Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Jan. 24, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 108.
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Breaking News
The Washington Post reports in its Jan. 24 edition that the new House Commerce Committee Chairman, Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), plans to reopen the Telecom Act of 1996. In particular, he stated in an interview with the Post that he intends to substantially restructure the FCC, and limit its authority, particularly its power to conduct antitrust merger reviews. See, story by Peter Goodman and Christopher Stern.
More News Briefs
1/23. The ICANN Board of Directors elected Stuart Lynn to succeed Michael Roberts as President and CEO. In 1999 Lynn retired from the University of California, were he was Associate Vice President for Information Resources and Communications for the University of California Office of the President. See, release.
1/22. FCC Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth praised the nomination of Michael Powell to be Chairman of the FCC. See, statement. Susan Ness also issued a statement praising Powell.
1/23. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion in AT&T v. FCC, a case involving a US West request to the FCC to forbear from regulating it as a dominant carrier in high capacity services in the Phoenix and Seattle MSAs pursuant to § 10 of the Telecom Act of 1996. The FCC denied the request. US West filed a petition for review. Petition granted; remanded to the FCC.
1/22. The U.S. Court of Appeals (2ndCir) issued its opinion in ICOM v. MCI Worldcom. ICOM filed a complaint in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Nassau County, alleging breach of contract under state law, based on MCI WorldCom's failure to install high-speed telecommunications circuits for the purpose of providing the plaintiff with local access telecommunication service. MCI Worldcom removed the case to the U.S. District Court (EDNY). The District Court granted MCI Worldcom's motion to dismiss the suit, holding that the ICOM's claims were preempted by the Communications Act of 1934, and barred by the filed rate doctrine. Affirmed.
1/23. The FCC published in the Federal Register its final rule regarding implementation of certain aspects of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999. This rule pertains to the carriage of local TV stations in markets where satellite carriers offer local TV service to their subscribers. See, Federal Register, Jan. 23, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 15, at Pages 7410 - 7432. The FCC released its Report and Order on Nov. 30, 2000. See also, FCC's SHIVA page.
1/22. Arash Aziz-Golshani and Hootan Melamed were sentenced in U.S. District Court (CDCal) for orchestrating an Internet based pump and dump securities fraud scheme. The two purchased stock in a company, and then posted false messages touting the stock on electronic bulletin boards operated by Yahoo! and other Internet companies. The stock price rose. They sold. A federal grand jury indicted them. Golshani previously plead guilty to securities fraud, and Melamed plead guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Golshani received a sentence of 15 months in federal prison. The case was investigated by the FBI Computer Crime Squad in Los Angeles, with substantial assistance for the SEC. See, USAO release.
1/18. David Smith, aka Mafiaboy, plead guilty in Montreal Youth Court in Canada to 56 counts, including mischief to property in excess of $5000 against Internet sites including,, and, in connection with the Feb. 2000 distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. See, FBI release.
New Documents
MSFT/SUNW: settlement agreement in Java lawsuit, 1/23 (HTML, MSFT).
USCA: opinion in Ty v. Jones Group re trademark infringement, 1/23 (HTML, USCA).
USCA: opinion in ICOM v. MCI Worldcom, 1/22 (HTML, USCA).
USCA: opinion in AT&T v. FCC, 1/23 (HTML, USCA).
NTIA: report re spectrum reallocation and national defense, federal public safety, and civil space programs, 1/23 (PDF, NTIA).
Updated Sections
Calendar (updated daily).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
Quote of the Day
"If you can buy it at Radio Shack, so can anybody else. If something is mass marketed -- as much as you might want to keep that technology from falling into the wrong hands -- the bottom line is, once it is sold on a mass marketed basis, you're wasting your time in trying to protect that technology."

Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), on introducing the Export Administration Act of 2001 on Jan. 23.
Intellectual Property
1/23. Microsoft and Sun Microsystems settled their Java litigation. MSFT and Sun entered into a TLDA in 1996 under which Sun licensed its Java technology to MSFT. Sun filed a complaint against MSFT in the U.S. District Court (NDCal) in late 1997. Microsoft has since decided to develop its own competing programming language, C#, as an alternative to Java. The settlement agreement provides that:
 • "Microsoft agrees that the TLDA is terminated but the parties agree that Microsoft's consent is not an admission of any breach of the TLDA by Microsoft";
 • "Sun's termination of the TLDA does not terminate, revoke or impair in any way licenses granted during the term of the TLDA by Microsoft to third parties ...";
 • Microsoft will pay Sun $20 Million;
 • Microsoft can continue to ship current products and those in beta; and
 • Microsoft can develop competing products.
1/23. MSFT and Sun released a pair of acrimonious press releases about their Java litigation settlement agreement, and their competing software products. "Microsoft has proven time and again that it is unwilling to abide by the common rules of the internet," said Sun EVP Patricia Sueltz. "Its behavior with regard to the Java technology was just one instance. And when presented with the choice of compatibility or termination, Microsoft chose termination." Microsoft stated that the TLDA was "due to expire in two months" anyway. Moreover, "The Microsoft .NET platform is the best way to build, deliver and aggregate Web Services," said MSFT VP Sanjay Parthasarathy. See, MSFT release and Sun release.
