patent Invalidity Defenses
By Samantha Kuhn – Edited by Esther Kang

Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Ltd. P’ship, No. 10–290 (U.S. June 9, 2011)
Slip Opinion
(via supremecourt.gov)

On June 9, the Supreme Court affirmed a district court’s jury instructions requiring that the evidence of patent invalidity be “clear and convincing” for the invalidity defense against infringement to be successful.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held that the presumption of validity in Section 282 of the Patent Act requires that a defendant must present “clear and convincing” evidence that a patent is invalid in order to succeed on an invalidity defense. The main issue in the case was whether a lesser standard should be applied to evidence that had not been previously presented to the PTO during examination. The Court rejected Microsoft’s proposal of a “preponderance of the evidence” standard in such cases.

PatentlyO provides a summary of the case and concurring opinions. IP Watchdog gives a summary of the case and opines about its implications on patent law. The Digest previously covered both the district court’s decision and the oral arguments before the Supreme Court.

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Posted On Jun - 15 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

by Marina Shvarts

Cameras Coming to Federal District Courts

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports that on July 18, 14 federal district courts around the country will launch a pilot program utilizing cameras in court. The project, however, is taking small steps, subject to several restrictions. Cameras will only be allowed in civil proceedings with the consent of both parties. There will be no live broadcasts, and the trial judge will have non-reviewable discretion over which cases will be recorded and when the cameras must be shut off. The recordings will be publicly available on uscourts.gov. Uscourts.gov has a list of participating courts.

Administration Divided over Whether Recent Cyber Threats Constitute a ‘Cyber War’

According to NPR, the Obama administration’s disagreement over how to characterize the recent string of cyber attacks could complicate setting out a response strategy. Compromised information at Google, RSA and Lockheed Martin exemplifies, according to cybersecurity experts, “the most sophisticated hacking efforts ever perpetrated against private computer networks,” reports NPR. According to the pentagon, there is reason “worry about cyberweapons being used to cause actual physical damage.” The pentagon is characterizing the recent threats as a cyberwar. Howard Schmidt, the White House coordinator for cybersecurity, disagrees, stating that “to label every cyber-intrusion, every theft of intellectual property, as cyberwar is just a total mischaracterization of what’s going on in the world today.” Before the Pentagon releases a new cyber strategy, disagreements over how much to emphasize cyberwar scenarios will have to be resolved.

Professor Receives Tenure Based in Part on Wikipedia Contributions

According to the Wikimedia Foundation Community Blog, Michel Aaiji’s substantial contributions to Wikipedia were in part responsible for his award of tenure. Aaiji explained the various peer review features on Wikipedia, noting that articles posted there could be as rigorous as those published in more traditional sources. As other professors follow the lead, the status of Wikipedia contributions will have to be reevaluated.

 

 

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

Supreme Court Adopts “Willful Blindness” Standard for Induced Infringement
By Raquel Acosta – Edited by Matt Gelfand

Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S. A., 563 U. S. ____ (May 31, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The Supreme Court affirms the result but not the “deliberate indifference” standard used by the Federal Circuit.

In an 8-1 decision the Supreme Court held that, under 35 U. S. C. § 271(b), inducement of infringement requires that a defendant have knowledge that the acts they induced constituted patent infringement. Deliberate indifference does not satisfy the knowledge requirement, but “willful blindness” does. In so holding, the court applied the criminal law principle of willful blindness to a civil law case and rejected the “deliberate indifference” standard.

PatentlyO provides an overview of the case. Patent Docs reviews the decision and criticizes the Supreme Court’s approach. SCOTUSblog briefly summarizes the holding and provides links to related briefs and documents.

(more…)

Posted On Jun - 10 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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