Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
October 23, 2001, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 292.
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Macromedia Sues Adobe for Patent Infringement
10/19. Macromedia filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (NDCal) against Adobe Systems alleging patent infringement. Both Macromedia and Adobe make software products for creating and editing web pages and web sites. Macromedia's products include Dreamweaver, Dreamweaver UltraDev and Fireworks. Adobe makes GoLive. Macromedia alleges in its two count complaint that Adobe infringed two of its patents, U.S. Patent No. 5,845,299, titled "Draw-Based Editor for Web Pages", and U.S. Patent No. 5,911,145, titled "Hierarchical Structure Editor for Web Sites".
Macromedia seeks declarations that Adobe has infringed these two patents, preliminary and permanent injunctions against further infringement, compensatory damages, treble damages for willful infringement, interest and attorneys' fees.
Macromedia is represented by Darryl Woo of the law firm of Fenwick & West. The case was filed in the San Jose Division of the Northern District of California, and is numbered 01-03940 SI (Judge Susan Illston).
New SEC Chairman Addresses Accountants
10/22. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Harvey Pitt gave a speech in Miami Beach, Florida, to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Governing Council in which he touched on reforming the financial disclosure model in light of new technologies and the Internet.
Pitt stated that "It is axiomatic that comprehensible information is the lifeblood of strong and vibrant markets. The time is right for us to step back and rethink our financial disclosure model, with an eye toward simplifying it so that everyone can understand the fundamentals of every company and find absolute comparability from firm to firm. Technology will play a very exciting role in this process.
"As we have seen in the post September 11 world, the Internet is capable of disseminating critical information quickly. It is inherently customized: users can find as much or as little information as they want and quickly. Information is there and it is powerful. In rethinking our existing disclosure system, we should consider how technology can put information into investors' hands more promptly and help investors sort through material in a user friendly way," said Pitt.
This was Pitt's first formal speech as Chairman of the SEC. He used it to reach out to accountants, a group often criticized by former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt. Pitt stated that "I have been privileged to represent this fine organization and each of the Big Five accounting firms that are among its members. Predicated on that experience, I know that the profession is comprised of individuals who are committed to our disclosure system, and who are critical partners with us in making financial disclosures meaningful. Somewhere along the way, accountants became afraid to talk to the SEC, and the SEC appeared to be unwilling to listen to the profession. Those days are ended."
WTO Meeting in Doha Scheduled to Proceed
10/22. World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Mike Moore issued this statement about the WTO's 4th Ministerial Conference, scheduled to take place in Doha, Qatar, on November 9-13: "We are going ahead. I am confident with the planning and preparations here in Doha. If something seismic or catastrophic happens we will reconsider. But we're planning to come here to Doha in just over two weeks time".
More News
10/22. The U.S. Court of Appeals (6thCir) issued its opinion in Herman Miller v. Palazzetti Imports and Exports, a dispute between furniture companies over designs of lounge chairs and ottomans. Plaintiff prevailed in the District Court on its trademark infringement and dilution, unfair competition, and right of publicity claims. The District Court dismissed its trade dress infringement and dilution and false advertising claims. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part.
10/19. A grand jury of the U.S. District Court (CDCal) returned an indictment against Peter Ebel charging production, transportation and possession of child pormography. The evidence was found by U.S. Customs on his PC and CDs when he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from Eastern Europe. See, release.
DOJ Seeks to Block SunGard's Purchase of Comdisco's Availability Solutions
10/22. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DDC) against SunGard and Comdisco seeking to block SunGard's purchase of Comdisco's Availability Solutions business for $825 Million. Comdisco, which has filed for protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, announced the sale on October 12. See, release. Availability Solutions provides disaster protection and relief to keep computer systems accessible in disasters and other disruptions.
SunGard Ch/CEO James Mann said in an October 22 release that "We believe that the government's case is without merit, and we look forward to proving that in court. This transaction is procompetitive, since it will assure that there is a strong independent business continuity vendor to compete against the hardware giants with enhanced services and reduced costs."
Mann added that "in light of the recent attacks on America's infrastructure, it is contrary to public policy for the government to oppose a transaction that obviously will strengthen the ability of SunGard and Comdisco to service the nation's disaster recovery needs. Now more than ever, our country needs a vital and capable business continuity industry. With Comdisco in bankruptcy and its Availability Solutions division continuing to support companies devastated by the terrible events of September 11th, a prompt resolution of this antitrust challenge is critical."
Comdisco filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court (NDIll) in July. The sale of Availability Solutions is also subject to approval by the Bankruptcy Court.
Commerce Secretary Urges Senate to Extend Net Tax Ban
10/22. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans released a statement in which he encouraged the Senate to pass an extension of the moratorium on access taxes and on new and discriminatory Internet taxes. The House passed HR 1552, the Internet Non- Discrimination Act, on October 16 by a unanimous voice vote. This bill extends the current moratorium for two years. The current ban, which was enacted in the 1998 Internet Tax Freedom Act, expired on October 21. Said Evans, "we urge Senators to extend the bipartisan moratorium as soon as possible."
