A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Privacy Concerns in the Sharing Economy: The Case of Uber 

By Sabreena Khalid – Edited by Insue Kim

Recent revelations about Uber’s disconcerting use of personal user information have exposed the numerous weaknesses in Uber’s Privacy Policy. The lack of regulation in the area, coupled with the sensitive nature of personal information gathered by Uber, makes the issue one requiring immediate attention of policy makers.

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San Francisco Court Considers Google’s Search and Ad Services Free Speech

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Henry Thomas

A San Francisco court dismissed a lawsuit against Google, treating Google’s search and advertisement services as constitutionally protected free speech. The lawsuit alleged an antitrust violation based on unfavorable treatment of a website in Google’s search results, and on the withdrawal of third-party advertisement from the website. In throwing out the lawsuit, the court applied California’s “anti-SLAPP” law, which allows quick dismissal of lawsuits against acts protected as free speech.

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EU Unitary Patent System Challenge Unsustainable: Advocate General

By Saukshmya Trichi – Edited by Ashish Bakshi

The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union has rendered an opinion on Spain’s challenges to regulations implementing the European Unitary Patent System. The Advocate General opines that the challenges must be dismissed as the system is intended to provide genuine benefit in terms of uniformity and integration, and safeguard the principle of legal certainty, while the choice of languages reduces translation costs considerably.

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California Sex Offender Internet Identification Law Held Unenforceable

By Jesse Goodwin – Edited by Michael Shammas

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling granting a preliminary injunction prohibiting of the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (“CASE”) Act. In a unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel held that requiring sex offenders provide written notice of “any and all Internet identifiers” within 24 hours to the police likely imposed an unconstitutional burden on protected speech.

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Congress Fails to Pass Act Limiting Collection of Phone Metadata

By Henry Thomas – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

The Senate failed to reach closure and bring the USA FREEDOM Act to a vote. The Act would have extended provisions of the Patriot Act, but would have sharply curtailed the executive’s authority to collect phone conversation metadata. While the bill had broad popular support, the vote failed largely along party lines, passing the onus of drafting and approving a new bill onto the next congressional session.

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Supreme Court to Consider Civil Procedure Issues in Two Patent Cases
By Marina Shvarts – Edited by Dorothy Du

Hyatt v. Kappos, 625 F.3d 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2010)
Petition for Writ of Certiorari hosted by scotusblog.com

Caraco Pharm. Labs., Ltd. v. Novo Nordisk A/S, 601 F.3d 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2010)
Petition for Writ of Certiorari hosted by scotusblog.com

In Kappos v. Hyatt, the Court will consider whether a patent applicant who is seeking to overturn a Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) decision in a Section 145 civil action may introduce new evidence that could have been, but was not, presented to the PTO, and when new evidence is introduced, whether the district court can decide related factual questions de novo or whether it must give deference to the PTO’s prior decision.

In Caraco Pharm. Labs., Ltd. v. Novo Nordisk A/S, the Court will consider the extent of a generic drug manufacturer’s rights to file a counterclaim under the Hatch-Waxman act seeking an order to require the patent holder to correct or delete the patent information submitted to the FDA that misstates the scope of the patent.

Patent Docs summarizes the Federal Circuit en banc decision in KapposPatent Docs also discusses the Federal Circuit holding in Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories.

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

Eighth Circuit Holds that Use of Public Domain Material Infringes Film Copyright
By Michael Hoven – Edited by Esther Kang

Warner Bros. Entm’t v. X One X Productions, No. 10-1743 (8th Cir. July 5, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The Eighth Circuit unanimously affirmed in part and reversed in part a decision by the Eastern District of Missouri, which had granted summary judgment to Warner Bros. on its copyright infringement claim and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting defendants (collectively “AVELA”) from licensing images from publicity materials for The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and short films featuring Tom & Jerry. The Eight Circuit remanded the case for modification of the injunction in light of their decision.

The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Warner Bros. with regard to AVELA’s reproduction of publicity images, holding that the publicity materials were in the public domain. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment to Warner Bros. and the permanent injunction prohibiting AVELA’s production of items that evoked copyrightable aspects of the film characters, even when the products featured only images and text extracted from the public domain. In so holding, the court noted that the public’s right to use and modify public domain materials ends when it conflicts with an existing copyright. Because the “increments of expression” that a film adds to a public domain character are copyrightable, a combination of materials that do not independently infringe copyright—such as public domain extracts—may nonetheless infringe on an expressive element of that character that is protected under the film’s copyright.

PIT IP Tech Blog provides an overview of the case. Techdirt criticizes the decision for its expansion of copyright protection at the expense of the public domain. Copyright Litigation Blog questions whether other circuits or the Supreme Court will follow the Eighth Circuit’s reasoning and asserts that modifications of public domain material will fuel litigation in coming years. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 12 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Daniel Robinson

Wikileaks Plans to Sue Credit Card Companies for Blocking Payments

Wikileaks intends to sue Visa and Mastercard for blocking payments to the site, CBS News reports. The credit card companies have blocked all donations and payments to WikiLeaks since last December, allegedly in response to pressure by the United States government. Wikileaks claims that the companies’ actions violated the Competition Rules of the European Union, and it intends to file a complaint with the European Commission and file suit in Denmark, according to its press release.

