By Sharona Hakimi
Senators Urge FCC to Carefully Examine Exclusive Cell Phone Deals
On June 16, Ars Technica reported that senators wrote a letter to the FCC voicing concern over exclusivity agreements between service providers and phone manufacturers. The four senators who signed the letter – Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) – expressed particular concern as to whether the deals restrict consumer choice regarding handsets and geographic regions. They also noted that the agreements may disadvantage competing smaller carriers and discourage new innovation. According to the letter, the “Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will convene a hearing this week to examine issues confronting wireless consumers” and decide if legislative action is necessary. Although the iPhone’s exclusivity agreements have garnered the most attention, the letter considers all cell phone carriers.
Microsoft Files Suit After Finding Evidence of Click Fraud
On June 16, the New York Times reported that Microsoft sued three individuals and several corporations for $750,000 in damages for click fraud – manipulating clicks on online advertisements. After noticing suspicious spikes in traffic from auto insurance and World of Warcraft web advertisements, Microsoft began an investigation that eventually uncovered an alleged click fraud manipulation scheme. Microsoft’s complaint alleges that the defendant directed traffic to his competitors’ Web sites so they would pay for the clicks and exhaust their advertising budgets. Jeremy Fain, a vice president of Interactive Advertising Bureau, said that although there is much precedent for mail and wire fraud, there is little regarding internet fraud. He went on to say that this case may “create more of a legal precedent, and more of a legal library of cases to draw from in the future.”
EU Seizure of Indian Drugs Hinders Medicine Dispersal
According to a recent report by Intellectual Property Watch, an increase in European seizures of Indian medicines believed to infringe intellectual property rights has triggered concerns that there is a strategic pattern in enforcement. On June 16, Spicy IP reported that India has recently protested to the TRIPS Council, expressing strong disapproval of EU’s controversial regulations and demanding more transparency of the various seizures. In May, German officials held about 3 million pounds of Amoxicillin on suspicion of a trademark infringement, delaying shipment to the Pacific by 4 weeks. “These random seizures seriously impact our ability to service the healthcare needs of people living in developing countries in a timely manner,” according to a drug supplier spokesperson. The EU claims that it is merely trying to reduce the “fast growing and dangerous” problem of counterfeits in developing countries.