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®
upreme Court To Hear Challenge To Sex Offender Social Media Ban
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Oct. 28 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to a registered sex offender who asserts that a North Carolina sex offender registry law's prohibition on access to social networking websites constitutes a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Lester Gerard Packingham v. State of North Carolina, No. 15-1194, U.S. Sup.).
Movie Database Operator Says Age Discrimination Law Is Censorship
SAN FRANCISCO - In a Nov. 10 complaint filed against California Attorney General Kamala Harris in federal court, IMDb.com Inc., which operates the Internet Movie Database website, seeks injunctive and declaratory relief from a new California age discrimination law that it says constitutes "censorship in plain violation of the [First Amendment to the] U.S. Constitution" (IMDb.com Inc. v. Kamala Harris, No. 3:16-cv-06535, N.D. Calif.).
Mattress Firm's Lanham Claim Against Review Site Partly Dismissed
NEW YORK - Many of the statements on a mattress review website about which a mattress manufacturer complains constitute opinions that are not actionable under the Lanham Act, a New York federal judge ruled Oct. 20, granting in part the site operator's motion to dismiss (Casper Sleep Inc. v. Derek Hales, et al., No. 1:16-cv-03223, S.D. N.Y.).
Government Invited To Weigh In Before Supreme Court In Copyright Fair Use Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Oct. 31 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court invited the views of the solicitor general in a dispute over a YouTube user's claim that three music publishers should be subject to takedown notice liability under Section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) because they demanded removal of a video from the website without a good faith belief that the video was not a fair use (Stephanie Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., et al., Nos. 16-217 & 16-218, U.S. Sup.).
California Federal Judge Rejects Equitable Estoppel Defense In Copyright Case
SAN FRANCISCO - A jury's award of $30.4 million in favor of a copyright infringement plaintiff will stand in light of an Oct. 24 ruling by a California federal judge that turned away a defendant's assertion of equitable estoppel (Synopsys Inc. v. ATopTech Inc., No. 13-2965, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147088).
2nd Circuit Partly Vacates DMCA Safe Harbor Rulings In Favor Of MP3Tunes
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge applied "too narrow" a definition of "repeat infringer" in finding that the former music downloading site MP3Tunes LLC qualified for safe harbor immunity under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 25 (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. MP3Tunes LLC, et al., Nos. 14-4369, -4509, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19236).
Politicians Denied Motion To File Amicus Brief In Family Movie Act Suit
LOS ANGELES - Two former U.S. Congressmen saw their bid to participate in a lawsuit pertaining to the Family Movie Act of 2005 (FMA) as amici curiae denied by a California federal judge Nov. 10, with the judge finding their motion to be untimely because it was filed more than 30 days after the parties' principal briefs relating to a pending motion to preliminarily enjoin an online video-on-demand (VOD) service from purportedly infringing copyrighted works (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).
Deaf Organization's Website Accessibility Suits Against Harvard, MIT May Proceed
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - In a pair of Nov. 2 rulings, a Massachusetts federal judge denied motions by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to stay or dismiss class claims brought by a deaf advocacy organization over the schools' purported failure to provide websites that are equally accessible to deaf and hearing-impaired individuals (National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Harvard University, et al., No. 3:15-cv-30023, D. Mass; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152667; and National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, No. 3:15-cv-30024, D. Mass; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153388).
Spyware Class Action Against Lenovo Partly Dismissed, Partly Certified
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In an Oct. 27 ruling, a California federal judge permitted computer fraud, invasion of privacy and consumer-related claims against Lenovo (United States) Inc. related to the installation of laptop spyware to proceed, while dismissing wiretap and negligence claims. The judge also granted certification of nationwide and statewide indirect purchaser classes, but denied certification for a direct purchaser class (In Re: Lenovo Adware Litigation, No. 5:15-cv-02624, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149958).
Class Complaint Alleges Discrimination In Facebook's Advertising Platform
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Three users of Facebook Inc. filed a putative class action against the social networking giant in California federal court Nov. 3, alleging that its online advertising platform violates the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by permitting advertisers to prevent members of certain demographics from seeing ads related to housing or employment opportunities (Suzanne-Juliette Mobley, et al. v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 5:16-cv-06440, N.D. Calif.).
