1/31. The SEC filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court (SDNY) against David Bonrouhi alleging illegal insider trading of the stock of IWL Communications, Inc. The SEC seeks an injunction against future acts of securities fraud, disgorgement of the trading losses that he illegally avoided, and a civil penalty of an equal amount. See, SEC release.
1/31. The House Judiciary Committee announced subcommittee chairmanships. Howard Coble (R-NC) will again chair of the Courts, Internet, and Intellectual Property Subcommittee. It was formerly named the Courts and Intellectual Property Subcommittee. George Gekas (R-PA) will be Chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over H1B visa bills. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who previously chaired the Immigration Subcommittee, will chair the Crime Subcommittee. This subcommittee has jurisdiction over bills which criminalize activity on the Internet. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) will chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution. Bob Barr (R-GA) will chair of the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) will be the new Chair the full Committee; John Conyers (D-MI) will again be the Ranking Member. See, release.
1/31. Townsend Townsend & Crew announced that two former Limbach & Limbach attorneys have joined its electronics and software practice group. Mayumi Maeda will be an associate in the San Francisco office and Charles Hamilton will be an associate in the Palo Alto office. See, release.
1/31. The New York Police Department, assisted by members of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Anti-Piracy Unit, executed search warrants and made arrests in connection with a counterfeit music CD operation. Three individuals were arrested and charged with Trademark Counterfeiting in the 1st Degree and Failure to Disclose the Origin of a Sound Recording in the 1st Degree, both of which are felonies. On Jan. 26, the Dallas Police Department, assisted by members of the RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit, executed two search warrants resulting in the break up of two counterfeit music CD operations. See, RIAA release.
1/31. The Information Technology Association of American (ITAA) sent a letter to members of Congress regarding online privacy legislation. It states that the "ITAA is especially concerned that a number of proposals intended to enhance privacy may inadvertently give consumers fewer choices and, as technology changes, less privacy." The ITAA letter advocates allowing consumers to "make their own privacy choices"; it also praised the Platform for Privacy Preferences protocol (P3P) being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium. It also argues for strong preemption language in any Congressional bill: "The interests of the Constitution's Commerce clause are served by having uniform national privacy rules." It also argues that "Damages for privacy violations should not be in excess of actual damages" and that rules should be technologically neutral. See also, ITAA release.
1/31. FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth will soon leave the FCC. He announced that "I have decided not to seek reappointment. Nonetheless, in order to facilitate a smooth transition, I will continue to serve until a mutually agreeable departure date is worked out with the Administration." He did not announce what he would do next, except that it would be in the private sector. See, statement. Furchtgott-Roth has been a Commissioner for three years. Prior to that he was chief economist for the House Commerce Committee, then chaired by former Rep. Tom Bliley (R-VA). On many issues he has been the FCC's most passionate (and sometimes only) advocate of free markets, deregulation, regulatory rollback, and FCC non-regulation of Internet activities. He has also advocated that FCC adherence to the statutes that it enforces. He has also been the FCC's sole opponent of the exercise of antitrust merger review authority. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), the new Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, stated that "Harold Furchgott-Roth is going to be greatly missed at the FCC." See also, NAB reaction.
1/31. Bertelsmann AG hired Joel Klein to be its chief U.S. liaison officer. Klein is the former Asst. Atty. Gen. for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Dept. of Justice who was the architect of the antitrust suit against Microsoft which is now on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Bertelsmann is a German music and publishing company. The proposed merger of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) and EMI still needs to win approval from antitrust regulatory agencies. Bertelsmann has also recently acquired an interest in Napster. David Boies, the attorney hired by Klein to be trial counsel in the Microsoft case, is now an attorney for Napster in a copyright infringement case brought by music companies.
1/31. The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding implementation of the Children's Internet Protection Act [PDF]. This statute provides that in order to be eligible to receive FCC e-rate subsidies, schools and libraries that have computers with Internet access must have in place certain Internet safety policies, such as the use porn filtering software. Comments are due on or before February 15, 2001. Reply comments are due on or before February 22. 2001. See, Federal Register, Jan. 31, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 21, at Pages 8374 - 8377.
