Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
March 21, 2005, Alert No. 1,099.
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RIM to Pay $450 Million to Settle NTP's Blackberry Related Patent Claims

3/18. Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of Blackberrys, announced that it has resolved all current litigation with NTP, Inc. RIM stated in a release that "NTP will grant RIM and its customers an unfettered right to continue its BlackBerry-related wireless business without further interference from NTP or its patents". RIM added that "RIM will pay to NTP US$450 million in final and full settlement of all claims".

NTP holds U.S. patents which pertain to technology for integrating existing e-mail systems with radio frequency (RF) wireless communication networks, to enable mobile users to receive e-mail over a wireless network.

NTP filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (EDVa) against RIM alleging infringement of its patents. The District Court entered judgment of infringement for NTP, awarded damages to NTP, and enjoined RIM from further infringement. RIM appealed.

On December 14, 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued an opinion [60 pages in PDF] in which it affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. The Court of Appeals held that the District Court erred in construing the claim term "originating processor", but did not err in construing any of the other claim terms on appeal. The Court of Appeals also affirmed the District Court's finding of infringement.

This case is NTP, Inc. v. Research in Motion, Ltd., App. Ct. No. 03-1615 , an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge James Spencer presiding, D.C. No. 3:01CV767. Judge Linn wrote the opinion of the Court of Appeals, in which Judges Schall and Michel joined.

See also, stories titled "Federal Circuit Rules in Blackberry Patent Infringement Case" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,038, December 15, 2004, and "USPTO Orders Reexamination of NTP Patents" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 584, January 16, 2003.

Sen. Stevens Addresses Telecom and Internet Issues

3/16. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, gave a speech in Washington DC at a breakfast event hosted by The Hill.

He discussed the organization of the Senate Commerce Committee, appointments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), legalizing closed FCC meetings, the SBC AT&T merger, regulation of broadcast and cable indecency, transition to digital television, spectrum auctions, universal service, and rewriting the Communications Act.

Sen. Stevens discussed his close working relationship with Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the ranking Democrat on the Committee. He said that "we're going to try to see if we can change the Commerce Committee to the concept of a partnership of a broad-based, consensus-seeking group to try and solve some of the problems we have." He also stated that "Dan and I have kept communications at the full Committee".

Sen. Stevens also said that he wants to see his former assistant, Earl Comstock, appointed to the FCC. President Bush has already elevated Kevin Martin to the Chairmanship. This leaves open a Republican vacancy on the FCC.

Sen. Stevens said that "It's no secret to anybody that I have recommended and Senator Inouye has joined me in recommending Earl Comstock to take one of the seats on that Commission. He was my assistant when we were working to try and revamp the basic law of 1934 in the Congress before the final version on '96. I think he knows more about how the changes that were made and what the intents were than anyone because the key provisions of that bill, in my opinion still, were those that pertain to rural America and I do hope that he is one of the Commissioners that we are able to deal with."

Sen. Stevens also touched on telecom mergers. He said that "We've had one listening session with AT&T and SBC, just to explain what was going on in the merger, not to have us react, in other words, just to answer questions about the merger and thatís gone fairly well. We're going to hold off our decision on whether or not to hold a hearing on that until after the recess." The House and Senate begin a two week recess on March 21.

He also discussed at length indecency in broadcasting, and other multi-channel programming. Much of his speech, and responses to questions, dealt with this topic.

Sen. Stevens also discussed government planning of the transition to digital television (DTV) . He first said that "The House is probably going to move first. I commend them, by the way. They're really going at these subjects very well, very hard. They don't have a changed Committee. We have a learning curve going on now and I think weíll catch up with them."

He then stated that "We've asked the broadcasters for their input on how we might advance the objective of completing the digital transition by the time the House seeks, which is 2006 or as soon as they possibly could. And, we do not want to have over-the-air broadcaster prematurely cut off and we want to make certain that weíre dealing with a public that has access to the digital sets. I am a little disturbed that the manufacturers of televisions are still selling analog sets, you know, at discounts and what not."

