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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Cyber Tech & E-Commerce Legal News

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Voluntary Dismissal Of Xbox Class Action Barred Appellate Review, High Court Rules
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The voluntary dismissal with prejudice of class claims against Microsoft Corp. over allegedly defective Xbox 360 gaming consoles deprived an appeals court of jurisdiction under 28 U.S. Code Section 1291, a U.S. Supreme Court majority ruled June 12, reversing a ruling of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Microsoft Corp. v. Seth Baker, et al., No. 15-457, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. LEXIS 3721).



2nd Circuit Affirms Conviction, Life Sentence Of Silk Road Creator
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 31 affirmed a seven-count criminal conviction against Ross William Ulbricht, the founder of online criminal marketplace Silk Road, and upheld a trial court's imposition of a life sentence, finding that it was not unreasonable given the magnitude of criminal conduct (United States of America v. Ross William Ulbricht, No. 15-1815, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9517).



D.C. Circuit Dismisses Backpage.com CEO's Appeal Of Senate Subpoena As Moot
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Because a U.S. Senate subcommittee no longer seeks to enforce an investigatory document productions subpoena on Backpage.com LLC, a District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on May 16 dismissed an appeal of an enforcement order brought by the firm's chief executive officer as moot (Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations v. Carl Ferrer, No. 16-5232 and 16-5274, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8558).



Judge Deems Winn-Dixie's Website Not Accessible To The Blind Under The ADA
MIAMI - Ruling in favor of a legally blind man, a Florida federal judge on June 13 found that a supermarket chain's website was not accessible to visually impaired patrons and ordered the chain to undertake remediation measures to bring its site in compliance with the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (Juan Carlos Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., No. 1:16-cv-23020, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90204).



Panel Upholds Minor's Criminal Threats Conviction Based On Facebook Post
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals panel on May 16 found that a junior high student's violent Facebook post was properly deemed a criminal threat under state law because it reasonably communicated a threat of death or bodily injury to identified targets, leading it to affirm a juvenile court's conviction and sentence (In re A.F., No. B270864, Calif. App. 2nd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3323).



Twitter Tells 9th Circuit Terror Victims' Families' Suit Was Properly Dismissed
SAN FRANCISCO - In a May 31 brief, Twitter Inc. asks the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm dismissal of a lawsuit brought against it by family members of two terror victims under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), citing the plaintiffs' failure to establish liability for a terrorist's actions, as well as the safe harbor provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) (Tamara Fields, et al. v. Twitter Inc., No. 16-17165, 9th Cir.).



Federal Circuit Finds Amazon Not Liable For Third Party's Infringing Goods
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Washington federal judge did not err in rejecting allegations that Amazon.com Inc. infringes the intellectual property of others through its online marketplace and "Fulfillment by Amazon" service, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 23 (Milo & Gabby LLC, et al. v. Amazon.com Inc., No. 16-1290, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8932).



Click Fraud Class Complaint Over Google AdWords Program Dismissed
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A small business owner that alleged fraud and misrepresentation by Google Inc. due to click fraud associated with its AdWords program saw his putative class complaint dismissed June 2 by a California federal judge who found a lack of facts to support the plaintiff's unfair competition and false advertising claims (Gurminder Singh v. Google Inc., No. 5:16-cv-03734, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85196).



Jury Awards Database Firm Over $3.7M In Trade Secrets Theft Verdict
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal court jury on May 11 awarded an institutional research database firm a more than $3.7 million verdict on claims that an investment firm computer software sales and services provider illegally obtained the database firm's confidential and trade secrets information through use of client login credentials and used the information to compete with the financial data uploading business (eVestment Alliance LLC v. Compass iTech LLC, No. 14-81241, S.D. Fla.).



Copyright Claim Over Reposted Skyline Photo Dismissed Against Government Official
INDIANAPOLIS - A photographer failed to establish any individual liability against the director of a government agency related to the unauthorized posting of a copyrighted photograph, an Indiana federal judge ruled June 12, granting dismissal of infringement and unfair competition claims against the official (Richard N. Bell v. David N. Powell, et al., No. 1:16-cv-02491, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89587).



DOJ Defends Seizing Of Foreign Megaupload Assets To Supreme Court
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a June 7 brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) opposes a petition for certiorari by former executives of the now-defunct file-sharing service Megaupload, arguing that a trial court properly deemed them fugitives and ordered seizure of their foreign-held assets in accordance with the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA) (Finn Batato, et al. v. United States of America, No. 16-1206, U.S. Sup.).



