|Oklahoma Files Criminal Charges Against MCI
8/27. The State of Oklahoma charged WorldCom, Bernie Ebbers, Scott Sullivan, and
other former employees of WorldCom by
[PDF] with felony violations of the Oklahoma Securities Act.
Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson stated in a
release that "It is rare that we name a company in a criminal complaint, but
in this case it is justified ... The decision to commit this fraud was a company
decision. This is not some rogue employee trying to line his own pockets. This
was a conscious decision made for the benefit of the company."
Stasia Kelly, the recently named General Counsel of MCI WorldCom, stated in a
release that "We intend to fully cooperate with the Oklahoma state Attorney General, but we
do not believe this action will impact the bankruptcy process. MCI remains on
track for its confirmation hearing before the federal Bankruptcy Court, which is
scheduled to begin on September 8, 2003."
Kelly added that "Today's action against the company would only punish
our 20 million customers
and 55,000 employees -- 2,000 of which work in Oklahoma. MCI has made tremendous
progress over the past year and we are working hard to put our house in order.
MCI has, and continues to, cooperate with all investigations while implementing
sweeping internal reforms. Our new management team and board of directors --
under the oversight of Corporate Monitor and former SEC Chairman Richard Breeden
-- are committed to doing all the right things to ensure what happened in the
past can never happen again."
|DOJ Submits Its Evaluation of SBC Long Distance
Application for Four States
8/26. The Department
of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division
evaluation [PDF] to the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) regarding SBC's
application to provide in region interLATA services in the states of Illinois,
Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
The DOJ concluded that "Because
serious issues remain concerning SBC's ability to render accurate wholesale
bills, the Department is not in a position to support SBC's application based on
the current record. The Department does not, however, foreclose the
possibility that the Commission may be able to satisfy itself regarding these
issues prior to the conclusion of its review."
The evaluation also addresses "line splitting". The FCC defined
this term in it just released
triennial review order [576 pages in PDF]. It is "the process in which one
competitive LEC provides narrowband voice service over the low frequency portion
of a copper loop and a second competitive LEC provides digital subscriber line
service over the high frequency portion of that same loop."
The evaluation states that "As the Department observed in its
Michigan III Evaluation, line-splitting service to CLECs could provide an
important platform for future broadband competition. The Department, after
reviewing SBC's line-splitting services, expressed concern about SBC's processes
for reconverting a customer from line-splitting back to UNE-platform service,
concluding that the inability of SBC to allow CLECs to re-use loops may place
CLECs at a competitive disadvantage as against SBC when they seek to sell DSL
service. SBC's policy is the same in each of the four states for which SBC has
submitted the application pending before the Commission, and CLECs continue to
raise these concerns. Therefore, for the same reasons discussed in its Michigan
III Evaluation, the Department believes that the Commission should determine
whether SBC's processes provide non-discriminatory access to line-splitting and
See also, DOJ
This is FCC WC Docket No. 03-167.
|Federal Circuit Rules in E-Pass v. 3Com
8/20. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its
opinion [MS Word] in
v. 3Com and Palm, a patent infringement case involving Palm PDAs,
in which the Appeals Court reversed the District Courts summary judgment of
Background. E-Pass Technologies
is the assignee of
U.S. Patent No. 5,276,311, titled "Method and device for simplifying the use
of a plurality of credit cards, or the like".
The abstract states, in part, "In connection with a system for simplifying
the use of a plurality of credit cards, check cards, customer cards, or the
like, it is proposed to provide an electronic multi-function card comprising a
storage accommodating a plurality of individual data sets representing
individual single-purpose cards ..."
Claim 1 of the 311 patent, which is at issue in this case, discloses "A method
for enabling a
user of an electronic multi-function card to select data from a plurality of
data sources such as credit cards, check cards, customer cards, identity cards,
documents, keys, access information and master keys ..."
U.S. Robotics acquired Palm in 1995. Then, 3Com acquired U.S. Robotics (and
Palm) in 1997. In 2000, 3Com spun off Palm as an independent, publicly traded
District Court. E-Pass filed a complaint in U.S.
District Court (NDCal) against 3Com alleging that the handheld personal digital
assistants (PDAs) named Palm Pilots infringed the 311 patent.
The District Court
construed the claim at issue. In particular, it construed the term
"electronic multi-function card" to mean a "device having the width and outer
dimensions of a standard credit card with an embedded electronic circuit
allowing for the conversion of the card to the form and function of at least two
different single-purpose cards".
The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment. The District Court granted
3Com's motion for summary judgment of noninfringement both literally and under
the doctrine of equivalents and denied
E-Pass's motion for summary judgment of infringement under the doctrine of
equivalents. It reasoned that credit cards are much
smaller that Palm Pilots. (See, opinion reported at 222 F. Supp. 2d 1157.)
E-Pass then brought this appeal.
Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals held that the District Court
erred in construing the term "electronic multi-function card" as something of
the size of a credit card. It thus vacated the grant of summary judgment, both
as to literal infringement, and under the doctrine of equivalents, and remanded to the
District Court for further proceedings.
Reaction. E-Pass stated in a
release that "A similar litigation
against Microsoft and Compaq (now Hewlett Packard) in the
U.S. District Court in Texas had been stayed pending the Federal Circuit
decision. The basis for the stay is now over, the decision being binding upon
the Texas court, and it is expected that both the Palm/3Com and Microsoft/Compaq
litigations will resume sometime within the next four to six weeks."
(Parentheses in original.)
E-Pass added that "It is expected that E-pass will be filing additional
patent infringement actions in the not-too distant future."
This case is E-Pass Technologies, Inc. v. 3Com Corporation and Palm, Inc.,
No. 02-1593, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California,
Judge Lowell Jensen presiding.
|9th Circuit Issues Another Opinion in LANS
8/21. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its split
opinion [PDF] in Los
Angeles News Service v. Reuters Television,
another in the series of opinions arising out of the Los Angeles News Service's
(LANS) enforcement of its copyrights in video of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
This opinion, Reuters IV, addresses "whether a news organization may recover actual
damages under the Copyright Act for acts of infringement that mostly occurred
outside the United States."
LANS made and copyrighted video of the riots, including the
beating of Reginald Denny. It sold licenses to rebroadcast to others, including
NBC, which used them on its television program named the Today Show. Visnews
International (USA) is a joint
venture of NBC, Reuters Television, and BBC. NBC transmitted the Today Show
broadcast by fiber link to Visnews in New York. Visnews made a videotape copy,
which it transmitted via satellite to its subscribers in Europe and Africa,
and via fiber link to the New York office of the European Broadcast Union, a
joint venture of Visnews and Reuters. The EBU made another
copy of the works, and transmitted it to Reuters in London, which in
turn distributed the copyrighted works to its own subscribers.
LANS filed a complaint against Reuters Television International, Inc., Reuters
America Holdings, Inc., Reuters America, Inc. and Visnews in U.S. District Court
(CDCal) alleging copyright
Judge O'Scannlain, writing for the majority, concluded that "the Copyright
Act does not provide LANS recovery for actual damages resulting from Reuters's
and Visnews's infringement.
Judge Silverman wrote a sarcastic dissent. He wrote that "In our previous
decision, L.A. News Serv. v. Reuters Television Int’l, Ltd. (Reuters III),
149 F.3d 987 (9th Cir. 1998), we decided the very issue the majority now
re-decides the other way. At that time, we identified the issue
as whether ``a
plaintiff may recover actual damages accruing from the unauthorized exploitation
abroad of copyrighted work infringed in the United States.´´ Id. at 989. We held
that it could."
He continued that "There are any number of ways to compute actual damages. Neither
the Copyright Act, nor our prior decision in
this case, nor any other case, limits the calculation of actual
damages to only the infringer's ill-gotten profits. LANS should have been
allowed to put on its proof of its actual damages, as we previously held it
could. I would remand for a trial on actual damages (just as we did
last time) except
this time, I would add that we really, really mean it."
This case is Los Angeles News Service v. Reuters Television International, Ltd.,
No. 02-56956, an appeal from the U.S. District
Court for the Central District of California, Judge Consuelo Marshall
presiding, D.C. No. CV-95-01073-CBM.
|There will be no issue of the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert on
Labor Day, Monday, September 1, 2003.
|Thursday, August 28
The House is in recess until September 3. Senate is in recess until
September 2. The Supreme Court is in recess until October 6. (The Supreme
Court will meet in special session to hear oral arguments in McConnell v. FEC
on September 8.)
10:00 - 11:45 AM. The American Enterprise Institute
(AEI) will host a panel discussion titled "Is There Any Development in the Doha
Development Agenda?" The speakers will be Michael Finger (AEI),
(University of Maryland), and
Sarath Rajapatirana (AEI). See,
Location: AEI, 12th Floor, 1150 17th Street, NW.
|Monday, September 1
Labor Day. The FCC, USITC and other federal government agencies will be closed.
The National Press Club will be closed.
|Tuesday, September 2
9:30 AM. The Senate will return from its August recess. The Senate will
begin consideration of
the Labor/HHS and Education Appropriations bill.
The Treasury Department's and the
Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) will hold a
public meeting regarding their notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)
regarding regulations that "affect certain taxpayers who participate in the
transfer of stock pursuant to the exercise of incentive stock options and the
exercise of options granted pursuant to an employee stock purchase plan
(statutory options)." See,
notice in the Federal Register, June 9, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 110, at Pages 34344 - 34370.
|Wednesday, September 3
2:00 PM. The House will return from its August recess. Votes will be
postponed until 6:30 PM.
1:00 PM. The House Commerce
Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will
hold a hearing titled "Digital Dividends and Other Proposals to
Leverage Investment in Technology". The hearing will be webcast. See,
Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.
