Nationwide preliminary injunction granted, company exploring further options for survival
Aereo was dealt another blow in its battle to survive today thanks to a New York court. US District Judge Alison Nathan ruled in favor of broadcasters in a 17-page decision, putting a nationwide preliminary injunction in place against the startup. As a result, Aereo can no longer operate its "Watch Now" system that allowed television programs to be rebroadcasted over the Internet.
Man arrested in April for violating weapons laws convicted for printing two firearms
In what could be the first conviction for making a firearm with a desktop 3D printer, a former Japanese college employee was sentenced to almost two years in jail earlier this week after being arrested earlier this year. The 28-year-old man was convicted for printing at least two functional and lethal firearms, capable of firing bullets -- in violation of Japan's strict gun laws.
Judge dismisses appeal over High Court ruling, assets won't be made public
In the legal battle between file-sharing entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and Hollywood movie studios, a judge has dismissed an appeal that could have saved the Megaupload founder from detailing his current financial assets. The dismissal upholds a July decision, forcing Dotcom to turn over an affidavit for his worldwide assets to the Hollywood studios suing him for copyright infringement in a civil suit.
Claims decision contradicts statutes, Supreme Court precedent
Patent holding firm VirnetX has filed a motion with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, requesting a rehearing of a September decision tossing a $368.2 million verdict against Apple, and asking it to reinstate a District Court's damages award in full. In a press release, VirnetX says the decision was "contrary to the patent statute and Supreme Court precedent." It also asserts that it should receive damage payments on the basis that the District Court properly construed the claim term "secure communication link."
Google asks Supreme Court to weigh in over Java API use in Android
The battle between Google and Oracle could be heating up again in the near future, as the search giant has petitioned the US Supreme Court to review the case for a final ruling. Previously, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal District overturned a lower court ruling that found Google didn't infringe upon Oracle copyright by using pieces of open-source Java APIs in Android without a license.
FTC settlement involves providing refunds to customers affected by premium SMS subscriptions
AT&T has been hit with a $105 million fine for allowing "premium" SMS subscriptions and other charges to be applied to customer accounts, a practice known as "cramming." The carrier has settled with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the charges, with the majority of the settlement devoted to paying back affected customers.
Legislative proposals help, hinder home rental services in San Francisco
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors have voted to legalize residential room rental services. The vote on the "AirBnB law" passed by seven votes to four, establishes a legal framework to short term rental services, and while it is considered a positive act for participants in such schemes, the motion also introduces a number of new restrictions to abide by.
Search engine has scrubbed 'tens of thousands' of links to stolen photos
Google has responded to the letter threatening legal action should Google not purge the Internet of stolen, and sometimes intimate, photos of celebrities. The search engine has denied that it is intentionally profiting on the scandal, and instead has acted quickly and appropriately to takedown requests by removing "tens of thousands" of images from Google search results.
Lawyer claims Google 'despicable' for capitalizing on celeb misfortune
Google is being threatened with a lawsuit that "could well exceed" $100 million, with over a dozen celebrities complaining that the search engine giant failed to remove stolen private images from the Internet. A letter from attorney Marty Singer claims that Google is showing "despicable, reprehensible conduct" for "failing to act expeditiously and responsibly to remove the images" that were pilfered from various celebrity online photo storage accounts, including Apple's iCloud service.
Nearly 6,000 songs uploaded by employees under company instruction, without licenses
Another blow was dealt to Grooveshark today, as a New York judge found that its parent company infringed upon copyright by uploading 5,977 songs. Identified by its parent company Escape Media Group, Grooveshark employees -- including founders Samuel Tarantino and Joshua Greenberg -- were found to have participated in illegal uploads, some under instruction by the company.
Bribery of Russian prosecutorial office at heart of matter
Hewlett Packard has pleaded guilty to international bribery charges, as part of a plea arrangement it had previously negotiated. As part of the deal. the company's Russian subsidiary has admitted to charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a transaction arranged with Russia's top prosecutorial office. The company will pay an additional $58.7 million to settle the charges on top of the $108 million it agreed to pay in April.