1/31. The House Commerce Committee postponed indefinitely its organizational meeting for the 107th Congress. It had been scheduled for Jan. 31. However, Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) did release a list of Republican subcommittee assignments. The Telecom Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over many high tech issues, will include the following: Fred Upton (R-MI) (Chairman), Cliff Stearns (R-FL) (Vice Chairman), Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Joe Barton (R-TX), Paul Gillmor (R-OH), Chris Cox (R-CA), Nathan Deal (R-GA), Steve Largent (R-OK), Barbara Cubin (R-WY), John Shimkus (R-IL), Heather Wilson (R-NM), John Shadegg (R-AZ), Chip Pickering (R-MS), Vito Fossella (R-NY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Thomas Davis (R-VA), Robert Ehrlich (R-MD), and Billy Tauzin (R-LA) (Ex Officio). Rep. Davis, who represents a northern Virginia district, is active on computer and Internet related legislation. He is new to the full committee and this subcommittee. Chairman Tauzin also announced that Rep. Richard Burr (R-NC) will be Vice Chairman of the full committee.
1/31. The NTIA hosted a public meeting to discuss the results of tests conducted by the NTIA's ITS to develop methods for characterizing ultrawideband (UWB) systems and to assess the compatibility between UWB devices and selected federal radio communications or sensing systems. UWB is a developing technology that may be used for wireless networks, remote sensing or tracking, and ground penetrating radars. UWB systems make use of narrow pulses and time-domain signal processing. These systems, which have very wide emission bandwidths, might affect the efficient use of the radio spectrum or cause interference. Current regulations would have to be amended to permit the use of unlicensed UWB devices. Both federal agency and private sector spectrum is affected; hence, both the NTIA and FCC are studying the issue. The meeting was attended by about 65 representatives of the NTIA, FCC, and other federal agencies, communications companies, law firms, consulting firms, and tech publications. See also, NTIA Special Publication 01-43 [1.9 MB PDF file], titled "Assessment of Compatibility Between Ultrawideband Devices and Selected Federal Systems," and NTIA Report 01-383, titled "The Temporal and Spectral Characteristics of Ultrawideband Signals."
1/31. The FCC postponed, yet again, the auction of licenses in the 747-762 and 777-792 MHz band. The auction had been set for March 6, 2001. This postponement is until September 12, 2001. See, FCC notice. This auction, which is required by statute to be conducted by Sept. 30, 2000, would make available more spectrum for use for broadband Internet access services. FCC Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth wrote in a dissent that "With each succeeding delay the credibility of our spectrum and auction management policies becomes more suspect."
1/30. Matthew Yarbrough joined the Dallas office of Fish & Richardson (FR), a national law firm focusing on complex litigation, intellectual property and technology law. He was briefly an associate at Vinson & Elkins. Before that he was an AUSA for the Northern District of Texas, where he directed the Cyber Crimes Task Force. He prosecuted cases concerning computer and telecommunications fraud and intellectual property crimes. He was one of the attorneys who prosecuted the Global Hell hacker gang, which defaced dozens of web sites, including WhiteHouse.gov. He will be in charge of FR's newly created Cyber Law Group. See, FR release.
1/30. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) introduced HR 260, Wireless Privacy Protection Act of 2001, a bill to require customer consent to the provision of wireless call location information. The bill has been referred to the House Commerce Committee.
1/30. Rep. Phil English (R-PA) introduced HR 267, the Broadband Internet Access Act. The bill is intended to encourage the deployment of high speed Internet access facilities in rural and underserved areas through tax credits. This bill would offer a 10% tax credit per year for five years to companies that deploy "current generation broadband" telecom technologies to both residents and businesses in rural or underserved urban areas, and offer a 20% tax credit per year for five years to companies that invest in "next generation broadband" services to all residential customers. See, Rep. English's summary. The lead cosponsor is Rep. Robert Matsui (D-CA). There are 48 original cosponsors. The bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
1/30. Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) spoke in the House about his proposal to create a federal privacy commission. He stated that "the protection of the individual privacy remains one of the most important issues that we could address. Several bills have been introduced. They should be considered. I encourage Congress to take up privacy legislation, but I believe it should be done in a responsible manner that allows for the appropriate flow of information without compromising the privacy of individuals. I believe a privacy commission is the right way to address this very important subject."