Final Approval Sought In Settlement Of Angie's List Paid Reviews Lawsuit
PHILADELPHIA - The lead plaintiffs in a putative fraud and breach of contract class action against Angie's List Inc. filed a motion in Pennsylvania federal court Nov. 14, seeking final approval of a settlement in their lawsuit over the consumer review site operator's practice of obtaining revenue from service providers that are the subject of such reviews (Janell Moore, et al. v. Angie's List Inc., No. 2:15-cv-01243, E.D. Pa.).
D.C. Circuit Stays Enforcement Of Subpoena On Backpage.com CEO Pending Appeal
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pane. on Oct. 17 stayed an enforcement order requiring Backpage.com LLC Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer to comply with a U.S. Senate subcommittee discovery subpoena connected with an investigation of online sex trafficking, finding that he had met the requirements for a stay pending appeal (Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations v. Carl Ferrer, No. 16-5232 and 16-5274, D.C. Cir.).
Federal Circuit Upholds Patent Board Ruling In Favor Of Google
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Various asserted claims of a patent directed to a method of prioritizing search results based upon geographic location of a mobile device were properly deemed invalid as obvious, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded Nov. 15 (Unwired Planet LLC v. Google Inc., Nos. 15-1810, -1811, Fed. Cir.).
Video Conferencing Patent Infringement Claims Against Apple Partly Dismissed
SAN FRANCISCO - Apple Inc. won partial dismissal on Oct. 21 of allegations that it induced others to infringe a patented process that facilitates video conferencing when a California federal judge agreed that one patent was not indirectly infringed; the judge denied dismissal as it relates to four other patents asserted in the action, however (Straight Path IP Group Inc. v. Apple Inc., No. 16-3582, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146262).
Google Petition For Covered Business Method Patent Review Denied
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Oct. 25 turned away a request by Google Inc. for covered business method (CBM) patent review of five claims of a patent covering a location determination system (Google Inc. v. Locationet Systems Ltd., No. CBM2016-00062, PTAB).
Microsoft Piracy Suit Against Georgia Firm May Proceed In Washington, Judge Rules
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Nov. 10 declined to dismiss copyright, trademark and related claims against a Georgia company accused of selling pirated copies of Microsoft Corp. software, finding that Microsoft sufficiently alleged purposeful availment of Washington jurisdiction and harm experienced within the state (Microsoft Corp. v. Aventis Systems Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-01234, W.D. Wash.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156410).
California Court Finds It Lacks Jurisdiction Over Claim Related To Stolen Photo
SAN DIEGO - A California court on Nov. 4 affirmed a decision to grant a motion filed by wireless phone companies and others to quash claims against them for negligence and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) in relation to an allegedly stolen photograph that was uploaded online, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction over the defendants (M. Strasner v. Touchstone Wireless Repair and Logistics, LP, et al., No. D068865, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1).
Software Support Firm Denied Injunction Stay In Oracle Copyright Suit
LAS VEGAS - Finding that a copyright defendant did not demonstrate that it was likely to succeed on the merits of its appeal of an infringement verdict or that it would suffer irreparable harm, a Nevada federal judge on Nov. 9 declined to stay a permanent injunction related to software created by Oracle USA Inc. pending appeal (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00106, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155494).
Judge Won't Enjoin Yelp's Use Of 'We Know Just The Place' Tagline
OAKLAND, Calif. - Finding that a trademark infringement plaintiff failed to establish any likelihood of confusion or irreparable harm due to the use of a disputed tagline by Yelp Inc., a California federal judge on Oct. 25 denied the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction against the business reviews website operator (TPW Management LLC v. Yelp Inc., No. 4:16-cv-03063, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147884).
California Magistrate Judge Partly Dismisses Trademark Claims Against Google
SAN FRANCISCO - A claim that Google Inc. committed contributory trademark infringement when it failed to remove from Google Play apps from developers previously accused of infringing a plaintiff's "Spy Phone" trademark will proceed in light of an Oct. 14 holding by a California federal judge, who deemed the allegations sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Spy Phone Labs LLC v. Google Inc., No. 15-3756, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143530).
Oral Arguments Held In Apple, Samsung Smartphone Design Patent Dispute
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An award of infringer's profits in a design patent case should consist only of those profits attributable to the article of manufacture to which the design patent is applied and not all profits realized from the total product, an attorney for petitioner Samsung Electronics Co. told the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 11 (Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 15-777, U.S. Sup.).
Solicitor General To Participate In Supreme Court Samsung, Apple Patent Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Sept. 26 miscellaneous order list, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a motion by the U.S. solicitor general to participate as amicus curiae in the upcoming oral arguments in a design patent lawsuit between Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. pertaining to Apple smartphone designs (Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 15-777, U.S. Sup.; see related story this issue).
