Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Cyber Tech & E-Commerce Legal News
LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Cyber Tech & E-Commerce Legal News
Headline Cyber Tech & E-Commerce Legal News from LexisNexis®
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.
Supreme Court Reverses Ruling In Samsung, Apple Smartphone Design Patent Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A May 2015 ruling by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that jurors deciding damages in design patent infringement cases need not disregard unprotected elements when arriving at a total damage award was reversed and remanded Dec. 6 by the U.S. Supreme Court, in a win for Samsung Electronics Co. (Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 15-777, U.S. Sup.).
Federal Circuit Rules In Favor Of Apple, Others In Computer Menu Patents Dispute
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Affirming in part and reversing in part a ruling by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) on three patents directed toward menu-generating software, a Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 29 found that the disputed patents' claims pertained to unpatentable abstract ideas and the computerization of manual tasks (Apple Inc., et al. v. Ameranth Inc., Nos. 2015-1703 and 2015-1704; and Ameranth Inc. v. Agilysys Inc., et al., No. 2015-1792 and 2015-1793, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21277).
Federal Circuit Reverses Patent Board Invalidity Ruling In Suit Against Google
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A patent owner whose invention was invalidated under 35 U.S. Code Section 101 prevailed Nov. 21 before the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which found that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board "relied on an incorrect definition of covered business method ('CBM') patent" while evaluating a petition for CBM review by Google Inc. (Unwired Planet LLC v. Google Inc., No. 15-1812, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20764).
Federal Circuit Upholds Rulings By Patent Board In Favor Of Apple
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a trio of decisions released Dec. 9, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that various claims of four patents directed to establishing secure communications between multiple network devices for video and audio data transmission are unpatentable (VirnetX Inc. v. Apple Inc., Nos. 15-1934, -1935, Fed. Cir.).
Facebook Request For Covered Business Method Review Denied By Board
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Assertions by Facebook Inc. that a patented method of wirelessly delivering digital audio and visual files claims ineligible subject matter pursuant to 35 U.S. Code Section 101 will not be reached in light of a Nov. 23 ruling by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Facebook Inc. v. Skyy LLC, No. CBM2016-00091, PTAB).
California High Court: Online Travel Firms Are Not 'Operators' In Tax Dispute
SAN DIEGO - Affirming two lower courts' rulings, the California Supreme Court on Dec. 12 determined that online travel companies (OTCs) do not meet the definition of hotel "operators" in a San Diego tax ordinance and, thus, are not liable for paying transient occupancy tax amounts assessed by the city on hotel customers (In Re Transient Occupancy Tax Cases, No. S218400, Calif. Sup.; 2016 Cal. LEXIS 9592).
Video-Streaming Firm Enjoined From Editing Movies In Copyright Suit
LOS ANGELES - A video-on-demand (VOD) provider was hit with a preliminary injunction by a California federal judge Dec. 12 that prevents the firm from streaming, copying or editing works owned by the plaintiff movie studios, which accuse the company of infringement and circumventing their works' anti-piracy technology (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).
Electronic Arts Prevails Before 9th Circuit In Copyright Dispute
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge properly awarded Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) that the videogame maker did not infringe the copyrighted computer code of the original John Madden Football series, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 22 (Robin Antonick v. Electronic Arts Inc., No. 14-15298, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20933).
Lawyer In File-Sharing Case Again Sanctioned For Discovery Violations
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - After an appeals panel partly dismissed sanctions against an attorney as not properly reflecting the harm incurred by a copyright defendant due to the attorney's discovery misconduct and misrepresentations, an Illinois federal judge on Nov. 23 deemed the attorney's actions to be civil contempt and sanctioned him in amount equivalent to the defendant's remaining costs related to the misconduct (Lightspeed Media Corp. v. Anthony Smith, et al., No. 3:12-cv-00889, S.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162981).
