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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Olga Slobodyanyuk

ICANN responds to terrorism victims by claiming domain names are not property

D.C. District Court rules that FOIA requests apply to officials’ personal email accounts

Class-action lawsuit brought against ExamSoft  in Illinois

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Federal Circuit Applies Alice to Deny Subject Matter Eligibility of Digital Imaging Patent

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Mengyi Wang

In Digitech Image Technologies, the Federal Circuit embraced the opportunity to apply the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Alice to resolve a question of subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. §101. The Federal Circuit affirmed summary judgment on appeal, invalidating Digitech’s patent claims because they were directed to intangible information and abstract ideas.

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Unlocking Cell Phones Made Legal through Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Insue Kim

Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act allows consumers to unlock their cell phones when changing service providers, but the underlying issue of “circumvention” may have broader implications for other consumer devices and industries that increasingly rely on software.

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SDNY Magistrate Grants Government Search Warrant for Full Access to Suspect’s Gmail Account in Criminal Investigation

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Travis West

In an opinion that conflicts with decisions from the DC District Court and the District of Kansas, a SDNY magistrate granted the government’s search warrant for full access to a criminal investigation suspect’s Gmail account.

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Creating full-text searchable database of copyrighted works is “fair use”
By Yixuan Long- Edited by Sarah O’Loughlin

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Judge Parker, the Second Circuit held that under the fair use doctrine universities and research libraries are allowed to create full‐text searchable databases of copyrighted works and provide such works in formats accessible to those with disabilities. The court also decided that the evidence was insufficient to decide whether the plaintiffs had standing to bring a claim regarding storage of digital copies for preservation purposes.

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Informing a Patient of a Method’s Effect is Insufficient to Render the Method Patentable
By Harry Zhou – Edited by Chinh Vo

King Pharms., Inc. v. Eon Labs, Inc., No. 2009-1437, -1438 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 2, 2010)
Slip Opinion

On August 2, 2010, the Federal Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York’s entry of summary judgment invalidating two patent claims held by King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“King”). In addition, the court vacated summary judgment against a third-party defendant for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

King’s challenged patent claims pertained to the beneficial increase in bioavailability of a drug when the drug was ingested with food. Such claims were supported by two sources of novelty: the previously undiscovered result of increased bioavailability, and an “informing” limitation consisting of either instructing a patient to ingest metaxalone with food or applying printed labels bearing such instructions to packaging. In invalidating all of King’s claims in question, the Federal Circuit held that both alleged sources of novelty had been inherently anticipated by prior arts.

Patently-O provides an overview of the decision. Inventive Step provides a detailed summary of the court’s rationale in finding that the “informing” limitation was insufficient to impart patentability into an inherently anticipated claim. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 9 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sharona Hakimi

Gates Denounces WikiLeaks disclosure of sensitive documents from Afghanistan

On July 29, Wired and the New York Times reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen publicly condemned WikiLeaks for publishing 75,000 secret documents relating the Afghanistan War.  During a Pentagon press briefing, Mullen said that the activists who run WikiLeaks “might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier” or an Afghan partner whose identity was exposed. Though the documents did not seem to have strategic value, Gates stated that because of the “massive breach,” “[t]actics, techniques and procedures will become known to our adversaries.” Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has defended his website as providing a truthful portrait of the situation in Afghanistan, and said the organization held back thousands of documents for security reasons. The FBI is currently assisting in an internal departmental investigation to determine the source of the leak.

Google StreetView not liable in UK for WiFi snooping

Ars Technica reported that the British Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found that information captured from WiFi networks by the Google StreetView cars was not “significant” as it did not include “meaningful personal details.” The ICO issued a statement that, although Google was wrong to collect the information, the data could not be linked to an “identifiable person” and thereby cause harm. The ICO and other international agencies are still investigating Google StreetView to see if Google has broken any data privacy laws.

The DOJ sues Oracle for fraudulent software sales

CNET reported that the US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Oracle contending that the company defrauded the government by offering software discounts that were “far inferior” to those provided to its commercial clients. Oracle and the federal General Services Administrations engaged in a software deal from 1998 to 2006 that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. Under the contract, Oracle was to offer any improved commercial discounts to the government agencies. The DOJ brought the suit under the False Claims Act in the U.S. District Court for the District of Eastern Virginia.

Posted On Aug - 5 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Fifth Circuit Limits DMCA by Distinguishing Circumvention to Access Software and Circumvention to Violate Copyright
By Ian B. Brooks – Edited by Helen He

MGE UPS Systems, Inc. v. GE Consumer and Indus. Inc., No. 08-10521 (5th Cir. July 20, 2010)
Slip Opinion

The Fifth Circuit affirmed the ruling of the District Court for the Northern District of Texas, which dismissed MGE UPS Systems Inc.’s (“MGE”) Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) claim against Power Maintenance International, Inc. (“PMI”) and General Electric Company (“GE”) pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P 50(a).