Federal Circuit Affirms Infringement Ruling In Apple, Samsung Patent Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an Oct. 7 en banc majority opinion, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court's judgment and a jury verdict in favor of Apple Inc. against Samsung Electronics Co. in a dispute over smartphone technology patents, vacating an earlier panel ruling that had reversed the lower court's ruling (Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., et al., Nos. 2015-1171, 2015-1195 and 2015-1994, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18225).
Jury Finds Apple's Devices Infringe Cellular Patent, Awards Plaintiff $22 Million
TYLER, Texas - After a seven-day trial in Texas federal court, a jury on Sept. 14 found that Apple Inc. infringed the asserted claims of a patent related to a method for detecting buffer status conditions, awarding the patentee more than $22 million (Cellular Communications Equipment LLC v. Apple Inc., No. 6:14-cv-00251, E.D. Texas).
Federal Circuit Rules For Hulu, Finds Video Distribution Patent Anticipated
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A covered business method (CBM) review of an interactive video distribution patent correctly ended in findings of patent invalidity under 35 U.S. Code Section 102, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 26 (Intertainer Inc. v. Hulu LLC, No. 15-2065, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17452).
Fraud Detection Patent Recites Ineligible Matter, Federal Circuit Concludes
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Finding no error in a Florida federal judge's determination of patent ineligibility under 35 U.S. Code Section 101, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 11 affirmed dismissal of a dispute over a fraud detection patent (FairWarning IP LLC v. Iatric Systems Inc., No. 15-1985, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18313).
Federal Judge Rules For Amazon In Patent Claims Against Kindle, Fire Products
SAN FRANCISCO - Amazon.com Inc. on Sept. 20 won dismissal with prejudice of allegations that it infringed two patents amid findings by a California federal judge that the patents in suit do not pass muster under 35 U.S. Code Section 101 (TriDim Innovations LLC v. Amazon.com Inc., No. 15-5477, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127483).
Apple Takes Aim At Flexible Interface Patent In New Petition
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In several petitions for inter partes review filed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Oct. 11, Apple Inc. attacked the validity of a patent covering digital emulation (Petition for Inter Partes Review of U.S. patent No. 6,470,399, No. IPR2016-01839, PTAB).
EBay Seeks Inter Partes Review Of Graphic User Interface Patent
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In a Sept. 22 petition for inter partes review filed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, eBay Inc. and others allege that a graphic user interface (GUI) patent is invalid under 35 U.S. Code Section 103 (eBay Inc., et al., v. Global Equity Management Pty. Ltd., No. IPR2016-01828, PTAB).
Hypermedia Navigation Patent Is Invalid, Netflix Says In New Petition
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Citing four pieces of allegedly invalidating prior art, Netflix Inc. on Sept. 15 sought inter partes review before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of a patent relating to the use of one device to select content for playback on another device (Netflix Inc. v. Convergent Media Solutions LLC, No. IPR2016-01812, PTAB).
Oracle Patent Will Face Inter Partes Review By Patent Board
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Six claims of a patent covering database query optimization will be the subject of an upcoming inter partes review (IPR), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board announced Sept. 14 (Realtime Data LLC v. Oracle International Corp., No. IPR2016-00695, PTAB).
Judge Denies States' Bid To Enjoin Privatization Of Domain Name System Functions
GALVESTON, Texas - In a Sept. 30 minute order, a Texas federal judge denied an application for declaratory and injunctive relief by four U.S. states that sought to halt the transfer of the U.S. government's trusteeship of certain name and addressing functions for the Internet domain name system (DNS) under its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to a newly formed private entity (State of Arizona, et al. v. National Telecommunications and Information Administration, et al., No. 3:16-cv-00274, S.D. Texas).
Government Defends TCPA Constitutionality In Facebook Text Message Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. government intervened in a putative consumer class action in California federal court Oct. 17, filing a memorandum defending the constitutionality of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in response to a question raised by defendant Facebook Inc. related to allegations that the social network violated the act by sending text notifications without user consent (Christine Holt v. Facebook Inc., No. 3:16-cv-02266, N.D. Calif.).
Class Certification Again Sought In Suit Over Laptops Installed With Spyware
ERIE, Pa. - Eighteen months after the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed their ability bring class claims against a rent-to-own (RTO) retailer that purportedly installed spyware on their computer, a Wyoming couple on Oct. 14 again moved for class certification to pursue their claims under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-00101, W.D. Pa.).
