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LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Cyber Tech & E-Commerce Legal News
Headline Cyber Tech & E-Commerce Legal News from LexisNexis®
High Court Hears Case On Constitutionality Of Sex Offender Law's Social Media Ban
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 27, lawyers for a convicted sex offender and North Carolina debated whether that state's sex offender registry law runs afoul of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by imposing an across-the-board ban on anyone on the registry from accessing social networks or other websites that minors are known to use (Lester Gerard Packingham v. State of North Carolina, No. 15-1194, U.S. Sup.).
Job Review Site Doesn't Have To Reveal Anonymous Poster, California Panel Rules
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A company asserting that an ex-employee revealed confidential information in anonymous postings on an employer review website failed to establish the proprietary nature of the information, a California appeals panel ruled March 10, vacating a trial court's ordering the site to identify the employee (Glassdoor Inc. v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County and Machine Zone Inc., No. H042824, Calif. App. 6th Dist., 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 213).
Fraudulent Wire Transfer Emails Did Not Trigger Coverage, 9th Circuit Rules
PASADENA, Calif. - Affirming a trial court's judgment, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 9 found no coverage under a crime insurance policy for funds lost by an accounting firm's wire transfers pursuant to fraudulently sent emails, concluding that provisions for forgery, computer fraud and funds transfer fraud did not apply (Taylor & Lieberman v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 15-56102, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4205).
Match.com Had No Duty To Warn User Of Attacker's Violent Tendencies, Judge Says
LAS VEGAS - Match.com LLC did not have a duty to warn a user of its dating website about another user who violently attacked her, a Nevada federal judge ruled March 10, dismissing the plaintiff's negligence claim for failure to allege the existence of a special relationship with the site operator that created such a duty (Mary Kay Beckman v. Match.com LLC, No. 2:13-cv-00097, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35562).
Class Settlement Approved In 2 McAfee Antivirus Auto-Renewal Suits
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Feb. 3 granted final approval of a settlement that will end two class complaints over antivirus software designer McAfee Inc.'s auto-renewal program (Sam Williamson, et al. v. McAfee, Inc., No. 14-158, Samantha Kirby, et al. v. McAfee, Inc., No. 14-2475, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15838).
Judge Preliminarily OKs $22.5 Million Settlement Of Google AdWords Class Action
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Preliminary approval of a $22.5 million settlement of a class action over Google Inc.'s AdWords program under California's unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising law (FAL) was granted March 9, with a California federal judge approving a proposed settlement class and settlement fund and setting dates for class notification and a fairness hearing (In Re Google AdWords Litigation, No. 5:08-cv-03369, N.D. Calif.).
Donor, Nonprofit Sue PayPal For Redirecting Charitable Donations
CHICAGO - In a Feb. 27 putative class complaint filed in Illinois federal court, a frequent charitable giver and one of her intended nonprofit recipients sued PayPal Inc. for allegedly redirecting funds donated for organizations that are not registered with PayPal to unrelated organizations that are (Friends for Health: Supporting the North Shore Health Center, et al. v. PayPal Inc., et al., No. 1:17-cv-01542, N.D. Ill.).
Omaha Steaks Requests Declarations Over Website ADA Compliance Guidelines
OMAHA, Neb. - In a declaratory judgment complaint filed Feb. 28, OmahaSteaks.com Inc. (Omaha Steaks) asked a Nebraska federal court for three declarations to clarify guidelines and requirements for ensuring that its website complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101, et seq., in providing access for visually impaired persons (OmahaSteaks.com Inc. v. Access Now Inc., et al., No. 8:17-cv-00060, D. Neb.).
VidAngel Tells 9th Circuit Studios Do Not Have Exclusive Streaming Rights
SAN FRANCISCO - Defending its right to stream "filtered" copies of movies for its customers in a Feb. 22 reply brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, VidAngel Inc. argues that it has not violated any of the movie studio plaintiffs' exclusive rights under the Copyright Act (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 16-56843, 9th Cir.).
