Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
September 28, 2001, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 275.
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Sen. Wyden Proposes NET Guard
9/26. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) proposed forming an National Emergency Technology Guard during a speech in the Senate. Sen. Wyden is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Chairman of its Science, Technology, and Space Subcommittee.
He stated that "It seems to me that what this country needs is essentially a technology equivalent of the National Guard, an emergency technology guard -- I have been calling it in my mind Net Guard, or a national emergency technology guard -- that in times of crisis would be in a position to mobilize the Nation's information technology, or IT, community to action quickly, just as the National Guard is ready to move during emergencies."
He elaborated that "A national volunteer organization of trained and well-coordinated units of information technology professionals from our leading technology companies ought to be in a position to stand at ready with the designated computer equipment, satellite dishes, wireless communicators, and other equipment to quickly recreate and repair compromised communications and technology infrastructure."
He also stated that "I intend to use the subcommittee that I chair of the full Commerce Committee that is chaired by Senator Hollings to initiate a dialog among congressional, corporate, military, and nonprofit leaders to begin a new effort to mobilize information technology in times of crises."
Federal Circuit Reverses in Loral v. Matsushita
9/21. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Loral Fairchild v. Matsushita Electrical, a patent infringement case involving invalidity for obviousness.
Loral filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (EDNY) against Japanese electronics manufacturers and their U.S. distributors alleging infringement of claim 1 of its U.S. Patent No. 3,931,674, titled "Self aligned CCD element including two levels of electrodes and method of manufacture therefor". CCDs, or charge-coupled devices, are used in electronic cameras to produce an electrical signal representing the image that is focused in it, which signal is then processed and displayed on a video monitor.
Defendants moved for summary judgment on the grounds that claim 1 is invalid as obvious for having been disclosed in a journal article authored by Darrel Erb in 1973. The District Court held that there was no genuine issue as to the status of the Erb reference as prior art, and that claim 1 was obvious in light of it.
The Appeals Court held that the grant of summary judgment was improper because the evidence raised a genuine issue as to whether those at Loral reduced the claimed invention to practice prior to the publication of the Erb article. It reversed and remanded.
Copyright Office Extends Deadline
9/27. The Copyright Office (CO) extended its deadline to submit comments on its proposed amendments to the regulations governing the content and service of certain notices on the copyright owner of a musical work. The notice is served or filed by a person who intends to use the work to make and distribute phonorecords, including by means of digital phonorecord deliveries, under a compulsory license, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 115. The new deadline is October 12. See, original notice in Federal Register, August 28, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 167, Page 45241 - 45245. See also, notice extending deadline, in Federal Register, Thursday, September 27, Vol. 66, No. 188.
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Bush Addresses Anti Terrorism Bill
9/27. President Bush gave a speech at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, in which he referenced the Administration's Anti Terrorism Act of 2001 [PDF]. The bill would increase the electronic surveillance authority of law enforcement and intelligence agencies, among other things. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft seek passage of the bill on an expedited basis.
Bush stated: "I intend to continue to work with Congress to make sure that our law enforcement officials at home have got the tools necessary -- obviously, within the confines of our Constitution -- to make sure the homeland is secure; to make sure America can live as peacefully as possible; to make sure that we run down every threat, take serious every incident. And we've got to make sure, as well, that those who work for the nation overseas have got the best available technologies and the best tools and the best funding possible."
Fed Circuit Rules in BTG v. Genentech
9/27. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Bio-Technology General v. Genentech, a patent infringement case involving the issue of lack of enablement.
Genentech is the assignee of U.S. Patent No. 4,601,980, titled "Microbial expression of a gene for human growth hormone". The jury answered "NO" to the question "Has BTG proven by clear and convincing evidence that the '980 patent did not enable a scientist skilled in the art in July 1979 to make any mature human growth hormone of 191 amino acids?" Nevertheless, the District Court granted BTG's motion for judgment as a matter of law that the patent is invalid for lack of enablement. The Appeals Court reversed the judgment of invalidity and remanded for further proceedings with respect to infringement.
7th Circuit Rules in Trademark Case
9/27. The U.S. Court of Appeals (7thCir) issued its opinion in Packman v. Chicago Tribune, a trademark and unfair competition case.