Government To 9th Circuit: En Banc Review Of Computer Fraud Ruling Not Merited
SAN FRANCISCO - In an Oct. 11 brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the U.S. government defends a July 2016 panel ruling in which a majority found that a man violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by accessing his former employer's network, arguing that his bid for en banc review should be denied (United States of America v. David Nosal, No. 14-10037 and 14-10275, 9th Cir.).
Backpage CEO Partly Granted Extension To Comply With Senate Subcommittee Subpoena
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Despite finding that Backpage.com LLC Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer did not properly invoke common-law privileges to a U.S. Senate subcommittee document subpoena, a District of Columbia federal judge on Sept. 16 granted in part his motion to extend the time to comply with an order enforcing the subpoena in light of his recent efforts to produce the requested documents (Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations v. Carl Ferrer, No. 1:16-mc-00621, D. D.C.).
Plaintiff In Website Dispute Seeks To Quash Subpoenas Directed At Personal Life
CHICAGO - A woman bringing cybersquatting, fraud and defamation claims over a website created by her ex-boyfriend filed a motion to quash his discovery subpoenas in Illinois federal court on Oct. 5, asserting that the subpoenas were intended to harass and intrude on her personal life and lack any probative value related to the claims at issue in the case (Emily Mackie, et al. v. Mason Awtry, et al., No. 1:14-cv-09206, N.D. Ill.).
ABC, Yahoo Sued Over Broadcast, Posting Of Live Birth Video
NEW YORK - American Broadcasting Cos. Inc. (ABC) and Yahoo! Inc. were named as defendants in a Sept. 22 complaint in New York federal court by a man who claims that the companies breached the copyright in his video of a live birth that was aired on television and posted online without his permission (Kali Kanongataa v. American Broadcasting Companies Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-07382, S.D. N.Y.).
Oracle Denied New Trial, Judgment In Java Suit Post-Trial Proceedings
SAN FRANCISCO - Oracle America Inc. saw its post-trial motions for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) and for a new trial denied by a California federal judge Sept. 27, who found that defendant Google Inc. did not engage in any discovery misconduct meriting a new trial (Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 3:10-cv-03561, N.D. Calif.).
Divided Federal Circuit Reverses Eligibility Ruling In Anti-Virus Patent Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Although affirming findings by a Delaware federal judge that two anti-virus patents are invalid under 35 U.S. Code Section 101, a divided Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 30 reversed findings that a third patent asserted in the case claims patent-eligible subject matter (Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Symantec Corp., et al., Nos. 2015-1769, -1770, -1771, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17695).
Trademark Counterclaim Survives Motion In Software Copyright Federal Litigation
TRENTON, N.J. - Counterclaims of contributory copyright infringement were rejected Sept. 22 by a New Jersey federal judge as barred by the economic loss doctrine because the allegations giving rise to the counterclaim are not "separate and distinct" from a related breach of contract counterclaim (Air Express International d/b/a DHL Global Forwarding Corporation v. LOG-NET Inc., No. 12-1732, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129409).
With Registration Requirement Now Met, Judge Reinstates Software Copyright Case
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - One month after dismissing a purported copyright infringement case, a West Virginia federal judge on Sept. 12 granted a plaintiff leave to amend in light of the plaintiff's recently received copyright registrations (CSS Inc. v. Christopher Herrington, et al., No. 16-1762, S.D. W.Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122869).
What The UC Berkeley Web Accessibility Ruling Means For Online Education
By Kevin Gumienny On August 30, 2016, the Department of Justice informed University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) that large segments of UC Berkeley's free, publicly available online content was not accessible to individuals with hearing, vision, or manual disabilities. The DOJ's letter to university administration stated that UC Berkeley's courses were in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities by public entities.1 UC Berkeley's experience with making online content accessible to people with disabilities is not unique. In recent years, many universities have been making learning available on the web, most popularly through MOOCs, massive open online courses, which often attempt to translate the experience of taking college classes to a format available through web browsers and other online formats. In addition to offering web-based education to the public, universities use the web to augment traditional courses through assignments, additional reading, online quizzes, lecture supplements, and other ways in which university lecturers can add dimensions beyond the traditional classroom lecture or laboratory experience.