Backpage.com CEO Tells D.C. Circuit That Senate Subpoena Chilled Free Speech
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Nov. 16 brief appealing a trial court order compelling his compliance with a U.S. Senate subcommittee subpoena seeking information regarding its adult classifieds section, Backpage.com LLC Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer tells the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the subpoena violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and that the trial court incorrectly deemed his common-law privileges waived (Carl Ferrer v. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, No. 16-5232 and 16-5274, D.C. Cir.).
Terrorism Aiding Suit Against Twitter Again Dismissed By California Federal Judge
OAKLAND, Calif. - Dismissing terrorism aiding claims against Twitter Inc. under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) for the second time, a California federal judge on Nov. 18 found that two terror victims' family members still sought to hold the social network operator "liable as a publisher of speaker of ISIS's hateful rhetoric," which is barred by the Communications Decency Act (CDA) (Tamara Fields, et al. v. Twitter Inc., No. 4:16-cv-00213, N.D. Calif.).
9th Circuit Panel Denies Rehearing In Computer Fraud, Trade Secrets Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority on Dec. 8 amended an earlier ruling in which it affirmed computer fraud and trade secrets convictions of a man who accessed his former employer's computer "without access," to deny his motion for rehearing en banc (United States of America v. David Nosal, No. 14-10037 and 14-10275, 9th Cir.).
9th Circuit Won't Rehear Computer Fraud Suit Against Social Media Aggregator
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 9 declined a social media aggregator's petition to rehear an appeal in which the panel found that the aggregator violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by sending solicitation messages to users of Facebook Inc. after being told to cease and desist such actions (Facebook Inc. v. Power Ventures Inc., et al., No. 13-17154, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21944).
Police Reserve Officer's Emails Deemed To Be Not Protected Speech
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Multiple emails by a police reserve officer (PRO) to his superiors and co-workers criticizing other officers' actions are not speech protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 8 after first establishing that it had jurisdiction to hear the appeal (Matthew August LeFande v. District of Columbia, No. 15-7055, D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20107).
11th Circuit Affirms: Software Copyright Claims Barred By Settlement Agreement
ATLANTA - Finding no error in a Georgia federal judge's conclusion that a plaintiff released its claims for copyright infringement in a previous settlement agreement with third-party retailer Lands' End, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 22 affirmed a grant of summary judgment on behalf of four defendants (Genesys Software Systems v. Ceridian Corporation, et. al., No. 16-10773, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20914).
Federal Circuit Says Board Properly Deemed Software Patent Obvious, Anticipated
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Three final decisions by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that invalidated a patented software application as obvious and anticipated were not erroneous, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 17 (B.E. Technology LLC v. Microsoft Corp., No. 15-1828; B.E. Technology LLC v. Google Inc., No. 15-1827; B.E. Technology v. Facebook Inc., Nos. 15-1829, -1879, Fed. Cir.).
Harvard, MIT Deny Websites' ADA Violations Alleged By Deaf Organization
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - In answers filed Dec. 9 in Massachusetts federal court, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) each deny a deaf advocacy organization's putative class claims that their websites violated federal law because they are not equally accessible for hearing-impaired individuals (National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Harvard University, et al., No. 3:15-cv-30023, D. Mass; and National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, No. 3:15-cv-30024, D. Mass.).
Lenovo Spyware Plaintiffs Seek Approval Of Settlement With Software Designer
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The plaintiffs in a class action against computer manufacturer Lenovo (United States) Inc. on Dec. 9 moved in California federal court for preliminary approval of a settlement with the co-defendant that designed the spyware at the heart of the lawsuit's computer fraud and invasion of privacy claims (In Re: Lenovo Adware Litigation, No. 5:15-cv-02624, N.D. Calif.).
Plaintiffs Argue That Class Treatment Is Superior In Spyware Suit
ERIE, Pa. - In a Dec. 2 reply brief supporting their motion for class certification, a Wyoming couple, who unknowingly purchased a laptop with spyware installed on it, tells a Pennsylvania federal court that their complaint against the laptop seller for violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) merits class treatment because of "the ability to answer predominating common questions in a uniform manner" in compliance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-00101, W.D. Pa.).