Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
June 19, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 211.
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Supreme Court Grants Cert In Festo
6/18. The Supreme Court of the U.S. granted certiorari in Festo v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki (aka SMC Corp). See, Order List [PDF], at page 2. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its divided en banc opinion on November 29, 2000, narrowing the doctrine of equivalents, which prevents an accused infringer from avoiding liability for infringement by changing only minor or insubstantial details of a claimed invention while retaining the invention's essential identity. (Supreme Court Docket No. 00-1543.)
Group One v. Hallmark
6/15. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Group One v. Hallmark Cards, a patent infringement and trade secrets case. On summary judgment, the District Court ruled the patent in suit was invalid pursuant to the on sale bar, 35 U.S.C.  102(b). The Appeals Court affirmed on the state law trade secrets claim, but reversed as to the on sale bar. (Federal Circuit opinions are available from its web site.)
Audio Fingerprinting
6/18. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and IFPI announced that they will issue a Request For Information (RFI) inviting the owners of audio fingerprinting technologies to make them known and available for evaluation. Audio fingerprinting technology can identify music based on its content, and hence, assist in the protection of copyrighted music on the Internet. The two groups further stated that submissions of information regarding these technologies will be due by July 13, 2001 and the initial evaluation may be completed by the end of September. See, RIAA release.
People
6/18. Timothy Muris had his public ceremonial swearing in as Chairman of the FTC.
6/18. Breton Bocchieri joined the Los Angeles office of the law firm of Perkins Coie as a partner. He was previously a partner at Arter Hadden. He focuses on intellectual property litigation. See release.
New Documents
Grassley: speech re new round of trade negotiations and granting the President trade promotion authority, 6/18 (HTML, Grassley).
FTC: complaint in FTC v. Rhinopoint, 6/1 (HTML, FTC).
FCC: report to Congress re ORBIT Act, 6/15 (PDF, FCC).
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Trade Promotion Authority
6/18. Sen. Charles Grassley (D-IA) gave a speech in Washington DC to the Global Business Dialogue Conference on the World Trade Organization. He advocated launching a new round of multilateral trade negotiations: "A new round will also allow the world to deal with many new issues which have emerged over the last decade on a global scale." He also said that Congress should grant the President trade promotion authority, formerly known as "fast track" authority. He stated that "The U.S. Constitution gives authority over international trade to the U.S. Congress. Trade Promotion Authority is a way for Congress to assert Constitutional authority over the trade agenda. It lays out specific negotiating objectives that the executive branch must meet in order to bring the agreement back under expedited procedures. Trade Promotion Authority requires intense consultation and notification procedures. It provides a legislative check on the President's ability to negotiate. It provides greater certainty to our executive branch negotiators. It provides greater certainty to Congress that its intent is being followed. And, it provides greater certainty to our trading partners that any agreement reached will get timely consideration and will not be ripped apart by the U.S. Congress."
ORBIT Act Report
6/15. The FCC sent its annual report [PDF] to Congress on progress made in achieving the goals of the Open-market Reorganization for the Betterment of International Telecommunications (ORBIT) Act. The Act seeks "to promote a fully competitive global market for satellite communication services for the benefit of consumers and providers of satellite services and equipment by fully privatizing the intergovernmental satellite organizations, INTELSAT and Inmarsat". The report concludes that "policy goals regarding the promotion of a fully competitive global market for satellite communications services are being met ... ."
FTC Obtains Preliminary Injunction Against Rhinopoint.com
6/1. The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (NDIll) against New Millennium Concepts, dba rhinopoint.com alleging deceptive acts or practices in violation of 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a).
The complaint alleges that defendant falsely represented that consumers who signed up as members of rhinopoint.com, by paying an initial setup fee and disclosing personal information on the member profile form, would receive monthly marketing surveys and would be reimbursed for their monthly Internet access charges after completing the monthly surveys. The complaint further alleged that the defendant collected about $500,000 in set-up fees and obtained consumers' personal information, but did not follow up with marketing surveys or pay Internet access fees for most of the consumers. In addition, the Court entered a stipulated preliminary injunction order that prohibits misrepresentations, freezes the defendants' assets, and bars the use of the consumer data, pending trial. See also, FTC release.
EU Data Directive
6/18. The European Commission stated that it "has adopted a Decision setting out standard contractual clauses to ensure adequate safeguards for personal data transferred from the European Union to countries outside the EU." See, EU release.
Tuesday, June 19
The House will meet at 12:30 PM for morning hour and 2:00 PM for legislative business. No recorded votes are expected before 6:00 PM. No tech bills are on the agenda.
7:30 AM - 3:30 PM. The USTA will host a conference on the FCC's Universal Service Rural Task Force Order. Location: Washington Dulles Airport Marriott Dulles, VA. See, USTA notice.
9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on local phone competition. The scheduled witnesses are Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Michael Armstrong (AT&T), Margaret Greene (BellSouth), Royce Holland, (Allegiance Telecom), Clark McLeod (McLeod USA), David Rolka (Rhoads & Sinon), Dave Sullivan (State Senator, Illinois), and Gene Kimmelman (Consumers Union). Location: Room 253, Russell Building.
12:00 NOON. The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will host a lunch panel discussion titled "Wireless Privacy and the Mobile Internet". The panelists will be Robert Petit (Wiley Rein & Fielding), James Dempsey (CDT), John Collins (Mobility Technologies), Marci Weisler (Vindigo), Becky Richards (TRUSTe), and Jonas Niehardt (Qualcomm). RSVP to Danielle at RSVP@netcaucus.org 202-638-4370. Location: Room 2168 (Gold Room), Rayburn Building.
Wednesday, June 20
9:30 AM. The FCC will hold a meeting. The agenda includes two items. The FCC will consider a Notice of Inquiry seeking information and comment for the Eighth Annual Report to Congress on the status of competition in the market for the delivery of video programming. The FCC will also consider a Sixth Report concerning the status of competition in the commercial mobile wireless industry. Location: FCC, Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C305 (Commission Meeting Room), Washington DC.
9:30 AM. The Senate Finance Committee will hold the first of two days of hearings on granting the President trade promotion authority. Location: Room 215, Dirksen Building.
Location Change. 10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Telecom Subcommittee will hold a hearing on campaign finance reform proposals impacting broadcasters, cable operators and satellite providers. Location: Room 2322, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM. The USITC will hold a public forum on issues relating to electronic filing and maintenance of documents. Location: Room 101, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436. See, notice.
10:30 AM. The House Education and Workforce Committee's Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness will hold a hearing on HR 1992, the Internet Equity and Education Act of 2001. Location: Room 2175, Rayburn Office Building . The scheduled witnesses are  Stanley Ikenberry (American Council on Education), Joseph DiGregorio (Georgia Tech), Richard Gowen (South Dakota School of Mines and Technology), and Omer Waddles (ITT Educational Services).
12:00 NOON. FTC Commissioner Sheila Anthony will speak at the American Council of Life Insurers e-Business Conference. Location: J.W. Marriott, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
12:00 NOON. The Internet Freedom Rally will host a press conference. Location: Zenger Room, National Press Club, Washington DC.
Deadline to submit comments to the FCC in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding Reform of Access Charges Imposed by Competitive Local Exchange Carriers.