Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
March 13, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 142.
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In Re Unisys
3/9. The U.S. Court of Appeals (3rdCir) issued its opinion in In Re Unisys, a class action filed on behalf of retirees and disabled former employees of Sperry, Burroughs, and Unisys against Unisys. The dispute arose out of Unisys' termination of post retirement medical plans for retirees and disabled former employees of the three companies. On appeal were two orders granting partial summary judgment to the Unisys. Reversed and remanded.
Spectrum
3/12. March 12 was the deadline to file reply comments with the FCC in its rule making proceeding (WT Docket No. 00-230) regarding removing some regulatory barriers to secondary markets in spectrum rights. See, for example, reply comments [PDF] by the Software Defined Radio Forum, El Paso Global Networks, AT&T, and the Industrial Telecommunications Assoc. See, notice in Federal Register, Dec. 26, 2000, Vol. 65, No. 248, at pages 81475 - 81486. See also, TLJ story of Nov. 10, 2000.
IP News
3/12. The USPTO updated its business methods patents web page.
2/28. A panel of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center ruled on Google's complaint against Namerental.com and Leonard Bensonoff for transfer of the domain ggoogle.com. The panel found that the domain name is confusingly similar to a Google trademark, that respondents have no legitimate interest in the domain name, and that they registered it in bad faith. The panel ordered that the domain name be transferred to Google. See, WIPO opinion.
SEC
3/9. The SEC filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court (SDFl) against Families Online Corp. (FOL) and its two principals, Mark Thurman and Robert Fiene, alleging violation of federal securities laws, including fraud and sale of unregistered securities. The complaint states that they sold unregistered of securities of FOL, which they purported would provide Internet filtering software. The complaint further states that the defendants made false statements in the FOL web site. In addition, the USAO (SDFl) unsealed indictments against Thurman and Fiene instituting parallel criminal proceedings. See, SEC release.
3/9. On March 7 the U.S. District Court (NDOhio) permanently enjoined Lloyd Wollmershauser, who operated a web site and newsletter called The PennyStockMan, from violating several sections of the federal securities laws, and to disgorge $205,000. Defendant used his web site, newsletter and emails to provide microcap stock recommendations. Defendant touted the stock of, and made false statements about, a company in which he owned stock. On March 9 the SEC instituted an administrative proceeding, and entered an order, against Wollmershauser, that bars him from participating in any offering of a penny stock, including acting as a promoter, finder, or consultant, or inducing the purchase or sale of any penny stock. The SEC determined that Wollmershauser was an investment adviser as defined by  202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
New Documents
USCA: opinion in In Re Unisys, 3/9 (TXT, USCA).
Privacilla: report re government exchange and merging of databases with personal information, 3/12 (PDF, privacilla).
EU: transcript of Zoellick Lamy joint press conference, 3/9 (HTML, EU).
WIPO: opinion in ggoogle cybersquatting proceeding, 2/28 (HTML, WIPO).
USTR Names Staff
3/12. USTR Robert Zoellick announced his key staff appointments. See, release.
Peter Davidson will be General Counsel. He was VP for Congressional Affairs at Qwest. Previously, he worked as General Counsel and Policy Director to House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX). He has also been General Counsel and Policy Director for the House Republican Conference, an attorney in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, and law clerk to Judge John Porfilio (10th Circuit).
M.B. Oglesby will be Chief of Staff. He was Deputy Chief of Staff, and Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, in the Reagan White House. He has also been an SVP at RJR Nabisco, COO of Cassidy & Associates, and P/CEO of the Association of American Railroads. He has also been a minority counsel to the House Commerce Committee.
John Veroneau will be Assistant USTR for Congressional Affairs. He was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. Prior to that he was Chief of Staff to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), and Legislative Director to Sen. William Frist (R-TN) and former Sen. William Cohen (R-ME).
Heidi Nelson will be Special Assistant. She worked on the Bush Cheney campaign, focusing on economic and tax policy. From 1995 - 1998, she was an investment banker with J.P. Morgan, specializing in Latin American mergers and acquisitions. She also worked for former Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO).
Matthew Rees will be Chief Speechwriter. He was a reporter for The Weekly Standard, The Economist, and The New Republic, and an editor and writer for the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal.
Steven Schrage will be Executive Secretary. He worked for the Bush Cheney campaign and transition. He was previously Counsel to the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the Senate for Foreign Relations Committee and senior foreign policy and trade counsel for former Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-GA). He will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing all policy materials and briefings for the USTR and for interactions with other government agencies.
