|The Washington Post
reports in its Jan. 24 edition that the new House Commerce Committee
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.
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.
praised the nomination of Michael Powell to be Chairman
of the FCC. See, statement.
Susan Ness also issued a statement
1/23. The U.S. Court
of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion
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
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
Act of 1934, and barred by the filed rate doctrine.
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
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
CNN.com, Yahoo.com, and EBay.com, in connection with the Feb.
2000 distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. See, FBI
agreement in Java lawsuit, 1/23 (HTML, MSFT).
opinion in Ty v. Jones Group re
trademark infringement, 1/23 (HTML, USCA).
in ICOM v. MCI Worldcom, 1/22 (HTML, USCA).
in AT&T v. FCC, 1/23 (HTML, USCA).
re spectrum reallocation and national defense, federal public
safety, and civil space programs, 1/23 (PDF, NTIA).
|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
Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), on introducing the Export
Administration Act of 2001 on Jan. 23.
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.
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
• "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
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
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
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.
|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, and State
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 -
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
|About Tech Law Journal
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