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DOJ Indicts Nine for Zeus Malware Theft From Online Bank Accounts
By Emma Winer – Edited by Sheri Pan

United States v. Penchukov

Last week, the Department of Justice released a previously sealed indictment against alleged conspirators in an international scheme that stole millions of dollars from online bank accounts. The conspirators allegedly infected thousands of computers with “Zeus” malware, which captured passwords, bank account numbers, and other online banking information. Two of the defendants were arraigned in Nebraska after being extradited from the United Kingdom.

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European Court of Justice Invalidates Data Retention Directive
By Paul Klein – Edited by Alex Shank

In a preliminary ruling requested by courts in Ireland and Austria, the European Court of Justice found that Directive 2006/24/EC was invalid. The Grand Chamber recognized the legitimacy of retaining telecommunications data as a means to combat serious crime and terrorism, but it ultimately held that the far-reaching scope of the Directive disproportionately affected individual privacy under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

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Google to Supreme Court: Snagging Data from Unsecured Wi-Fi is Perfectly Legal
By Michael Shammas – Edited by Mary Schnoor

Google has filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to label its Street View cars’ collection of unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic legal, appealing the Ninth Circuit’s decision that Google may have violated the federal Wiretap Act. Google believes unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic should be classed as “radio communications” accessible to the public.

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Mozilla Announces Resignation of Recently Appointed CEO Brendan Eich Following Controversy over Gay Marriage Opposition
By Sheri Pan – Edited by Corey Omer

On April 3, Mozilla Corporation (“Mozilla”), a subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation most widely known for producing the Firefox browser, announced that its CEO of less than two weeks, Brendan Eich, has resigned, after pressure from Mozilla employees, bloggers, and developers who opposed his appointment in light of a $1000 donation that he made in 2008 in support of Proposition 8, a ballot measure that sought to ban gay marriage in California.

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Flash Digest: News In Brief
By Emma Winer

Third Circuit Vacates Hacker Conviction for Improper Venue

French Unions and Employers Agree to Curb After-Hours Work Email

Limited Sale of Google Glass Slated For April 15

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By Dorothy Du

Facebook Plans to Fix Privacy Flaw that Allows “Apps” to Share User Information

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook applications (“apps”) have been transmitting user-IDs to dozens of third parties. These third parties include advertising and data-gathering companies, which use and sell the information. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that all of the top ten Facebook.com “apps,” including FarmVille and Mafia Wars, are guilty of such actions in violation of their web developer agreements with Facebook. User IDs give companies the ability to look up the user’s real name, friends’ names, and other data posted on the user’s public profile. The information leak was made possible by a browser standard that allows the apps to record the URL of the page from which the user came — information that includes the user ID — as the New York Times reports. Facebook has shut down some of the offending apps, but with 550,000 Facebook apps, the task of protecting users may prove difficult to achieve.

Wyeth Wins Latest In String of Suits Over Hormone Replacing Drug that Increases Cancer Risk

Wyeth, which was purchased by Pfizer Inc. in 2009, has won the latest in a string of suits over the health risks of Prempo, a hormone replacement drug for menopausal women, reports Bloomberg and ABC News. After deliberating for less than an hour, the jury found that Wyeth had properly disclosed the link between increased risk of cancer and Prempo and rejected the plaintiff’s claim of $3.5 million for pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Wyeth’s lawyers had argued that the drug’s label disclosed the link and that the studies did not conclusively show that the drug caused breast cancer. Wyeth has now won six of thirteen jury trials regarding the effects of Prempo since 2006, and has been granted motions to dismiss in more than 3,000 cases. Over 6 million women had already taken Prempo when a 2002 study by the Women’s Health Initiative showed that the drug increased the risk of cancer. The New York Times has cast Prempo into the spotlight once again with its report on a follow-up study of the 12,788 women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative study, which revealed that cancers suffered after taking the drug also tend to be more advanced and deadly. Pfizer still faces over 8,000 lawsuits involving Prempo.

The NIH Licenses Its Patent on AIDS Drug to International Entity

The New York Times reports that the NIH has become the first patentee to license its patent on an AIDS drug to the Medicines Patent Pool, an international entity run by Unitaid, an independent agency founded at the United Nations in 2006. The drug, darunivir, is a potential third-line treatment for patients who have not experienced success with second-line AIDS medications, according to Doctors Without Borders. The “patent pool” has the potential to increase third world patients’ access to patented medicines by allowing drug companies to use pooled licenses to produce affordable, generic drugs. In return, the participating patent holders will receive royalties. However, this particular NIH patent will not enable drug companies to produce generic versions of darunivir because of additional patents on the drug held by Tibotec, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Posted On Oct - 25 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit holds that Honeywell’s duplication of a previously-invented process does not qualify the company as “another inventor” under 35 U.S.C. § 102(g)(2)
By Abby Lauer – Edited by Janet Freilich

Solvay S.A. v. Honeywell Int’l, Inc., No. 2009-1161 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 13, 2010)
Slip Opinion

The Federal Circuit affirmed-in-part, reversed-in-part, and remanded the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, which had invalidated plaintiff Solvay’s patent on a process for making non-ozone-depleting refrigerant gas based on a finding that defendant Honeywell had previously invented the process addressed in five of the patent’s claims. The district court also found that Honeywell had not infringed the patent’s other claims.