Diana Packman holds federal and Illinois trademarks for the phrase "the joy of six," for use in relation to football and basketball games. The Chicago Tribune published a newspaper that ran front page headlines with the phrase "The Joy of Six". Front Page News produced t-shirts that reproduced this front page. Packman filed a complaint in U.S. District Court against the Chicago Tribune and Front Page News alleging trademark infringement under 15 U.S.C. 1114, unfair competition under 15 U.S.C. 1125(a), and trademark infringement under Illinois law, in connection with the reproduction of the Chicago Tribune front page on t-shirts. The District Court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on the grounds of fair use, and absence of a likelihood of confusion of products. The Appeals Court affirmed.
7th Circuit Reverses in Goss Graphics v. DEV
9/27. The U.S. Court of Appeals (7thCir) issued its opinion in Goss Graphics v. DEV Industries, a theft of trade secrets case. However, the issue on appeal involved dismissal of suits, with leave to reinstate, on the grounds that they are likely to settle. In this case, the District Court dismissed the case, and later refused to reinstate after the failure of settlement negotiations. The Appeals Court reversed.
Judge Posner wrote that "We have repeatedly criticized the practice of dismissing suits before they have been concluded, with leave to reinstate the suit." He continued that "the district judge's annoyance at the parties' failure to settle was not a valid ground for killing the plaintiff's suit. Federal courts do have authority to require parties to engage in settlement negotiations ... but they have no authority to force a settlement. ... If parties want to duke it out, that's their privilege."
More Documents
CERT: prepared testimony of Rich Pethia for the House Government Reform Committee on cyber attacks, 9/26 (HTML, CERT).
GAO: prepared testimony of Joel Willemssen on cyber attacks, 9/26 (PDF, GAO).
Friday, Sept 28
There will be no votes in the House. The Senate will meet in pro forma session only.
CANCELLED. 10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The FCC's WRC-03 Advisory Committee will hold a meeting to continue preparations for the 2003 World Radiocommunication Conference. Location: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C305, Washington DC. See, notice in Federal Register, September 7, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 174, at Pages 46793 - 46794.
Extended deadline for submitting comments and notices of intent to participate in a copyright arbitration royalty panel proceeding to the Copyright Office regarding its proposed regulations that will govern the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) collective when it functions as the designated agent receiving royalty payments and statements of accounts from nonexempt, subscription digital transmission services which make digital transmissions of sound recordings, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 114. See, notice [PDF] in Federal Register, September 21, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 184, at page 48648.
Deadline to submit rebuttal comments to the USTR in its investigation of the intellectual property laws and practices of the government of Ukraine. See, notice in Federal Register, September 24, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 185, at Page 48898. Location: Office of the USTR, 1724 F Street, NW, Rooms 1 and 2, Washington DC.
Monday, October 1
The House will not be in session.
9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear oral argument in AT&T Wireless Services v. FCC, No. 00-1304. Judges Edwards, Rogers and Tatel will preside. Location: 333 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington DC.
2:00 PM. Timothy Muris, Chairman of the FTC, and lawyers and investigators from FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection will hold a press conference to announce an Internet fraud enforcement initiative. Location: FTC Internet lab, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC.
Tuesday, October 2
The House will meet at 12:30 PM for morning hour, and at 2:00 PM for legislative business. There may be votes after 6:00 PM on bills considered under suspension of the rules.
The Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral argument in NCTA v. Gulf Power (No. 00-832) and FCC v. Gulf Power (No. 00-843), consolidated. See, calendar [PDF].
10:00 AM. The Senate Banking Committee will hold an oversight hearings to examine the activities of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee. The scheduled witnesses are Donald Evans (Secretary of Commerce), John Robson (P/Ch of the Export-Import Bank), Hector Barreto (Administrator of the SBA), Peter Watson (P/CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation), and Thelma Askey (Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency). Location: Room 538, Dirksen Building.
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will continue its hearing on homeland defense matters. (This hearing began on September 25. Attorney General John Ashcroft testified regarding the Administration's Anti Terrorism Act of 2001.) Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will preside. Location: Room 216, Hart Building.
12:00 NOON. The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will host a panel discussion on electronic surveillance issues. Lunch will be served. RSVP to Megan Kinnaird or Catherine Parsons at 202-638-4370. Location: Reserve Officers Association, One Constitution Ave, NE, Washington DC. The speakers will be Viet Dinh (Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy), John Podesta (Georgetown University), James Dempsey (Center for Democracy and Technology), and Bruce Heiman (Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds).
Chamber Names New Chief Lobbyist
9/27. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce named Rolf Lundberg to head its lobbying efforts before the U.S. Congress. He previously worked for Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS), and the Senate Finance Committee, as counsel on international trade and tax issues. See, release.