Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Jan. 18, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 104.
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3G News
1/17. The NTIA released Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding compensating incumbent federal agency users in the 1755-1850 MHz band that may be required to modify their systems as a result of spectrum reallocation for 3G wireless uses. Most of these incumbent users are military. Third Generation (3G) wireless services are intended to bring broadband Internet access to portable devices. See, TLJ story.
1/17. The NTIA and FCC hosted a public meeting between government and industry representatives on Third Generation (3G) wireless services. The meeting was held in the Ronald Reagan Building, in Washington DC, and addressed sharing, band segmentation, and alternative band issues regarding both the 1755-1850 and 2500-2690 MHz bands. NTIA chief Greg Rohde also used the occasion to announce a NPRM on compensating incumbent federal agency users that are required to modify their systems as a result of reallocation of their spectrum to the private sector. See, statement by Rohde. The meeting was otherwise uneventful. The next public meeting will be on Feb. 15.
1/17. President Elect Bush has not yet named his nominee for head of the NTIA. Greg Rohde is currently in the position. He is the Clinton administration's point man on identifying and reallocating spectrum for use by 3G wireless services. He is the former telecom staff assistant to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and is popular with industry stakeholders and on Capitol Hill. James Dederian is handling NTIA transition for the incoming Bush administration. Reporters asked Rohde about this at a meeting on 3G wireless on Jan. 17. "They are playing this pretty close to their chests," said Rohde. He was also asked what would become of the current 3G initiatives under the Bush administration. "Leadership and direction from the very top," said Rohde, "is the only way this can happen." But, he declined to predict what would happen.
New TLJ Story
NTIA to Write Rules on 3G Relocation Reimbursement. The NTIA released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding compensation of incumbent federal agency users in the 1755-1850 MHz band that may be required to modify their systems as a result of spectrum reallocation to the private sector for 3G wireless uses. Most of these incumbent users are military. Third Generation (3G) wireless services are intended to bring broadband Internet access to portable devices.
New Documents
NTIA: NPRM on reimbursement for spectrum relocation, 1/17 (HTML, NTIA).
USCA: opinion in Prostar v. Massachi re statute of limitations in action for cable piracy, 1/17 (HTML, USCA).
Updated Sections
Calendar (updated daily).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
Quote of the Day
"... the Europeans and the Asians, and other countries, have been moving very aggressively ahead to develop Third Generation wireless systems. ... This is going to be the dominant communications system of the future, and at stake is the U.S.'s leadership on the Internet, and the U.S.'s leadership in communications services. ... We stand to loose a great deal in terms of the future of electronic commerce, and our role in the New Economy."

Greg Rohde, NTIA chief, Jan. 17.
107th Congress
1/17. Senate committees continued to hold confirmation hearings on key Bush cabinet nominees. The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Paul O'Neill to be Secretary of the Treasury. The Senate Judiciary Committee held the second day of hearings on the nomination of John Ashcroft to be Attorney General. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held the second of day of hearings on the nomination of Colin Powell to be Secretary of State. Powell and O'Neill are likely to be quickly and easily confirmed. Ashcroft faces opposition from liberal social groups and some Democrats in the Senate, but will likely be confirmed.
1/17. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) wrote kind words about Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft in the lead item of its Jan. 17 e-mail alert. EPIC noted that the DOJ is involved in many electronic privacy issues, including implementation of CALEA, critical infrastructure protection, Carnivore, and the proposed Council of Europe cyber-crime treaty. EPIC then quoted extensively from a 1997 speech that Ashcroft gave on electronic privacy. "The outrages against privacy committed by federal law enforcement agencies means one thing: Now, more than ever, we must protect citizens' privacy from the excesses of an arrogant, overly powerful government. Law enforcement is using advances in digital technology as an excuse to insist on intrusions into privacy that were never allowed in the pre-digital era," said Ashcroft.
1/17. Nydia Bonnin was named deputy staff director to the House Commerce Committee. She previously worked for the National Republican Congressional Committee, as senior finance advisor. She has also worked as director of federal government relations for oil company Atlantic Richfield, as an aide to former Rep. Bill Paxon (R-NY), and as an aide to former Rep. Charles Canady (R-FL). The committee also has jurisdiction over energy issues.
More News Briefs
1/16. Dennis Devaney was sworn in as a Commissioner of the USITC. He is a Republican who was appointed by Clinton on Jan. 3, 2001, for the period expiring at the end of the first session of the 107th Congress. He was previously Of Counsel in the Detroit office of the law firm of Butzel Long and a Professor of Law at Wayne State University Law School. Prior to that, he was Of Counsel in the Washington DC office of Winston & Strawn. See, USITC release. The USITC has authority under Section 337 to investigate unfair practices in import trade involving infringement of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property rights.
1/17. The FCC approved the merger of WorldCom and Intermedia. The FCC adopted an order approving the application for transfer of licenses. The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached an agreement with the parties in November of 2000. The DOJ, WorldCom and Intermedia agreed all of Intermedia's assets would be divested, except its controlling interest in Digex. To put this agreement into effect the DOJ filed a complaint and proposed consent decree in the U.S. District Court (DDC) on Nov. 17. The objection of the DOJ related to the circumstance that both WorldCom and Intermedia owned Internet backbone networks. Intermedia also provides voice and data services. Digex provides web and applications hosting for e-businesses.
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.
IP News
1/17. The U.S. Court of Appeals (5th Cir.) issued its opinion in Prostar v. Massachi, a case regarding the appropriate statute of limitations to apply to an action for cable piracy (brought under 47 U.S.C. 553 and 605). The federal statute specifies no limitation. The trial court applied the one year prescriptive period for delictual actions under Louisiana law. The Court of appeals reversed, holding that the three year limitation of the Copyright Act applies (17 U.S.C. 507).
1/17. The U.S. Court of Appeals (Fed Cir) issued its opinion in Tronzo v. Biomet, an appeal regarding compensatory and punitive damages in a patent infringement case. Tronzo filed suit in 1988 against Biomet alleging infringement of a patent on a hip replacement device (U.S. Patent No. 4,743,262) and violation of Florida law (breach of a confidential relationship, fraud, and unjust enrichment). The trial court jury found for Tronzo on all counts, and awarded compensatory and punitive damages, which were then capped by the court at $7,134,000 for compensatory damages, and $20,000,000 for punitive damages, to avoid double recovery. In a previous appeal, the Federal Circuit reversed the finding of patent infringement, upheld the finding of liability under state law, but reversed with respect to computation of damages. On remand, the trial court reduced these awards to $520 and $52,000, respectively, without allowing Plaintiff a new trial. Tronzo then brought this second appeal. The Appeals Court reinstated the $20 Million punitive damages award on the grounds of waiver; Biomet did not raise it in the first appeal.
New Lawsuit
1/16. Two plaintiffs named Bruce and Leslie Forrest filed a complaint [PDF] in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia against Verizon Communications, and its subsidiary, Verizon Internet Services, alleging breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation in connection with Verizon's DSL service. Plaintiffs, who are represented by the law office of Cohen Milstein, seek class action status. Count one alleges breach of contract for promising, but not providing, seven day per week service. Count two alleges violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (VCPA). See, Virginia Code 59.1-200 for making false and deceptive statements about the service. Count three alleges false advertising under the VCPA. Count four alleges negligent misrepresentation. Plaintiffs seek damages and injunctive relief preventing continuing false or deceptive practices. See, Cohen Milstein release. Verizon Internet Services is a Delaware corporation which is based in Reston, Virginia. Cohen Milstein is a 25 attorney law firm with offices in Washington DC and Seattle that specializes bringing class action lawsuits.
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