Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Dec. 6, 2000, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 77.
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New Documents

USDC: Order re seizure of password and encryption key information from computer, 6/9/99 (PDF, EPIC).
USAtty: Sealed Application re seizure of password and encryption key information from computer, 6/8/99 (PDF, EPIC).
RUS: notice re applications for loans for broadband service projects in rural areas, 12/5 (TXT, FedReg).
UMC: Complaint for patent infringement in UMC v. SIS, 12/4 (PDF, UMC).
PPAC: Annual Report re patents, 11/30 (MS Word, USPTO).
TPAC: Annual Report re trademark process, 11/30 (MS Word, USPTO).
New and Updated Sections

Calendar (updated daily).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
Quote of the Day

"On May 10, 1999, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("F.B.I.") surreptitiously entered the TARGET LOCATION and installed and left behind software, firmware, and/or hardware equipment which would monitor the inputted data entered on Nicodemo S. Scarfo's computer by recording the key related information as it was entered."

Ronald Wigler, Asst. U.S. Atty., District of New Jersey, in a June 8, 1999 sealed application.
News Briefs

12/5. The Department of Justice's Antitrust Division issued a recommendation to the FCC regarding SBC's Section 271 application to provide long distance service in Oklahoma and Kansas. It recommended that "the FCC should independently review the prices SBC charges its competitors for the use of 'unbundled network elements', such as local telephone lines, to ensure that these prices are appropriately cost-based." The DOJ also recommended that "additional information is needed to support SBC's claim that it provides nondiscriminatory access to the operation support systems that it uses to provide wholesale services to competitors in both states." See, DOJ release and SBC response.
12/5. The FBI's NIPC issued an assessment regarding the "Shockwave worm". The NIPC "assesses that it represents a medium threat in the United States. Although this worm does not damage user files it does have the potential to clog e-mail networks due to its mass mailing capabilities. The Shockwave worm arrives as an attachment to an e-mail message with the subject 'great Shockwave flash movie' ". The NIPC issues three levels of warnings: assessments, advisories, and alerts. Advisories are the lowest level. See, release.
12/5. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral argument in Crater v. Lucent. Plaintiff holds a patent on an underwater coupling device for fiber optic cable. It filed suit in U.S. District Court (EDMo) against Lucent and AT&T alleging patent infringement. Defendants moved to dismiss on the grounds that since their use of the invention is pursuant to contracts with the federal government (U.S. Navy), 18 U.S.C. 1498(a) provides that the only action available to the plaintiff is against the government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The District Court agreed, and dismissed. Meanwhile, the government aggressively asserts the military and state secrets privilege to prevent plaintiff from obtaining information about infringing use. Indeed, it intervened in the District Court proceeding to prevent most discovery in that action. Damnum absque injuria?
12/5. The EPIC published in its web site a copy of a June 9, 1999 order [PDF] issued by the U.S. District Court (DNJ) pertaining to a search and seizure in a criminal investigation of Nicodemo Scarfo, an encryption savvy mobster involved in illegal gambling and loan sharking operations. The F.B.I. obtained authority to surreptitiously install on Scarfo's computer "recovery methods" that could capture password and encryption key information. The Court order stated: "IT IS ORDERED ... that Special Agents of the F.B.I. ... deploy recovery methods which will capture the necessary key related information and encrypted file(s) ... that Special Agents of the F.B.I. ... be authorized to enter the TARGET LOCATION surreptitiously, covertly, and by breaking and entering, if necessary, in order to deploy recovery methods which will capture the necessary key related information and encrypted file(s) whether they are stored on Nicodemo S. Scarfo's computer hard drive in the TARGET LOCATION or on removable media." The order further permits multiple entries. It also states that the FBI is "authorized to retrieve such key related information and encrypted file(s) through electronic means." The Order was sealed at the time it was issued. See also, Sealed Application [PDF] of Asst. U.S. Atty. Ronald Wigler.
12/5. The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) published a notice in the Federal Register regarding its new $100 Million loan program to support the construction and installation of broadband telecommunications services in rural areas. The broadband pilot program is authorized by 7 U.S.C. 950 aaa. See, Federal Register, Dec. 5, 2000, Vol. 65, No. 234, at pages 75920 - 75921.
12/5. The FTC released a notice, to be published in the Federal Register, regarding changes to its Rules of Practice. The changes include a revised description of the responsibilities of the Bureau of Competition.
12/5. The FCC's Common Carrier Bureau released its bi-annual report on local telephone competition. This report provides summary statistics of data that incumbent and competitive local exchange carriers, and mobile wireless telephone service providers, filed twice a year on FCC Form 477. See, report [caution: this is a 1.7 MB PDF file].
12/4. United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) filed a complaint [PDF] in U.S. District Court (NDCal) against Silicon Integrated Systems Corp. alleging patent infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of confidentiality agreements, unfair competition, and other claims. See, UMC release. SIS stated that it was "astounded by the allegations". See, SIS release. UMC makes semiconductors used in electronic and computing devices.
12/4. Calif. Gov. Gray Davis announced the appointment of state Superior Court judges for Los Angeles and Madera Counties. See, LA release and Madera release.
11/30. The USPTO's Patent Public Advisory Committee released its first annual report [very large MS Word file]. It concluded that the diversion of user fees to pay for other government programs is "insidious".
11/30. The USPTO's Trademark Public Advisory Committee released its first annual report [large MS Word file]. It condemned the diversion of user fees, and called for the USPTO to quickly mandate electronic filing of trademark applications.
11/30. Judge Jay Plager of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit went on senior status. Hence, there is now an opening on the Court.
Editor's Note: This column includes all News Briefs added to Tech Law Journal since the last Daily E-Mail Alert. The dates indicate when the event occurred, not the date of posting to Tech Law Journal.

Today

10:00 AM. The FCC's Technological Advisory Council will hold a meeting to hear and discuss the progress on several topics, including: (1) software defined radios, cognitive radios, and similar devices, and how such technology might affect spectrum management; (2) technologies that affect accessibility of telecom. services by persons with disabilities; and (3) other issues, including telecom. common carrier network interconnection, dense wave division multiplexing, and high speed packet/cell switching. Location: FCC, 445 12th St. S.W., Room TW-C305, Washington DC 20554. For more information, contact Kent Nilsson at knilsson@fcc.gov or 202-418-0845. See, agenda.

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