Lackert and Keith
Sharkin have joined the New York City office of the
law firm of King &
Spalding as partners. They will establish a Trademark
Practice Group there. They both were previously at Nims, Howes,
Collison, Hansen & Lackert. See, release.
4/10. Edward Lentz has joined the Philadelphia office
of the law firm of Morgan
Lewis as a partner in the firm's Intellectual Property
Practice Group. He was previously SVP and US General Counsel
of SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline). See, release. Adi
Seffer will join the firm's Frankfurt, Germany, office as
head of its Technology Practice. See, release.
4/13. President Bush will nominate Otto Reich to be
Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere.
4/13. Amy McKennis will join the Cellular Telecommunications
& Internet Association (CTIA) as its Senate Director
for Government Affairs. See, release.
She previously worked for Sen. Fred Thompson
(R-TN). Before that she worked for Sen. Kay Hutchison (R-TX).
McKennis also co-authors the Fashion Police
column for the HillZoo.
|4/9. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (11thCir) issue a two page opinion
[PDF] in Weys
TV v. FCC, a petition for review of a final
order of the FCC regarding whether the FCC erroneously
interpreted the Cable Act of 1992 by allowing cable companies
to discontinue mandatory carriage of Weys TV's signal.
Petition for review denied.
4/13. The NIST
published a notice
in the Federal Register regarding the availability of funds
under the Critical Infrastructure Protection Grants Program.
See, Federal Register, April 13, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 72, at
Pages 19139 - 19142.
4/13. The USTR published
in the Federal Register regarding the 2001 Annual GSP Product
and Country Eligibility Practices Review. The deadline for
submitting petitions is June 13, 2001. See, Federal Register,
April 13, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 72, Pages 19278 - 19279.
4/14. The ICANN
published a notice
the schedule and registration information for its next round
of meetings, to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 1-4,
4/13. The U.S. Court
of Appeals (DC Cir) heard oral argument in Telecom
Resellers v. FCC, Appeal No. 00-1144.
4/13. The Copyright Office published in the Federal Register a
rule regarding service of a notice of institution of
action for infringement and service of complaint in an
infringement action where registration has been denied. See,
Federal Register, April 13, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 72, at Pages
19094 - 19095.
opinion in Trans Union v. FTC re financial privacy, 4/13
in Weys TV v. FCC re Cable Act, 4/9 (PDF, FCC).
re availability of grant funds for training high tech workers,
4/13 (TXT, FedReg).
in the re availability of grant funds under the Critical
Infrastructure Protection Grants Program, 4/13 (TXT, FedReg).
rule re service in infringement actions where registration
has been denied, 4/13 (TXT, FedReg).
|4/13. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion
Union v. FTC, a petition for review of an FTC
cease and desist order
regarding the sale of consumer reports by credit reporting
agencies for marketing purposes. The Appeals Court upheld
the FTC's order that Trans Union must stop selling target
marketing lists for purposes not listed in the Fair Credit Reporting Act
(FRCA). The Appeals Court also upheld the constitutionality of
Trans Union (TU) is one of
the three large credit reporting agencies. It compiles credit
reports about individuals from credit information that it
collects from banks, credit card companies, and other lenders.
Its databases contain information on 190 Million people. It
then sells these credit reports to lenders, employers, and
insurance companies. This practice is not at issue. However,
TU also sells target marketing products to direct marketers.
These consist of lists of names and addresses of individuals
who meet specific criteria, such as possession of an auto
loan, a department store credit card, or two or more
mortgages. This practice at issue.
The FTC has responsibility
for enforcing the FCRA. This statute protects the privacy of
credit information by prohibiting credit reporting agencies
from selling "consumer reports", except under the
circumstances enumerated in the Act. The FRCA lists whether to
approve an application for credit, employment, or insurance --
but not direct marketing. The FRCA defines a "consumer
report" as any information provided "by a consumer
reporting agency bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness,
credit standing, credit capacity, character, general
reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which
is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in
part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing
the consumer's eligibility for (A) credit ..."
This is an ancient proceeding. The FTC has been endeavoring
for a decade to stop this practice. The FTC instituted a
proceeding against TU in 1992. The FTC first issued a cease
and desist order
in 1994. However, the Court of Appeals granted TU's petition
for review, on the grounds that the FTC had failed to provide
evidence that TU's target marketing products were used by
marketers in the issuance of credit. See, Trans Union Corp. v.
FTC, 81 F.3d 228 (DCCir 1996). So, the FTC conducted extensive
discovery, held a month long administrative trial, and
documented this contention. It again ordered TU to stop. TU
then filed this petition for review.
The Court of Appeals denied the petition for review. First, TU
argued that the FTC again failed to provide substantial
evidence in support of its findings. The Appeals Court this
time held that the FTC had provided substantial evidence that
the target marketing lists being sold by TU to marketers were
being used as a factor in granting credit, and hence, are
"consumer reports" within the meaning of the FRCA.