Evans continued: "During the campaign, the President expressed his desire to see a five-year extension of the existing moratorium on multiple or discriminatory Internet taxation, and the continued ban on Internet access taxes. We have reiterated that desire recently. But whether for five years or two, the most important thing is to extend the moratorium. I commend the U.S. House of Representatives for its expeditious handling of this issue, and I look forward to working with Congress on tax simplification efforts. Right now, however, we need to say no to new taxes and extend the Internet moratorium for at least two years. In a time of uncertainty, we must continue to reassure consumers, businesses, and markets that we continue to create the right environment for growth."
DOC Official Discusses Digital Divide
10/18. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Samuel Bodman gave an interview with CCTV in Shanghai, China, in which he addressed information technologies and digital divides. He stated that there "will be a series of individual projects, be they related to preventing the spread of infectious disease, to the very vital programs that APEC is sponsoring on e-commerce and on educating the citizens of this region about the opportunities made available by the Internet and by related information technology. Attacking this whole question of the digital divide such that the poorest person will have an opportunity to join in the Internet revolution, if you will, and have an opportunity to improve his or her life. And that's really what it's all about." See, transcript.
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Tuesday, Oct 23
The U.S. Capitol is scheduled to re-open. But, neither the Senate nor House office buildings will be open. The Senate is scheduled to reconvene at 9:30 AM, and resume consideration of HR 2506, the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. The House is scheduled to reconvene at 12:30 PM.
10:00 AM. FCC Chairman Michael Powell will hold a press conference. Location: FCC Meeting Room, 12th Street Level, 445 12th Street SW, Washington DC.
Wednesday, Oct 24
10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection is scheduled to hold a hearing titled "Challenges Facing the Federal Trade Commission." FTC Chairman Timothy Muris will be the only witness. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The FCC will hold a public forum on the Commission Registration System (CORES) and FCC Registration Number. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Commission Meeting Room, Washington DC.
2:00 PM. The Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information is scheduled to hold a hearing titled "The World's Most Wanted Terrorists - Who Are They and What Do They Want?" Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
2:30 - 4:30 PM. Roe Hemenway, Manager of Optical Network Equipment Research at Corning's Sullivan Park research facility, will give a presentation on optical fiber communications. See, FCC release. Location: TW-C305, Commission Meeting Room, FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington DC.
Deadline to submit comments to the FTC's Bureau of Competition regarding AOL Time Warner's requests for approval of two alternative cable broadband ISPs. On September 26 and 24, AOLTW submitted two motions to the FTC titled "Motion for Approval of Non Affiliated ISP and Alternative Cable Broadband ISP Service Agreement". AOLTW is required, pursuant to  II.A.2 of the FTC's Decision and Order [PDF] approving the merger of AOL and Time Warner, dated April 17, 2001, to enter into such agreements, and obtain FTC approval. The FTC published a redacted version of the motion [PDF] regarding AOLTW's agreement with Internet Junction Corp. and a  redacted version of the motion [PDF] regarding AOLTW's agreement with New York Connect.Net, Ltd.
Thursday, Oct 25
8:30 - 10:00 AM. Harold Furchtgott-Roth and others will hold an informal discussion titled "The Telecommunications Sector in a Slowing Economy". RSVP to Veronique Rodman at 202 862-4871 or Location: American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th Street, NW, 11th Floor Conference Room, Washington DC.
9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing to examine promoting broadband, focusing on securing content and accelerating transition to digital television. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.
9:30 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet is scheduled to hold a legislative hearing on HR 2417, the Dot Kids Domain Name Act of 2001. Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee might hold an executive business meeting. Room 226, Dirksen Building.
12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Common Carrier Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The speakers will be Tamara Preiss, Blair Levin, and Jonathan Askin. The topic will be "Perspectives on Local Competition and Local Competitors". RSVP to Naja Wheeler. Location: Wiley Rein & Fielding, 1750 K Street, 10th Floor, Washington DC.
Deadline to reply submit comments to the FCC in its rule making proceeding regarding locating spectrum bands below 3 Ghz for possible reallocation for Third Generation (3G) wireless services, and for other purposes. (ET Docket Nos. 00-258 and 95-18 and IB Docket No. 99-81.) See, notice in Federal Register.
Deadline to submit reply comments to the FCC in its rule making proceeding regarding permitting Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) operators flexibility to use their spectrum for land based transmitters. (IB Docket No. 01-185, ET Docket No. 95-18.) See, notice in Federal Register.
Friday, Oct 26
9:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion titled "What Should the Government Do about the Transition to Digital Television?" The participants will be Harold Furchtgott-Roth (AEI), Stanley Besen (Charles River Associates), Thomas Hazlett (AEI), Bruce Owen (Economists Incorporated), Edward Fritts (NAB), Robert Sachs (NCTA), Gary Shapiro (CEA), Richard Wiley (Wiley Rein & Fielding), and Gregory Sidak (AEI). Location: Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, 1150 17th Street, NW, Washington DC.
11:00 AM. The Heritage Foundation will host a panel discussion titled "How Internet Based School Report Cards are Revolutionizing Educational Accountability." The speakers will be Bill Owens (Governor of Colorado), Eugene Hickok (Undersecretary of Education), and Tom Hinton (Heritage). Location: 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington DC.