He added that "I've asked Mitch Rose, another person who used to be my chief of staff, he's at ABC now, to see if he can help get those discussions off the dime and get some input from the broadcasters on what we can do and bring about that transition earlier. Now, quickly some of the other issues are the problems of whether we should go into the possibility of buying the boxes. I hope we donít have to do that. Iíd rather see manufacturers find someway to step into this."

Sen. Stevens also discussed spectrum auctions. "The spectrum auction reauthorization has to go forward", said Sen. Stevens. "We believe that we will reauthorize spectrum auctions and we have a series of recommendations coming at us now on ways to make that more complicated in terms of whether it should be leasing the spectrum or having the spectrum subject to strings. We're going to take a long look at that."

He also said that "Federal agencies ... are exploring ways to lease or sublease spectrum to the private sector, which they do not need now, but might need in the future, that would free up a tremendous amount of spectrum very quickly. There are other ideas out there and if you have any Iíll be glad to consider them".

Finally, Sen. Stevens discussed Congressional efforts to rewrite portions of the Communications Act. He discussed his Committee's process. It is proceeding the closed meetings with interested parties that he identifies as "listening sessions", rather than open public hearings.

He said that "I think this process can work better if we're allowed the leeway of trying to learn what the problem is and then work with one another to find out what the solutions are and finally come to consensus on how to do it. And, that's what we're going to try to do with the '96 Act."

He was vague on how the law might be amended. "I can't tell you we want to replace it, or we want to amend it, or what we want to do with it really. There may be others that have a viewpoint, but Dan and I have no fixed, firm view of what has to be done. We just know thereís new technology coming and that the í96 Act has already sort of become outmoded in the nine years since its passed. The '34 Act lived through to '96 and survived barely in the last few days. We don't know how long it's going to be before the '96 Act really hampers the expansion and modernization and development of new technology".

He also ambitiously stated that "I think that we'll have a bill ready to go out to the floor sometime by the end of June or July. I expect to be able to go to conference with them sometime this fall. It depends on how our people respond to these listening sessions, but we expect a bill this year."

He did address a few specific issues, including universal service, and the scope of regulated communications. He said that "I believe it's communication if you take an input, a message someone wants to send and it comes out somewhere else and it's delivered -- now that's communication. We had a Communications Act, I thought. Many people think they can get away from that by having a different way they approach putting these things into symbols and sending them through the air. I don't. I think we're looking for a Communications Act and that Act will cover all forms of communications and try to level the playing field for those who are involved in it."

He also said that "I donít think that one should escape for instance Universal Service and say that's not communication. Or like, the calling card did, just put a little snippet on it and if you hear a little sound saying you can buy these cards at Walmart, itís not a card that is dealing with communication, that was an information card they said. Thatís a lot of baloney."

He also noted the important of universal service to his state, Alaska. "Our schools in rural America operate because of universal service. We have tele-medicine and tele-education."

FCC Again Delays Deadline for Integrating Navigation and Security Functionalities in Cable Set Top Boxes

3/18. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its Second Report and Order [37 pages in PDF] in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of: Implementation of Section 304 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 Commercial Availability of Navigation Devices". This order again extends the deadline for cable companies to provide separable security for cable set-top boxes.

The deadline was July 1, 2006. This order extends the deadline to July 1, 2007. The cable industry is pleased with this further delay. The consumer electronics industry, which would like to compete with cable companies in the sale of set top boxes, opposes this extension.

The FCC adopted and released this item on March 18. This item is FCC 05-76 in CS Docket No. 97-80. See also, FCC release [PDF] summarizing this order.

Section 304 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which is codified at 47 U.S.C. ß 549, addresses "Competitive availability of navigation devices". It provides, in part, that "The Commission shall, in consultation with appropriate industry standard-setting organizations, adopt regulations to assure the commercial availability, to consumers of multichannel video programming and other services offered over multichannel video programming systems, of converter boxes, interactive communications equipment, and other equipment used by consumers to access multichannel video programming and other services offered over multichannel video programming systems, from manufacturers, retailers, and other vendors not affiliated with any multichannel video programming distributor."

