|4/18. The FTC filed three
complaints in U.S. District Courts alleging unfair or
deceptive practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act,
and using false pretenses to obtain customer financial
information from financial institutions under the Gramm Leach
Bliley Act. Each defendant offered for sale through their web
sites, and by other means, consumer financial information
obtained illegally through the practice known as pretexting.
[PDF] in FTC v. Guzzetta dba Smart Data Systems (EDNY).
[PDF] in FTC v. Information Search Inc. and David Kacala (DMd).
[PDF] in FTC v. Garrett (SDTex).
The FTC's decision was controversial. Two of the five
Commissioners, Orson Swindle and Thomas Leary, opposed the
filing of these lawsuits. See, Swindle
dissent and Leary
statement. See also, FTC release.
|4/17. Rep. Billy
Tauzin (R-LA), Chairman of the House Commerce Committee,
to the several local telecommunications companies requesting
detailed information related to their costs and revenues
associated with servicing ISPs. The letters focus on the
practice of reciprocal compensation. Section 251(b)(5)
of the Telecom Act of 1996 provides that competing companies
must pay certain charges to one another for calls that
terminate on each other's networks. The letters request
information regarding the reciprocal compensation revenue
received by certain companies, including the amount, its
percentage of total revenue, the percentage attributable to
ISP bound traffic, and costs associated with generating it.
in Howard Gunty Profit Sharing Plan v. Superior Court re class
action litigation, 4/18 (PDF, CCA).
re cable, First Amendment, and must carry rules, 4/18 (HTML,
to telecom companies re reciprocal compensation, 4/17 (HTML,
in FTC v. Smart Data Systems, complaint
in FTC v. Information Search Inc., and complaint
in FTC v. Garrett, all re pretexting, 4/18 (PDF, FTC).
securities class action complaint
against Winstar, 4/16 (PDF, Milberg).
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|4/18. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Electro
Scientific v. General Scanning, a patent
infringement case. Electro
Scientific Industries (ESI) filed a complaint in U.S.
District Court (NDCal)
against General Scanning (GS) alleging infringement of U.S.
Patent Nos. 5,265,114
both of which pertain to the use of lasers in the manufacture
of integrated circuits. On summary judgment, the District
Court held that GS literally infringed both patents. At trial,
the jury awarded ESI $13,133,370 in damages for infringement
of the '114 patent, but held the '624 patent invalid. GS then
brought this appeal. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
4/18. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in In Re
Tsutomu Haruna and Sadao Kita. The Court of Appeals
reversed the decision of the U.S. Board of Patent Appeals and
Interferences that upheld the examiner's rejection of the sole
claim in design patent application serial number 29/058,031.
The sole claim of the '031 application is directed to an
"ornamental design for a pre-recorded optical disk." The
examiner rejected the claim as being unpatentable for
|4/18. The California
Court of Appeal issued its opinion
[PDF] in Howard Gunty Profit Sharing Plan v. Superior Court,
a case regarding certification of a class representative in a
state securities class action proceeding. The trial court held
that the Howard Gunty PSP is a "professional
|4/18. Winstar, a
competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) which provides local
and long distance voice, Internet access, and data transport,
filed a Chapter 11 petition for bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy
Winstar Ch/CEO William Rouhana stated that "We expect to
emerge from the Chapter 11 process with a new balance sheet
that has significantly less debt, thereby dramatically
lowering our interest payments and providing us with more
operating flexibility." See, Winstar
4/18. Winstar also filed a complaint in U.S. Bankruptcy Court
(DDel) against Lucent.
The complaint seeks damages for Lucent's alleged breach of its
obligations under its strategic partnership agreement with
Winstar, and specific performance of its alleged contractual
obligations, including the payment of more than $90 million to
Winstar. See, Winstar
4/16. Several plaintiffs filed a complaint
[PDF] in U.S. District Court (SDNY)
against Winstar and several of its officers and directors
alleging violation of federal securities laws. Plaintiffs, who
are represented by the law firm of Milberg Weiss, seek class
action status. Count I alleges violation of § 10(b) of
the Exchange Act, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, by all
defendants. Count II alleges violation of § 20(a) of the
Exchange Act by the individual defendants. Milberg Weiss is a
law firm the specializes in bringing class action lawsuits
against high tech companies. The other class action law firms
that have filed similar complaints include Shalov Stone &
|4/18. Robert Sachs P/CEO of the NCTA
gave a speech
to the Media Institute in Washington DC titled "Cable,
Broadcast and the First Amendment" in which he addressed
"must carry" requirement.