Accused File-Sharer Calls Declaratory Judgment Counterclaim Useful
CINCINNATI - Even though a copyright holder dismissed its infringement claim against him, a man accused of downloading adult movies tells the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a March 10 reply brief that his declaratory judgment counterclaim should proceed because a continued threat of liability exists (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir.).
Video-Sharing Site Opposes Review On DMCA Immunity For Pre-1972 Sound Recordings
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A video-sharing website argues in a Feb. 16 opposition brief that the U.S. Supreme Court should not decide whether the safe harbor protections from copyright infringement liability that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S. Code Section 512(c), provides for internet service providers apply to sound recordings from before 1972 (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC, et al., No. 16-771, U.S. Sup.).
Buzzfeed Seeks Dismissal Of Defamation Suit Over Russian Hacking Article
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - In a March 14 motion in Florida federal court, New York media firm Buzzfeed Inc. seeks dismissal of a defamation lawsuit over its January online publication of an article over purported Russian attempts to hack the Democratic National Committee (DNC), asserting a lack of jurisdiction because the dispute "has nothing to do with Florida" (Aleksej Gubarev, et al. v. Buzzfeed Inc., et al., No. 0:17-cv-60426, S.D. Fla.).
Russian Railcar Firm Seeks Jurisdictional Discovery Over Trade Secret Defendant
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In conjunction with its pending motion for discovery to establish California jurisdiction over a former employee accused of trade secret violations, a Russian railcar company on Jan. 17 filed a proposed order in California federal court, permitting it to subpoena Google Inc. to obtain information about the defendant's Gmail email account (OOO Brunswick Rail Management, et al. v. Richard Sultanov, et al., No. 5:17-cv-00017, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8374).
Judge: Trade Secret Claim Valid Against Facebook, Others Related To Data Centers
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Feb. 10 partially granted and partially denied a motion to dismiss a trade secret misappropriation claim against Facebook Inc. and some of its affiliates, concluding that a claim under the Lanham Act was not valid, but that other claims for breach of contract were (Bladeroom Group Limited, et al. v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 15-1370, N.D. Calif.).
Uber Sued For Trade Secret, Patent Violations In California Federal Court
SAN FRANCISCO - Waymo LLC - a Google Inc. division devoted to the development of self-driving cars - accused Uber Technologies Inc. of "calculated theft" in a patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Feb. 23 (Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies Inc., et al., No. 17-939, N.D. Calif.).
Federal Circuit Upholds Rulings In Patent Dispute Between Sprint, Prism
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 6 affirmed a Nebraska federal judge's denial of various post-trial motions in a patent dispute that led to a $30 million infringement verdict (Prism Technologies LLC v. Sprint Spectrum L.P., Nos. 16-1456, -1457, Fed. Cir.).
Federal Circuit Sides With Apple, Says Patent Claims Are Ineligible
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Texas federal judge erroneously denied Apple Inc. judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on its assertion that three data storage patents claim ineligible subject matter, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 1 (Smartflash LLC v. Apple Inc., No. 16-1059, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3833).
Federal Circuit: Review Of Computer Security Patent Was Error
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Findings by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that a computer security patent is obvious never should have been reached because the board erroneously determined that the invention at issue qualifies as a covered business method (CBM), a divided Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 21 (Secure Axcess LLC v. PNC Bank National Association, et al., No. 16-1353, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2902).
Federal Circuit Upholds Ineligibility Ruling Of Data-Processing Patent
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A California federal judge properly dismissed allegations that Sprint Nextel Corp., Apple Inc., Twitter Inc. and others infringed two patents directed to data processing on grounds that the patents in suit are invalid under the Patent Act, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded Feb. 17 (Evolutionary Intelligence LLC v. Sprint Nextel Corp., et al., Nos. 2016-1188, -1190, -1191, -1192, -1194, -1195, -1197, -1198, -1199, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2784).