It further provides that the FCC "shall not prescribe regulations ... which would jeopardize security of multichannel video programming and other services offered over multichannel video programming systems, or impede the legal rights of a provider of such services to prevent theft of service".

The order states that "the development of set-top boxes and other devices utilizing downloadable security is likely to facilitate a competitive navigation device market, aid in the interoperability of a variety of digital devices, and thereby further the DTV transition. We also recognize that software-oriented conditional access solutions currently under development may allow common reliance by cable operators and consumer electronics manufacturers on an identical security function without the potentially costly physical separation of the conditional access element."

Hence, the order states that the FCC "will, therefore, afford cable operators a limited extension of the integration ban to determine whether it is possible to develop and deploy a downloadable security function that will permit them to comply with our rules without incurring the costs associated with the physical separation approach. Accordingly, we hereby extend the deadline for phase-out of integrated set-top boxes until July 1, 2007 and require the cable industry to report to us no later than December 1, 2005 regarding the feasibility of a downloadable security solution. In addition, NCTA and CEA shall file joint status reports and hold joint status meetings with the Commission on or before August 1, 2005 and every 60 days thereafter on progress in bidirectional talks and a software-based conditional access agreement."

While the order provides for another delay, it does also state that the FCC "will not eliminate the requirement that cable operators separate security and non-security functions in the devices they provide on a leased or sale basis".

Jonathan AdelsteinFCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein wrote in a separate statement [PDF] that "Given past delays, and even more importantly, the lack of any real alternative to leasing a set-top box for cable subscribers who want access to the latest digital technologies, I was very hesitant to support any further adjustment to the integration ban, absent a compelling reason to do so. While a close call, I believe today's decision provides a justification for a modest extension. We make a strong case for the continued existence of the ban, but decide to postpone it, for one year only, to give the players involved a chance to determine whether a downloadable security solution is feasible, and if so, when it could be implemented."

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association's (NCTA) Brian Dietz stated in a release that "We are pleased that the Commission has deferred implementation of the ban on cable-operator supplied integrated set-top boxes. In the additional time provided by this Order, the cable industry will investigate the feasibility of a downloadable security solution as requested by the Commission, plus we will demonstrate beyond a doubt that cable operators are making CableCARDs work with Digital Cable Ready devices. More than 31,000 CableCARDs have been provided by cable operators to our customers and we expect that number will grow significantly as more Digital Cable Ready equipment is purchased in the future."

Dietz added that "The cable industry looks forward to a continued partnership with the consumer electronics industry to develop equipment that allows consumers to enjoy digital and High-Definition TV without the need for a set-top box."

Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), stated in a release that "We are disappointed by the FCC's decision to allow cable operators to maintain their monopoly on cable set-top boxes for an additional twelve months. While at first glance, one year may not seem like a long time, the extension provides cable operators with additional time to further entrench their monopoly."

He added that "The real victims of this decision are cable consumers who will be unable to reap the benefits of a competitive market, including consumer choice, innovation and competitive pricing. Once again, Americans are tied to the limited choices, premium pricing and questionable customer service that have become a hallmark of consumer complaints about their cable providers."

Donaldson Says Internet Disclosure May Be A Part of Mutual Fund Disclosure Reform

3/14. William Donaldson, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), gave a speech to the Mutual Fund and Investment Management Conference in Palm Desert, California, in which he discussed, among other topics, integrating internet disclosure into the SEC's  mutual fund disclosure regime.

William DonaldsonDonaldson (at right) stated that "I have asked the staff to carry out a top-to-bottom review of the mutual fund disclosure regime and how we can maximize its effectiveness on behalf of fund investors. Few would disagree that many mutual fund disclosure documents are too long and complicated. Investors need disclosure that is clear, understandable, and in a usable format in order to make informed investment decisions."

