A student-run resource for reliable reports on the latest law and technology news
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Mississippi Attorney General’s investigation of Google temporarily halted by federal court

By Lan Du – Edited by Katherine Kwong

On March 2, 2015, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s investigation of Google was halted by a federal court granting Google’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate issued the opinion. Judge Wingate found a substantial likelihood that Hood’s investigation violated Google’s First Amendment rights by content regulation of speech and placing limits of public access to information.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Ken Winterbottom

J.P. Morgan Appeal Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction

Court Agrees with USPTO: Settlement Agreements Are Not Grounds for Dismissing Patent Validity Challenges

Attorney Misconduct-Based Fee-Shifting Request Revived in Light of Recent Supreme Court Decision

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Pass the Patented Peas, Please: EPO Upholds Plant Product Patents

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

Everything’s coming up roses for plant patent holders, following the European Patent Office’s recent endorsement of patents for tomato and broccoli plants.  In a March 25, 2015 decision, the Enlarged Board of Appeal held that the European Patent Convention’s Article 53(b) prohibition on patents for production of plants by “essentially biological processes . . . does not have a negative effect on the allowability of a product claim directed to plants.”

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Stephen Hawking™: Famed Physicist Seeks Trademark Protection For His Name

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Saukshmya Trichi

Stephen Hawking is posed to leverage his physics fame as a brand name. The renowned theoretical physicist has filed an application to register his name as a trademark with the U.K. Intellectual Property Office. The trademark, if approved, will give Hawking greater control over how his name is used in connection with certain goods and services including charitable endeavors, scientific research, and medical devices.

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Flash Digest: News in Brief

By Jeanne Jeong

European Regulators and Watchdogs Increase Investigation of “Technology Giants”

Snapchat Published Transparency Report Revealing Government Data Sharing

New Senate Cyberbill Measure to Protect Americans from Cybercrime

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Ninth Circuit Vacates Injunction in Keyword Advertising Case
By Kaethin Prizer – Edited by Kassity Liu

Network Automation, Inc. v. Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc., No. 10-55840 (9th Cir. Mar. 8, 2011)
Slip Opinion

The Ninth Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction granted by the district court to Advance Systems Concepts (“Systems”) in a trademark infringement case involving the use of keyword advertising.

The court found that the lower court erred in its analysis of whether Network Automation’s keyword advertising, which targeted the name of its competitor Systems’ software, created a likelihood of consumer confusion. The district court had prioritized the “Internet troika” factors that were emphasized by this court in Brookfield Commc’ns, Inc. v. West Coast Entm’t Corp., 174 F.3d 1036, 1054 (9th Cir. 1999). The circuit court disagreed with this approach, holding that the “troika” factors should not be the controlling factors for all cases of trademark infringement that involve the internet, and added that the “troika” factors may only be appropriate for domain name disputes. In so holding, the court emphasized that “[w]e must be acutely aware of excessive rigidity in applying the law in the Internet context; emerging technologies require a flexible approach.”

IP Law Chat gives an overview of the case. Public Citizen and Eric Goldman provide thorough analyses of the decision. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 15 - 2011 1 Comment READ FULL POST

By Andrew Crocker

Supreme Court to Hear “Major Test of Copyright Power”

SCOTUSblog reports that the Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Golan v. Holder to consider a challenge to the federal law that restored U.S. copyrights to certain foreign works that had previously been in the public domain. The petitioners are “orchestra conductors, educators, performers, film archivists, and motion picture distributors” who claim to have relied upon the formerly public domain works. The petitioners have twice appealed to, and been denied by, the United States Circuit Court for the Tenth Circuit. In its next term, the Supreme Court will rule on both arguments rejected by the Tenth Circuit — that the law violates both the First Amendment and the Copyright Clause of the Constitution. According to Publisher’s Weekly, the works restored to copyright include “symphonies by Shostakovich and Stravinsky, books by Virginia Woolf, artwork by Picasso, and films by Fellini and Hitchcock.”

JOLT Digest has previously reported on filing of the writ of petition for certiorari, the Tenth Circuit’s original ruling in Golan, the district court’s subsequent decision, and the Tenth Circuit’s most recent decision.

Sony Subpoenas IP Records of Visitors to PS3 Jailbreak Site

Wired reports that a magistrate judge in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has granted Sony’s subpoena request to require a website host to turn over IP addresses of visitors to a New Jersey hacker’s site. George Hotz, the site owner, posted encryption keys and other software that allow owners of Sony’s Playstation 3 (“PS3”) to “jailbreak” the console. Sony argues that Hotz violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s prohibition on distributing tools that allow circumvention of technological copy protections, since jailbreaking the PS3 allows owners to run pirated games. The court also granted Sony the right to subpoena related information from Hotz’s accounts on Twitter, YouTube and Blogger.

Lime Wire Settles Suit with Music Publishers

Bloomberg reports that a group of music publishers, including EMI and Warner Brothers, has settled their lawsuit against Lime Wire LLC, creator of the now defunct file-sharing service LimeWire. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed. Last year, in a suit brought by the Recording Industry Association of America (“RIAA”), Lime Wire was found liable for copyright infringement and forced to shut down. According to CNET, the music publishers filed suit after the RIAA ruling — as did a separate group of record labels, whose suit is still pending. The Hollywood Reporter notes that in the pending suit, Lime Wire has been attempting to use discovery “to show that [labels’] claims of revenue losses are exaggerated.”

