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

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Jennifer Chung and Ariel Simms

Despite its increasing availability, patent insurance—providing defensive protection against claims of patent infringement and funding offensive actions against patent infringers—continues to be uncommon. This Note aims to provide an overview of the patent insurance landscape.

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Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 Seeks to Establish Federal Cause of Action for Trade Secrets Misappropriation

By Suyoung Jang – Edited by Mila Owen

Following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval in January of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, the Committee has released Senate Report 114-220 supporting the bill. The bill seeks to protect trade secret owners by creating a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Evan Tallmadge – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

The Linked Inheritability Between Two Regions of DNA is an Unpatentable Law of Nature

HP Setback in Challenging the Validity of MPHJ’s Distributed Virtual Copying Patent

CardPool Fails to Escape an Invalidity Judgment But Can Still Pursue Amended Claims

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Amicus Brief by EFF and ACLU Urging Illinois State Sex Offender Laws Declared Unconstitutional under First Amendment

By Yaping Zhang – Edited by Mila Owen

With the Illinois Supreme Court gearing up to determine the constitutionality of the state’s sex offender registration statute, two advocacy non-profits have filed amicus briefs in support of striking the law down.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Gia Velasquez – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Federal Court Grants Uber’s Class Action Certification Appeal

Independent Contractor Classification of Uber Drivers May Violate Antitrust Laws

Self-Driving Car Will Be Considered Autonomous Driver

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UnknownBy Matthew P. Ponsford

Edited by Ann Kristin Glenster and Cristina Carapezza

Introduction

Bitcoin, also known as a decentralized virtual currency (DVC),[1] is regulated differently in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Canada, and the United States, and represents a vastly underdeveloped area of the law. No country has currently backed Bitcoin. Launched in 2009, and founded by Satoshi Nakamoto,[2] Bitcoin is a “decentralized peer-to-peer currency.”[3] Other virtual currencies include Litecoin, Namecoin, Auroracoin, Peercoin, and Dogecoin – about 500 varieties in total – but research here will primarily focus on Bitcoin.[4] A comparative analysis will help discern how these respective countries classify Bitcoin (e.g., a virtual object, currency, or potential security), and how these jurisdictions regulate, or intend to regulate, DVCs. Bitcoin is identified as a “currency,” throughout the paper, but the classification is heavily contested. Questions for analyses include: are there appropriate existing legal frameworks to regulate Bitcoin? What securities regulation challenges does Bitcoin pose? What are the consumer and investor protection concerns associated with Bitcoin compared to traditional financial exchanges? What are the cross-jurisdictional challenges of virtual currency transactions that operate over the Internet (e.g., money laundering, or fraudulent activities)? Research herein incorporates securities commission reports, social and political commentary from secondary sources, and relevant jurisprudence and legislation. The paper helps situate the current climate of Bitcoin globally, and assesses how its regulation differs relative to technological, economic, social, financial, and political forces.

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Posted On Nov - 14 - 2015 1 Comment READ FULL POST

UnknownBy David Nathaniel Tan – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Patent Holders’ Choice of Forum Under Siege

The 1990 Federal Circuit decision in VE Holding v. Johnson Gas revolutionized patent litigation by relaxing restrictions on venue for patent cases. For over a decade, the Eastern District of Texas has heard a disproportionate amount of patent cases primarily for the reason that it tends to favor plaintiffs in infringement suits. However, a company called TC Heartland may shatter that status quo: they have petitioned the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to nullify VE Holding. Although TC Heartland’s case does not involve the Eastern District of Texas, a ruling in favor of TC Heartland would put limits on “forum shopping” for patent cases. Public interest groups led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation have filed an amicus brief supporting TC Heartland. Ars Technica provides further commentary.