1/30. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of John Ashcroft to be Attorney General by a vote of 10 to 8. The full Senate could vote as early as Thursday.
1/30. The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Robert Zoellick to be U.S. Trade Representative. Senators expressed their support for his nomination. Zoellick advocated granting fast track trade authority for the President. See, TLJ story.
1/30. The American Electronics Association released a report outlining its proposals for government action affecting high tech. The report advocates the following:
• upgrade science and math education at the K-12 level,
• continue with industry self-regulation of privacy practices,
• pass an extension of the moratorium on new or discriminatory taxes on the Internet, permanently ban access taxes, and direct the states to simplify their sales tax rules,
• enact a permanent R&D tax credit,
• simplify tax rules governing all stock option programs, including ESPPs,
• bar the IRS from mandating withholding taxes on qualified stock option plans,
• pass the Export Administration Act,
• pass fast track trade negotiating authority, and
• forbear from regulating those sectors of the broadband market that are being served by multiple providers. See also, AEA release.
1/30. The FTC and Electronic Retailing Association hosted a one day seminar for Internet retailers, marketers and suppliers on applying offline rules and regulations online.
1/30. The FCC's WRC-03 Advisory Committee held a meeting on beginning preparations for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2003.
1/30. The Import Administration, of the International Trade Administration, of the Department of Commerce, extended the time limit for its completion of the preliminary results of its review of its antidumping dumping duty administrative review regarding DRAMs from Korea until May 30, 2001. See, notice in Federal Register, Jan. 30, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 20, at Page 8198.
1/30. USPTO extended the deadline to submit a Request for Agreement for the USPTO Electronic Filing Partnership to May 1, 2001.
1/30. The FTC made final its consent order regarding Computer Sciences Corp.'s (CSC) acquisition of Mynd Corporation. On Dec. 20, 2000, the FTC approved CSC's acquisition of Mynd, subject to the condition that CSC divest Mynd's claims assessment system, known as Claims Outcome Advisor, to Insurance Services Office, Inc. To put this into effect, the FTC filed an administrative complaint [PDF] against CSC and Mynd. The parties also simultaneously filed an Agreement and Decision and Order [PDF]. See also, FTC release and FTC Analysis [PDF] from Dec. 20, 2000.
1/30. An individual filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (SDNY) against Razorfish, Inc. and five of its officers and directors alleging violation of federal securities laws. The plaintiff, who is represented by the law firm of Cohen Millstein, seeks class action status. The complaint alleges violation of § 10b of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and § 20 of the 1934 Act. Razorfish's Form 10-Q (Nov. 13, 2000) states that it provides "business solutions that use digital technologies to enhance communications and commerce between businesses and their consumers, suppliers, employees, and other partners". Cohen Millstein is a law firm that specializes in bringing class action law suits. See also, CM release.
1/30. The U.S. District Court (5thCir) issued its opinion in California Pools v. California Pools, a trademark infringement case.
1/30. Jeffrey Stockton pled guilty in U.S. District Court (DOr) to criminal copyright infringement. Stockton admitted that he willfully infringed copyrights of Adobe for purposes of private financial gain and that the commission of this offense resulted in a retail loss to Adobe of $490,644. He sold the infringing software over the Internet. Sentencing is scheduled for April 17, 2001. Stockton graduated last August from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism. See, DOJ release.
1/30. The U.S. District Court (EDMich) sentenced Brian Baltutat to three years probation for criminal copyright infringement. Baltutat offered approximately 142 software programs for free downloading on a website called Hacker Hurricane. In addition to probation, the Court prohibited him from engaging in Internet activity without approval of the Probation Department. AUSA Krishna Dighe prosecuted the case. See, DOJ release.
1/29. The U.S. District Court (DMd) sentenced Roger Bynum to 24 months in prison for conspiring to distribute bootleg videotapes of motion picture recordings and CDs of music recordings. He had been indicted for both conspiracy and copyright infringement, but was allowed to plead guilty only to the charge of conspiracy. The evidence included 23,892 videocassettes and 58,975 CDs seized by local police in Maryland. AUSA Rod Rosenstein prosecuted the case. See, DOJ release.