Supreme Court Denies Certiorari In 4G LTE Patent Dispute
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Feb. 27 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court indicated that it will let stand an August 2016 ruling in favor of Apple Inc., which was accused in 2013 of infringing two wireless patents belonging to Wi-LAN USA Inc. and Wi-LAN Inc. (Wi-LAN, collectively) (Wi-LAN USA Inc. and Wi-LAN Inc. v. Apple Inc., No. 16-913, U.S. Sup.).
Google Petition For Review Of Programming Language Patent Granted
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on March 8 granted a petition for inter partes review (IPR) of a patent claiming a system for programming mobile communication devices based on a "high-level code comprising operative language" (Google Inc. v. IXI Mobile R&D Ltd., No. IPR2016-01669, PTAB).
Texas Magistrate Judge Denies Broadcom Bid To Transfer Patent Litigation
MARSHALL, Texas - A Texas infringement plaintiff prevailed Feb. 27 in response to a motion by Broadcom Ltd. and several other defendants to transfer the dispute to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1 v. Broadcom Ltd., et al., No. 16-134, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26755).
Delphi Seeks Inter Partes Review Of USB Switching Hubs Patent
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In a petition for inter partes review (IPR) filed Feb. 23, Delphi Technologies Inc. asserted that all 21 claims of a patent covering Universal Serial Bus (USB) switching hubs are unpatentable as anticipated or obvious (Delphi Technologies Inc. v. Microchip Technology Inc., IPR2017-00970, PTAB).
Patent Board Grants Apple Petition For Inter Partes Review
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Feb. 22 found that Apple Inc. has established a likelihood that it will prevail on assertions that various claims of a virtual private network (VPN) patent would have been obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art (Apple Inc. v. VirnetX Inc., No. IPR2016-01585, PTAB).
Apple Takes Aim At University's Channel Coding Patent
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A patent issued to the California Institute of Technology covering channel coding and error-correcting codes would have been obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art, Apple Inc. asserts in a Feb. 16 petition for inter partes review filed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Apple Inc. v. California Institute of Technology, No. IPR2017-00702, PTAB).
Enabling ADA Compliance At Institutions Of Higher Education
By Kevin Gumienny, PhD On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, the University of California at Berkeley announced that, in response to a Department of Justice demand to make its publicly available courses fully accessible to individuals with hearing, visual, or manual disabilities, it would pull the courses from the internet.1 Late last year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had found that the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) was in violation of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) because "significant portions of its online content" were not accessible. In addition, "UC Berkeley's administrative methods have not ensured that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to use UC Berkeley's online content." Specifically, the Department of Justice was concerned with the courses that were publicly available on Berkeley's edX channel, YouTube channel, and iTunes U platform.2 (DOJ's investigation did not look at how Berkeley serves its own students, only whether its public courses were accessible.3)
Blockchain For The Insurance Practitioner
By Shari Lewis William Savino and Jay Kenigsberg "Look, I know I'm not the wizard you were expecting, but I might just be the wizard you need." - - Oz The Great and Powerful.
9th Circuit Finds Usenet Provider Not Liable For Infringement Of Adult Pictures
PASADENA, Calif. - An adult entertainment site operator failed to establish that a usenet provider acted volitionally in or obtained any direct financial benefit from its users' infringing of the site's copyrighted images, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 23, affirming dismissal of direct and indirect infringement claims against the defendant (Perfect 10 Inc. v. Giganews Inc., et al., No. 15-55500, 15-55523 and 15-56026, 9th Cir.).
University, Publishers Argue Fair Use In Electronic Works Posting In 11th Circuit
ATLANTA - On the second appeal regarding the alleged copyright infringement of educational materials by electronic posting of their excerpts by Georgia State University (GSU) faculty, the university argues in a Feb. 6 appellee brief that a trial court judge correctly determined fair use of the works at issue by finding that the postings had not led to market substitution of the works (Cambridge University Press, et al. v. Georgia State University, et al., No. 16-15726, 11th Cir.).
