Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Jan. 11, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 99.
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107th Congress
1/10. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) announced her opposition to the nomination of former Sen. John Ashcroft to be Attorney General. In a letter to President Elect Bush, she wrote that "the people of this country will not be protected and served as they exercise their civil rights, human rights, consumer rights, their right to choose, their right to be free of gun violence and their right to a clean environment." See also, Boxer release. Ashcroft, who lost his bid for re-election last November, was one of the leading proponents in the Senate of encryption rights, liberalization of encryption export rules, and electronic privacy. See for example, S 2067 (105th Congress), the E-Privacy Act, which Ashcroft introduced on May 12, 1998. Sen. Boxer co-sponsored the bill.
 1/10. The USTR published a Notice in the Federal Register regarding software and music piracy in Russia and Brazil. It will conduct a hearing on March 9 on the two countries' eligibility for duty free status under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Pursuant to The Trade Act of 1974, the GSP program grants duty-free treatment to designated eligible articles that are imported from designated beneficiary developing countries, including the Russian Federation and Brazil. The IIPA filed petitions on Aug. 21, 2000, that the duty free status of these, and other, countries be withdrawn. See, for example, petition re Russia [PDF] and petition re Brazil [PDF]. The IIPA stated in a release that "Pirate CDs and CD-ROMs containing recordings, music, entertainment software, business software and literary publications are being copied locally or imported and distributed with virtual impunity." The deadline for submitting comments is Feb. 23, 2001. The USTR declined to review the piracy practices of other nations, including Uruguay. The RIAA also applauded the USTR's move in a release. See, Federal Register, Jan. 10, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 7, at Pages 2034 - 2035.
New Documents
Boxer: Letter to Bush announcing opposition to Ashcroft nomination, 1/10 (HTML, Boxer).
USTR: Notice re GSP proceeding on piracy in Russia and Brazil, 1/10 (TXT, FedReg).
GJ. Indictment of Los Alamos Nuc. Labs. for hacking, 12/12/00 (PDF, USA).
Updated Sections
News from Around the Web.
Quote of the Day
"The Administration has concluded that there are no meaningful or effective control measures for computer hardware that address the technological and marketplace challenges ... the Administration would prefer to remove most controls on computer hardware exports ..."

Anonymous, from a Clinton White House Release on computer export controls, Jan. 10.
News Briefs
1/10. The Clinton White House press office released a statement that the administration will revise U.S. export controls on high performance computers, and that it will recommend to the incoming Bush administration that it remove most controls on computer hardware exports. According to the statement, an administration "review found that the ability to control the acquisition of computational capabilities by controlling computer hardware is becoming ineffective and will be increasingly so within a very short time." The announced changes include switching from a 4 tier to a 3 tier system of categorizing countries. Tiers 1 and 2 (most of the Americas, Europe, Japan, S. Korea, and Australia) will be combined. Tier 3 (India, Pakistan, Middle East, former Soviet Union, PRC, and Viet Nam) and Tier 4 (rogue states) will remain the same. The announcement also states that licenses will be required for exports surpassing 85,000 MTOPS to Tier 3 countries. These changes will not take effect until, and unless, the Department of Commerce promulgates implementing regulations. See also, State Dept. release (copy of White House release).
1/10. Intel and ATI settled their pending patent infringement litigation. The companies also entered into a cross-license agreement which grants each company rights to certain patents owned by the other. ATI makes graphics, video and multimedia products for PCs, Macs, set-top boxes, e-appliances and game consoles. See, Intel release and substantially identical ATI release.
1/10. The Federal Communications Bar Association's Legislation Committee hosted a luncheon at which staff assistants of members of the Senate Commerce Committee addressed the legislative agenda for the 107th Congress.
1/10. The USITC instituted a Section 337 investigation of the importation into the U.S. of certain semiconductor light emitting devices. On Dec. 15, 2000, Rohm filed a complaint with the USITC alleging that Nichia Corp., Japan and Nichia America Corp. have imported devices which infringe its U.S. Patents 6,084,899 and 6,115,399. The complaint was filed by Robert Gaybrick of the law office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. See, Inv. No. 337-TA-444.
1/10. The FTC announced that it will host (with the Electronic Retailing Association) a one day seminar for Internet retailers, marketers and suppliers on applying offline rules and regulations online. The seminar will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2001, at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, Virginia. To register, contact the ERA at 800-987-6462 or 703-841-1751. See also, ERA registration page.
1/10. The USPTO released its list of the top ten patenting organizations of 2000. IBM tops the list with 2,886 patents. The entire list is as follows: IBM, NEC, Canon Kabushiki Kaisha, Samsung Electronics, Lucent Technologies, Sony, Micron Technology, Toshiba, Motorola, and Fujitsu. See also, IBM release.
1/10. The USPTO published a three page summary [PDF] of items to be tested on the registration examination scheduled for April 18, 2001.
1/10. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) heard oral argument in Intellectual Property Development v. TCI Cablevision of California. This is an appeal from a final judgment of the U.S. District Court (CDCal) in a patent infringement case. The patent in suit relates to hybrid coax fiber architecture. The trial court dismissed on the grounds that the appellant lacked standing to sue. Both sides appealed. (The basis upon which the suit is dismissed bears upon the application of six years damages window provided by 35 U.S.C. 286).
This Just In
1/10. Xinhua, the state news service of the PRC, announced that "Beijing will set up its 'E-Government' by the end of the year 2005". See, release. However, Xinhua announced that people will "soon" be able to access their kitchen ovens over the Internet. See, release.
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.
Computer Crimes
1/10. The U.S. Attorney (NDCal) unsealed an indictment [PDF] of Jerome Heckenkamp, which was returned by a federal grand jury on Dec. 13, 2000. The indictment charges the defendant, who is an employee of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, with accessing and damaging computers, intercepting electronic communications, and witness tampering. The indictment was sealed pending his arrest, which was effected on Jan. 10. The defendant is charged with seven counts of unauthorized access into a computer recklessly causing damage in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(5)(B), eight counts of interception of electronic communications in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2511(1)(a), and one count of tampering with a witness in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1512(b)(1) and (b)(2)(A). The companies whose computer networks were affected were eBay, Lycos, Juniper, and Exodus Communications, e-Trade, Cygnus Support Solutions. Defendant Heckenkamp has also been charged in a separate indictment returned by a federal grand jury in San Diego. See also, USA release. Ross Nadel, Chief of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Unit in the U.S. Attorney's Office, is prosecuting this case.
1/2. Daniel Park and Mikahel Chang plead guilty in U.S. District Court (NDCal) to theft of trade secrets, and tp aiding and abetting criminal copyright infringement, respectively. A federal grand jury returned the indictment [PDF] on June 14, 2000. Park and Chang accessed Semi Supply Inc.'s customer database and order database. The two will have to forfeit $60,000 in gains. Asst. U.S. Attorneys Ross Nadel and Mavis Lee prosecuted the case.
9:30 AM. The Federal Communications Commission will hold a meeting. Location: Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington DC. See, Agenda.
10:00 AM. Oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) in Octel v. Theis, Appeal No. 00-1031. This is an appeal from a final judgment of the U.S. District Court (NDCal) in a patent infringement case. The trial court dismissed on the grounds of res judicata. The court had previously adjudged the patent in suit invalid, the Federal Circuit had affirmed, and the Supreme Court had denied certiorari. But, appellant thinks the original Patent Office determination should carry more weight. The patent concerns voice processing services, such as voice mail. Location: Federal Circuit, 717 Madison Place (on LaFayette Square), Courtroom 402.
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