Oracle, Google Square Off Before Federal Circuit In Fair Use Appeal
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A California federal jury's finding in May 2016 that Google Inc.'s incorporation of the Java structure, sequence and organization (SSO) in its Android operating system was a fair use was proper and should not be disturbed, Google told the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 22 (Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., Nos. 17-1118, -1202, Fed. Cir.).



YouTube User Says High Court Review Of DMCA Fair Use Is Needed
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a May 19 supplemental brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, filed in response to an amicus curiae brief filed by the U.S. government, a woman whose video was removed from YouTube for purported copyright violation, argues that her petition for certiorari should be granted to ensure that the safe harbor parameters of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), such as fair use, "are properly construed" (Stephanie Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., et al., No. 16-217, U.S. Sup.).



'Used' Digital Music Seller Tells 2nd Circuit It Makes No Infringing Copies
NEW YORK - In a May 19 reply brief in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a digital music reseller insists that it does not make infringing copies of "used" music files that it purchases from users of its service, asking the court to vacate a copyright infringement liability judgment against it (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. ReDigi Inc., et al., No. 16-2321, 2nd Cir.).



Journalist Files Defamation Suit Over Blogger's 'White Power' Tweet
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a complaint filed June 1 in District of Columbia federal court, one internet journalist sued another for defamation over a Twitter posting that she says falsely insinuated that she is a white supremacist (Cassandra Fairbanks v. Emma Roller, No. 1:17-cv-01052, D. D.C.).



EEOC Sues Over Firing Of Transgender Man For Website Posting
SAN FRANCISCO - Stating that a transgender man was terminated in retaliation for his posting on an employer-rating website that criticized the employer's purported discriminatory practices the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on May 24 filed a complaint on the employee's behalf in California federal court, alleging violation of federal anti-discrimination statutes (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. IXL Learning Inc., No. 3:17-cv-029979, N.D. Calif.).



Magistrate: Failure To Preserve Browser Histories Negligent, Not Sanctionable
WILMINGTON, N.C. - Although the defendant in a libel suit was negligent in failing to preserve the internet browser histories of its employees for discovery purposes, a North Carolina federal magistrate judge on June 7 found no evidence of intentional conduct that would merit the sanction of adverse jury instructions sought by the plaintiff (Frederic N. Eshelman v. Puma Biotechnology Inc., No. 7:16-cv-00018, E.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87282).



Google Prevails Before Board In Consolidated Inter Partes Review
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on May 17 issued a final written decision declaring seven claims of a data optimization patent unpatentable as obvious (Google Inc. v. Vedanti Systems Ltd., No. 2016-00212, PTAB).



Yahoo Seeks Covered Business Method Review Of 3 Patents
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In three petitions for covered business method (CBM) review filed May 15 with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, Yahoo! Inc. asserts that various claims of patents relating to targeted advertising cover ineligible subject matter (Yahoo! Inc. v. AlmondNet Inc., No. CBM2017-00050, PTAB).



VirnetX Appeals To Federal Circuit, Disputes Prior Art Ruling By Board
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A finding by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that prior art qualified as a "printed publication" within the meaning of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 102(b), came under fire in a recent brief filed with the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (VirnetX Inc. v. Apple Inc., Nos. 2017-1131, -1132, -1186, -1274, -1275, -1276, -1291, Fed. Cir.).



D.C. Circuit Denies En Banc Review Of FCC's Net Neutrality Order
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a May 1 order denying several petitions for rehearing en banc, a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals majority let stand a 2016 ruling, in which a panel majority declined petitions to review a 2015 report and order by the Federal Communications Commission based on a finding that the FCC had the authority to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service in its effort to "compel Internet openness," commonly known as "net neutrality" (United States Telecom Association, et al. v. Federal Communications Commission, et al., No. 15-1063, D.C. Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7663).



Employee's Profane Facebook Post Protected By NLRA, 2nd Circuit Finds
NEW YORK - Even though a fired employee's Facebook post was vulgar and offensive, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 21 found that it constituted protected, union-related speech under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), leading the panel to grant a petition to enforce by the National Labor Relations Board, which found the man's firing to be retaliatory in violation of the act (National Labor Relations Board v. Pier Sixty LLC, No. 15-1841, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6974).