Porn Firm Tells 6th Circuit Downloader Failed To Show Prejudice In Dismissal
CINCINNATI - In a Jan. 13 appellee brief filed in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, an adult entertainment company says that its abandoned infringement claim against an accused file sharer was properly dismissed with prejudice because of the defendant's dilatory discovery conduct and to serve judicial economy (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir.).
Lanham Act Claims Over Political Ad Dismissed; Copyright Claims Survive
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Jan. 31 refused to decide the question of whether inclusion of an altered, copyrighted song in a 30-second advertisement critical of former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold qualifies as a fair use under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 107, deeming such a determination inappropriate in response to a motion to dismiss (Roger Nichols, et al. v. Club for Growth Action, No. 16-220, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12820).
11th Circuit Finds Fired Employee's Email Access Violated CFAA, SCA
MIAMI - Concluding that a former employee was properly terminated for cause, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 25 ruled that he violated both the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and the Stored Communications Act (SCA) by accessing the emails of other employees without authorization (Brown Jordan International Inc., et al. v. Christopher Carmicle, No. 16-11350, 11th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1310).
$500M Verdict Returned In Trade Secrets Trial Involving Virtual Reality Software
DALLAS - A Texas federal jury on Feb. 1 ordered four defendants - including Facebook Inc. - to pay a combined $500 million in actual damages to two virtual reality (VR) technology companies for copyright and trademark infringement, conversion, violations of a nondisclosure agreement and false designation (ZeniMax Media Inc., et al. v. Oculus VR Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-1849, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.).
Panel Says Company Met Burden Of Proving Source Code Is Trade Secret
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 11 determined that a company alleging violations of the California Uniform Trade Secret Act (CUTSA) against a former employee met its burden of proving that the company's source code is a trade secret (Integral Development Corp. v. Viral Tolat, No. 14-16629, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 514).
Company: Trade Secret Claim Against Google Alleged 'With Sufficient Particularity'
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Space Data Corp. filed a brief in a California federal court on Jan. 12 contending that its misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of written contract lawsuit against Alphabet Inc. and Google Inc. adequately alleges its claim and identifies its trade secrets "with sufficient particularity" to survive a motion to dismiss (Space Data Corp. v. Alphabet Inc., et al., No. 5:16-cv-03260, N.D. Calif.).
4th Circuit Finds Domain Registry's Lanham Claims Fail Without Expert Testimony
RICHMOND, Va. - Without expert testimony, a seller of internet domain name rights could not establish the elements of its deceptive advertising claim against a rival firm, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 8, affirming a trial court's finding that there was no evidence that the seller suffered an actual injury as a direct result of the defendant's conduct (Verisign Inc. v. XYZ.com LLC, et al., No. 15-2526, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2264).
9th Circuit: Computer Program Copyright Does Not Extend To Program Output
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge properly rejected claims by the owner of a copyrighted computer-aided design (CAD) program that its copyright extends to images and files produced by the program, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 9 (Design Data Corp. v. Unigate Enterprise Inc., et al., Nos. 14-16701, No. 14-17317, 9th. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2333).
Oracle Appeals Java Fair Use Ruling To Federal Circuit In Google Copyright Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Feb. 10 appellant brief in the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Oracle America Inc. asserts error in a trial court's finding that Google Inc.'s copying of certain elements of its Java technology constituted fair use, arguing that the court failed to consider Google's misrepresentations and harm to the Java market (Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 17-1118 and 17-1202, Fed. Cir.).