He then said that "Investors also need information that is timely. In this regard, we need to examine ways that we can make better use of technology, including the Internet, in our disclosure regime. No good idea will be off the table -- and we welcome and encourage your input."

People and Appointments

3/16. Lee Richards was appointed by U.S. District Court Judge Leo Glasser to act as Independent Examiner for Computer Associates International, Inc. (CA). This appointment is made pursuant to the Final Judgment in the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) civil action against CA, and the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) that Computer Associates entered into with the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New Yorkon Sept. 22, 2004. Richards is a partner in the New York, New York law firm of Richards Spears Kibbe & Orbe. See, SEC release.

3/15. Dirk Vande Beek was named VP of Global Government Relations for Computer Associates International (CA). CA announced in a release that he "will direct government and public affairs and coordinate strategic and tactical public affairs programs relating to the U.S. federal and state governments. In addition, he will oversee CA's presence in the European Union in Brussels." He was previously SVP for government and public affairs at RJI Capital Corporation.

3/15. Thomas Bentley was named to the Board of Directors of Rambus, effective March 11, 2005. He will chair the Audit Committee. Rambus also announced that Chuck Geschke, who is a founder of Adobe Systems, retired from the Board, and that William Davidow will not stand for re-election; his term ends on May 3, 2005. See, Rambus release.

3/14. Richard Sulpizio was named President of MediaFLO, which is Qualcomm's arm for delivering Forward Link Only (FLO) multimedia content to wireless devices. Sulpizio is a former President and COO of Qualcomm. See, Qualcomm release.

TLJ experienced technical difficulties from Friday, March 18 through Monday, March 21, associated with migrating to a new server. The web site was off line some of this time. Today's issue of the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert was late.
Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Monday, March 21

9:30 - 11:30 AM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) World RadioCommunication 2007 (WRC-07) Advisory Committee's Informal Working Group 4: Broadcasting and Amateur Issues will meet. Location: Shaw Pittman, 2300 N St. NW.

10:00 AM - 3:30 AM. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will host its second annual Satellite Forum. The event will be webcast by the FCC. See, FCC notice. Location: FCC, Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th St., SW.

6:00 - 8:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA), Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association (SBCA), and Satellite Industry Association (SIA) will host a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar titled "Satellite 101". Registrations and cancellations are due by 5:00 PM on March 17. See, registration form [PDF]. Location: Shaw Pittman, 2300 N St. NW.

Tuesday, March 22

CANCELLED. 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) and the Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association (SBCA) will host an event titled "Satellite Media Law Forum". Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein will speak at 9:00 AM. Location: National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Department of State's International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet to prepare for the Organization of American States' (OAS) Inter-American Telecommunication Commission's (CITEL) Permanent Consultative Committee II meeting in Guatemala to be held in April 2005. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 30, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 250, at Pages 78515-78516. For more information, including the location, contact Cecily Holiday at or Anne Jillson at Location: undisclosed.

4:00 - 5:45 PM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion titled "The Future of the World Trade Organization". The speakers will be Jagdish Bhagwati (Columbia University), John Jackson (Georgetown University Law School), Gary Horlick (Wilmer Cutler & Pickering), Jay Smith (George Washington University), Hugo Paemen (Hogan & Hartson), Robert Lawrence (Harvard University). See, notice. Location: AEI, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.

Day one of a two day conference hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Information Systems Security Educators' Association (FISSEA) titled "FISSEA Conference: Target Training in 2005: Computer Security Awareness, Training, and Education". See, NIST notice and registration page. Location: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, MD.

Day one of a four day convention and expo hosted by the Access Intelligence (formerly named PBI Media) titled "Satellite 2005". See, notice. Location: Washington Convention Center.

6:00 - 8:30 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers Committee will host a happy hour. For more information, contact Megan Anne Stull at 202 303-1189 or mstull at willkie dot com, or Jason Friedrich at 202 354-1340 or jason dot friedrich at dbr dot com. Location: Finemondo Restaurant, 1319 F St., NW.

