Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
April 25, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 173.
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Antitrust
4/23. The U.S. Court of Appeals (3rdCir) issued its opinion in Eichorn v. AT&T, Lucent, NCR and Texas Pacific Group, a case regarding whether a no-hire agreement violated the Sherman Act. In 1995 AT&T decided to sell one of its affiliates, Paradyne, a manufacturer of network access products for the telecom industry. To make Paradyne more attractive to buyers, AT&T adopted a human resource plan that placed restrictions on Paradyne employees' ability to transfer to any other division of AT&T. Then, AT&T reorganized into three companies, AT&T, Lucent, and NCR. AT&T transferred ownership of Paradyne to Lucent. Paradyne employees, now employed by Lucent, were precluded from seeking re-employment at any other AT&T division or affiliate after this trivestiture. Then, Lucent sold Paradyne to Texas Pacific Group, after agreeing that it would not hire any Paradyne employee or consultant whose annual income exceeded $50,000 for eight months. Plaintiffs, who are former employees of Paradyne, filed a complaint alleging violation of the Sherman Act and the ERISA. The District Court ruled against the plaintiffs on both counts. The Court of Appeals upheld the District Court on the antitrust claim, but reversed on the ERISA claim.
Trademark
4/24. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion in Far Out Productions v. Oskar, a trademark infringement case. Far Out Productions filed a complaint against Howard Scott, an original member of the musical group WAR, and other artists, alleging infringement of the federally registered trademark WAR (Trademark Registration No. 1,169,651). Scott counterclaimed alleging fraud, conversion, and trademark infringement. Harold Brown, another original member of the group, filed a separate complaint against Far Out and its president, Jerry Goldstein, alleging that they had obtained the trademark fraudulently. The District Court consolidated the cases, and granted summary judgment to Far Out and Goldstein. The Appeals Court affirmed.
Location Privacy
4/24. The FCC received two reply comments in its proceeding on location privacy for mobile devices. See, comment of the CTIA [PDF] and comment of Cingular [PDF]. Both want the FCC to conduct a rule making proceeding. This proceeding concerns privacy rules for cell phones, PDAs, in car map and traffic services, wireless tollbooth collection systems, Blackberry e-mail pagers, Bluetooth enabled devices, and anything with an embedded GPS chip. The CTIA filed a petition [PDF] with the FCC on Nov. 22, 2000, requesting a rule making proceeding. In response, the FCC issued a Public Notice [PDF] on March 16, 2001 requesting comments on the CTIA's petition. The FCC received a dozen original comments on or before April 6. (See, WT Docket No. 01-72.)
Trade
4/23. WTO Director General Mike Moore gave a speech in Berlin, Germany, in which he again advocated a new trade round. He also stated that "WTO members will never agree to use trade sanctions to enforce labour standards. It is a line in the sand that developing countries will not cross. They fear that such provisions could be abused for protectionist purposes. They also believe such matters are more appropriately considered in other international fora." President Bush, who is seeking fast track trade negotiating authority from the Congress, is engaged in a debate with some members of Congress over whether such authority should extend to labor standards.
New Documents
USCA: opinion in Eichorn v. AT&T re no hire agreements and antitrust, 4/24 (TXT, USCA).
USCA: opinion in Far Out Productions v. Oskar re trademark infringement, 4/24 (PDF, USCA).
Moore: speech re new round of trade negotiations, 4/23 (HTML, WTO).
FTC: report re marketing violent electronic games, movies and songs, 4/24 (PDF, FTC).
Bells
4/24. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the Chairman and Ranking Democrat on the House Commerce Committee, reintroduced their bill to provide interLATA data relief to regional Bell companies. The bill would exempt long distance data services from the requirements of Section 271. The bill is titled "The Broadband Deployment Act of 2001." Tauzin and Dingell describe their bill as a way to promote the deployment of broadband Internet access. Competitive local exchange carriers and long distance companies criticize the bill. The previous version of the bill (HR 2420, 106th Congress) had 224 cosponsors. The House Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the bill on April 25; it will mark up the bill on April 26. See also, CompTel release, Sprint release, and USTA release.
