By Mengyi Wang
SEC Charges Texas Man with Running a Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme
Last Tuesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced charges against Trendon Shavers and his company, Bitcoin Savings and Trust (“BTCST”), for operating a Bitcoin-denominated Ponzi scheme. The SEC alleges that, from 2011 to September 2012, Shavers raised more than 700,000 BTC (then worth more than $4.5 million) in principal investments from BTCST investors, falsely promised them a seven percent weekly interest, and misappropriated investor funds. On the same day, the SEC also issued an investor alert warning investors of Ponzi schemes in general and those involving virtual currencies in particular. CNN and the Guardian provide commentary on the case.
Rep. Amash’s Amendment to End NSA’s Blanket Collection of Americans’ Telephone Records Fails in the House
Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated the Amash amendment by a 205-217 vote, Techcrunch reports. According to Congressman Amash’s Fact Sheet, The amendment aimed to “limit the government’s collection of records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act to those records that pertain to a person who is subject to an investigation under that provision.” Recent revelations showing the extent of the NSA’s collection of personal electronic information (previously covered by the Digest) motivated in part Congressman Amash’s proposal. The New American and The Week discuss the political implications of the vote, and the Guardian provides legal background and analysis.
Federal Circuit Affirms Insufficiency of Written Description in Novozymes’ Patent
In Novozymes A/S v. DuPont Nutrition Biosciences APS, No. 12-1433 (Fed. Cir. July 22, 2013), the Federal Circuit affirmed the trial court’s entry of judgment as a matter of law, holding that Novozymes’ U.S. Patent No. 7,713,723 (“the ‘723 patent”) claiming a genetically-modified amlyase enzyme did not meet the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112. The majority concluded that no reasonable jury could find that Novozymes’ patent application provided adequate written description to support the later-filed claims of the ‘723 patent because the disclosure did not demonstrate possession of the claimed thermostable enzymes. Id. at 26–28. Chief Judge Rader dissented, arguing that the written description inquiry was a factual question and that the jury verdict was supported by substantial evidence. Id. at 30–32. PharmaPatents and Patent Docs provide commentary on the case.