The Fifth Circuit held that the DMCA’s provisions apply to protections designed to prevent infringement of copyrighted material and not protection from mere access to that material.  Thus, the circumvention of a protection measure that fails to shield the copyrighted material from being read and copied is not a violation of the DMCA.  The court further noted that once a protection measure has been circumvented, the DMCA no longer applies to the use of that work.

Barry Sookman provides an overview of the case and an analysis of the court’s ruling.  Info/Law has a critical discussion of the DMCA in light of this case’s holding. (more…)

Posted On Aug - 2 - 2010 1 Comment READ FULL POST

Ninth Circuit reverses court order granting toymaker Mattel ownership of Bratz doll brand
By Abby Lauer – Edited by Janet Freilich

MGA Entertainment, Inc. v. Mattel, Inc., No. 09-55673 (9th Cir. July 22, 2010)
Slip Opinion

In a decision making headlines across the nation, the Ninth Circuit reversed the Central District of California, which had given Mattel ownership rights to the Bratz doll brand after a jury found that the designer who created the dolls was working for Mattel when he conceived the idea. Along with ownership of the Bratz brand, the district court also ordered Bratz manufacturer MGA to pay Mattel $10 million in damages.

The Ninth Circuit held that MGA had significantly improved the value of the Bratz brand as a result of its investment in the product, development efforts, and marketing since the dolls were first sold in 2001. Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski maintained that it would not be equitable to completely revoke MGA’s ownership of the billion-dollar Bratz line, even if development of the brand may have started with a misappropriated idea. In so holding, Judge Kozinski stated that a significant portion – if not all – of the jury’s verdict and damages award should be vacated, and that the entire case will probably have to be retried.

Bloomberg provides an overview of the case. The Wall Street Journal offers additional commentary about the prolonged legal battle between Mattel and MGA to determine the rightful owner of the Bratz brand. (more…)

Posted On Jul - 31 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Chinh Vo

Republican Senators Draft Bill in Opposition to FCC’s Net Neutrality Regulations Plans

CNET reports that a group of Republican senators, led by Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, is sponsoring a new bill designed to thwart the FCC’s plans to regulate broadband providers. The bill, dubbed the Freedom for Consumer Choice Act, would allow the FCC to impose requirements on the broadband industry only if marketplace competition is inadequate, giving the agency authority similar to the Department of Justice’s ability to enforce antitrust. As JOLT has previously reported, many members of Congress have expressed concern over the FCC’s attempt to impose Net neutrality rules by reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service, following the decision in Comcast Corp. v. FCC limiting the agency’s jurisdiction over broadband services.

Lawyers Drop Suit Against Scribd Featuring Novel Application of Copyright Act

Wired reports that lawyers have dropped a copyright infringement lawsuit against document-sharing website Scribd. The case, filed last September by children’s writer Elaine Scott after one of her books appeared on Scribd, had been closely watched because Scott’s lawyers sought a novel application of the Copyright Act. In addition to attacking the site for failing to block the unauthorized upload, Scott’s lawyers claimed Scribd’s copying and insertion of her copyrighted work into its filtering system — to prevent future unauthorized uploads — was itself a violation of the Copyright Act. Many university sites, social networks, and user-generated content sites employ similar filtering methods that compare uploaded materials to a database of copyrighted works.

Cell Phone Group Files Suit to Block San Francisco Radiation Ordinance

PCWorld reports that CTIA, an international group representing the wireless telecommunications industry, has sued the city of San Francisco in an attempt to block a recently-enacted ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to post how much radiation their devices emit. The complaint, filed in the Northern District of California, argues that the city exceeded its authority by passing regulations related to an issue already addressed by the FCC. According to CTIA, the ordinance conflicts with federal law because the heightened labeling requirements undermine the FCC’s determination that all FCC-compliant cell phones are safe. The suit also alleges that the city ordinance violates the Communications Act by imposing a condition for entry to the wireless market — a power the Act limits to the federal government.

Posted On Jul - 27 - 2010 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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Flash Digest: News i

By Olga Slobodyanyuk ICANN responds to terrorism victims by claiming domain ...

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Federal Circuit Appl

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Mengyi Wang Digitech Image Technologies, ...

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Unlocking Cell Phone

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Insue Kim On July 25, ...

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SDNY Magistrate Gran

By Kellen Wittkop – Edited by Travis West In the Matter ...

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Creating full-text s

Creating full-text searchable database of copyrighted works is “fair use” By ...