Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
July 10, 2001, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 223.
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RIM Wins Patent Infringement Suit
7/9. The U.S. District Court (NDCal) granted summary judgment to Research in Motion (RIM), maker of the Blackberry wireless e-mail devices, in Glenayre's action for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 5,631,503. The Court found that RIM's products did not infringe the patent in suit, which discloses a battery based power generation technique for use in wireless communication devices. Glenayre stated that it will seek reconsideration by the District Court. See, Glenayre release.
DrKoop Settles Securities Litigation
7/9. announced that it has reached a tentative agreement to settle the consolidated securities class action lawsuit filed against it and several former and current officers and directors in the U.S. District Court (WDTex). It stated that it will pay $4.25 Million. See, drkoop release.
Bush Names New NSTAC Members
7/9. President Bush announced his intent to appoint six people to the President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC): Daniel Burnham (Raytheon Company), Joseph Nacchio (Qwest), Van Honeycutt (Computer Sciences Corporation), Clay Jones (Rockwell Collins), and David Cote (TRW). Duane Ackerman (BellSouth). In addition, Burnham will become Chairman, and Nacchio will become Vice Chairman. The NSTAC was created by President Reagan by Executive Order 12382 in September of 1982. It provides information and advice to the President from the perspective of the telecommunications industry regarding the telecommunications aspects of national security. See, release.
ICANN Report
7/9. The ICANN published in its web site a document titled A Unique, Authoritative Root for the DNS. See also, comment by Stuart Lynn, President and CEO of ICANN.
Dot Kids Domain Bill Introduced
6/28. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced HR 2417, the "Dot Kids Domain Name Act of 2001." The bill would the Secretary of Commerce to enter into agreements with the ICANN for the addition of a new top-level Internet domain to the root system as a location of any material that is harmful to minors.
Another Broadband Bill Introduced
6/28. Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) introduced HR 2401, the "Rural America Digital Accessibility Act". The bill provides for grants and loan guarantees to bring broadband telecommunications services to underserved rural areas.
New Documents
ICANN: A Unique, Authoritative Root for the DNS, 7/9 (HTML, ICANN).
USCA: opinion in Cody v. Weber re prisoners right to use of PCs, 7/9 (PDF, USCA).
USCA: opinion in Columbia v. Krypton re copyright infringement, 7/9 (PDF, USCA).
Shimkus: HR 2417, the Dot Kids Domain Name Act of 2001, 6/28 (HTML, LibCong).
McHugh: HR 2401, the Rural America Digital Accessibility Act, 6/28 (HTML, LibCong).
NCTA: reply brief in NCTA v. Gulf Power Company, 7/6 (PDF, NCTA).
USPTO: NPRM re elimination of continued prosecution application practice as to utility and plant patent applications, 7/9 (HTML, FedReg).
8th Circuit Rules on Prisoner's Use of Computer
7/9. The U.S. Court of Appeals (8thCir) issued its opinion in Cody v. Weber, a case regarding a prisoner's constitutional right of access to the courts in the context of his use of a personal computer and electronic storage media, and searches of his electronic records by prison officials. The Appeals Court held that the prisoner was not entitled to keep his computer.
Background. William Cody has been serving a life sentence for murder in the South Dakota State Penitentiary since 1978. He is now a jailhouse lawyer who occupies his time by filing lawsuits against prison officials, and others. He first acquired a PC in 1982. He has around one hundred computer disks on which he has stored personal and legal data, including communications with real attorneys. In 1996 the prison changed its policy, and required Cody to dispose of his PC. It allowed him to print out files. Cody filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DSD) against prison officials alleging numerous claims. Cody appealed the District Court's summary judgment on three claims: his right to retain his computer; reading of his electronic records by prison officials; and retaliation by prison officials for filing lawsuits.
Prisoner's Use of PC. The District Court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on the claim regarding use of a computer. It held that he was not entitled to continued use of his computer. The Appeals Court affirmed. The issue was not whether a prisoner has a right to use a computer. Rather, Cody argued that since his notes were in electronic format, it would be a denial of his right of access to the courts to deny him access to a computer to access his notes. The Appeals Court, noting that the prison allowed him to print out any files, rejected his argument. It concluded that he suffered no injury, which is a required element of claim for denial of access to the courts.
Search of Electronic Records. The District Court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on the claim regarding unauthorized reading of his computer records on the grounds that there was no actual injury. The Appeals Court reversed, holding that Cody had raised genuine issues of material fact as to whether his records had been searched, and whether he had been injured -- by being disadvantaged in ongoing litigation.