4/17. Novell announced
that it has settled its case against Academic Data Solutions
and its principals, Ezra Natanely and Rachael Natanely. Novell
brought suit in U.S. District Court (EDNY)
against ADS in January of 1999 for copyright and trademark
infringement for distributing counterfeit versions of Novell's
NetWare software, and for using counterfeit Novell labels.
4/18. The ICANN published
in its web site regarding a proposal to change registrar
application fees and annual registrar fixed accreditation
fees. The ICANN will address this proposal on June 3 in a
public forum at its next round of meetings in Stockholm,
|Rep. Mel Watt
|4/18. The U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion
[PDF] in Hunt v. Cromartie, a case regarding the
drawing of boundaries of Congressional districts. The case
will be of great importance for redistricting following the
2000 census, which resulted in some states gaining seats, and
others losing seats. However, it is also noteworthy that the
district at issue in this case, the North Carolina 12th, is
held by Rep. Mel Watt
(D-NC). He is a senior member of the House Judiciary
Committee, and the Ranking Member of its Commercial and
Administrative Law Subcommittee. He has also been a proponent
of legislation protecting the electronic privacy of
individuals from incursions by federal law enforcement
authorities. The Supreme Court upheld the oddly shaped 160
mile long district held by Rep. Watt.
|9:00 AM. FTC Commissioner Thomas Leary will give
informal remarks at the Association of National Advertisers'
Annual Washington Board of Directors Meeting. Location: Four
Seasons Hotel, 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
9:00 AM. The Department of Commerce's Bureau of Export Administration's
Information Systems Technical Advisory Committee (ISTAC)
will hold the second of two days of meetings. The ISTAC
advises the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Export
Administration on technical questions that affect the level of
export controls applicable to information systems equipment
and technology. See, notice
in Federal Register, April 3, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 64, at Page
17683. Location: Hoover Building, Room 3884, 14th Street
between Pennsylvania Ave. & Constitution Ave., NW.,
9:30 AM. The Federal
Communications Commission will hold a meeting.
Location: Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th Street, SW,
Washington DC. The agenda includes:
• Developing a Unified Intercarrier Compensation
Regime. The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking to explore ways of reforming existing intercarrier
• Amendment of Section 73.658(g) of the Commission's
Rules -- The Dual Network Rule (MM Docket No. 00-108). The
Commission will consider a Report and Order resolving the
issues raised in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making.
• Status of the Digital Television Transition. The
Commission will hear a presentation on the status of the
transition from analog to digital television (DTV)
broadcasting and the various actions and proceedings
associated with the transition.
10:00 AM. The Federal Election
Commission will meet to consider its draft advisory
opinion regarding Morgan
Stanley Dean Witter's plans to use a web site to authorize
payroll deductions for political actions committees. MSDW
submitted a Request
for Advisory Opinion [PDF] requesting an opinion that it
is permissible, pursuant to the E-SIGN Act, to use electronic
signatures to authorize payroll deductions for the MSDW
political action committee. The draft advisory opinion permits
the activity, but does not rely upon the E-SIGN Act.
12:00 NOON. The Cato Institute
will host a book forum titled "Are the Crypto Wars Over? Privacy,
Digital Security and the Future of Encryption Policy."
The speakers will be Steven Levy, author of Crypto:
How the Code Rebels Beat the Government -- Saving Privacy in
the Digital Age, and Bruce Schneier, author of Secrets
and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World. Location:
Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
Deadline to submit comments to the SEC on its
proposed amendments to revise rules under the Investment
Company Act of 1940 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940
that permit registered investment companies and registered
investment advisers to preserve required records using
electronic storage media such as magnetic disks, tape, and
other digital storage media, pursuant to the ESIGN
Act. See, notice
in the Federal Register, March 19, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 53, at
Pages 15369 - 15373.