Supreme Court Declines To Stay Senate Subcommittee Subpoena On Backpage.com CEO
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Sept. 13 order, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an application for stay filed by Backpage.com LLC CEO Carl Ferrer, in which he sought relief from a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals order requiring him to comply with a U.S. Senate subcommittee subpoena related to an investigation of online sex trafficking (Carl Ferrer v. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, No. 16A236, U.S. Sup.; 2016 U.S. LEXIS 4452).
DEA's Subpoena Of Hotmail Account Did Not Violate 4th Amendment, 7th Circuit Rules
CHICAGO - The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) did not violate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in issuing subpoenas on a man's email provider and Internet service provider (ISP) because he had no expectation of privacy in his computer's Internet protocol (IP) address, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found Aug. 17, affirming a district court's denial of the defendant's motion to suppress in a drug possession case (United States of America v. Frank Caira, No. 14-1003, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15098).
9th Circuit Finds AT&T Exempt From FTC Data-Throttling Suit As A Common Carrier
SAN FRANCISCO - In an Aug. 29 ruling, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that AT&T Mobility LLC qualifies as a common carrier under the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) and, as such, is exempt from the Federal Trade Commission's claims of alleged "data throttling" brought under the act (Federal Trade Commission v. AT&T Mobility LLC, No. 15-16585, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15913).
Match.com May Be Liable For Failure To Warn Of Violent Member, 9th Circuit Says
SAN FRANCISCO - Partly reversing a lower court's summary judgment ruling in favor of Match.com LLC (Match), a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 1 held that a woman's claim that the dating website failed to warn her about another member, who brutally attacked her, is not precluded by the Communications Decency Act (CDA) (Mary Kay Beckman v. Match.com LLC, No. 13-16324, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16218).
IPhone User Sues Apple For Failure To Honor Phone Upgrade Program
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a putative class complaint filed Sept. 12 in California federal court, a New York man alleges breach of contract and unfair competition against Apple Inc. for its purported failure to live up to its pledge to annually furnish the latest models of iPhones to members of its "iPhone Upgrade Program" (Emil Frank v. Apple Inc., No. 5:16-cv-05217, N.D. Calif.).
Citing A Lack Of Damages, Lenovo Opposes Certification In Laptop Spyware Suit
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In an Aug. 19 brief opposing class certification in a suit over purported spyware that was preinstalled on computers, Lenovo (United States) Inc. told a California federal court that the case is "about a theoretical software security vulnerability that never materialized," arguing that certifications is inappropriate because the plaintiffs have not demonstrated any injury from the disputed software (In Re: Lenovo Adware Litigation, No. 5:15-cv-02624, N.D. Calif.).
Minnesota High Court: Lending Firm's Email Solicitations Conferred Jurisdiction
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A loan referral firm's sending of more than 1,000 solicitation emails to recipients it knew were in Minnesota constituted sufficient contacts to establish jurisdiction over it in the state, the en banc Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Aug. 24, affirming two lower court rulings in a consumer protection class action (Scott Rilley, et al. v. MoneyMutual LLC, No. A14-1307, Minn. Sup.; 2016 Minn. LEXIS 526).
9th Circuit Finds Yelp Not Liable For Negative Locksmith Reviews Under CDA
SEATTLE - A locksmith failed to plausibly establish that Yelp Inc. was the creator of negative online reviews of his business, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Sept. 12, affirming a trial court's finding that the locksmith's libel claims were barred by the immunity provisions of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) for interactive computer service providers (Douglas L. Kimzey v. Yelp Inc., No. 14-35487, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16665).
9th Circuit: Willful Copyright Infringement Claim Improperly Rejected
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge erred in granting Live Nation Merchandise Inc. summary judgment on allegations of willful infringement because a reasonable jury could have concluded that Live Nation distributed a plaintiff's photographs with knowledge that copyright management information (CMI) had been removed, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 18 (Glen E. Friedman v. Live Nation Merchandise Inc., No. 14-55302, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15178).
Internet Service Provider Launches Appeal Of Copyright Verdict
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Aug. 23 transmitted to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals an Aug. 19 notice of appeal by Cox Communications Inc. and CoxCom (Cox, collectively) of a December 2015 jury verdict that the Internet service providers (ISPs) committed contributory copyright infringement (BMG Rights Management [US] LLC v. Cox Communications Inc., et al., No. 14-1611, E.D. Va.).