Elizabeth Gianini will be Deputy Chief of Staff. She was a public affairs consultant with law firm of Foley & Lardner in Tallahassee, Florida. Prior to that she was Deputy Executive Director of the Republican Party of Florida.
Sarah Hanlon will be Confidential Assistant. She is a fundraiser for Republican Senators.
Carolyn Hensarling will Director of Scheduling. She was Executive Assistant and Scheduler to Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX).
Computer Crime
3/5. David Roesch plead guilty in U.S. District Court (SDCal) to one count of computer fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(4). Roesch used a computer to steal computerized customer telephone billing data from his employer, Worldxchange Communications. He then created a company which he used to bill many of the customers he identified from the stolen billing data. See, release.
3/7. Michael Trollinger and John Hechendorn plead guilty to identity theft, possession of stolen mail, and possession of a counterfeit postal key in U.S. District Court (WDWash). Defendants did not use the Internet, computers, or electronic databases to commit identity theft. They did it an old fashioned way: by stealing other people's USPS mail. See, release.
FCC
3/12. The FCC's Mass Media Bureau approved 32 long pending applications to transfer broadcast radio licenses. The Telecom Act of 1996 eliminated the limit on the number of radio stations a single entity could own nationally, and significantly relaxed the local market limits. Nevertheless, former FCC Chairman William Kennard "flagged", and hence, delayed, many compliant license transfer applications. Michael Powell, the new FCC Chairman, wrote in a statement that "Congress established quite plainly the number of stations that could be commonly owned in a local market -- and the proposed transfers in all of the flagged cases comply with these numerical caps."
Quotes of the Day
"And what exactly was the flagging system that is today being abandoned? No one knows. No rules for flagging were ever written; no rules were proposed for public comment; no rules were reviewed by the Commission; no rules were approved by the Commission; no rules were available for parties to review and to understand whether their transaction complied or did not comply with those rules; and no rules were available to challenge in court. There were no rules. There was no rule of law."

Harold Furchtgott-Roth, FCC Commissioner, in a March 12 statement.
"The Bureau's retreat from the Commission's past practice is unjustified."

Gloria Tristani, FCC Commissioner, in a March 12 statement.
Privacy
3/12. Privacilla.org released a report [23 pages in PDF] titled "Privacy and Federal Agencies: Government Exchange and Merger of Citizens' Personal Information is Systematic and Routine." It stated that "For the 18-month period from September 1999 to February 2001, federal agencies announced 47 times that they would exchange and merge personal information from databases about American citizens. And these programs are only the tip of an information - trading iceberg. The Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act, which causes agencies to report these activities in the Federal Register, applies only to a small subset of the federal agency programs that exchange and merge databases of personal information." This report was released the day before the FTC holds its one day workshop on how the private sector merges and exchanges databases of personal information. See, agenda of FTC meeting. The report concludes that the government poses a greater threat to privacy than does the private sector.
Today
8:00 AM. The Federal Trade Commission will host a day long public workshop to explore how businesses merge and exchange consumer information and how such information is used commercially. See, Notice in Federal Register. Location: FTC, Commission Meeting Room (432), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
9:00 AM. FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky will make opening remarks at the FTC's Information Marketplace Workshop.
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing which it describes as "promoting technology and educations issues relating to turbocharging the school buses on the information highway." Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building. The witnesses will be:
  Marybeth Peters (Register of Copyrights)
  Gerald Heeger (U. Maryland)
  Allan Adler (Assoc. of Am. Publishers)
  Richard Siddoway (Electronic H.S.)
  Paul LeBlanc (Marlboro College)
  Gary Carpentier (American U.)
12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association will host a brown bag lunch on the "Role of Wireless Technologies in Addressing Universal Access in Developing Countries." The speakers will be Cecily Cohen, Gonzalo de Dios, Adam Krinsky and Mindel De La Torre. RSVP to Kent Bressie. Location: Wilkinson Barker & Knauer, 2300 N St, NW, 7th Floor, Washington DC.
More News
3/9. USTR Robert Zoellick and EU Commissioner for Trade Pascal Lamy held a joint press conference. See, transcript.
3/8. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) was assigned to an additional House committee: Education and Workforce. See, Goodlatte release. Goodlatte already sits on the Judiciary Committee and its Subcommittee on Courts, Internet, and Intellectual Property, as well as the Agriculture Committee. He is also a Co-chair of the Internet Caucus. Goodlatte brings an active interest in technology and communications issues to all of his committee assignments.
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