Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
June 5, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 201.
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HP Settles Pitney Bowes Patent Suit for $400M
6/4. Hewlett-Packard and Pitney Bowes settled litigation between the two companies. Pitney Bowes filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DConn) against HP in 1995 alleging infringement of a patent involving print technology. Trial of the case had been scheduled to begin on June 5. Under the terms of the settlement HP will pay Pitney Bowes $400 Million in cash, and the two companies will enter into a technology licensing agreement. The two companies issued substantially identical releases. See, HP release and Pitney Bowes release.
Nevada Legislature Passes Internet Gambling Bill
6/4. The Nevada State Senate approved Assembly Bill 466, a bill to authorize the licensing and operation of Internet gambling, by a vote of 17 to 4. The State Assembly approved the bill on April 25.
People and Appointments
6/4. Thomas Horan replaced Clint Odom as Senior Legal Advisor for the FCC's Cable Services Bureau. Horan was previously an attorney in the Consumer Protection and Competition Division. Odom left the FCC. See, FCC release [PDF].
6/4. Onnig Dombalagian was named as an attorney fellow in the SEC's Division of Market Regulation, Office of Market Supervision. Dombalagian was previously an associate in the Washington DC office of the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb. Annette Nazareth, Director of the Division of Market Regulation, said that Dombalagian "will be a significant asset as the Commission works to update its regulation of the markets in light of recent innovations in technology and new trading instruments." See, SEC release.
6/4. The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) named Kimberly Kuo as its VP for Communications. She previously worked for enfoTrust networks as SVP for  Marketing and Corporate Communications. Prior to that, she was SVP for Investor Relations at Value America. She has also worked as Director of Communications for America Online, and as VP of Marketing and PR for The American Compass. She was also press secretary to former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS). She also worked on his 1996 presidential campaign, and as Deputy Press Secretary for Vice Presidential Candidate Jack Kemp. See, release.
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AT&T Sues Microsoft for Patent Infringement
6/4. AT&T filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (SDNY) against Microsoft alleging patent infringement. The patent in suit is U.S. Patent No. RE 32,580, a reissue of U.S. Patent No. 4,472,832. The AT&T web site states that "This patent revolutionized speech coding by dramatically reducing transmission rates for high-quality speech." It further states that "The patent for the digital speech coder was issued in 1984 and reissued in 1988 to Bishnu Atal, an AT&T Labs technology director and AT&T Fellow. Widely used by digital cellular systems today, Atal's invention revolutionized speech coding by dramatically reducing transmission rates for high-quality speech." See, AT&T summary.
FEC Annual Report Addresses Regulation of Internet Speech
6/4. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) issued its Annual Report 2000 [99 pages in PDF]. The report addresses Internet issues at page 26-28. The report reviews seven previously published advisory opinions issued during 2000. It also contains a brief statement that the FEC has not ruled out conducting a rule making proceeding regarding regulation of speech on the Internet.
The FEC issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on November 1, 1999 stating that it was examining many questions regarding application of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) to activity on the Internet. This NOI revealed that the FEC was considering treating common activities such as email and hyperlinking as political contributions or expenditures under the FECA, and hence subject to FEC regulation, reporting requirements, and/or contribution limits. The FEC received over 1,000 comments in response to its NOI. Almost all opposed any FEC action. Following this response, the FEC took no further action. In particular, it did not commence a rule making proceeding. See, TLJ stories: FEC to Review Campaign Activity on the Internet (November 8, 1999), Citizens Urge FEC to Stay Away from the Internet (January 12, 2000), Parties, Corporations, and Unions File Comments with the FEC (January 13, 2000), and Groups File Comments with FEC about Campaign Activity on the Internet (January 13, 2000).
The FEC's just released Annual Report 2000 comments on this proceeding. It states as follows: "Status of Rulemaking. Although the Commission has issued a number of advisory opinions on the application of the law to Internet activity, many issues remain unanswered. In 2000, the Commission reviewed and analyzed some 1,200 comments that it received in response to a 1999 Notice of Inquiry on the use of the Internet in campaigning. These comments will help the agency decide whether to proceed with further rulemaking on this subject."
Antitrust News
6/4. The U.S. Court of Appeals (4thCir) issued its opinion in Microbix v. Biowhittaker, a private antitrust action. Microbix filed a complaint against Biowhittaker in U.S. District Court (DMd) in 1997 alleging violation of 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, and asserting various state law claims. The District Court granted summary judgment to the defendants on all claims. The Appeals Court affirmed in an "unpublished" opinion.
Today
The House will meet at 2:00 PM for legislative business. The House is likely to consider several non technology related matters under suspension of the rules. The Senate will reconvene at 12:00 NOON.
11:00 AM. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) will hold a press conference to announce their introduction of the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act, a bill that would allow federal trial and appellate judges to permit cameras in courtrooms. The bill would also direct the Judicial Conference, the federal courts' principal policy making body, to draft non-binding guidelines that judges can refer to in making a decision pertaining to the coverage of a particular case. Location: West Entrance, Perimeter Sidewalk of the Supreme Court, Washington DC.
1:00 - 3:00 PM. The American Enterprise Institute will host a book event titled Privacy in Perspective. The author and speaker will be Fred Cate, an AEI Visiting Scholar and Indiana University Law School professor. Location: American Enterprise Institute, Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, 1150 17th Street, NW, Washington DC.
2:00 PM. The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on HR 1542, the Tauzin Dingell bill. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building. 
Evening. The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) will hold its 28th annual National Inventor of the Year Award ceremony on Capitol Hill. The award will be presented by Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), chairman of the House Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee. For information call the IPO office at 202-466-2396.
Wednesday, June 6
The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business.
The IPO will hold a day long conference on Corporate IP Management. Location: the new Ritz-Carlton in Washington DC. For information call the IPO office at 202-466-2396.
9:00 - 11:30 AM. The President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee will hold a closed meeting. Location: Department of State, Washington DC. See, notice in Federal Register, April 20, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 77, at Pages 20336 - 20337.
10:00 AM. The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies will hold a hearing on proposed budget estimates for FY 2002 for the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science Technology Policy. Location: Room 138, Dirksen Building.
2:00 PM. The House Judiciary Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the Justice Department. Attorney General John Ashcroft will testify. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.
2:00 - 4:00 PM. The House Science Committee will hold a hearing titled NSF FY02 Budget Request: Research and Related Activities. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.