Deadline to submit comments to the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed
rulemaking (NPRM) regarding making more spectrum available for unlicensed
devices, including WiFi, in the 5 GHz band.
See, stories titled "FCC Adopts NPRM to Increase Unlicensed Spectrum" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 663, May 16, 2003; "FCC Releases NPRM Regarding Increasing Amount
of Unlicensed Spectrum" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 674, June 5, 2003, and "Delegates Discuss World
Radiocommunications Conference" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 703, July 22,
2003. See also,
in the Federal Register, July 25, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 143, at Pages 44011 - 44020.
This is ET Docket No. 03-122. The FCC adopted this NPRM on May 15, 2003, and
released June 4, 2003.
|Thursday, September 4
10:00 AM. The House will meet for legislative business.
The Federal Communications Commission's
(FCC) changes to its media ownership rules, announced on June 2, 2003, take
notice in the Federal Register that recites and describes the rules changes.
See, Federal Register, August 5, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 150, at Pages 46285 - 46358.
|Friday, September 5
9:00 AM. The House will meet for legislative business.
9:30 - 11:30 AM. The American Enterprise Institute
(AEI) will host a seminar titled "The New World of E-Commerce Taxation".
The speakers will be Michael Greve (AEI),
Daniel Shaviro (NYU School of Law), and Kevin
Hassett (AEI). See,
notice. Location: 12th Floor, AEI, 1150 17th
Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its
Notice of Inquiry [21 pages in PDF] in its proceeding titled "In the Matter
of Inquiry Regarding Carrier Current
Systems, including Broadband over Power Line Systems". See,
notice in the Federal Register, May 23, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 100, at Pages 28182 - 28186.
See also, story titled "FCC Announces NOI Regarding Broadband Over Powerlines"
in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 628, April 24, 2003, and story titled "FCC
Releases NOI on Broadband Over Power Lines" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 656,
May 7, 2003.This is ET Docket No. 03-104. For more information, contact Anh Wride at
202 418-0577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
12:00 NOON. Deadline to submit requests to testify orally at the September
18, 2003 hearing of the U.S. Trade
Representative's (USTR) interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) to
assist it in preparing its annual report to the Congress on the People's
Republic of China's compliance with the commitments that it made in connection
with its accession to the World Trade
Organization (WTO). See,
notice in the Federal Register, July 21, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 139, at Pages
43247 - 43248.
8/25. The Electronic Privacy Information
Center (EPIC) and other groups and individuals filed an
amicus curiae brief
[37 pages in PDF] with the Supreme Court in Doe
v. Chao. The brief states that "At issue in this case is whether a
plaintiff suing under the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, for the wrongful
disclosure of the Social Security Number must show actual damages in order to
recover the statutory damages of $1,000." The brief argues that "The willful and
intentional disclosure of Social Security Numbers constitutes a substantial
invasion of privacy, as Congress and the courts have recognized. Congress
created a liquidated damages provision in the Privacy Act to discourage wrongful
disclosures of the SSN. ... At a time when identity theft, facilitated by the
misuse of the SSN, is on the rise, the Court should ensure that this critical
purpose in the Privacy Act is not lost. Requiring high thresholds of proof of
actual damages for SSN misuse would undermine public safety and the very purpose
of the Act."
8/27. The General Accounting
Office (GAO) released a
report [59 pages in PDF] titled "Homeland Security: Efforts to
Improve Information Sharing Need to Be Strengthened". The report found that
"no level of government perceived the process as
effective, particularly when sharing information with federal agencies.
Information on threats, methods, and techniques of terrorists is not routinely
shared; and the information that is shared is not perceived as timely, accurate,
or relevant. Moreover, federal officials have not yet established comprehensive
processes and procedures to promote sharing. Federal respondents cited the
inability of state and city officials to secure and protect classified
information, the lack of federal security clearances, and a lack of integrated
databases as restricting their ability to share information."
8/27. The National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) published a
notice in the Federal Register inviting public and private organizations to
submit their information security practices for inclusion in the NIST's
Computer Security Resource Center's (CSRC)
Federal Agency Security Practices (FASP) web site. That notice states that this
is an information sharing program intended to "enhance the overall security of
the nation". There is no deadline for submissions. See, Federal Register, August
27, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 166, at Pages 51558 - 51559.
8/27. Ed Black, P/CEO of
the Computer & Communications Industry
Association (CCIA), wrote a
letter [PDF] to Tom
Ridge, Secretary of Homeland Security, to complain about the Department of
Homeland Security's selection of Microsoft desktop and server software. Black
asserted that Microsoft makes a "flawed
software platform" that is "riddled with obvious and easily exploited
vulnerabilities". The CCIA has also long been a leading antagonist of
Microsoft in government antitrust proceedings against Microsoft.
8/27. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Peter Allgeier spoke and
answered questions regarding the World Trade
Organization (WTO) talks in Geneva Switzerland leading up to the the
Cancun ministerial. See,
|About Tech Law Journal
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