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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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Symposium Introduction: Legal Issues in Computer and Internet Law and the Quagmire of Appropriate Legal Frameworks in the Modern Era

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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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

Written by Andrew Segna
Edited by Jonathan Allred
Editorial Policy

On October 13, 2010, Valve, a major video game developer, announced Dota 2, its new title, for which it registered the trademark “Dota” with the USPTO on August 6, 2010. This game is a sequel to the extremely popular Defense of the Ancients (abbreviated “Dota”), a“mod” that independent videogame developers created by modifying the game Warcraft III. The trademark registration evoked concern among members of the industry and consumers, especially in light of recent overly aggressive trademark enforcement by Tim Langdell, developer and president of the video game company Edge Games. As developers and publishers acquire and assert control over trademarks, members of the video game community are concerned that mod creators and independent developers could feel intimidated and, fearing liability, not take on certain projects. Naturally, those concerned by aggressive trademark enforcement would prefer that the trademark rights not be granted in the first place. However, even where the law is not able to prevent video game companies from obtaining and enforcing trademark rights in game titles and assets, private policing by members of the video game world can prevent overly aggressive trademark enforcement from disrupting the industry. (more…)

Posted On Jan - 21 - 2011 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Written by Nathan Lovejoy
Edited by Harry Zhou
Editorial Policy

The September 30th issue of Rolling Stone featured an article provocatively titled “How to Save the Music Business” by U2 manager Paul McGuinness. In it, McGuinness shifts a hefty portion of responsibility for online copyright infringement to Internet service providers: “Let’s get real: Do people want more bandwidth to speed up their e-mails or to download music and films as rapidly as possible?”[i] He goes on to argue that service providers should take affirmative steps on behalf of rights holders to prevent illegal file sharing by their customers. This is not a new line of attack, especially in the two years since the Recording Industry Association of America’s (“RIAA”) efforts at suing individual file-sharers have come to an end. McGuinness might have, however, underestimated some of the pitfalls in implementing such a proposal. As rights holders, service providers, and governments in France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and elsewhere begin to embark on various forms of this “graduated response” — an enforcement regime predicated on suspension of accused infringers’ Internet access — we are only now beginning to understand the full range of its complications.

This comment will address procedural due process concerns within a hypothetical legislative-backed graduated response regime in the United States. Although no such system is currently in place, this comment will look to the recently implemented French scheme as a model. Commonly referred to by the acronym of its governing authority — Haute Autorité pour la Diffusion des Œuvres et la Protection des Droits sur Internet (“HADOPI”) — France’s HADOPI overcame constitutional challenges and began enforcement action earlier this year. If we were to import this type of scheme to the US with the exact same set of procedures, it would run against some of our core procedural values.

This comment begins with a description of what graduated response is in the abstract and addresses some of the motivations for rights holders in pursuing this strategy. Next, the HADOPI model as laid out in France’s “Creation on the Internet” legislation[ii] is examined step-by-step, as a series of distinct enforcement procedures. Finally, this comment will argue that should the US adopt a legislatively-created, French-style graduated response regime, its procedures may be subject to criticism on due process grounds. These issues could be — and likely will be — sidestepped, however, through eschewing legislation in favor of private enforcement agreements. (more…)

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

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 Jan - 4 - 2011 1 Comment READ FULL POST
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