Judge sets pre-trial conferences, trial commencement
The full Silicon Valley anti-poaching trial involving Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe has been assigned a start date. In a court filing today, the trial will begin on April 9, 2015, with a case management conference set for November 19 of this year. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for December 19, with the judge demanding information on negotiations of a new settlement between the tech giants and the plaintiff class.
Data wrapped up in copyright infringement, legal battle since seizure in 2012
Data from the machines seized in 2012 as part of a warrant search on Kim Dotcom's mansion in New Zealand and the home of Bram van der Kolk will be returned soon, on the order of the New Zealand Court of Appeals. It was announced this week that the court has ordered the police to release clones of the devices and computer seized to Dotcom and his second-in-command at Megaupload. It was ordered that the data be released immediately, but could also be released in pieces if it could speed up the delivery.
Suit claims that Apple was damaged in the processes of price fixing with publishers
It seems that the legal issues involving Apple colluding with publishers to allegedly fix the prices on e-books are taking another turn, as an Apple shareholder has filed a lawsuit in California against CEO Tim Cook and several Apple executives and directors. In the filing it's alleged that the parties involved "showed a reckless disregard for their duties" at Apple, therefore causing "significant damage" to the company in the process.
Appeal filed over 'legal error' by Judge Koh in rejecting deal
Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe are all appealing Judge Lucy Koh's rejection of the $324.5 million anti-poaching settlement that was hammered out last month. The quartet claims that Koh "committed clear legal error" by using her own assessment of the value of the case, rather than that of the participants who had been battling over the matter with the court for years.
Operations can resume, but judge's ruling will be troublesome for future hearings
The Hamburg, Germany court system has reauthorized Uber to operate, at least temporarily. Despite the resurrection, which was based on a technicality, the court did dictate that the service was "probably illegal" as drivers for the service lack a passenger transportation license, similar to the situation that Lyft faced in New York City.
Attorney fees guaranteed to be nixed, rest of deal at risk of scuttling by Judge
US District Judge Charles Breyer has rejected the proposed HP deal to end shareholder litigation against it, at least in part. In yesterday's hearing to move the settlement forward, the judge did concede that "something went terribly wrong" with the HP and Autonomy deal from 2011 and subsequent $8.8 billion write-down of the firm in 2012, but rejected millions of dollars in attorney fees to be paid by HP, by saying "that's out. I'm not going to approve the fee arrangement, period"
Cases dropped without settlement in more than eight countries
In a joint email sent to the press, Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all patent lawsuits against each other in all countries except the US, without any settlement, cross-license agreement or any other consideration. The US court system will be the sole arbiter of the numerous patent disputes the two companies have brought against each other, and comes on the heels of a series of moves to de-escalate the standoffs between them. Samsung and Apple agreed to drop appeals of an ITC case in June.
Attorney general asked to 'immediately initiate legal action' against Oracle
Oregon's Governor John Kitzhaber has asked the state's attorney general to begin filing legal action against the main software contractor behind the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange. Oracle, the targeted contractor, is said to have not delivered on its promises, issuing a website full of bugs, missing a number of deadlines and creating a system with "fundamental flaws" in its architecture.
Clone refill chip manufacturer allowed to seek redress for Lexmark actions
The Supreme Court of the US has ruled against Lexmark, allowing a company it filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) against erroneously to seek legal recompense. The unanimous ruling will allow chip manufacturer Static Control Components (SCC) to seek redress against Lexmark for tarnishing its business reputation, when Lexmark falsely induced consumers "to believe that [SCC] is engaged in illegal conduct."
Ruling claims Apple's non-SEP lawsuits amount to 'first shot fired'
In a judgement that has bewildered international patent and legal analysts, the South Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has rejected Apple's complaint against Samsung that the latter was using FRAND-pledged standards-essential patents (SEPs) for bargaining leverage and as threat of litigation in order to strike unjust licensing deals. The Korean FTC has essentially said that suing or seeking product injunctions over SEPs is perfectly okay -- if your company is based in South Korea.