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Posted On Nov - 11 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

RespublikaBy Frederick Ding — Edited by Yaping Zhang

Republic of Kazakhstan v. Does 1–100, No. 15 Civ. 1900 (ER) (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 27, 2015), Slip Opinion hosted by Justia.com

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a clarification of the preliminary injunction it granted on March 20, 2015 to the plaintiff, the Republic of Kazakhstan, enjoining unidentified defendants and “all persons acting in concert with them from using, disclosing, or otherwise disseminating” documents and emails that defendants allegedly acquired by hacking.

The District Court held that the preliminary injunction does not apply to non-party Respublika, an online Kazakhstan newspaper, reasoning that the plaintiff had not shown a likelihood of success on the merits in any substantive claim against Respublika for hacking, and that applying the injunction against Respublika would function as an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech. In so holding, the court noted the “near absolute right to publish truthful information about matters of public interest,” even if a re-publisher of information knew that it had been obtained illegally.

Eugene Volokh provides an overview of the case, approving the outcome. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing Respublika, previously criticized Kazakhstan’s abuse of the court’s order in June.

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Posted On Nov - 11 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

California and Federal FlagsBy Ann Kristin Glenster – Edited by Stacy Ruegilin

Home to Silicon Valley, California has been at the forefront of protecting privacy with three new laws in as many years. According to the website Lexology, the most recent piece of legislation, coming into effect on January 1 2016, will give the sunshine state “the strongest digital privacy rights in the U.S.” Yet, the brunt of the new measures concern strengthening privacy breach notification regimes, hardly a major shift in legislative intent. Rather, these changes represent an incremental updating of the law in order to make its language and application more fit for purpose.

However, that cannot be said for the flagship in this sea battalion of privacy measures, the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA). Introduced by Democratic Senator Mark Leno in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Riley v. California, the new Act requires a search warrant for law enforcement officials to access digital personal communication. The Act also extends the definition of personal information to include metadata, thereby bringing the Californian legal framework more closely in line with European data protection laws.

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Posted On Nov - 11 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST

3293465641_b6c5081e87_qBy Danielle Kehl – Edited by Olga Slobodyanyuk

Maximillian Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner, C‐362/14
(Court of Justice of the European Union Oct. 2015)

In what some are calling a victory against NSA surveillance, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) invalidated a key part of the current transatlantic “Safe Harbor” agreement between the United States and the European Union earlier this month. The case began in 2013 when privacy activist Maximillian Schrems filed a complaint against Facebook with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, alleging based on evidence disclosed by then-NSA contractor Edward Snowden that American companies were not adequately protecting Europeans’ data from government snooping. Although Schrems’ complaint was initially rejected by the Irish data authority, the High Court of Ireland eventually referred the case to the top court in the European Union, which handed down the unexpected decision on October 6, 2015.

The CJEU held in Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner that the privacy principles adopted under U.S.-E.U. Safe Harbor agreement violate the 1995 European Data Protection Directive, which provides a level of baseline protections to safeguard the privacy of all European citizens’ data. Since 2000, the Safe Harbor arrangement has allowed American companies to process the personal data of European citizens by self-certifying to the U.S. Department of Commerce that they adhered to certain guidelines and principles, including notice, choice, access, security, data integrity, and enforcement. Over 4,000 American technology companies rely on the Safe Harbor framework to operate in Europe without violating the continent’s privacy laws. Without it, those companies may not be able to send data from their European users back to the United States, a prohibition that could be incredibly costly.

Privacy advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and New America’s Open Technology Institute have characterized the decision as a clear signal that further reform of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs is needed. NSA whisteblower Edward Snowden even told Schrems he had “changed the world for the better” via Twitter. But many have also expressed concern about the economic ramifications that American technology companies will experience unless and until the United States successfully negotiates a new Safe Harbor agreement with the E.U. As U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker noted in a press release following the ruling, the decision “creates significant uncertainty for both U.S. and E.U. companies and consumers, and puts at risk the thriving transatlantic digital economy.” Just Security provides a nuanced overview of the ruling and its implications.

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Posted On Nov - 4 - 2015 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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Unknown

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