Judge Denies Software Maker's Effort To Add Copyright Claim To Suit Against IBM
NEW YORK - International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. on Feb. 6 won summary judgment on allegations that it committed breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing; in the same ruling, a New York federal judge agreed with a New York federal magistrate judge that the plaintiff in the case should not be granted leave to add a claim of copyright infringement against IBM (MPI Tech A/S v. International Business Machines Corporation, No. 15-4891, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16432).
Software Developer Asks High Court To Abandon PTO's Review Procedures
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court should review an appellate court ruling that the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board's (PTAB) final decision in an inter partes review (IPR) did not need to address every challenged patent claim but rather only some, an analytic software developer says in a Jan. 31 petition (SAS Institute Inc. v. Michelle K. Lee, director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and ComplementSoft LLC, No. 16-969, U.S. Sup.).
Video-Streaming Firm's Filtering Service Violates DMCA, Studios Tell 9th Circuit
SAN FRANCISCO - Several movie studios tell the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Feb. 8 appellee brief that a video-streaming service provider blatantly violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by circumventing the technological protection measures (TPMs) on DVD and Blu-ray copies of their movies to offer edited versions to customers, also arguing that the defendant's defenses under the Family Movie Act (FMA) are incompatible with that statute's purposes (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 16-56843, 9th Cir.).
Music Industry Groups Support Review In Dispute On DMCA Immunity For Pre-1972 Works
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Music industry groups argue in a Jan. 17 amicus curiae brief that the U.S. Supreme Court should take up a petition from a group of record labels asking for a review on whether the safe harbor protections from copyright infringement liability that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides for internet service providers apply to sound recordings from before 1972, which are governed by state law, rather than federal copyright law (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC, et al., No. 16-771, U.S. Sup.).
11th Circuit: Dismissal With Prejudice Of Suit Against Tinder Was Too Extreme
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 17 reversed a trial court's dismissal with prejudice of a proposed class complaint accusing an online dating site of misleading business practices such as automatic renewals and unlawful price discrimination, holding that there was no clear finding that the lead plaintiff engaged in "contumacious conduct" or a showing that lesser sanctions would have been insufficient (Billy Warner, et al. v. Tinder, Inc., No. 16-10537, 11th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 754).
Lenovo Spyware Class Defends Standing To Bring New York Consumer Claim
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Opposing a motion for partial dismissal by computer manufacturer Lenovo (United States) Inc. in a Feb. 10 brief, the plaintiffs in a class action over purported laptop spyware told a California federal court that they had standing to bring a New York law deceptive acts claim based on a choice-of-law provision in their sales agreements (In Re: Lenovo Adware Litigation, No. 3:15-md-02624, N.D. Calif.).
Apple Seeks Rehearing In 9th Circuit IPhone App Store Antitrust Class Action
SAN FRANCISCO - In a Jan. 26 brief, Apple Inc. asks the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to rehear, or rehear en banc, a putative class action alleging price fixing and monopolization related to the selling of iPhone apps in its App Store, arguing that a panel decision did not properly apply controlling case law and unnecessarily created a circuit split (In re Apple iPhone Antitrust Litigation, No. 14-15000, 9th Cir.).
Patent Owner Seeks Review In Lawsuit With Apple Over Claim Construction
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Patent owners ask the U.S. Supreme Court in a Dec. 22 petition for writ of certiorari to answer whether claim construction presumes that "the ordinary meaning as understood by a person of skill in the art is the correct construction for claim terms, absent a redefinition or disclaimer in the patent specification" and whether the specification limits "the scope of claim terms to capture the 'actual invention' as implemented in the exemplary embodiments provided in the specification" (Wi-LAN USA Inc. and Wi-LAN Inc. v. Apple Inc., No. 16-913, U.S. Sup.).
Inter Partes Review Request Filed By Facebook, Instagram
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Just three months after seeking inter partes review (IPR) by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of a media delivery patent, Facebook Inc. and Instagram LLC on Jan. 15 filed a second petition for IPR of the same patent (Facebook Inc., et al. v. Skky LLC, No. IPR2017-00688, PTAB).