Techcrunch Using Facebook “Real Name” Commenting System

Techcrunch announced recently that it is the latest in a series of major sites to use a Facebook-based plugin for user comments on the site’s posts. Because the plugin requires a Facebook account to post, users’ comments will now be associated with their real names, and the comments will be added to their Facebook feed by default. Although Techcrunch says it is responding to “trolls and spammers,” PC Mag wonders if the lack of anonymity will have chilling effects on online debate. Additionally, on the Huffington Post Larry Magid points out that the move further isolates users who choose not to register for Facebook accounts.

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

Senate Debates Historic Patent Reform Act
By Lauren Henry – Edited by Jad Mills

S. 23: Patent Reform Act of 2011
Bill

The Senate is currently debating the Patent Reform Act of 2011, also known as the Invent America Act (“the Act”).  If passed, the Act would be the first major reform to the patent system in over fifty years. The Act is co-sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Ut, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Ia. It enjoyed bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee, passing unanimously in early February of this year. According to The Washington Post, Leahy’s office listed major drug companies, IBM, the AFL-CIO, the Association of American Universities, Caterpillar and USPIRG as supporters of the Act.

The two major points of debate are: 1) the shift to a “first-to-file” regime from the existing “first-to-invent” regime, which would simplify patent priority disputes; and 2) altering the grace period to file after third-party disclosures to push inventors to patent inventions earlier. Another area to watch is the Act’s potential impact, or lack thereof, on the status of business method patents. (more…)

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

District Court Holds Unconstiutional Qui Tam Provisions of False Marking Statute
By Nathan Lovejoy – Edited by Chinh Vo

Unique Prod. Solutions, Ltd. v. Hy-Grade Valve, Inc., No. 5:10-CV-1912 (N.D. Ohio Feb. 23, 2011)
Slip opinion hosted by Inventive Step

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio granted defendant Hy-Grade’s motion to dismiss on the grounds that the qui tam provision of the Patent Act’s False Marking statute, 35 U.S.C. § 292, is unconstitutional.

The district court held that the qui tam provision of 35 U.S.C. § 292(b) violated the Take Care Clause of the Constitution because it does not provide the Department of Justice with the adequate statutory controls under the “sufficient control” analysis of Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 (1988). In so holding, the court relied on the Federal Circuit’s statement in Pequignot v. Solo Cup Co., 608 F.3d 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2010) that “the statute is a criminal one[,]” while simultaneously rejecting the Pequignot district court’s historically-grounded analysis of the qui tam provision. The court found instead that “[t]he False Marking statute essentially represents a wholesale delegation of criminal law enforcement power to private entities with no control exercised by the U.S. Department of Justice.”

Law360 provides an overview of the case. IPFrontline believes this decision suggests that “we may see some clarity regarding the constitutionality” of the False Marking statute from the Federal Circuit in the pending case FLFMC, LLC v. Wham-O, Inc., No. 2011-1067. (more…)

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

By Vivian Tao

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in HIV Test Patent Dispute

Mercury News reports that oral arguments in the Supreme Court began this week over whether a Stanford University researcher’s patent on an HIV test belongs to Stanford or pharmaceutical company Roche. Researcher Mark Holodniy developed the test while he was employed as a professor at the Stanford School of Medicine. The dispute centers around whether he could transfer Stanford’s patent rights while working as a visiting researcher at Cetus laboratories, which later sold that line to Roche. Although the Bayh-Dole Act assigns the patent to Stanford automatically, Holodniy signed a form assigning rights to Cetus for patents that resulted from their collaboration. The decision will determine whether the Bayh-Dole Act remains the source of governance on research patents when researchers sign off on those rights.

Motorola Sues TiVO for Infringement on DVR Patents

Bloomberg reports that Motorola has filed a complaint against TiVo for infringing its patents on digital video recording (“DVR”) technology. General Instrument, a Motorola subsidiary, applied for its DVR patents in 1995; TiVo applied for its own patents for allegedly infringing technology in 1998. PCMag suggests that this suit may be in response to TiVO’s ongoing 2009 suit against Motorola client Verizon on similar claims of infringement related to Verizon’s FiOS service. PCMag notes that this is just the latest in an ongoing battle over DVR providers: in 2009, TiVO sued AT&T U-Verse and was awarded damages from DISH and Echostar on similar claims, while Microsoft sued TiVO last month on software patent violations.

USTR Identifies Top Chinese Search Engine as “Notorious Market”

Business Week reports that the United States Trade Representative’s office has included Baidu.com, China’s top search engine, on its list of “notorious markets” for its use of techniques that link users to commerce sites that sell pirated items. Reuters notes that Baidu.com is the most visited site in China, and one of the top 10 most visited sites in the world. The USTR’s list identified Asian and Latin American regions as the primary markets for these sites, and was followed by a Chamber of Commerce statement encouraging legislators to empower courts to block foreign sites marketing pirated goods.

Former Senator Dodd to Head MPAA

On March 17, former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd will become the new head of the Motion Picture Association of America (“MPAA”). CNET reports that Dodd is “truly excited” about the new position and named the protection of motion picture studio distributions as his “highest priority.” This announcement comes as the MPAA is engaged in lobbying Congress to pass the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, aimed at fighting piracy.

Posted On Mar - 6 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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Mississippi Attorney

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Federal Circuit Flas

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Pass the Patented Pe

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Stephen Hawking™:

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Saukshmya Trichi Application Stephen Hawking is ...

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Flash Digest: News i

By Jeanne Jeong European Regulators and Watchdogs Increase Investigation of “Technology ...