1/29. The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) published another issue of its CyberNotes [19 pages in PDF], a biweekly summary of critical infrastructure threats.
1/29. The U.S. District Court (DDC) entered judgment by default against Fred Carter, the former President and CEO of American Telephone and Telecommunications Corporation (ATTC), in the civil action SEC v. Carter. The SEC filed its complaint on Oct. 27, 1999, alleging that Carter violated the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, § 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, § 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. ATTC purportedly was established to provide Internet telephony services. Judgment was entered against Carter for $1,328,845.40. He was also enjoined from committing further securities fraud. See, SEC release.
1/29. Sen. John Edwards (D-SC) and Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) introduced S 197, the Spyware Control and Privacy Protection Act. The bill has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee, of which Sen. Hollings is the ranking Democrat. Sen. Edwards stated, upon introducing the bill, that "spyware is present in four hundred software programs, including commonly used software such as RealNetworks RealDownload, Netscape/AOL Smart Download, and NetZip Download Demon. Spyware in these software programs can transmit information about every file you download from the Internet. ... It incorporates all four fair information practices of notice, choice, access and security practices that I believe are essential to effective computer privacy legislation." He added that "the Act requires that any software that contains spyware must provide consumers with clear and conspicuous notice--at the time the software is installed--that the software contains spyware. The notice must also describe the information that the spyware will collect and indicate to whom it will be transmitted. Another critical provision of my bill requires that software users must first give their affirmative consent before the spyware is enabled ... In other words, software users must "opt-in" ..." See also, Sen. Edwards' release.
1/29. The SEC filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court (NDCal) against Keith Kim, Douglas Park, and William Park for insider trading. Kim and Douglas Park are both officers of Brainrush, Inc., an Oakland-based venture capital firm. William Park is Douglas Park's brother. They traded in shares of Meridian Data, Inc., based upon insider information that Meridian and Quantum Corp. were in merger negotiations. The SEC seeks disgorgement of profits totaling at least $1,453,301, penalties, and prejudgment interest. See, SEC release. On Jan. 26 the U.S. Attorney's Office (NDCal) and the FBI filed a criminal complaint and supporting affidavit [PDF] in U.S. District Court (NDCal) against Keith Joon Kim.
1/29. The Senate confirmed Elaine Chao to be Secretary of Labor on a voice vote. She is a former Heritage Foundation fellow, and the wife of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The Department of Labor (DOL) deals with a few technology related issues. For example, the DOL has sought to extent the reach of OSHA regulations to tele-workers at home. The DOL also has responsibility for writing regulations regarding the employment of workers with H1B visas.
1/29. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, stated that he would vote against Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft, but that he would not filibuster. See, statement. The Committee has scheduled a vote on the Ashcroft nomination for Tuesday Jan. 30 at 2:30 PM.
1/29. Ted Olson, a partner in the Washington DC office of Gibson Dunn and Crutcher, will likely be nominated for the position of Solicitor General, the AP and Wall Street Journal reported. Olson, like Ashcroft, has a record of supporting electronic privacy. He successfully argued for the petitioners in USTA v. FBI. In this case, the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued an opinion overturning parts of an FCC order on wiretap standards under the 1994 CALEA. Congress passed the CALEA in 1994 to allow law enforcement authorities to maintain their existing wiretap capabilities in new telecommunications devices. It provides that wireline, cellular, and broadband PCS carriers must make their equipment capable of certain surveillance functions. The CALEA also provides that its provisions do not apply to "information services". The FBI and the TIA have since sought an implementation of CALEA that expands surveillance capabilities beyond those provided in the statute. The FCC sided with the FBI on most points when it adopted its Third Report and Order [huge WP file] in Aug. 1999.
