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Newegg Wins Patent Troll Case After Court Delays

By Kasey Wang – Edited by Yunnan Jiang and Travis West

The District Court for the Eastern District of Texas recently issued a final judgement for online retailer Newegg, twenty months after trial, vacating a $2.3 million jury award for TQP. TQP, a patent assertion entity commonly known as a “patent troll,” collected $45 million in settlements for the patent in question before Newegg’s trial.

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The Evolution of Internet Service Providers from Partners to Adversaries: Tracking Shifts in Interconnection Goals and Strategies in the Internet’s Fifth Generation

By Robert Frieden – Edited by Marcela Viviana Ruiz Martinez, Olga Slobodyanyuk and Yaping Zhang

In respone to increasing attempts by Internet Service Providers to target customers who trigger higher costs for rate increases, the FCC and other regulatory agencies worldwide have stepped in to prevent market failure and anticompetitive practices. This paper will examine new models for the carriage of Internet traffic that have arisen in the wake of these changes.

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The Global Corporate Citizen:  Responding to International Law Enforcement Requests for Online User Data 

By Kate Westmoreland – Edited by Yunnan Jiang

This paper analyses the law controlling when U.S.-based providers can provide online user data to foreign governments. The focus is on U.S. law because U.S. dominance of internet providers means that U.S. laws affect a large number of global users. The first half of this paper outlines the legal framework governing these requests. The second half highlights the gaps in the law and how individual companies’ policies fill these gaps.

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3D Printing, Net Neutrality, and the Internet: Symposium Introduction

By Deborah Beth Medows – Edited by Yaping Zhang

Jurists must widely examine the pervasive challenges among the advents in Internet and computer technology in order to ensure that legal systems protect individuals while  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 on technology law.

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A Victory for Compatibility: the Ninth Circuit Gives Teeth to RAND Terms

By Stacy Ruegilin – Edited by Ken Winterbottom

Microsoft won a victory in the Ninth Circuit last Thursday after the court found that Motorola, a former Google subsidiary, had breached its obligation to offer licenses for standards-essential technologies at reasonable and non-discriminatory rates. The court affirmed a $14.52 million jury verdict against Motorola for the breach.

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Stop Online Piracy Act Seeks to Block Piracy Websites
By Amy Rossignol – Edited by Charlie Stiernberg

H.R. 3261 – Stop Online Piracy Act
Bill

The proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), would vest in the U.S. Attorney General the power to regulate and prevent access to foreign websites infringing on U.S. Intellectual Property (“IP”) rights. The U.S. Attorney General, with court approval, would be able to issue orders to block access to and commercial transactions with the suspected websites.

The bill would grant immunity from liability to Internet service providers, payment network providers, advertising services, or domain name registries that choose to voluntarily block or end affiliation with a website suspected of being “dedicated to theft of U.S. property.” The bill also seeks to ban any tools designed to circumvent or bypass such measures.

Ars Technica provides an overview of the bill. Wired compares the bill to the Senate’s Protect IP Act. The Los Angeles Times discusses more of the political motivation behind the bill. (more…)

Posted On Oct - 31 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Marsha Sukach

FCC and CTIA Announce Plan to Reduce “Bill Shock”

The FCC, the wireless communications association CTIA, and Consumers Union have announced a plan to help customers avoid “bill shock,” or the discovery of unexpected charges that consumers must pay when they exceed their monthly voice, data, and text limits. The FCC identified bill shock as a major problem, CNET reports, with many complaints from consumers who were surprised to find additional charges on their bill. A year ago, the FCC proposed adopting a regulation forcing wireless providers to send alerts to consumers, but this regulation was heavily opposed in the industry. Instead, under the current deal, wireless providers covering 97 percent of users have agreed to provide consumers with alerts voluntarily, according to the Washington Post. The new alerts will begin within 18 months, and will include wireless phone and tablet services, CNET explains.