Makes patent trolling a violation of Unlawful Trade Practices Act
The Senate in the State of Oregon passed a bill on February 14 that adds a ban on patent trolling in accordance to Oregon's Unlawful Trade Practices Act. Senate Bill 1540 had overwhelming support in the Senate, with a 30-0 with no abstaining votes. The bill will now be passed to the House Judiciary Committee for review.
New ruling speaks towards weakness of IP address as a definite identification
In a ruling likely to complicate mass-piracy lawsuits, a judge in Washington state tossed out a lawsuit accusing eight "John Does" and four named individuals of illegally downloading the movie Elf-Man. The presiding judge has declared that an IP address alone isn't sufficient to identify a user, and lacks sufficient granularity of identity to sue the possessor for copyright infringement.
Claim to have received marketing materials by providing info
A trio of Boston area plaintiffs have filed suit against Apple in Massachusetts, claiming that they were forced to provide their home ZIP codes when making purchases at an Apple Store in Boston using credit cards. The men claim that under commonwealth law, it is illegal to compel customers to provider more personal information than is required by credit card issuers to verify the transaction -- apparently unaware that credit card companies use ZIP codes to verify transactions.
Police cite visible-monitor law
A California driver is reportedly set for one of the first legal skirmishes over the use of Google Glass while driving. After being pulled over for traveling 80mph in a 65mph zone on Interstate 15 near San Diego, Cecilia Abadie received a second citation for "driving with a monitor visible" due to the electronic eyewear.
Commission cites foreign-ownership rules
The Federal Communications Commission has reportedly sided with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), stalling Pandora's application to acquire a terrestrial radio station based in Rapid City, South Dakota. The commission is said to have notified the streaming music company of the decision, which cites foreign-ownership rules as a remaining hurdle, according to a Billboard report.
Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel, others accused of conspiracy
What started out as an informal "gentlemen's agreement" between tech competitors to stop "poaching" each other's employees has turned into a major legal headache for a number of Silicon Valley firms, with class-action status re-affirmed on Tuesday with a denial of the defendant companies' permission to appeal request. Some 64,000 employees of the named firms can now proceed with a trial that charges the companies of conspiring to suppress wages and opportunities.
Cites previous experience, but had to hire anti-trust assistant
Michael Bromwich, a friend of Judge Denise Cote and her appointed antitrust monitor ordered to review changes to Apple's antitrust policies, reiterates in his latest legal brief in a war of words with Apple that the company has been "uncooperative" with regards to his extra-legal investigations and denying Apple's claim that he was conducting a "broad and amorphous inquisition" that had little to do with Apple's e-book business.
Call appointment of personal friend as antitrust monitor 'flatly unconstitutional'
In a new editorial that could have been written by Apple's legal team in a candid moment, the Wall Street Journal rakes Apple e-book trial judge over the coals for both recent and previous missteps, from "essentially [ruling] before hearing the evidence" to appointing a personal friend with no experience in antitrust issues (and requiring an $1,000-per-hour assistant) as an inquisitor who believes his job is to "investigate Apple all over again" in an unconstitutional manner.
New e-book version aimed at all employees; includes anti-trust, anti-corruption guidelines
Perhaps in response to the ongoing Department of Justice e-book case, Apple Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bruce Sewell on Wednesday sent a company-wide email to employees - backed up by a video from CEO Tim Cook - that encouraged them to review the company's Business Conduct Policy, recently updated and now available in iBooks format. The policy is meant to govern interactions with "customers, business partners, government agencies and fellow employees."
Damages award now in the hands of the jury, time to decision unknown
Apple and Samsung are wrapping up the retrial of the vacated damages from the first omnibus smartphone patent trial from 2012. In closing arguments, Apple is arguing that Samsung cannot refute that it had improperly used iPhone related patents, and did so willingly, in its design process of more than a dozen devices. Samsung doesn't deny infringement, but believes that Apple is overstating how important the patents at stake actually are, and is asking far too much money to compensate for the unlicensed use.