4/23. Verizon filed a Section 271 petition with the FCC requesting permission to provide long distance service in Connecticut. Verizon provides phone service to only two communities in the state -- Byram and Greenwich. See, release.
4/24. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion [PDF] in Auburn v. Qwest, a case regarding who bears the expense for a facility relocation made necessary by right of way improvements.
4/24. A "structural separation" bill was introduced in the Minnesota legislature. It would require Qwest to separate its retail and wholesale operations. AT&T praised the bill. See, AT&T release. Qwest condemned the bill. See, Qwest release.
Violent Video Games
4/20. Linda Sanders and others filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DColo) against 25 companies involved in the production or distribution of violent video games. Plaintiffs, who are represented by John DeCamp of Lincoln, Nebraska, seek class action status to sue on behalf of victims of Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. The defendants include AOL Time Warner, Nintendo, Sony Computer Entertainment, ID Software, Atari, Sega, Virgin Interactive Media, Activision, and GT Interactive Software.
4/24. The FTC released a follow-up report [PDF] to its September 2000 Report titled "Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children." The follow-up report states that "it appears that the motion picture and electronic game industries have taken a number of significant steps to limit marketing violent R-rated films and M-rated games to children and to provide parents with more information regarding the content of their products. In contrast, the music recording industry has not taken any visible steps with respect to explicit-content labeled music." The FTC will write a third report in the fall of 2001.
Nominations & Trade
4/24. The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on several nominations. See, prepared statements of nominees, Grant Aldonas (Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade), Kenneth Juster (Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration), Maria Cino (Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service), and Robert Hubbard (Council of Economic Advisors).
Kenneth Juster stated in his testimony that "It is essential to the health of our nation's industrial and technological base that U.S. companies be able to export their goods, services, and technology without being hindered by arbitrary and unnecessary export controls." However, he added that "I fully appreciate the critical importance of protecting this country's national security by ensuring that our sensitive technologies do not fall into the wrong hands." 
Tech Education
4/24. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) introduced the Technology Education and Training Act of 2001 (TETA). The bill would provide tax credits to businesses that train workers in information technology skills. The bill is cosponsored by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH). See, Conrad release.
Today
10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee will hold a hearing "The Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001." This is the Tauzin Dingell bill to exempt interLATA data 271 requirements. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building. The scheduled witnesses are:
  Douglas Ashton (Bear Stearns).
  James Cicconi (AT&T).
  Joseph Gregori (InfoHighway Comms.).
  James Henry (Greenfield Hill Capital).
  Gordon Hill (EOPENY).
  Paul Mancini (SBC Management Services).
  Clark McLeod (McLeod USA).
  Charles McMinn (Covad).
  Peter Pitsh (Intel).
  Timothy Regan (Corning).
  Thomas Tauke (Verizon).
10:00 AM. The House Science Committee will hold a hearing on the proposed research and development budget for FY 2002. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.
10:15 AM. Outgoing FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky will speak at the American Advertising Federation 2001 Government Affairs Conference. Location: Atlantic Video Stores, 650 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington DC.
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM. The American Enterprise Institute will host a panel discussion titled Instant Messaging and the AOL - Time Warner Merger. The speakers will be Gregory Sidak of the AEI and Gerald Faulhaber, Chief Economist of the FCC. See, online registration page. Location: Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, AEI, 1150 17th St., NW, Washington DC.
Deadline to submit comments in response to the FCC's request for comments [PDF] on five reports that it has received regarding the potential for ultra-wideband (UWB) transmission systems to cause harmful interference to other radio operations. UWB devices, which use very narrow pulses with very wide bandwidths, have potential applications in both radar and communications technologies.
Crime
4/24. The U.S. Court of Appeals (6thCir) issued its opinion in US v. Champion, a sentence appeal. Champion plead guilty to four charges, including use of the Internet to coerce and entice a minor to engage in a sexual act in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2422(b), and sexually exploiting a minor in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2251(a). The victim was a 13 year old girl. He appealed the District Court's determination, during sentencing, that his offence was a "crime of violence". The Appeals Court affirmed.
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