Making Technology Accessible To People With Disabilities: Section 508 Refresh Incorporates Internationally Recognized WCAG Standards
By Hiram Kuykendall Access Board Updates Information And Communication Technology Standards And Guidelines On January 18, 2017, the United States Access Board, also known as the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, updated two acts related to making technology accessible to people with disabilities.1 The first modification is to the Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards within Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 508 stipulates requirements on how federally funded entities develop, procure, maintain, or otherwise use information technology. The second modification is to the Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines within Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934. This Act broadly applies to telecommunications products and services and to manufacturers of telecommunication equipment. Together, the updates to these Acts constitute updated Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines. Updates can be found in the 2 Federal Register, Volume 82, No. 11, Page 5790.2
9th Circuit Deems IPhone App Purchases To Be Direct, Revives Antitrust Suit Against Apple
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 12 determined that Apple Inc. is a distributor of third-party created apps sold in its App Store, leading the panel to find that putative monopolization class claims related to the store could proceed (In re Apple iPhone Antitrust Litigation, No. 14-15000, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 577).
Cisco's Ethernet Copyright, Patent Claims Defeated In California Federal Verdict
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Claims of copyright and patent infringement brought by Cisco Systems Inc. against a competitor in the Ethernet switch market were rejected in a California federal jury's verdict Dec. 14, with the jury deeming the material not copyright protectable as scenes a faire and finding that Cisco failed to establish any infringement of its asserted command interface patent (Cisco Systems Inc. v. Arista Networks Inc., No. 14-5344, N.D. Calif.).
Judge Declines To Stay Injunction On Video-Streaming Service Pending Appeal
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Dec. 29 declined to stay pending appeal a preliminary injunction issued against a video on demand (VOD) provider, finding that the balance of hardships weighed in favor of the plaintiff movie studios that have demonstrated a likelihood of success on their copyright infringement claims against the VOD firm (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).
Record Labels Ask High Court To Hear Dispute On DMCA Immunity For Pre-1972 Works
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Dec. 14 petition for certiorari, a group of record labels ask the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the safe harbor protections from copyright infringement liability that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides for internet service providers apply to sound recordings from before 1972, which are governed by state law, rather than federal copyright law (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. Vimeo LLC, et al., No. 16-771, U.S. Sup.).
7th Circuit Rejects Copyright Claims Against Amazon.com
CHICAGO - In what it deemed a "very unusual case," the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 6 affirmed dismissal of a dispute in which Amazon.com Inc. was accused of permitting third parties to advertise for sale six counterfeit books in violation of the Copyright Act (Reginald Hart v. Amazon.com Inc., No. 16-2793, 7th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 256).
Email Preservation Ordered In Russian Railcar Firm's Trade Secrets Lawsuit
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Finding that a Russian railcar company had demonstrated a likelihood of success in its claims against two former employees under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), a California federal judge on Jan. 6 ordered the hosts of the employees' email accounts to preserve all electronic data associated with those accounts (OOO Brunswick Rail Management, et al. v. Richard Sultanov, et al., No. 5:17-cv-00017, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2343).
Indiana Appeals Panel: Confidentiality Agreements Bound Angie's List Employees
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 29 found that three former Angie's List Inc. employees should have been enjoined from sharing company documents per confidentiality agreements each had signed, reversing in part a trial court's finding that there were no protectable trade secrets at issue (Angie's List Inc. v. Rick Myers, et al., No. 29A02-1605-PL-1061, Ind. App.; 2016 Ind. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1493).
Temporary Restraining Order Denied In Trade Secrets Suit Over USPS Retail Software
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Jan. 5 found that a software firm had not established irreparable harm to merit a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) from deploying software that the plaintiff alleges infringes its trade secrets (Innovations Group Inc. v. United States Postal Service, No. 1:16-cv-02519, D. D.C.)