9th Circuit Sides With Google In Genericide Dispute
SAN FRANCISCO - An Arizona federal judge did not err in concluding that a plaintiff failed to establish that the primary significance of the word "google" to the relevant public is as a generic name for internet search engines, instead of as a trademark identifying the Google Inc. search engine in particular, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 16 (David Elliott and Chris Gillespie v. Google Inc., No. 15-15809, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8583).



8th Circuit Affirms $80M Settlement In Symantec Download Insurance Suit
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 28 affirmed a settlement with Symantec Corp. totaling more than $80 million in consumer payments, awards, costs and fees and settling a consumer fraud class action over the firm's download insurance product (Erin C. Caligiuri and Devi Khoday, et al. v. Symantec Corp., et al., No. 16-2015 and 16-2113, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7538).



Suit Over Legitimacy Of Online University Program Is Dismissed With Prejudice
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on April 18 issued an opinion finding that a class complaint over the legitimacy of a university's online-only program belongs in federal, not state, court and then dismissed the complaint with prejudice, finding that it was time-barred (Brice Bradford, et al. v. The George Washington University, No. 16-858, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58590).



Jerk.com Operator Calls FTC Compliance Provision Overbroad
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a May 15 remand brief, the former manager of the website www.jerk.com tells the Federal Trade Commission that a proposed revision to a 2015 order in which he was found liable for deceptive conduct fails to address the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' finding that a compliance-monitoring provision was overbroad and not reasonably related to the violations at issue (In the matter of Jerk LLC, et al., No. 9361, FTC).



Computer Fraud Defendant Tells Supreme Court CFAA Is Anti-Hacking Statute
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A man whose conviction under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) was upheld by a divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on May 5, arguing that the circuit courts are split as to whether computer fraud under the statute should be based on a user's access to a computer or on the "intentions, expectations, and contractual or agency relationships" of a computer's owner (David Nosal v. United States of America, No. 16-1344, U.S. Sup.).



Government Opposes Certiorari In Dispute Over YouTube Video Takedown
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a May 4 amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. government voiced its opposition to a YouTube user's petition for certiorari, opining that a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on good faith related to a copyright holder's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice does not conflict with existing case law, also stating that key issues regarding the copyright owner's "mental state" were not properly before the lower courts (Stephanie Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., et al., No. 16-217, U.S. Sup.).



Defaulting Web Host To Pay $62,624 In Damages, Fees On Copyright Claims
NEW YORK - A New York federal magistrate judge on April 21 recommended that a photographer be awarded $10,000 for each of five images infringed by web host Lycos Inc. - far less than the statutory maximum of $150,000 per infringed work originally sought in the case (Leif Skoogfors v. Lycos Inc., No. 16-2742, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61926).



Amici Urge 9th Circuit To Maintain Vicarious Copyright Liability Standard
PASADENA, Calif. - In an April 17 amicus curiae brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, four internet and technology organizations oppose an adult entertainment firm's bid for rehearing its copyright infringement suit against a usenet provider, arguing that the existing panel ruling identified the proper causal connection standard for determining vicarious liability in online and technological contexts (Perfect 10 Inc. v. Giganews Inc., et al., No. 15-55500, 15-55523 and 15-56026, 9th Cir.).



Twitter Prevails Before Federal Circuit In Patent Eligibility Dispute
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A New York federal judge properly granted Twitter Inc. a summary judgment that five direct message publishing patents claim ineligible subject matter, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 12 (EasyWeb Innovations LLC v. Twitter Inc., No. 16-2066, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8436).



On Remand, Samsung Seeks Vacated Award, New Trial In Apple Design Patent Suit
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on April 21 filed a remand brief in California federal court, contending that, in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that invalidated the basis for a $399 million infringement damages award against it, a new damages trial is merited in the long-running smartphone design patent dispute with Apple Inc. (Apple Inc. v, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et al., No. 5:11-cv-01846, N.D. Calif.).



Web Ad Patent Fails Section 101 Analysis, Patent Board Rules
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Google Inc. prevailed April 24 when the Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed with the software giant that various claims of a patented method for detecting fraudulent clicks on web advertisements are obvious or claim patent-ineligible subject matter (Google Inc. v. Patrick Zuili, No. CBM2016-00008, PTAB).



