A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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3D Systems and Formlabs Settled Two-Year Patent Dispute

By Yixuan Long – Edited by Yaping Zhang

On December 1, 3D Systems and Formlabs settled their two-year legal dispute over the 520 Patent infringement. Terms of the settlement are undisclosed. The patent covered different parts of the stereolithographic three-dimensional printing process, which uses a laser to cure liquid plastic. 3D Systems was granted the ‘520 Patent in 1997. Formlabs views the settlement as enabling it to continue its expansion and keep developing new products.

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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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Greg Tang passed away suddenly on February 7, 2011.  He will be greatly missed by everyone at Harvard Law School.  In his memory, we are republishing his Digest Comment from last semester.

- The Digest Staff

Intel and the x86 Architecture: A Legal Perspective
Written by Greg Tang
Edited by Ian Wildgoose Brown
Editorial Policy

Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, owes its global leadership position to its x86 microprocessors. Intel and its main competitor, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), command 80.4% and 11.5% of the microprocessor market, respectively. In other words, over 90% of the world’s computers have brains that only understand the x86 instruction set for translating software instructions into computer functioning. Consequently, most computer programs support, if not exclusively, x86 microprocessors. The fact that AMD is their sole surviving competitor in the x86 microprocessor industry is testament to the success of Intel’s aggressive business and legal tactics: the market for almost any other computer hardware component is certain to have a multitude of competitors from around the globe.

Throughout its history, Intel constantly has explored the outer frontiers of the high-tech industry’s legal landscape as it asserted its market dominance, particularly when threatened by competition, and repeatedly has been forced to adjust its strategy when the courts found that it pushed too far. By zealously pursuing this strategy against AMD, Intel has kept AMD at a distant second place in the microprocessor market, despite AMD often offering superior products at lower prices. But Intel occasionally gets in trouble for its liberal use of business and legal force towards AMD. In the last two years, Intel saw the end to several high-profile antitrust cases that it had been tangled up in for years. In May 2009, the European Commission fined Intel a record 1.06 billion Euros for abusing its dominant market position. On November 12, 2009, Intel settled all outstanding antitrust and patent cross-licensing disputes with rival AMD for $1.25 billion. And more recently in August 2010, Intel settled its antitrust case with the FTC by agreeing to several broad restrictions on its relationship with computer manufacturers and its competitors. But Intel’s legal strategy of “trial and error” stems from the company’s formative years, which coincided with the advent of the personal computer. (more…)

Posted On Feb - 13 - 2011 1 Comment READ FULL POST

By Esther Kang

AOL Buys Huffington Post for $315 Million

TIME reports that on Monday, AOL announced its plans to acquire The Huffington Post, a progressive Internet news site.  This move follows AOL’s acquisition of TechCrunch in September 2010.  The New York Times reports that The Huffington Post’s founder Arianna Huffington will become president and editor-in-chief of the new Huffington Post Media Group, giving her control of AOL’s news content.  AOL CEO Tim Armstrong says that “the reason AOL is acquiring The Huffington Post is because we are absolutely passionate, big believers in the future of the Internet, big believers in the future of content.”  According to MarketWatch, the acquisition will result in combined base of 117 million unique visitors in the U.S. and 270 million worldwide.

FCC Announces Plans to Expand Broadband Access

Reuters reports that the FCC plans to overhaul the $8 billion Universal Service Fund, a subsidy program for rural phone service, by redirecting the funds to support Internet access.  FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says that the current system is “unsustainable” because “it was designed for a world with separate local and long-distance telephone companies; a world of traditional, landline telephones before cell phones or Skype; a world without the Internet — a world that no longer exists.”  The Washington Post reports that President Obama also unveiled plans to expand broadband networks, pledging to spend $18 billion to bring 4G access to 98% of Americans within the next five years.  According to CNET Obama anticipates raising $27.8 billion from auctions of spectrum currently licensed to TV broadcasters.  However, as The New York Times reports, this estimate depends on whether broadcasters will voluntarily relinquish spectrum to the FCC.