1/23. The USPTO published in its web site the January issue of USPTO Today. An article by Tod Preston of the Office of Legislative and International Affairs reviews the intellectual property agenda for the 107th Congress. He wrote: "two issues that are likely to be focused on early in the congressional session are USPTO fee diversion and copyright protection, particularly as it relates to music-swapping services such as Napster. Indeed, key members of the House and Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees have already indicated that they intend to examine whether traditional copyright law is keeping pace with the Internet revolution. ... With respect to patent policy, the patenting of business methods and genomics is likely to remain an area of interest. In addition, action is also possible on the AIPA technical corrections legislation, non-copyright protection for databases, and state sovereign immunity and federally-protected IP rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 1999 Florida Prepaid decisions. On the trademark front, attention will once again focus on securing ratification and implementation of the Madrid Protocol." (Emphases added. See, pages 6-8.)
1/23. The USPTO announced that it will hold a public meeting on computer implemented business method patents on March 1, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM in Arlington VA. Also, the patent depository libraries in Sunnyvale, Detroit, and Houston will provide videoconferencing. See, release. Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced the Business Method Patent Improvement Act late last year.
1/23. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Pioneer Magnetics v. Micro Linear Corp., a patent infringement case. The Appeals Court affirmed the District Court's granting of Micro Linear's motion for summary judgment that none of its accused products infringe Pioneer’s U.S. Patent No. 4,677,366. The patent describes circuitry designed to receive variant levels of input voltage and to emit a constant output voltage, thereby providing a steady electrical current source to another circuit.
1/23. Qualcomm announced that it prevailed in three patent opposition proceedings in Korea and Europe. The three oppositions were initiated by Motorola. Qualcomm stated that the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) upheld Korean patent 215,947 titled "Method and Apparatus for Controlling Transmission Power in a CDMA Cellular Mobile Telephone System"; that the KIPO rejected an opposition against Korean patent 204,160, titled "Method and Apparatus for the Formatting of Data for Transmission"; and that in December the European Patent Office confirmed the validity of all claims of Qualcomm's European patent 624,275, titled "Method and System for the Arrangement of Vocoder Data for the Masking of Transmission Channel Induced Error." All three patents disclose Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technologies. See, Qualcomm release.
1/23. The U.S. Court of Appeals (7thCir) issued its opinion in Ty v. Jones Group, a trademark infringement dispute involving toy makers. Ty makes "Beanie Babies", plush toy animals that consist of plastic bean pellets inside of stitched fabric. The Jones Group makes "Beanie Racers", bean filled toy NASCAR racing cars. Ty, which has obtained a U.S. trademark registration for the mark "Beanie Babies," filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (NDIll). Ty also sought a preliminary injunction, which the trial court granted. The Jones Group brought this interlocutory appeal. The Appeals Court affirmed.
107th Congress
1/23. Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), Sen. Paul Sarbanes, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), and Sen. Enzi (R-WY) introduced the Export Administration Act of 2001, a bill that would exempt mass marketed items from export regulation. Sen. Gramm stated at a press conference in Washington DC that "there is inherent conflict between protecting technology that has defense implications and dominating the world in terms of selling high tech products around the world. ... the bottom line is, once it is sold on a mass-marketed basis, you're wasting your time in trying to protect that technology." Sen. Gramm is Chairman, and Sen. Sarbanes is the Ranking Member, of the Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over non tariff trade issues, including this bill. Sen. Gramm stated that the Committee would hold hearings in February. See also, summary of bill, Sarbanes statement, Enzi statement, and State Dept. statement.
1/22. Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, announced his legislative priorities for the Committee for the 107th Congress. Several items are technology related, including export law reform and securities law reform. First, he plans to "modernize and refocus" the Export Administration Act. He stated that this statute "seeks to balance the national security needs of the country with our desire to be the world's largest producer and exporter of high-tech items." Second, he plans to reform the New Deal era securities laws. He stated that he has "asked his committee staff to begin a top-to-bottom review of U.S. securities laws. The basic securities laws are over 60 years old, and they are showing their age. The Securities Act of 1933 was based upon the assumption that market information was hard to get and expensive. Today, it is easy to obtain and virtually cost-free." He also stated that the Banking Committee will write a bankruptcy reform bill, and work to promote trade. See, statement.
1/23. The FCC issued a release stating that last week it adopted a Third Report and Order to facilitate voluntary clearing of the 700 MHz band to promote the transition of legacy analog TV licensees to digital DT service. (WT Docket No. 99-168.)
1/23. The FCC published in the Federal Register its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding reallocation of spectrum for use by Third Generation (3G) wireless services. 3G is intended to provide broadband Internet access to portable devices. The FCC released this NPRM on Jan. 5. See, Federal Register, Jan. 23, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 15, Pages 7438 - 7443.
1/23. The FCC published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding reallocation of 27 megahertz of spectrum from the 216-220 MHz, 1390-1395 MHz, 1427-1429 MHz, 1429-1432 MHz, 1432-1435 MHz, 1670-1675 MHz, and 2385-2390 MHz bands from government to private sector use. See, Federal Register, Jan. 23, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 15, Pages 7443 - 7457.
1/23. The NTIA released a report [167 pages in PDF] titled "Assessment of Electromagnetic Spectrum Reallocation, Response to Title X of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000." The study focuses on national defense, federal public safety, and civil space programs. For each of these areas, federal agencies do not want to lose more spectrum through reallocations to the private sector.
12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's Mass Media Committee will host a Brown Bag Lunch. The title of the program is "Meet the Press - Insights from the Trade Press on the New Presidency and Policy Issues Facing the FCC". Location: Sidley & Austin, 1722 Eye Street, NW, Washington DC. See, map to office. RSVP to Dennis Corbett at 202-416-6780.
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