Backpage.com CEO Maintains 1st Amendment Argument In Appeal Over Senate Subpoena
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In his Jan. 9 reply brief in the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Backpage.com LLC Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer defends his objections under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to a U.S. Senate subpoena that he says inappropriately seeks information and documents related to Backpage's protected editorial judgment and choices as an online intermediary (Carl Ferrer v. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, No. 16-5232 and 16-5274, D.C. Cir.).
Twitter Must Identify User Who Sent Seizure- Inducing Tweet To Writer
DALLAS - A journalist who suffered an epileptic seizure after receiving a tweet from an anonymous poster containing a strobe image was granted leave by a Texas judge on Dec. 19 to depose a representative of Twitter Inc. to obtain identifying information about the Doe poster for the purpose of pursuing legal action against him or her (In re: Petition of Kurt Eichenwald Requesting Pre-suit Deposition under Rule 202, No. DC-16-16077, Texas Dist., Dallas Co.).
Ashley Madison Operator, FTC Agree To $8.75M Judgment On Deceptive Acts Claims
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Dec. 14, the Federal Trade Commission and the operator of the Ashley Madison website filed a joint motion in District of Columbia federal court, seeking entry of a stipulated order on claims over the site operator's lapses in security that led to a 2015 data breach and its practice of creating false user profiles to induce customers to purchase its services (Federal Trade Commission v. ruby Corp., et al., No. 1:16-cv-02438, D. D.C.).
Angie's List Paid Reviews Class Settlement Approved; Appeal Dismissed
PHILADELPHIA - A month after a Pennsylvania federal judge granted final approval of a settlement in a class action alleging unfair trade practices related to the paid reviews feature on Angie's List Inc.'s website, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 13 granted dismissal of an objector's appeal of that settlement after it was voluntarily withdrawn (Janell Moore, et al. v. Angie's List Inc., No. 16-4430, 3rd Cir.)
Accused Downloader Appeals Dismissal Of Claims Against Him Without Prejudice
CINCINNATI - A federal magistrate judge erred in granting voluntary dismissal of an adult movie studio's copyright infringement claims without prejudice, an Ohio man argues in a Dec. 21 brief in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, contending that the disposition deprived him of the ability to seek a fees award as prevailing party for the studio's baseless lawsuit (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir.).
Twitter, Facebook, Google Call Terror-Aiding Claims Meritless, Seek Dismissal
OAKLAND, Calif. - In a Jan. 13 motion in California federal court, Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. again seek dismissal of terrorism-aiding claims brought against them by the father of a terror victim, asserting that such claims are barred by the Communications Decency Act (CDA) (Reynaldo Gonzalez v. Twitter Inc., et al., No. 4:16-cv-03282, N.D. Calif.).
Suit Over Facebook's Terms Of Service Under New Jersey Law Dismissed
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Jan. 9 granted a motion by Facebook Inc. to dismiss a putative class action over its terms of service (TOS) under New Jersey consumer law, with the judge deeming Facebook's California choice-of-law provision enforceable (Jose Palomino, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 3:16-cv-04230, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2971)
Orlando Shooting Victims' Families Sue Twitter, Facebook, Google For Terror Aiding
DETROIT - Family members of three men killed in the June mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., filed suit Dec. 19 in Michigan federal court against Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google Inc., alleging that the social network operators provided material support for the Islamic State group (IS, or ISIS) in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 18 U.S. Code Section 2331, et seq. (Earl Crosby, et al. v. Twitter Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-14406, E.D. Mich.).
California Federal Jury: Apple Infringed Valid Patents, Owes $7.3 Million
SAN FRANCISCO - A jury empaneled before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathaniel M. Cousins of the Northern District of California sided squarely against Apple Inc. on Dec. 15, deeming the tech giant an infringer of two valid patents and awarding Core Wireless Licensing S.a.r.L. $7.3 million in reasonable royalty damages following a six-day trial (Core Wireless Licensing S.a.r.L. v. Apple Inc., No. 15-5008, N.D. Calif.).