In-flight Internet Provider Aircell Raises $35 Million

Bloomberg reports that Aircell, the largest in-flight wi-fi service provider, has raised $35 million in new funding, bringing its total capital to almost $600 million.  Aircell first introduced its Gogo service in 2008, and the service is now available on flights for nine of the top eleven airlines, as VentureBeat reports.  Aircell also currently provides wi-fi services for about 6,000 private aircraft.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Aircell’s CEO thinks the company is a “viable IPO candidate,” though the company has not yet made any decisions regarding an offering.

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

This week the JOLT Digest site was attacked, causing it to go down for a few days.  We have resolved these problems and will resume our regular update schedule immediately.  Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

– The Digest Staff

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

By Tim Grayson

FCC Moves to Dismiss Net Neutrality Challenges

As PCMag.com reports, the FCC moved to dismiss two challenges to the agency’s December 2010 adoption of controversial net neutrality rules regulating broadband and wireless networks. Verizon and MetroPCS filed suit, each claiming that the FCC lacks the authority to enforce net neutrality. The FCC’s motion to dismiss stems from a timing issue: Verizon and MetroPCS both filed suit before the new rules were published in the Federal Register. This means a dismissal would likely be a temporary reprieve for the agency.  Those on both sides of the debate will watch with interest as courts determine the scope of the FCC’s jurisdiction.

Johnson & Johnson Loses $482 Million Stent Case

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bruce Saffran has scored a big payday at the expense of Johnson & Johnson. A Texas jury awarded Saffran, a New Jersey radiologist, a $482 million verdict after finding that Cordis (J&J’s stent-making subsidiary) had infringed Saffran’s patent for producing “Cypher” drug-coated stents. Stents are small metallic devices designed to hold open arteries, and are used in a variety of cardiac procedures. This isn’t the first big court victory for Saffran—he received a $50 million settlement from Boston Scientific after an initial jury verdict of $431 million. His suit against Abbott Laboratories is still pending.

Mozilla adds “Do not Track” feature for Firefox 4.1

Following recent FCC recommendations, Mozilla has announced that Firefox 4.1 will incorporate a “Do not Track” feature, earning praise from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Privacy advocates say that “Do not Track” additions will protect consumers from surreptitious and difficult-to-avoid mechanisms that allow marketers and advertisers to follow most of users’ browsing histories. Google announced similar—but less thorough—developments for Chrome, which recently became the third browser with a double-digit market share.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Patent Overhaul Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved by a vote of 15-0 a bill designed to reduce the massive damage awards that often arise from patent disputes. The bill would give judges a larger role in determining the importance of a particular patent to a product, and would also grant patents to the first inventor to file rather than the first to invent—aiding companies who file patent applications in multiple countries. The House Judiciary Committee has yet to begin drafting a companion bill, the next step in the legislative process.

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

Federal Circuit continues trend of interpreting “use” under §271(a) broadly
By Philip Yen – Edited by Matthew Gelfand

Centillion Data Systems, LLC v. Qwest Communications International, Inc., No. 2010-1110 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 20, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The Federal Circuit vacated an order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, which had granted summary judgment of noninfringement in favor of Qwest on the grounds that neither Qwest nor its customers individually “practice[d] all of the limitations of the asserted claims.”

The issue was ultimately a question of what the word “use” means under 35 U.S.C. §271(a), which governs infringement of patents. The District Court, drawing from Federal Circuit precedent, had held that to “use” a system for purposes of infringement, a party must either practice every element or control and direct the actions of another that practices the elements in question. NTP, Inc. v. Research in Motion, Ltd., 418 F.3d 1282 (Fed. Cir. 2005). Although the Federal Circuit agreed with the District Court’s definition of “use,” it held that the District Court had misinterpreted the definition “by holding that in order to ‘use’ a system under §271(a), a party must exercise physical or direct control over each individual element of the system. The ‘control’ contemplated in NTP is the ability to place the system as a whole into service.” Slip Op. at 8. Thus, a customer’s use of the front-end application that utilized Qwest’s back office systems satisfied §271(a)’s requirement of “use.” In so holding, the court noted that that the District Court’s contrary interpretation would have effectively overturned NTP, since the customer in that case would not have met the District Court’s threshold of control either.

Patently-O provides an overview of the case. The Patent Prospector discusses the case and provides some commentary. IPWatchdog criticizes the decision based on concern that the holding of NTP and Qwest overextends §271(a), and that the definition of “use” under the statute is being broadened. (more…)

Posted On Feb - 4 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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