In Final Decision, Patent Board Rejects Google Claims Of Invalidity
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Although it found in April 2016 that Google Inc. demonstrated that it would likely prevail on allegations that two claims of a vector-based traffic information patent would have been obvious to a person of skill in the art, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on April 21 confirmed the patentability of both claims (Google Inc. v. Ji-Soo Lee, No. IPR2016-00045, PTAB).



SimpleAir, Google Again Square Off In Patent Appeal To Federal Circuit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On the heels of a March ruling that confirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board holding that one SimpleAir Inc. patent is valid, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is poised to decide the propriety of a Texas federal judge's decision to dismiss a lawsuit against Google Inc. over two different SimpleAir patents (SimpleAir Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 16-2378, Fed. Cir.).



Petition For Rehearing Filed With Federal Circuit In Section 101 Dispute
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A February ruling by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that affirmed findings that two data-processing patents claim ineligible subject matter was erroneous, the patent owner told the Federal Circuit in an April 19 combined petition for panel rehearing and rehearing en banc (Evolutionary Intelligence LLC v. Sprint Nextel Corp., et al., Nos. 2016-1188, -1190, -1191, -1192, -1194, -1195, -1197, -1198, -1199, Fed. Cir.).



Yahoo Seeks Covered Business Method Review Of 3 Patents
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In three petitions for covered business method (CBM) review filed May 15 with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, Yahoo! Inc. asserts that various claims of patents relating to targeted advertising cover ineligible subject matter (Yahoo! Inc. v. AlmondNet Inc., No. CBM2017-00050, PTAB).



Yahoo In New Petition For Inter Partes Review Says Patent Is Obvious
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A patented system and method relating to a method of prompting action between interconnected devices on April 24 was targeted for inter partes review (IPR) by Yahoo Inc. in a new filing before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Yahoo Inc. v. Intent IQ Inc., No. IPR2017-01299, PTAB).



Uber Enjoined From Using Stolen Waymo Files In Self-Driving Car Trade Secret Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - Finding "compelling evidence" that a former Waymo LLC employee misappropriated confidential files and provided them to Uber Technologies Inc., a California federal judge on May 15 granted in part Waymo's motion for a preliminary injunction, ordering Uber to cease using any of the stolen materials in the development of its self-driving car technology (Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies Inc., et al., No. 3:17-cv-00939, N.D. Calif.).



Google Seeks Dismissal Of Balloon-Based Wireless Network Trade Secrets Suit
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Three months after a wireless services and solutions firm's trade secret claims against it were initially dismissed as insufficiently pleaded, Google Inc. on May 11 again moved for dismissal in California court, arguing that the plaintiff's amended complaint still fails to properly identify the trade secrets that were purportedly misappropriated (Space Data Corp. v. Alphabet Inc., et al., No. 5:16-cv-03260, N.D. Calif.).



Olive Garden Denies ADA Violation Allegations Over Website Accessibility
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Citing a lack of legal or regulatory guidelines governing how to determine if a website is accessible for visually impaired persons, Olive Garden Holdings LLC on May 5 filed an answer to a putative class action in Florida federal court, denying claims that its website violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (Dennis Haynes v. Olive Garden Holdings LLC, No. 0:17-cv-60643, S.D. Fla.).



San Bernardino Victims' Families Sue Twitter, Facebook, Google For Terror Aiding
LOS ANGELES - Family members of three victims of the December 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino, Calif., filed suit in California federal court May 3 against Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google Inc., alleging that the three internet firms provided support to the terrorists via their online platforms in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) (Gregory Clayborn, et al. v. Twitter Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cv-03344, C.D. Calif.).



The Practical Role Of Automated Web Accessibility Testing Tools In A Robust Accessibility Compliance Program
By Hiram Kuykendall With the proliferation of actions taken against organizations with websites and web applications that are not perceivable and usable by someone with a vision, hearing, mobility and / or cognitive disabilities, it is only natural that institutions would respond by seeking out automated testing tools that can scan an entire web based experience and report accessibility issues. At first this strategy of remediating errors detected by automated scanning proved effective as many of the entities bringing actions used the same tools to identify organizations to focus on. This led to a distinctive pattern where organizations were only remediating the automated test defects which only identify ten to thirty percent of accessibility issues. It was therefore predicted that actions against organizations that solely focused on automated testing would increase as the evaluation techniques of concerned parties extended beyond what could be identified by automated testing and individuals with assistive needs voiced their objection to inaccessible experiences despite the passage of code by automated testing tools. True to form, we are now seeing actions brought against public and private sector entities that have zero automated failures as identified by the most popular testing tools. As such, organizations are struggling to understand the nature of the seventy percent failure issues and where automated testing falls in a robust accessibility compliance program. The remainder of this article will outline some of the most contentious of the seventy percent issues and how automated testing can be used in a robust accessibility compliance program.