Wednesday, March 23

12:00 NOON. The Center for Digital Democracy will hold news conference on FCC v. Brand X. The Supreme Court will hear oral argument on March 29, 2005. For more information, contact Jeff Chester at 202 986-2220. Location: Murrow Room, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be "The FCC's Fiber Unbundling Rules - Is the TRO Working?". For more information, contact Jason Friedrich at 202 354-1340 or jason dot friedrich at dbr dot com. Location: Drinker Biddle & Reath, 1500 K St., NW.

Day two of a two day conference hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Information Systems Security Educators' Association (FISSEA) titled "FISSEA Conference: Target Training in 2005: Computer Security Awareness, Training, and Education". See, NIST notice and registration page. Location: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, MD.

Day two of a four day convention and expo hosted by the Access Intelligence (formerly named PBI Media) titled "Satellite 2005". See, notice. Location: Washington Convention Center.

Thursday, March 24

10:00 AM - 1:30 PM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion and luncheon titled "The Future of Telecom Deregulation: Two Alternate Visions". The panel will be comprised of Robert Hahn (AEI Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies), Gregory Rosston (Stanford University, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research), Jonathan Nuechterlein (Wilmer Cutler, and former FCC Deputy General Counsel), Philip Weiser (University of Colorado), Thomas Hazlett (Manhattan Institute), John Mayo (Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business), Scott Wallsten (AEI Brookings), Robert Litan (AEI Brookings). Nuechterlein, Weiser and Hazlett will present papers. David Dorman, Ch/CEO of AT&T, will be the luncheon speaker. See, notice. Location: AEI, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.

10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Antitrust Modernization Commission (AMC) will meet. See, notice in the Federal Register, February 22, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 34, at Page 8568. Location: Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Conference Center Rooms A & B, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW.

4:00 PM. Sara Stadler (Emory University School of Law) will present a draft paper titled "How Copyright is Like a Mobius Strip". See, notice of event. (Stadler is also known as Nelson.) This event is part of the Spring 2005 Intellectual Property Workshop Series sponsored by the Dean Dinwoodey Center for Intellectual Property Studies at the George Washington University Law School (GWULS). For more information, contact Robert Brauneis at 202 994-6138 or rbraun at law dot gwu dot edu. The event is free and open to the public. Location: GWULS, Faculty Conference Center, Burns Building, 5th Floor, 716 20th St., NW.

Day three of a four day convention and expo hosted by the Access Intelligence (formerly named PBI Media) titled "Satellite 2005". See, notice. Location: Washington Convention Center.

Friday, March 25

5:00 PM. Deadline to submit initial comments to the Copyright Office (CO) in response to its notice of inquiry (NOI) regarding orphan works -- copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or impossible to locate. The CO stated in a notice in the Federal Register that it seeks public comments on "whether there are compelling concerns raised by orphan works that merit a legislative, regulatory or other solution, and what type of solution could effectively address these concerns without conflicting with the legitimate interests of authors and right holders." See, Federal Register, January 26, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 16, at Pages 3739 - 3743.

Day four of a four day convention and expo hosted by the Access Intelligence (formerly named PBI Media) titled "Satellite 2005". See, notice. Location: Washington Convention Center.

Sunday, March 27


Monday, March 28

RESCHEDULED FROM MARCH 16. 12:30 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host a luncheon. The speaker will be Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael Copps. See, registration form [PDF]. The deadline for reservations and cancellations is March 24 at 5:00 PM. Prices range from $35 to $65. Location: J.W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Lower Level.

IRS Commissioner Addresses Electronic Filing of Tax Returns

3/17. Mark Everson, Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), gave a speech at the National Press Club in Washington DC on March 15. He discussed electronic filings of tax returns, the IRS web site, and computer systems at the IRS. On March 17 the IRS released data on electronic filings.