Google Fails to Acquire Nortel Patent Portfolio

Reuters reports a consortium of technology companies acquired the patent portfolio of Nortel Networks, the bankrupt Canadian telecom, last week in an auction. The portfolio contains more than 6,000 patents, many of which concern mobile technology, and was sold for $4.5 billion. Google, which had mystified onlookers by bidding approximations of mathematical constants such as pi, had been expected to win after placing a $900 million “stalking horse” bid in April. According to CNN Money, the winning consortium contained several of Google’s major competitors, including Apple, Microsoft, Ericsson, and RIM, and the winning bid was the largest sum ever paid for an intellectual property portfolio.

Judge Rules Wiretapping Case Against Google Street View Can Go Forward

A federal judge in Silicon Valley has denied Google’s motion to dismiss a wiretapping claim against it, Wired reports. The plaintiffs claim that Google’s Street View vehicles, which travel across public streets recording images to improve Google’s Street View service, intercepted and stored communications from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks, in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Google has claimed that the vehicles, which record the locations of Wi-Fi networks to improve Google’s location services, only stored communications gathered from those networks by mistake, and had further argued that because the networks were not password-protected, intercepting them did not constitute wiretapping.

Amazon Terminates Associates Program in California in Response to Sales Tax Bill

A new California law will, for the first time, require online retailers with no physical stores in the state to collect sales tax on purchases by California residents, Ars Technica reports. In order to avoid being subject to the law, Amazon has sought to reduce its contacts with the state by eliminating its affiliate program in California. According to the Los Angeles Times, online purchases have always been subject to sales tax in California, but consumers, rather than retailers, have previously been responsible for paying it, which has made collection difficult. Amazon has argued that the law is unconstitutional, and is currently fighting a similar New York law in court

Posted On Jul - 6 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court Holds California Ban on Violent Video Games Violates First Amendment
By Raquel Acosta – Edited by Dorothy Du

Brown v. EMA, No. 08-1448 (June 27, 2011)
Slip Opinion via supremecourt.gov

The Supreme Court affirmed a Ninth Circuit decision that had found that a California law that restricted the sale or rental of violent video games to minors did not comport with the First Amendment and permanently enjoined its enforcement.

Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.  In a 7-2 decision, the Court upheld the lower court decisions and repealed California Assembly Bill 1179 (2005), Cal. Civ. Code Ann. §§1746-1746.5 (West 2009) (“the Act”) (a law passed in 2005 by the California State Legislature which required more stringent rating standards on video games), banned the sale of violent video games to anyone under the age of 18, and imposed a maximum $1000 per violation.  The Supreme Court held that video games were afforded the same First Amendment protections as other forms of communication.  Areas in which restrictions on free speech are allowed are limited to obscenity, incitement, and fighting words.  In so holding, the Court rejected the Government’s argument that a balancing test may be used to justify restrictions, holding that a legislature may not add new categories of unprotected speech.

The Virtual World Law Blog provides an overview of the case.  David Kopel, writing for the Volokh Conspiracy, examines the “the weapons effect” (the theory that being exposed to aggressive stimuli will make ordinary individuals more inclined towards aggressive behavior) and uses the Brown decision in his critique of legislative anti-gun laws. Wikipedia provides a thorough analysis of the case and is informative as to the case history and the context in which Brown arises. SCOTUSblog contains an interesting commentary on the litigation strategies used.

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Posted On Jul - 5 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

House Passes Patent Reform – Keeps Senate’s “First-To-File”, Differs on PTO Funding
By Albert Wang – Edited by Matt Gelfand

H.R. 1249 – Leahy-Smith America Invents Act
Bill

Govtrack.us Summary

On June 23, 2011, the House passed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and passed by a vote of 304 to 117, the legislation implements a first-to-file system, a post-grant review system, and a fund for PTO fees, among other procedural changes. Smith promised in a statement that the bill would help “to encourage innovation, job creation and economic growth” by reducing the application backlog and attacking frivolous patent litigation. The Act’s purpose is to “promote industries to continue to develop new technologies that spur growth and create jobs across the country which includes protecting the rights of small businesses and investors from predatory behavior that could result in the cutting off of innovation.”

Originally passed in the Senate by a vote of 95 to 5 (previous Digest coverage), H.R. 1249 includes a number of changes relative to its Senate counterpart, S. 23. Of note, H.R. 1249 retains the Senate bill’s first-to-file regime, which makes the “effective filing date” of a claimed invention the actual filing date, thus dismantling the existing first-to-invent regime. First-to-file has been criticized by the Inventors Network of the Capital Area and Tea Party politicians like Phyllis Schlafly for unfairly advantaging large companies, foreign actors, and other parties with the resources to file patents quickly, according to Mother Jones. Your Patent Guy argues in contrast that resource advantages already work to bias interference proceedings, and that the bill gives institutional actors no advantage that they did not already enjoy under the existing system. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 5 - 2011 1 Comment READ FULL POST
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Privacy Concerns in

By Sabreena Khalid – Edited by Insue Kim Following scandals earlier ...

free-speech

San Francisco Court

By Jens Frankenreiter – Edited by Henry Thomas S. Louis Martin ...

European union concept, digital illustration.

EU Unitary Patent Sy

By Saukshmya Trichi – Edited by Ashish Bakshi Advocate General’s Opinion ...

computer-typing1

California Sex Offen

By Jesse Goodwin – Edited by Michael Shammas Doe v. Harris, ...

nsa-tracking-phone-records-325x337

Congress Fails to Pa

By Henry Thomas – Edited by Paulius Jurcys USA FREEDOM Act ...