|New TLJ Stories
Infringement Suits Lay Claims to Hyperlinking Technology. Two
separate lawsuits filed in federal court in New York assert
claims of patent infringement regarding use of hyperlinking
and web browsing technology. British Telecom belatedly alleged
in a test case brought against ISP Prodigy that it holds an
old and broad patent covering hyperlinking and web browsing.
Prodigy called the claim "shameless" and
"groundless." ACTV asserted a narrower set of
patents on technology for incorporating web links into
interactive TV programming.
interim final rules (part
2, and part
3) implementing American worker protection provisions of
H1B visa bill, 12/20 (TXT, FedReg).
complaint against CSC and Mynd, 12/20 (PDF, FTC).
and Order re CSC and Mynd, 12/20 (PDF, FTC).
of CSC/Mynd agreement, 12/20 (PDF, FTC).
for patent infringement against Prodigy, 12/13 (HTML, TLJ).
for patent infringement against Disney, ABC and ESPN, 12/20
|Quote of the Day
|"In July, I wrote urging the Commission take
appropriate measures to foster interoperability among
competing instant messaging (IM) services. The Commission is
actively considering whether to approve the merger of AOL and
Time Warner. As part of those deliberations, I again point out
that we cannot allow the balkanization of this new service and
all its potential. To that end, the Commission should consider
steps that will immediately remove impediments to
interoperability. Half measures will not do. Since my last
correspondence, two prominent, yet small IM providers have
gone out of business. Surely the environment for IM providers
large and small will be better if this interoperaability
problem is solved promptly."
Sen. Conrad Burns
(R-MT), Chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee,
Dec. 19 letter to the FCC.
|12/20. The Employment and
Training Administration of the Labor Department published in
the Federal Register H1B visa interim final regulations
implementing recent legislation. These interim rules implement
changes made to the Immigration and Nationality Act by the
American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of
1998. The Labor Dept. seeks further comment. This bill, and
another passed this year, temporarily increase the annual cap
on visas for foreign high tech workers. This act was passed by
the 105th Congress in Nov. of 1998. Some Members of Congress
have criticized the Dept. of Labor for its long delay in
issuing these regulations, which implement the American worker
protection provisions of the act. The massive document is
online in three sections. See, Federal Register, Dec. 20,
2000, Vol. 65, No. 245, at pages 80109-80158,
12/20. The FTC approved Computer Sciences Corp.'s (CSC)
acquisition of Mynd, subject to the condition that CSC divest
Mynd's claims assessment system, known as Claims Outcome
Advisor, to Insurance Services Office, Inc. To put this into
effect, the FTC filed an administrative
complaint [PDF] against CSC and Mynd. The parties also
simultaneously filed an Agreement and Decision and
Order [PDF]. See also, FTC release
12/20. The Dept. of Health and Human Services released its
final regulations regarding medical privacy. See, HHS release,
summary, and the entire text of the regulations
[1535 pages in PDF]. See also, ITAA
reaction and Clinton
12/20. ACTV and HyperTV filed a complaint
in U.S. District Court (SDNY)
against Disney, ABC, and ESPN alleging patent infringment.
Plaintiffs assert that Defendants' integration of television
programming with web page access on Monday Night Football, and
other programs, infringes upon three patents held be ACTV.
release. See also, TLJ
12/20. AOL and Time Warner issued a joint
release, which stated, "America Online, Inc. (NYSE:
AOL) and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) reiterated today, consistent
with what they have said in the past, that their merger will
close at the end of the year or in the very early days of
12/20. USA Today published an opinion
piece by Cisco CEO John
Chambers on elections. "Our system of
conducting elections is out of date. We live in the Internet
age, but we vote with punch-card technology that's as old as
radio," wrote Chambers. "We must -- and we can -- do
better. Computer technology and the Internet can make it
easier for us to vote and make the process of counting votes
faster and more accurate."
12/20. The U.S. Court
of Appeals (9thCir)
issued its opinion
[PDF] in Western
Journalism Center v. Cederquist, affirming the
trial court's dismissal of the case. Plaintiff, WJC, an
ideologically conservative media foundation, alleged that the
defendants, two officers of the IRS, conducted an audit of the
WJC to review its tax-exempt status in order to retaliate
against it for its First Amendment activity -- writing about
the Whitewater scandal. The IRS, which found no
irregularities, also audited contributors of the WJC. The
district court dismissed for failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. The Appeals Court affirmed on
different grounds -- that the complaint was not filed within
the one year statute of limitations in Calif. for tort
actions. However, one judge, Stephen Reinhardt, wrote a
concurring opinion stating that while the action was barred by
the statute of limitations, the District Court also erred in
ruling that taxpayers have no remedy against the IRS for
audits which violate First Amendment rights. This is not a
technology related case. However, the IRS is now conducting an
inquiry regarding whether it should revise its rules regarding
the effect of Internet communications by tax exempt entities
on their eligibility for tax exempt status. Both the WJC, and its
attorney in this proceeding, Judicial Watch,
maintain extensive web sites. The IRS's announcement
of its Internet inquiry posses many questions, including,
"Does providing a hyperlink on a charitable
organization's website to another organization that engages in
political campaign intervention result in per se prohibited
political intervention?" and "To what extent are
statements made by subscribers to a forum, such as a listserv
or newsgroup, attributable to an exempt organization that
maintains the forum?"
12/20. The USPTO
published in the Federal Register a notice
and request for comments pertaining to declaring a patent
interference. Comments on or before January 31, 2001. See,
Federal Register, Dec. 20, 2000, Vol. 65, No. 245, at pages
|Editor's Note: This column includes all News Briefs
added to Tech Law Journal since the last Daily E-Mail Alert.
The date indicates when the event occurred, not the date of
posting to Tech Law Journal.
|12/20. SEC Chairman Arthur
Levitt announced he will step down as Chairman before mid
February 2001. He was first appointed in July 1993, and
then reappointed for a second five year term in May 1998. See,
address to SEC staff.
12/20. President Elect Bush announced that he will nominate
Don Evans to be Secretary of Commerce. He served as
General Chairman and National Finance Chairman for the Bush
2000 presidential campaign.
12/20. The FCC announced
that Bill Dever has been promoted to Asst. Div. Chief
of the Policy and Program Division of the Common Carrier Bureau. This
Division works on FCC evaluations of RBOC's
271 applications to provide long distance phone service,
merger review proceedings involving common
carriers. For example, Dever worked as a team leader for the
FCC's review of the SBC Ameritech merger, which the FCC
dragged out for 18 months. See, FCC
12/20. The FCC announced
that Jonathan Levy has been promoted to Acting Deputy
Chief Economist of the FCC. He has been with the FCC since
1980; he is currently Senior Staff Economist in the Office of Plans and Policy.
|The TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert will not be published on Friday,
Dec. 23, Monday, Dec. 25, or Tuesday, Dec. 26.
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