Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Jan. 2, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 92.
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IP News
12/31. Limbach & Limbach, a San Francisco based intellectual property firm, with an emphasis on patent prosecution and litigation, ceased providing legal services.
12/29. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Cir.) issued its opinion in Kassbaum v. Steppenwolf Productions, Inc. (SPI), a case involving  32(1)(a) of the Lanham Act. At issue is whether Nicholas Kassbaum, a former bass player for the sixties biker band Steppenwolf, can refer to himself as a "former member of Steppenwolf" in promotional materials. Kassbaum now plays in a band of geriatric rock stars known as the World Classic Rockers. Kassbaum also signed a contract with SPI in 1980 that included broad language -- "waive, relinquish and release any and all . . . rights in the name 'STEPPENWOLF' or any other word or phrase incorporating the name 'STEPPENWOLF' for any purpose whatsoever". The District Court held that Kassbaum both breached the contract and violated the Lanham Act. The Court did not rule on three other claims (unfair competition, trademark infringement and dilution of trademark). The unanimous Appeals Court panel reversed on both the contract and Lanham Act grounds, and remanded. The Appeals Court ruled that Kassbaum's references to his prior membership in Steppenwolf would not create a "likelihood of confusion." The Court also quoted from Justice Holmes' opinion in Prestonettes: "When the mark is used in a way that does not deceive the public we see no such sanctity in the word as to prevent its being used to tell the truth." Kassbaum and John Kay (SPI) have a long history of disputes and litigation. There were born to be litigious. See also, Steppenwolf's Greatest Hits at Amazon.com.
Napster
logo
12/28. Napster filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (NDCal) against online retailer Sport Service alleging violation of trademark laws. Napster, which has been sued by recording companies for infringing their copyrights, alleges that the defendant is selling t-shirts and hats with its name and logo at napsterstore.com in violation of its trademark rights. Napster applied to the USPTO for a trademark on Sept. 27, 2000 for the design of a cat with earphones (displayed above right). (See, USPTO No. 76137325. See also, TESS.)
12/28. The European Patent Office put 51 Board of Appeals Decisions online in its web site in PDF. The decisions are dated May through December of 2000.
New Documents
USCA: Opinion in Kassbaum v. Steppenwolf re Lanham Act, 12/29 (PDF, USCA).
Milberg: Complaint against PSINet under federal securities laws, 12/29 (PDF, Milberg).
Milberg: Complaint against Network Associates under federal securities laws, 12/29 (PDF, Milberg).
NIPC: Advisory re DDOS attacks, 12/29 (HTML, NIPC).
SEC: Complaint against IBM, 12/21/00 (HTML, TLJ).
SEC: Order Instituting Admin. Proceeding against IBM, 12/21/00 (HTML, TLJ).
CIA: report predicting political, military, economic, and technological developments in the next 15 years, undated (HTML, CIA).
New and Updated Sections
Calendar (updated).
News from Around the Web (updated).
Case Summary of MCI WorldCom v. FCC (new).
Case Summary of Global Naps v. FCC (new).
Quote of the Day
"... the trend away from state-supported political terrorism and toward more diverse, free-wheeling, transnational networks -- enabled by information technology -- will continue."

Central Intelligence Agency, from report titled Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts.
News Briefs
12/31. The FCC did not meet its self imposed deadline of Dec. 31, 2000 for completing its review of the merger of AOL and Time Warner. Nor has it completed its review within 180 days of the filing of the application on Feb. 11, 2000. The FCC has promulgated no rules governing its antitrust merger review proceedings. However, it does have an informal timelime that provides for completion of reviews within 180 days. See also, FCC's AOL TW web page.
12/29. Bill Clinton announced three recess appointments to the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS): Donald Robinson, Marilyn Mason, and Paulette Holahan. The NCLIS, which is composed of 14 members who serve 5 year terms, is an advisory agency only. It advises the President and Congress on library and information services policies and plans. Recently, it has studied and issued reports that address protecting children from Internet porn. See, Clinton statements re Robinson, Mason, and Holahan.
12/29. The Antitrust Division of the USDOJ published in the Federal Register a notice that lists new members of the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum. The WAP Forum provided the list to the DOJ and FTC for the purpose of limiting the recovery of antitrust plaintiffs to actual damages under specified circumstances, pursuant to 6(a) of the NCRP Act. The See, Federal Register, Dec. 29, 2000, Vol. 65, No. 251, at page 83096 - 83098.
12/29. The FBI's NIPC issued an advisory dated Dec. 28 regarding possible distributed denial of service attacks (DDOS). It stated: "Based on FBI investigations and other information, the NIPC advises taking some extra precautions in computer security over the holiday period to reduce the possibility of, or damage from, Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDOS) and other cyber attacks which could occur. The NIPC believes DDOS attacks could occur over the holiday. Several security companies have cited the threat of DDOS attacks, and some have taken place already." See, Advisory No. 00-063. The NIPC issues three levels of warnings: assessments, advisories, and alerts. Advisories, such the one released on Dec. 28, are of the middle level of significance.
12/28. Bill Clinton signed an Executive Order which revoked Executive Order 12834, effective at noon on January 20, 2001. He issued the original order on Jan. 20, 1993, just after taking the oath of office. The original order barred senior appointees in any executive agencies from lobbying any officer or employee of that agency with five years after leaving office. There is still a one year bar on lobbying imposed by statute. See also, statement by Clinton aide Beth Nolan.