Mark EversonEverson (at right) stated that "Electronic filing continues to grow. Last year Americans filed 62 million electronic returns. This year we expect that over half of all individual returns will be e-filed. That's correct. Those who file on paper are now in the minority. We take every opportunity we can to trumpet the benefits of electronic filing. E-filing is fast, convenient and gets your refund to you in half the time of paper returns."

The IRS issued a release on March 17 with more data. It states that "Out of 61 million returns filed as of March 11, almost 70 percent of them were e-filed -- up from 65 percent the previous year. While this percentage will decline as April 15 approaches, the IRS expects for the first time to have more than half of all individual tax returns filed electronically."

"Out of tax returns e-filed so far, the biggest increase is among those who prepare their own returns on a home computer -- 10.6 million returns, up more than 14 percent over results from the same period last year."

The release also states that "The jump in computer use coincides with another strong year from the Free File program. The IRS and a consortium of tax software manufacturers offer free services through Free File, which is available at More than 3.33 million returns came in through Free File through March 9, which is a 44 percent increase from 2.32 million returns for the same period last year."

Everson also said the "In terms of modernizing our big computer systems at the IRS, we've finally turned the corner. Since March 2004, two important systems have started operating. First, we have a new financial system to help better manage the agency. And secondly, and more importantly, for the first in 40 years, the IRS is processing tax returns on a new computer system. We started with 1040EZ returns. This is a big step forward in our effort to modernize our antiquated computer systems."

He also discussed the IRS web site. He said that "Use of our website,, is also up sharply. During the filing season, it is one of the busiest websites in the world. We average more than one million visits a day. Just to give you a frame of reference: One major search engine reported that in a recent week we were surpassed only by Paris Hilton, Clay Aiken, Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears, and a poker game. During the past year, we have also rolled out important new on-line services to tax professionals to help them better serve their clients."

USPTO Releases Top Ten List of Universities Receiving Patents

3/18. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released its list of the universities receiving the most patents in 2004. For the 11th consecutive year, the University of California system, which has numerous components, leads.

Rank Patents Recipient
1 424 Univ. of California
2 135 Cal Tech
3 132 MIT
4 101 Univ. of Texas
5 94 Johns Hopkins
6 75 Stanford
7 67 Univ. of Michigan
8 64 Univ. of Wisconsin
9 58 Univ. of Illinois
10 52 Columbia

Jon Dudas, the head of the USPTO, state in a release that "Academic institutions are generators of discovery and innovation, and their patented inventions benefit all Americans through new jobs and new products that improve our lives daily."

More News

3/18. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its Second Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [57 pages in PDF] that extends truth in billing requirements to consumers' wireless phone bills. The FCC adopted this item at its March 10, 2005 meeting. This item is FCC 05-55 in CC Docket No. 98-170 and CG Docket No. 04-208. Initial comments will be due 30 days after publication of a notice in the Federal Register. Reply comments will be due 60 days after publication. See also, story titled "FCC Extends Truth in Billing Requirements to CMRS Carriers" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,094, March 14, 2005.

3/17. The Federal Communications Commission released a Second Order on Reconsideration and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [31 pages in PDF] in its proceeding regarding the creation of low power FM (LPFM) radio service. The order imposes a six month freeze on application grants of FM translator new station construction permits. The FNPRM asks numerous questions regarding technical rules, transfer of licenses, and ownership restrictions. The FCC adopted this item on March 16, and released it on March 17, 2005. This item is FCC 05-75 in MM Docket No. 99-25. Initial comments will be due 30 days after publication of a notice in the Federal Register. Reply comments will be due 45 days after publication. See also, FCC release summarizing this item, statement by Commissioner Michael Copps in support of this item, and statement by Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein in support.

3/15. Microsoft, Time Warner and Thomson announced that they have completed a three way acquisition of ContentGuard, a developer of digital rights management (DRM) technologies. Microsoft stated in a release that "the new operation is not to be reviewed under the EU Merger Regulation".

3/14. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report [128 pages in PDF] titled "Information Technology: Customs Automated Commercial Environment Program Progressing, but Need for Management Improvements Continues". The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) program is the new import and export processing system of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

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