High Court Hears Arguments On Jurisdiction Of Dismissed Defective Xbox Class Action
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 21 heard arguments from Microsoft Corp. and a class of owners of allegedly defective Xbox gaming systems as to whether an appeals court has jurisdiction to consider a class certification appeal after the plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed their claims with prejudice (Microsoft Corp. v. Seth Baker, et al., No. 15-457, U.S. Sup.).



Social Media Aggregator Asks High Court To Review Facebook Computer Fraud Ruling
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a March 9 petition for certiorari, a social media aggregator asks the U.S. Supreme Court to review a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals judgment that it says incorrectly found a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in the accessing of Facebook Inc. users' accounts despite having obtained their consent to do so (Power Ventures Inc., et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 16-1105, U.S. Sup.).



Satellite Phone Firm's Click Fraud Lawsuit Mostly Dismissed
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on April 14 mostly granted a satellite phone company's motion to dismiss a complaint alleging "click fraud" brought by a competitor, finding claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and related state law insufficiently pleaded (Satmodo LLC v. Whenever Communications LLC, et al., No. 3:17-cv-00192, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57719).



Marketing Firm Alleges Computer Fraud, Defamation In Hacking, Spam Incidents
SPOKANE, Wash. - In a March 21 complaint in Washington federal court, an internet marketing firm charged a well-known hacker with computer fraud, trade secret misappropriation and defamation after its network was accessed without authorization, resulting in emails and articles that have tarnished its reputation and irreparably harmed its business (River City Media LLC, et al. v. Kromtech Alliance Corp., et al., No. 2:17-cv-00105, E.D. Wash.).



Supreme Court Declines To Hear Case On DMCA Safe Harbor For Pre-1972 Recordings
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' finding that Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe-harbor provisions apply to pre-1972 recordings will stand, as the U.S. Supreme Court on March 27 denied a group of record labels' petition for certiorari in their dispute with an online video-sharing service that they accused of infringing their copyrighted works (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC, et al., No. 16-771, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. LEXIS 2055).



9th Circuit Reverses Safe-Harbor Holding In Web Copyright Case
SAN FRANCISCO - Findings by a California federal judge that a copyright infringement defendant social media platform is entitled to safe-harbor immunity under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 512(c), were reversed and remanded April 7 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Mavrix Photographs LLC v. LiveJournal Inc., No. 14-56956, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6028).



Twitter Sues DHS To Stop Unmasking Of 'Alternative Agency' Account Operator
SAN FRANCISCO - In a complaint filed April 6 in a California federal court, Twitter Inc. says that a government-issued summons seeking to identify the operator of an account critical of the government exceeds the authority of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and runs afoul of the right to speak anonymously under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Twitter Inc. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al., No. 3:17-cv-01916, N.D. Calif.).



Judge Grants IMDb Injunction Halting New California Age-Bias Law
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Feb. 22 barred California from enforcing a new age discrimination law requiring popular movie website IMDb.com and its companion IMDbPro to remove upon request age listings on subscribers' profiles, saying "it's difficult to imagine how [the law] could not violate the First Amendment" (IMDb.com, Inc. v. Xavier Becerra, No. 16-cv-06535, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30776).



3rd Circuit Affirms Contempt Judgment For Refusal To Decrypt Devices
PHILADELPHIA - A child pornography suspect was correctly found to be in contempt when he refused to comply with a court order requiring him to provide law enforcement with access to external hard drives, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 20, finding that the defendant's rights under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution were not violated (United States of America v. Apple Mac Pro Computer, et al., No. 15-3537, 3rd Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4874).



Judge: State Officials Immune From SCA Liability For Seized Electronic Records
MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin federal judge on March 16 found several state officials not liable for violation of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) in the seizure of an organization's electronic records as part of an investigation, finding the relevant warrants to have been issued in compliance with the statute and deeming the officials entitled to immunity under the act (The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy Inc. v. Francis Schmitz, et al., No. 3:16-cv-00539, W.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36796).