The CIA released a report titled Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts that projects political, military, economic, and technological developments in the next 15 years. It predicts widespread wireless connectivity via hand-held devices and low altitude satellites. It also predicts that "Societies with advanced communications generally will worry about threats to individual privacy. Others will worry about the spread of 'cultural contamination.' Governments everywhere will be simultaneously asked to foster the diffusion of IT while controlling its 'harmful' effects."
Securities Litigation
12/29. An individual named Ilene Armour filed a complaint [PDF] in U.S. District Court (NDCal) against Network Associates, Inc. (NAI), its CEO, William Larson, and its CFO, Prabhat Goyal, alleging violation of federal securities laws. The plaintiff, who seeks class action status, is represented by several law firms, including Milberg Weiss. Count one alleges violation of  10(b) of the Exchange Act, and Rule 10(b)(5) thereunder (fraud). Count two alleges violation of  20(a) of the Exchange Act (controlling person liability). NAI is based in Santa Clara, Calif., and makes network and computer security products, including firewall, intrusion detection encryption, sniffer, network management, and anti-virus products. This action seeks to represent purchasers of NAI stock between July 19, 2000 and Dec. 26, 2000. There is another action brought under federal securities law in the U.S. District Court (NDCal) against NAI that has been certified as a class action: In re Network Associates Inc. Securities Litigation. Robert Vatuone is the lead plaintiff; Lieff Cabraser is lead counsel; and Judge William Alsup is presiding. It is in pre-trial discovery. The class period for that action is Jan. 1998 through April 1999. Milberg Weiss had sought unsuccessfully to be appointed lead counsel in that case also.
12/28. A company named Creedon Capital Management filed a complaint [PDF] in U.S. District Court (EDVa) against PSINet, and several of its officers and directors, alleging violation of federal securities laws. The plaintiff, who seeks class action status, is represented by several law firms, including Milberg Weiss. Count one alleges violation of  11 of the Securities Act. Count two alleges violation of  12(a)(2) of the Securities Act. Count three alleges violation of  15 of the Securities Act. On Nov. 3, 2000, Milberg Weiss filed another class action complaint in the same court against PSINet alleging violation federal securities laws. The Court dismissed that complaint (and 13 of 14 other complaints) on Dec. 21, 2000. That action sought to represent all purchasers of PSINet stock between May 9, 2000 and Nov. 2, 2000. The just filed action seeks to represent purchasers of shares of the 7% Series D cumulative convertible preferred stock of PSINet pursuant and/or traceable to the its Aug. 3, 2000 Prospectus. PSINet provides corporate Internet access, private IP networks, Internet security, web and database hosting services, e-commerce solutions, and voice, fax, live audio-video, and other applications. Milberg Weiss specializes in bringing securities class action suits against technology companies when their stock prices drop.
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.
People
12/29. Cal. Gov. Gray Davis nominated Joan Irion to be a judge of the San Diego County Superior Court. Irion is currently managing shareholder of the San Diego based law firm of Heller Ehrman. She is a tax specialist whose work includes tax aspects of e-commerce, technology and intellectual property. See, Davis release.
12/26. Brinks Hofer, an intellectual property law firm based in Chicago, announced that it has named six new shareholders, effective Jan. 1: John Gabrielides, Shannon Mrksich, Joseph Norvell, Steven Oberholtzer, Helen Odar, and Andrew Stover. The firm also named 3 counsel: Colleen Butler, Daniel Schein, and James Richardson. In addition, the firm announced the hiring of 22 new associates and 2 scientific advisors. See, release.
People's Republic of China
1/1. The PRC state news agency Xinhua reported that "A CDMA mobile communications network managed by the military was officially handed over to the China United Telecommunications Corporation (China Unicom) Monday in Beijing." See, Xinhua release.
12/29. The Information Office of the State Council (SCIO) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) issued licenses to Internet content providers Sina.com and Sohu.com to operate in the PRC. SCIO regulates foreign media in the PRC, including Internet content and services providers. Sohu.com Inc. is a Delaware corporate based in Beijing. It wrote in its Nov. 14, 2000 10-Q Statement filed with the SEC that "Even if we are in compliance with PRC governmental regulations relating to licensing and foreign investment prohibitions, the PRC government may prevent us from distributing, and we may be subject to liability for, content that it believes is inappropriate." Sina.com Inc. is based in Sunnyvale California and Hong Kong. It wrote in its Nov. 14, 2000 10-Q Statement filed with the SEC that "The telecommunication, information and media industries in China remain highly regulated. Although the Company believes its business in China is in compliance with existing Chinese laws and regulations, the Company cannot be sure that the Chinese regulatory authorities will view such business as in compliance with Chinese laws and regulations."
12/28. The PRC state news agency Xinhua reported that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress adopted an "Internet safety" law. It stated that "The decision on Internet Safety stipulates that intrusions into the computer networks of state affairs, national defense and high-tech fields shall be punishable in accordance with the criminal law, as will the production and transmission of computer viruses. Using computer networks, or the Internet, for the purpose of subverting the government, splitting national unity or committing other crimes shall be penalized according to law. See, Xinhua release.
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