Verisign Wants Authority to Shut Down Websites Without a Court Order

Verisign, the company that manages .com and .net registrations, wants the power to shut down websites on the request of law enforcement, TIME reports. Verisign filed a request with ICANN, the nonprofit that oversees the Internet’s domain name system, to “allow the denial, cancellation or transfer” of domain name registrations to comply with “laws, government rules or requirements, requests of law enforcement or other governmental quasi-governmental agency, or any dispute resolution process.” The policy is aimed largely at taking down sites that harbor malware, launch phishing attacks, or are otherwise used to launch attacks across the Internet, reports Ars Technica. However, the language does not indicate that the proposed policy will be limited to such cases, and some experts worry that this authority would create an opportunity for abuse by law enforcement.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire Raises Privacy Concerns

Amazon’s coming tablet, the Kindle Fire, is raising privacy concerns with its new Silk browser, ZDNet reports. While Silk may provide faster browsing, funneling all user activity through Amazon’s own servers, it can also track everything that a user does on the web, and create a permanent record of those activities. In Congress, there has been unease on both sides of the aisle, as well as a demand for answers, according to Ars Technica. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), co-Chair of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos inquiring about the nature of the information that Amazon plans to collect, how it plans to use the information, and the level of control that customers will have over their data. When Amazon first introduced the Fire, writes the New York Times, it drew a distinction between activity on its own site, which is individually tracked with the user’s permission, and activity on the rest of the internet, which would be aggregated but not linked to users’ identities. Concerns remain, but EFF concludes that it is generally satisfied with Silk’s privacy design, saying that users can easily turn off cloud acceleration mode, and that the safeguards create sufficient protection.

 

Posted On Oct - 25 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Federal Circuit Jettisons the Presumption of Irreparable Harm in Injunctive Relief
By Charlie Stiernberg – Edited by Abby Lauer

Robert Bosch LLC v. Pylon Mfg. Corp., No. 2011-1096 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 13, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The Federal Circuit reversed the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, which had denied plaintiff Bosch’s post-trial motion for a permanent injunction, and remanded the case with instructions to enter appropriate injunctive relief.

Judge O’Malley, writing for a divided panel, held that the district court had abused its discretion in denying Bosch’s request for a permanent injunction of Pylon’s infringing windshield wiper blade products. Previous cases had not clarified whether the presumption of irreparable harm in the context of injunctive relief remained intact following the Supreme Court’s decision in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547 U.S. 388 (2006). In Bosch, the Federal Circuit “put the question to rest” and confirmed that eBay “jettisoned” the presumption of irreparable harm in determining the appropriateness of a permanent injunction. Slip op. at 10. The court then held that the district court had erred in its analysis of the irreparable harm factor by relying exclusively on the presence of additional competitors in the market and on the “non-core” nature of Bosch’s wiper blade business. Id. at 13.

IPBiz provides a summary of the case. PatentlyO examines the decision and applauds the Federal Circuit’s recognition of patents as property rights when performing an injunction analysis. Patent Prospector criticizes the court for putting the injunction in place without remanding to the district court.

(more…)

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

District Court Permits Facebook’s Trademark Suit to Proceed Against Teachbook.com
By Albert Wang – Edited by Abby Lauer

Facebook, Inc. v. Teachbook.com LLC, No. 11-cv-3052 (N.D. Ill. September 26, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied defendant Teachbook’s motion to dismiss a trademark infringement suit brought by social networking site Facebook.

Judge Aspen, writing for the court, held that Facebook had pled sufficient facts to survive Teachbook’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion. The court declined to consider Teachbook’s extrinsic evidence and based its holding solely on the content of Facebook’s complaint and exhibits. The court also rejected Teachbook’s assertion that the word “book” was too generic to sustain a trademark claim, noting that Facebook’s trademark registration covers the compound word “Facebook” and that the specific use of “book” as a suffix was potentially protectable. In so holding, the court noted that consumer confusion could arise because Teachbook framed its service as an alternative for teachers barred by work policy from using Facebook.

The Trademark and Copyright Law Blog provides an overview of the case. John Del Vecchio contemplates the consequences of this holding for other sites with the word “book” in their name, while Eric Goldman criticizes the court’s findings on generic terms and on the likelihood of consumer confusion.

(more…)

Posted On Oct - 20 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
U.S. Signs the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
By Amara Osisioma and Matt Gelfand – Edited by Andrew Segna

Text of the Agreement

On October 1, the United States — as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea — signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (“ACTA”). Ars Technica provides commentary.

The press release by the signatories indicated that the Agreement was necessary because “the proliferation of counterfeit and pirated goods poses considerable challenges for legitimate trade and the sustainable development of the world economy. Trade in these goods causes significant financial losses for right holders and legitimate businesses.”

The ACTA provides for: “(1) enhanced international cooperation; (2) promotion of sound enforcement practices; and (3) a legal framework for [intellectual property rights] enforcement in the areas of criminal enforcement, enforcement at the border, civil and administrative actions, and distribution of . . . infringing material on the Internet.” (more…)

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