Partial Summary Judgment Granted In Apple IPhone Antitrust Class Action
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 22 granted in part a motion for summary judgment by Apple Inc., finding that the plaintiffs in a putative antitrust class action failed to establish the primary alleged aftermarket for iPhone voice and data services related to claimed service exclusivity through AT&T Mobility, but the judge deemed a narrower aftermarket related to iPhones not unlocked for service provider exclusivity sufficiently alleged (Zack Ward, et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 4:12-cv-05404, N.D. Calif.).



Megaupload Executives Ask High Court To Hear Foreign Asset Forfeiture Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an April 7 petition for certiorari, former executives with now-defunct file-sharing service Megaupload ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments over the U.S. government's application of laws governing the forfeiture of foreign-held assets by those deemed to be fugitives avoiding prosecution, arguing that their assets were wrongly seized in conjunction with a novel, untested theory of criminal copyright infringement (Finn Batato, et al. v. United States of America, No. 16-1206, U.S. Sup.).



9th Circuit Finds Internet Rebroadcaster Is Not A Cable System In Copyright Case
SAN FRANCISCO - A service that captures copyrighted works broadcast over the air for online retransmission to paying subscribers without the consent of a copyright holder is not eligible for the compulsory license for "cable systems" provided for in Section 111 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq., the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 21 (Fox Television Stations Inc., et al. v. Aereokiller LLC, No. 15-56420, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4999).



Judge Dismisses ISP's Declaratory Judgment Copyright Case Against Music Licenser
NEW YORK - In an April 17 ruling, a New York federal judge rejected a request by an internet service provider (ISP) for intentional interference with contractual relations damages in connection with copyright enforcement efforts by the agent for BMG Rights Management US LLC (Windstream Services LLC v. BMG Rights Management US LLC and Rightscorp Inc., No. 16-5015, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58204).



5th Circuit: Volitional Conduct Needed For Direct Copyright Infringement
NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal judge did not err in granting a defendant summary judgment on the question of direct copyright infringement because the judge properly found an absence of volitional conduct, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 27 (BWP Media USA, et al. v. T&S Software Associates, No. 16-10510, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5340).



New York Federal Judge Largely Sides With Amazon In Copyright Case
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Citing the views of the U.S. Copyright Office, a New York federal judge on April 8 found that if a plaintiff's ambient songs are ultimately adjudged to be the same musical works as non-ambient songs, Amazon.com Inc. is not required to serve a copyright owner with additional notices of intent (NOIs) to obtain compulsory licenses (Yesh Music LLC, et al. v. Amazon.com Inc., et al., No. 16-1406, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54417).



Usenet Provider Opposes 9th Circuit Rehearing Over Vicarious Liability
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel correctly found that it was not liable for its users' posting of copyrighted adult pictures, a usenet service provider asserts in an April 10 brief opposing an adult entertainment firm's petition for rehearing, arguing that the panel applied the correct standard for determining vicarious liability (Perfect 10 Inc. v. Giganews Inc., et al., No. 15-55500, 15-55523 and 15-56026, 9th Cir.).



Federal Circuit Rules Against Google, Affirms Patent Board Holding
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to uphold the patentability of an information transmission patent was not erroneous, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 28, in a blow to Google Inc. (Google Inc. v. SimpleAir Inc., No. 16-1901, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5362).



Federal Circuit Affirms Patent Verdict, Judgment In Favor Of Apple
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Allegations that Apple Inc. infringed a patent claim directed to a means of sending packet data from a cellular telephone to a network through the use of a selected channel were properly rejected by a Texas federal judge and jury, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 14 (Core Wireless Licensing S.a.r.l. v. Apple Inc., No. 15-2037, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6410).



Patent Board Affirms Final Rejection Of Anti-Virus Patent
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In an April 17 final written decision, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed with a patent examiner that 20 claims of a patented system and method for detecting and nullifying the effects of computer viruses do not pass muster under Section 103(a) of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 1 et seq. (Ex parte Intellectual Ventures I LLC, No. 2017-000054, PTAB).