The Court of Appeals also reversed the District Court on the retaliation claim. The opinion was split. Judge Gibson wrote the opinion of the Court; Judge McMillian joined. Judge Beam would have upheld the District Court in full.
9th Circuit Affirms Copyright Infringement Judgment
7/9. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion [PDF] in Columbia v. Krypton, a copyright infringement case. Krypton Broadcasting operated three TV stations that licensed programs from Columbia Broadcasting. Elvin Feltner was its principal. The stations failed to make timely licensing payments. Columbia terminated the licensing agreements. The stations continued to air the programs. Columbia filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (CDCal) against Krypton and Feltner alleging copyright infringement. The District Court found Feltner vicariously and contributorily liable for the copyright infringement committed by the TV stations, and awarded $31.68 Million in statutory damages. Feltner appealed. The Appeals Court affirmed.
7/9. The USPTO published a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding elimination of continued prosecution application (CPA) practice as to utility and plant patent applications. See, Federal Register, July 9, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 131, at Pages 35763 - 35765. The notice stated that the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 enacted provisions for the continued examination of a utility or plant application at the request of the applicant, and therefore, "there no longer appears to be a need for continued prosecution application (CPA) practice as to utility and plant applications. Thus, the Office is proposing to eliminate CPA practice as to utility and plant applications. An applicant for a utility or plant patent may also continue to effectively obtain further examination of the application by filing a continuing application under section 1.53(b). Since RCE practice does not apply to design applications, CPA practice will remain in place for design applications." Written comments must be received on or before September 7, 2001.
Tuesday, July 10
12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The Internet Education Foundation (501(c)(3) affiliated with the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee) will host a panel discussion on the Markle Foundation's study titled "Toward a Framework for Internet Accountability." Lunch will be served. RSVP to Danielle at or 202- 638-4370. The speakers will be Zoe Baird (Markle Foundation), Stan Greenberg (Greenberg Quinlan & Rosner), Adam Thierer (Cato), Lawrence Lessig (Stanford Law School), and Caitlin Halligan (NY Attorney General's Office). Location: Reserve Officers Assoc., One Constitution Ave, NE, Washington DC.
2:00 PM. The House reconvenes following its July 4 recess. The House will consider several non tech related measures under suspension of the rules.
2:00 PM. The House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Trade will hold a hearing on renewal of Normal Trade Relations with the People's Republic of China. Location: Room B-318, Rayburn Building.
Wednesday, July 11
9:30 AM. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearings on S 803, a bill to establish a Federal Chief Information Officer within the Office of Management and Budget. Location: Room 342, Dirksen Building.
9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on Internet privacy. The witnesses are Marc Rotenberg (EPIC), Fred Cate (Indiana Law School), Paul Schwartz (Brooklyn Law School), Paul Misener (Amazon), Hans Brondmo, Les Seagraves (Earthlink), Ira Rubinstein (Microsoft), and Erik Olbetter (Schwab). Location: Room 253, Russell Building.
10:30 AM. The House Science Committee's Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness will meet to mark up HR 1992, the "Internet Equity and Education Act of 2001." Location: Room 2175, Rayburn Building.
12:00 NOON. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled "The Potential for Discrimination in Health Insurance Based on Predictive Genetic Tests." Location: Room 2322, Rayburn Building.
2:00 PM. The Hispanic Council on International Affairs, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Latin American Management Association and the U.S. Mexican Chamber of Commerce will hold a press conference to announce their support for trade promotion authority (formerly known as fast track) and the free trade area of the Americas. For more info, contact Peter Hickman at 301-530-1210. Location: National Press Club, Holeman Lounge, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington DC.
More News
7/9. Webvan, an online grocer, ceased all operations. It stated that it intends to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition.
7/9. Comcast made an offer to acquire AT&T's broadband businesses for 1.0525 Billion shares of Comcast stock, which had a value of $44.5 Billion as of the closing price on Friday June 6. See, Comcast release. AT&T responded that "We have no current plans to sell our Broadband business." See, AT&T release.
7/6. The NCTA filed its reply brief [PDF] with the Supreme Court in NCTA v. Gulf Power Company, the pole attachments case.
7/9. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued an opinion in Hallco v. Foster, a patent infringement action. The Appeals Court vacated and remanded.
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