Improper use of trial-obtained data claimed by Apple
According to Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal of Federal Court of the Northern District of California, Samsung and its law firm Quinn Emanuel should face sanctions for their reveal of Apple confidential data following the landmark smartphone patent trial between the pair in 2012. The court order, filed Friday, is a significant change from the previous opinion by the judge, in which he claimed that "an abundance of caution" was needed before calling for sanctions. Yet another hearing on the matter is scheduled for December 9, after the completion of the damages retrial on select devices from the first trial.
No laws broken, no action to be taken as foreign sales mount
The SEC investigation of Apple's foreign cash holdings and whether the company was dodging -- legally or otherwise -- any tax responsibility to the US has closed with the agency planning to take no further action on the matter. Following somewhat fiery hearings in Congress that some say used Apple as a scapegoat for the wider issues of US companies taking advantages of tax loopholes -- which Congress inserted into the tax code in the first place -- the agency appears to have found Apple doing nothing wrong within the boundaries of the current law.
Request to monitor e-mail escalated to threats of fines, jail time
Encrypted e-mail service Lavabit was pressured by the FBI to provide private SSL keys for all of its traffic, according to unsealed court documents that provide more details about the service's shutdown. The Texas e-mail provider's refusal to provide details about one specific account, believed to be that of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, forced the courts to threaten daily fines and possible imprisonment if it continued to disobey the FBI's order.
Aio Wireless using a different shade than T-Mobile
T-Mobile has launched a suit against AT&T's Aio Wireless brand, claiming that the company is violating a copyright on use of the color magenta, and is willfully trying to confuse and steal customers from T-Mobile. The lawsuit, filed on Friday, is seeking immediate cessation of the color use, and a rebranding of the store's graphical assets.
Ruling made in 3Taps versus Craigslist case launched in 2012
In what is likely to be a controversial ruling, Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern California District Court has ruled that changing IP addresses or using proxy servers to mask user identity and accessing public websites that a user has been prohibited from visiting is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in the US. The ruling was handed down to ad aggregator 3Taps, who was accused of republishing Craigslist ads, in violation of the partially eBay-owned marketplace's terms of service.
ITC decision, hearings on Samsung and DOJ e-book case
Tomorrow will mark a busy and important day on several legal fronts for Apple, as it awaits a much-watched International Trade Commission decision on its complaint against Samsung. In addition, two separate but important federal court hearings will be held on Friday; one related to another Apple-Samsung matter stemming from the first trial, and another where Apple will get to argue the deficiencies of the Department of Justice's proposed settlement over the e-book price-fixing case. Apple plans to appeal the DOJ verdict.
If granted, Samsung's request would delay the upcoming damages retrial
Yesterday, in the latest bout of gamesmanship between Apple and Samsung in Judge Lucy Koh's courtroom, Apple filed a motion opposing Samsung's request for an entirely new patent trial on the '381 "rubber-banding" patent. Samsung has already challenged the patent that the Korean company was found to be violating in the federal patent trial last year, but is filing for the new trial based on statements that Apple made defending the patent before the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) in a series of invalidation hearings.
Report says companies may have been close to a deal last February
A new report says that Apple and Samsung have continued to hold talks in the hopes of reaching legal settlements on their numerous complaints with each other, including high-level private meetings in Seoul late last year. Talks are ongoing, but there is no sign of an imminent settlement, unnamed sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. According to some redacted documents filed as part of one of the US ITC cases, the sticking point appears to be Samsung's push for a "universal" cross-licensing deal.
Inheritance of fraud from previous company heads caused lower sentences
Former bosses at Olympus have avoided going to prison over the $1.7 billion accounting fraud scandal. Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, a previous chairman at the camera company, and auditing officer Hideo Yamada received three year sentences that are suspended for five years, while executive vice president Hisashi Mori was handed sentence for two and a half years, suspended for three.
Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 to allow DRM circumvention
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has come under attack by a newly-proposed legislation. The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 seeks to legalize the unlocking of cellphones, as well as clarifying that the DMCA should only apply in cases where circumventing digital rights management or other copyright systems will aid in copyright infringement itself.
Small press had use 'ibooks' for imprint, never registered trademark
Of the many contentious and complex legal battles Apple has had to fight, some are easier to sort out than others. In a New York courtroom on Wednesday, Judge Denise Cote -- who is also handling the complicated battle between Apple and the Department of Justice over e-book pricing -- made short work of a trademark dispute between Apple and a small-press publisher of sci-fi and horror novels. At issue was Black Towers' line of "ibooks" it obtained in the purchase of a smaller rival, and Apple's "iBooks" trademark.
Initial ruling found Apple not guilty of infringement, likely to be upheld
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has once again delayed a full-panel ruling on Samsung's complaint that Apple violated patents related to the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. The preliminary ruling in September by a single judge held Apple blameless of any violation, with the full ITC judgement being the final word on the subject. The ruling is now expected on May 31, barring any further delays.
New act proposes patent trolls pay legal costs if suit lost
The second bill intended to quash "patent trolls" has been introduced by the sponsors of the original failed bill. Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) are sponsoring the SHIELD act of 2013, which intends to create a "loser pays" system where certain patent holders will be forced to pay the defendant's legal bills in entirety if the holder loses the suit. Debate on the bill may be held up by the possible upcoming Federal budget cuts, but the representatives believe it will come up for a hearing fairly soon.
Suit sets the table for an industry-wide discussion about cable practices
Cablevision Systems has filed an antitrust lawsuit with the US District Court in the Southern District of New York, accusing Viacom of mandating that it pay for more than a dozen poorly-viewed cable networks as a prerequisite to access more popular channels. The lawsuit could possibly affect the status quo between content owners and operators of selling bundles of cable channels, as opposed to an a la carte offering.
Both Apple and Microsoft claim Google not following FTC decree
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published submissions it received regarding the standards-essential patent abuse case against Google. Of note, both Apple and Microsoft claim that Google still has not retracted all of Motorola Mobile's complaints it inherited against the pair, despite the search engine saying it would -- as well as the agreement with the FTC mandating it would do so. Besides just the US refusal, Google is also defying the decree in German courts, specifically refusing to retract cases against Microsoft, despite the company being a "willing licensee" of the standards-essential patents at stake in the trials.
Broadcaster believes product violates licensing, copyright
After being blocked in its first attempt to legally enjoin Dish Network's Hopper DVR pre-trial, Fox Broadcasting has asked a federal judge to stop customers from "place shifting" video content to smartphones and computers with the new Hopper with Sling. The suit, filed in Los Angeles, demands Dish disable the "rebroadcasting" of all content from the set top box before a trial which has yet to be scheduled.
White House to respond to petition in near future
A petition demanding the legalization of phone unlocking has reached its threshold for a response from the White House. The 100,000-signature goal on We The People has been met with two days left to run, forcing the Obama administration to address the issue of unlocking being removed from the exceptions to the DMCA.
Governmental consumer advocacy groups brings suit
MacMagazine.com.br has reported that the Brazilian Institute of Politics and Law Software (IBDI) has sued Apple, claiming that the company has introduced "planned obsolescence" and implements unfair business practices in regards to the fourth-generation iPad. According to the suit, Apple could have implemented all of the features of the iPad 4 in the third-generation iPad, and willfully chose not to -- knowing that it could roll out the improvements piecemeal in a quickly-released fourth-generation iPad just seven months later.
Ruling requires police stations to provide accused more than phone
A recent ruling by an Alberta, Canada judge has set precedent with his pronouncement that police must provide an accused with Internet access in order to properly exercise right to counsel. Christoper McKay, 19, was accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, and told police he wanted a lawyer. He was told that there was a toll-free number to contact a lawyer, but was unable to find assistance, and later told the court that he assumed he had used his Hollywood-perpetuated "one phone call" and did not think directory assistance was a "viable search engine" to hire a lawyer.