Second, TU argued that the FRCA is unconstitutionally vague
under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, and that
it is an unconstitutional restraint on free speech. TU sought
application of the strict scrutiny standard. The Appeals Court
upheld the FRCA's constitutionality, applying the reduced
constitutional protection standard for commercial speech
articulated by the Supreme Court in Dun & Bradstreet v. Greenmoss.
|4/13. The Department of Labor's Employment and Training
Administration (ETA) published a notice
in the Federal Register regarding the availability of grant
funds for skill training programs financed by the H1B
Technical Skills Training Grant Program. This program is
financed out of the fees paid by employers with H1B visa
applications. H1B visas enable high tech companies to hire
highly skilled alien workers to fill positions for which there
is a shortage of U.S. workers. The purpose of this grant
program is to train U.S. workers for high tech occupations.
See, Federal Register, April 13, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 72, at
Pages 19209 - 19223. See also, ETA's H1B web page.
|4/9. James Yekrang plead guilty in U.S. District Court (CDCal)
to one count of taking kickbacks in violation of the
Anti-Kickback Act of 1986, and one count of tax evasion.
Yekrang is a former employee of defense contractor Allied
Signal in its Business Information Systems Division. He took
kickbacks from Object Foundry, a software company, in exchange
for recommending subcontract awards and contract extensions,
as well as for the approval of some inflated labor claims. On
April 2, Sammy Dev, the owner of Object Foundry who paid the
kickbacks, plead guilty to violating the Anti-Kickback Act of
1986 and then aiding and assisting in the filing of a false
corporate income tax return. See, USAO
|9:30 AM - 3:30 PM. The George Washington University Virginia
Campus will host a symposium titled "Privacy in the
Information Age." See, agenda.
Location: The George Washington University Virginia Campus
20101 Academic Way, Ashburn, Virginia (at University Center,
Route 7, one mile west of Route 28).
12:30-1:30 PM. FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott- Roth will
speak to an AARP group. Location: Northeastern Presbyterian
Church, Washington DC.
Deadline to file comments with the FCC regarding
Report [101 pages in PDF] on the possible use of spectrum
in the 2500-2690 MHz band for Third Generation (3G)
wireless systems. See, notice
in Federal Register, April 11, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 70, at Pages
18740 - 18741. The report, dated March 30, 2001, is titled
"Final Report: March 30, 2001: Spectrum Study of the
2500-2690 MHz Band: The Potential for Accommodating Third
Generation Mobile Systems". See also, executive
summary of report.
Deadline to file comments with the FCC in response
to its notice
requesting comments to "update and refresh the
record" on issues raised in its Computer III Further
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, originally issued on
January 30, 1998. See, Federal Register, March 15, 2001, Vol.
66, No. 51, at Pages 15064 - 15065.
Deadline to submit comments to the USTR
regarding the Antidumping Act of 1916. Following
complaints by Japan and the EC, WTO dispute settlement panels,
and the WTO Appellate Body, found that this statute is
inconsistent with U.S.'s obligations under the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and the Agreement on
Implementation of Article VI of GATT 1994. See, notice
in the Federal Register, March 19, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 53, at
Pages 15517 - 15518.
|4/13. Friday was the deadline to submit comments to the FCC
in response to its Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in another of its
reexaminations of its old CMRS
spectrum aggregation limits (Rule
20.6), and restrictions on cellular cross ownership
(Rule 22.942). The FCC seeks comment on whether it should
modify its limits on the amount of spectrum that any single
entity may hold in a market and whether it should modify its
restrictions on cross-ownership between cellular telephony
providers located in the same market. See, In the Matter of
2000 Biennial Regulatory Review Spectrum Aggregation Limits
for Commercial Mobile Radio Services, WT Docket No. 01-14. See
in Federal Register, February 12, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 29, Pages
9798 - 9806. See also, text of 47
CFR 20.6 and 47
The Rural Telecommunications Group and the OPASTCO
submitted a joint comment
in which they argued that the reasoning behind both rules is
outdated given the level of competition, and that both should
be eliminated. The National
Telephone Cooperative Association (NTCA), which represents
small and rural local telephone exchanges, stated in its comment
that "if the limits are removed, the public interest will
best be served if the Commission were to impose conditions to
insure that customers in rural areas will have equal access to
Telephone and Data Systems and its subsidiary, U.S.
Cellular Corporation, submitted a comment
in which they argued that the FCC should retain the spectrum
cap, but revise the cellular cross interest rule to allow
non-controlling cross interests comparable to those permitted
under the spectrum cap. WorldCom, which
is a reseller of CMRS, stated in its comment
that "The Commission’s spectrum aggregation limits have
been critical in achieving a more competitive CMRS market,
with at least four facilities-based carriers and a number of
resale carriers serving most population centers. ... The
elimination of the spectrum cap at this time inevitably will
result in further consolidation of the wireless industry and
have a significant negative impact on the competitive CMRS
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