Twitter, Facebook, Google: Communications Decency Act Bars Terrorism Aiding Suit
OAKLAND, Calif. - In a Sept. 2 filing in California federal court, Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. jointly moved to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that they violated federal law by knowingly allowing terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State group (IS or ISIS) to use their online platforms, arguing that the claims brought by a terror victim's father are precluded by the Communications Decency Act (CDA) (Reynaldo Gonzalez v. Twitter Inc., et al., No. 4:16-cv-03282, N.D. Calif.).
Victims' Families File Amended Complaint In Terrorism Aiding Suit Against Twitter
OAKLAND, Calif. - Two weeks after a California federal judge dismissed their suit against Twitter Inc. under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), the family members of two terror attack victims on Aug. 30 filed an amended complaint focusing on Twitter's purported "provision of material support" to ISIS and its supporters via its social network services (Tamara Fields, et al. v. Twitter Inc., No. 4:16-cv-00213, N.D. Calif.).
NLRB: Chipotle's Social Media Policy Violates Labor Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board on Aug. 18 enforced, with some modifications, a decision by an administrative law judge (ALJ) finding that the social media code of Chipotle Services LLC (doing business as Chipotle Mexican Grill) violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that the fast food chain committed further violations by directing an employee to delete certain tweets, prohibiting the employee from circulating a petition challenging the chain's break policy and terminating the employee for his actions (Chipotle Services LLC d/b/a Chipotle Mexican Grill and Pennsylvania Workers Organizing Committee, a project of the Fast Food Workers Committee, Nos. 04-CA-147314 and 04-CA-149551, NLRB).
Siding With Facebook, Divided Federal Circuit Invalidates 5 Patent Claims
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Patent Trial and Appeal Board properly held two claims of two patents invalid, but erroneously deemed five other claims not anticipated and not obvious, according to a divided ruling by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 9 (Software Rights Archive LLC v. Facebook Inc., et al., Nos. 15-1649, -1650, -1651, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16561).
California Federal Judge Denies Fee Request By Oracle In Patent Dispute
SAN FRANCISCO - Efforts by Oracle Corp. to recoup attorney fees it incurred defending patent infringement allegations - and to have those fees assessed against counsel for the plaintiff under the vexatious litigation statute - were unsuccessful on Aug. 22, when a California federal judge disagreed that the case qualifies as "exceptional" under 35 U.S. Code Section 285 (Thought Inc. v. Oracle Corporation, No. 12-5601, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111661).
Google Asks High Court To Review Use Of Prosecution History In Patent Claim Dispute
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Google Inc., facing allegations that it infringed an inventor's patents for computer malware protection software, asked the U.S. Supreme Court in an Aug. 10 brief to resolve how the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should use prosecution history to settle claim construction disputes (Google Inc. v. Alfonso Cioffi and The Estate of Allen Frank Rozman, No. 16-200, U.S. Sup.).
Fraud Prevention Patent Targeted In New Petition For Patent Board Review
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A claimed method of sending to a verified user a warning that a potentially fraudulent event has occurred and then requiring the user to acknowledge the event is invalid under 35 U.S. Code Section 101, according to an Aug. 24 petition for covered business method (CBM) review filed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Twilio Inc. v. Telesign Corporation, No. CBM2016-00099, PTAB).
Sony Petitions Patent Board For Review Of Web Communication Patent
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A patented method of communicating online with pre-stored sequences of actions or scripts is directed to nonstatutory subject matter under 35 U.S. Code Section 101, Sony Mobile Communications (USA) Inc. alleges in an Aug. 19 petition for covered business method (CBM) review with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Sony Mobile Communications [USA] Inc. v. Content Aggregation Solutions LLC, No. CBM2016-00098, PTAB).
Patent Board Won't Review Internet Navigation Method Patent
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Efforts by an infringement defendant to invalidate a patented method of gathering and presenting summary information as HyperText Markup Language (HTML) were unsuccessful on Aug. 16, when the Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied a petition for covered business method (CBM) review (Plaid Technologies Inc. v. Yodlee Inc. and Yodlee.com Inc., No. CBM2016-00037, PTAB).
St. Jude: Hacking Report Was Scheme To Profit By Short Selling
MINNEAPOLIS - Heart device maker St. Jude Medical Inc. on Sept. 7 sued a hedge fund and a cybersecurity research firm for defamation for issuing a report that St. Jude's devices can be hacked and that patients should disable remote monitoring devices (St. Jude Medical, Inc. v. Muddy Waters Consulting LLC, et al., No. 16-03002, D. Minn.).