Texas Magistrate Judge Largely Rules Against Google In Chrome Patent Case
MARSHALL, Texas - Efforts by patent infringement defendant Google Inc. to bar an expert witness from calculating reasonable royalty damages based upon the number of users who access Google Chrome in a seven-day period were unsuccessful on Jan. 9, when a Texas federal magistrate judge found that the methodology "appears sound" (Alfonso Cioffi, et al. v. Google Inc., No. 13-103, E.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2614).
Nokia, Apple To Square Off In New Texas Federal Patent Litigation
MARSHALL, Texas - In a Dec. 21 complaint, Nokia Technologies Oy and Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc. (Nokia, collectively) accuse Apple Inc. of infringing eight patents relating to the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) H.264 Advanced Video Coding standard, following two years of failed negotiations between the parties (Nokia Technologies Oy and Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc. v. Apple Inc., No. 16-1440, E.D. Texas).
Patent Board Grants Review In New Limelight, Akamai Dispute
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In a ruling issued Dec. 30, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board announced it will review the patentability of nine claims of a patented method for delivering digital content (Limelight Networks Inc. v. Akamai Technologies Inc., No. IPR2016-01631, PTAB).
Microsoft Petition For Inter Partes Review Of Coding Patent Granted
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A patented method and apparatus for entropy coding and the application of error-resilient coding to image compression likely contain claims that do not pass muster under 35 U.S. Code Section 103, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled Dec. 16 (Microsoft Corp. v. FastVDO LLC, No. IPR2016-01179, PTAB).
Patent Board Confirms Rejection Of Computer Method Patent Claims
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A patent examiner did not err in deeming various claims of a patented method of generating a document guidance file unpatentable under 35 U.S. Code Section 103(a), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled Dec. 15 (Ex parte Anil Kumar Padala, et al., No. 2016-000911, PTAB).
Patent Board Consolidates Apple, Samsung Petitions For Inter Partes Review
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Efforts by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to invalidate a wireless communications patent raise identical issues to those raised by Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in a joint June 2016 petition for inter partes review (IPR), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled Dec. 21 (Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. v. Evolved Wireless LLC, No. IPR2016-01310, PTAB).
Virginia Federal Judge: Third-Party, Online Sales Do Not Confer Jurisdiction
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A defendant's distribution of allegedly infringing smart phone and tablet applications through third-party, online retailers is an insufficient basis for the exercise of personal jurisdiction in a trademark case, a Virginia federal judge ruled Dec. 22 (Michael Zaletel v. Prisma Labs Inc., No. 16-1230, E.D. Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177730).
Missouri Federal Judge Denies Dismissal Of Trademark Claim
ST. LOUIS - Although a defendant won dismissal Dec. 27 of allegations that it committed tortious interference with business expectancies, its motion was denied by a Missouri federal judge as it relates to trademark infringement (John Beal Inc. v. Roofpros Inc. and Web.com Group Inc., No. 16-1151, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178513).
No ADA Web Regulations And A New Federal Administration? No Matter. Accessibility Advances Will Continue.
By Lainey Feingold It didn't happen. We had a US Department of Justice committed to digital accessibility, and a 2010 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making. Still, there will be no regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) addressing the issue of website or mobile accessibility when President Obama leaves office. The good news for anyone who cares about an accessible digital space? It doesn't (really) matter. Well, okay, it matters a little. Many government agencies and private businesses have recognized the legal mandate-and business imperative-for accessibility despite the absence of regulations. But regulatory guidance would have ensured that those lagging behind would join the movement toward creation of an inclusive digital environment. Regulations would have heightened awareness of the need for access and demonstrated its value to beyond legal requirements. Still, as described here, even without regulations, the law still requires ADA-covered entities to provide accessible digital content. I predict that legal advocacy on this topic will remain strong in the new administration.