Apple Seeks Discovery Of U.K. Suit Documents In Wireless Tech Patent Case
SAN FRANCISCO - In a March 29 reply brief in California federal court, Apple Inc. defended its motion to compel discovery of documents from a lawsuit in the United Kingdom, contending that "they may bear on whether [Unwired Planet LLC's] damages demand" in the present patent case "constitutes a 'reasonable' royalty" (Unwired Planet LLC v. Apple Inc., No. 3:13-cv-04134, N.D. Calif.).



Uber Files Petition For Inter Partes Review Of Location-Sharing Patent
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Six claims of a patented method for location sharing and mobile phone tracking are unpatentable as anticipated, Uber Technologies Inc. alleges in an April 7 petition for inter partes review (Uber Technologies Inc. v. X One Inc., No. IPR2017-01255, PTAB).



Apple Seeks Inter Partes Review Of Encoding Patent Before Board
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In an April 4 petition for inter partes review by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, Apple Inc. took aim at a patent that describes perceptually weighting speech signals during encoding (Apple Inc. v. St. Lawrence Communications LLC, No. IPR2017-01244, PTAB).



Twitter Seeks Inter Partes Review Of Web Content Patent
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Asserting eight separate grounds of unpatentability, Twitter Inc. on March 24 took aim at a patent directed at creating and sharing web content in a new petition for inter partes review (IPR) with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Twitter Inc. v. Yootoo Technologies LLC, No. IPR2017-01131, PTAB).



Terror Victims' Families Ask 9th Circuit To Revive Twitter Terror-Aiding Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - Claims against Twitter Inc. under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) were wrongly dismissed, a group of terror victims' family members told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a March 31 appellant brief, arguing that their claims over Twitter's provision of material support to terrorists are not subject to the safe-harbor provisions of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) (Tamara Fields, et al. v. Twitter Inc., No. 16-17165, 9th Cir.).



Facebook Challenges Info Sharing Patent, Seeks Inter Partes Review
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A patented network-computer-based personal contact manager system renders a claimed system for sharing information over the internet unpatentable, Facebook Inc. alleges in an April 14 petition for inter partes review filed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Facebook Inc. v. ZKey Investments LLC, No. IPR2017-01278, PTAB).



4th Circuit Finds Gambling In Virtual Casino Was Not A Monetary Loss
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 17 affirmed dismissal of a complaint filed by a player of a video game, finding that her claims for recovery of money spent in a virtual casino did not constitute money lost under Maryland's loss-recovery statute (Mia Mason v. Machine Zone Inc., No. 15-2469, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4766).



Judge Finds Company In Contempt For Unlawfully Selling Domain Names
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on April 10 granted a motion filed by a company that alleges that another entity violated California's unfair completion (UCL) and false advertising laws when it sold trademarked domain names, finding the company in contempt of a temporary restraining order and injunction (UL LLC v. The Space Chariot Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-08172, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56147).



New Expert Report In Spying Software Suit Struck, Deemed To Be Too Late
ERIE, Pa. - A second expert report filed by the lead plaintiffs in a proposed class action over spying software when they filed their reply brief in support of their renewed motion for class certification was filed too late, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge ruled March 22, striking the new report (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's, Inc., et al., No. 11-101, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41030).



Software Support Firm Appeals $41.2M Jury Verdict In Oracle Copyright Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - Appealing a $41.2 million jury verdict in a copyright infringement suit, a software support company argues in a March 10 reply brief to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that licenses by Oracle USA Inc. "expressly authorize third-party support and the copies necessary to provide it" and that it was authorized access to download support materials (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc. and Seth Ravin, Nos. 16-16-832 & 16-16905, 9th Cir.).



California Federal Judge Denies Cross-Motions On Copyright First-Sale Defense
SAN FRANCISCO - Competing motions for summary judgment on whether licensing agreements asserted in a third amended complaint (TAC) establish that disputed software is subject to the first-sale defense to allegations of copyright infringement were denied March 14 by a California federal judge (Microsoft Corp. v. A&S Electronics Inc., No. 15-3570, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36477).



D.C. Federal Judge: Domain Registration Would Not Change Trial Outcome
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Efforts by a defendant to obtain a new trial in a dispute over the "La Indita Michoacana" trademark in light of newly discovered evidence were denied March 30 by a District of Columbia federal judge (Paleteria La Michoacana Inc., et al. v. Productos Lacteos Tocumbo S.A. De C.V., No. 11-1623, D. D.C.).