In reversing, the Federal Circuit held that Honeywell did not qualify as an “inventor” of the patented process under 35 U.S.C. § 102(g)(2) because the company had merely copied the work of a Russian agency that it had hired to develop the process. The court agreed with Solvay’s argument that Honeywell could not be an “inventor” of the gas manufacturing process because it did not itself invent the subject matter of the process. Writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, Judge Schall emphasized that the originality provision of 35 U.S.C. § 102(f) requires that “the conception of an invention be an original idea of the inventor.” Because Honeywell did not itself conceive of the gas manufacturing process, Honeywell was not a prior inventor of the process and Solvay’s patent on the process is valid.

The Patent Prospector provides an overview of the case with excerpts from the Federal Circuit opinion. PatentlyO describes and analyzes the case. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 19 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Daniel Doktori

Philadelphia School District Settles Laptop Spying Case

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Tuesday that the Lower Merion school district has settled with two students whose school-issued laptops had webcams that were remotely activated by school officials. Plaintiff Blake Robbins’ parents initiated the suit in February after a school administrator confronted Robbins of wrongdoing using photo evidence of his home taken from the computer’s webcam. CNN reports that the school agreed to pay $175,000 to the family of Blake Robbins and $10,000 to student Jalil Hassan, as well as $425,000 in legal fees to attorney Mark Haltzman. The laptop program, begun in 2008, sought to provide each of the district’s 2,300 students with laptops to be used in school and at home. The Lower Merion school district intends to continue the program but will disable the webcam function on issued computers. Following investigations by the FBI over the summer, school officials were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

Supreme Court grants Certiorari for Patent Infringement Intent Case

SCOTUS Blog reported on Tuesday that the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case of Global Tech v. SEB to clarify the legal standard for intentional patent infringement. The court will hear arguments to address whether the legal standard for intent to “actively induce” infringement is “deliberate indifference of a known risk” or “purposeful, culpable expression and conduct.” As Patently-O explains, the Supreme Court seeks to address inconsistent results in the Federal Circuit regarding the proper standard.

France to Discourage Illegal Downloads with Digital Music Subsidies for Youths

On Thursday, Arstechnica reported that the European Union has approved a French Government program to subsidize purchases of digital music for residents aged 12–25. As Reuters reports, the program would issue one 50 Euro (approximately $70) card per year to eligible residents, at a cost of only 25 Euros. The European Commission, indicating that the program does not violate any anti-competition rules, praised France’s two-year, $35 million program for its cultural and legal benefits.

Posted On Oct - 15 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Chippendales’ “Professional and Classy Sexy Fun” Deemed Not Inherently Distinctive.
By Phillip Hill – Edited by Ian C. Wildgoose Brown

In re Chippendales USA, Inc., Serial No. 78/666,598 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 1, 2010)
Opinion

On October 1, the United States Court for the Federal Circuit affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which ruled that Chippendales USA, Inc. could not register its “abbreviated tuxedo” costume, the “Cuffs & Collar,” as an inherently distinctive mark.

The Court held that even though live adult entertainment typically involves “revealing and provocative” costumes, individual costumes can nevertheless be inherently distinctive. The Cuffs & Collar only qualified for acquired distinctiveness, however, because of shared heritage with the Playboy Bunny costume.

Both the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and the Federal Circuit applied the test articulated in Seabrook Foods, Inc. v. Bar-Well Foods, Ltd., 568 F.2d 1342 (C.C.P.A. 1977) for determining inherent distinctiveness. In applying the Seabrook test, the court agreed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) that inherent distinctiveness must be measured at the time of registration as opposed to the time of first use. The court reasoned that it would be unfair to allow applicants to delay registration and then “preempt intervening uses that might have relied on the fact that registration . . . had not been sought at an earlier time.”

PatentlyO provides an overview of the case. The TTABlog speculates that Chippendales will petition for certiorari. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 13 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Emily Hootkins

New Law Improves Access to Technology for Disabled

Bloomberg Businessweek and The Associated Press report that President Obama has signed into a law a bill requiring the telecommunications industry to enhance the accessibility of devices and programming for Americans with vision and hearing loss.  The bill could improve the quality of life for an estimated 61 million disabled people.  Among other requirements, the law sets new federal guidelines regarding accessible user interfaces on smart phones, telephone compatibility with hearing aids, and captions and audible descriptions for TV programming.

UAE’s Threatened Ban on Blackberries Averted

The United Arab Emirates has backed off from its threat to cut certain BlackBerry messaging and Internet services, reports The Washington Post.  The planned ban was cancelled just days before it was to take effect. According to The Associated Press, the ban would have affected half a million users.  The proposed ban threatened to harm the economy and reputation of this typically business-friendly country.

Apply May be Liable for $625.5 Million Patent Infringement Award

PC Magazine reports that a Texas district court has found Apple liable for both accidental and willful infringement on three patents owned by Mirror Worlds.  A jury awarded Mirror Worlds $625.5 million in damages for the infringement.  Computer World reports that Judge Davis postponed his final ruling in this case to allow post-trial motions disputing the $625.5 million award.  If the verdict is upheld, it will be one of the largest awards in patent lawsuit history.

Posted On Oct - 10 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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DOJ Indicts Nine for

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European Court of Ju

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Google to Supreme Co

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Mozilla Announces Re

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