1/29. Ted Olson has a long history in Washington DC. Former Attorney General William Smith brought Olson to Washington DC in 1981 to head up the Office of Legal Counsel. Both came from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. Olson returned to Gibson Dunn in 1984, working in its Washington DC office. He has remained a loyal and active Republican. Most recently, he argued George Bush's election case before the Supreme Court. He has also represented corporate media in numerous First Amendment cases. In a some cases he has opposed some conservatives. For example, he represented Time Warner in a challenge to the constitutionality of litigation claiming personal injuries resulting from "copy-cat" imitations of conduct depicted in the Oliver Stone movie, "Natural Born Killers." He is also the Olson of Morrison v. Olson.
1/29. Helgi Walker will work in the Office of White House Counsel. She has been Senior Legal Advisor and Chief of Staff to FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, the Commission's free market economist. Walker provided much of the legal advice and drafting behind Furchtgott-Roth's ardent pursuit of market competition, limited government, regulatory rollback, and adherence to statutory law. She has focused on mass media, cable, and antitrust matters. Walker has also been an aide to Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), a clerk to Judge Harvey Wilkerson (USCA, 4th Cir), a clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, an associate at Gibson Dunn and Crutcher, and most recently, an election attorney in Florida. While the White House Counsel's primary responsibility in recent years has been scandal management, in other administrations it is a powerful office which provides legal advice to the President, screens judicial nominees, and provides guidance to executive branch agencies on a variety of policies. Walker is likely to play a prominent role in telecommunications and Internet policy making.
1/29. The FTC published a short report [PDF] on consumer complaints to the FTC during the time period Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2000. The most common type of complaint was identity theft; it comprised 23% of all complaints. Complaints about Internet services and computers made up 11% of all complaints. Complaints about Internet auctions made up another 8%. See also, FTC release.
1/29. Microsoft filed its reply brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) in the antitrust case. See also, PDF copy.
1/28. The ICANN released its Preliminary Report from the DNSO Review Task Force -- DNSO Review Report Version 2.0a.
1/26. The FCC's C and F Block broadband PCS spectrum auction, which began on Dec. 12, 2000, ended on Jan. 26. It raised a total net revenue of $16,857,046,150.00. See, release.
1/26. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued an order modifying its opinion in ASCENT v. FCC. The original opinion "vacated" the FCC's order in its SBC Ameritech merger proceeding. The merger order approved the merger of SBC and Ameritech, with many conditions. It permitted SBC to offer advanced services, such as DSL, through a separate affiliate. While the intent of the Court was to overturn the separate subsidiary portion of the merger order, the opinion, read literally, vacated the entire order. The order of Jan. 26 clarifies that the merger order is "vacated in part" and that "the vacatur applies only insofar as the Order authorizes exemption of advanced services provided through the Order's prescribed affiliate structure from the obligations imposed on incumbent local exchange carriers by 47 U.S.C. § 251(c)."
1/26. The U.S. Attorney's Office (NDCal) and the FBI filed a criminal complaint and supporting affidavit in U.S. District Court (NDCal) against Keith Joon Kim alleging insider trading in violation of Section 10b of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The affidavit was sworn by FBI Special Agent Omer Meisel, who is a former SEC investigator. The affidavit states that Kim learned of merger negotiations between Meridian Data Inc. and Quantum Corp. while traveling to a ski retreat with a small group of corporate officers in March of 1999. Kim then placed orders to purchase a total of 187,300 shares of Meridian stock at a cost of $583,110. When Meridian announced its merger with Quantum in May, 1999, its stock rose. Kim's Meridian shares increased in value to $1,415,988, an illegal gain of $832,877. Asst. U.S. Attorney Patrick Robbins will prosecute the criminal case.
1/26. Outgoing FCC General Counsel Christopher Wright spoke on "FCC Legal Issues" at a Federal Communications Bar Association's Young Lawyers Committee luncheon. He was asked how things will change in the Office of General Counsel under the new FCC Chairman, Michael Powell. He stated that "the role of the litigation division doesn't change." It will defend FCC orders. He also discussed many of the recent and pending court cases which impact telecommunications or the Internet, including the Iowa Utilities Board cases, the Florida pole access case, the EEO rules cases, and the Portland, Henrico, and Broward open access cases.
1/26. The ICANN announced that it will conduct a study of the structure of its At Large membership to determine how individuals can effectively participate in ICANN's policy development, deliberations and actions for technical coordination of the Internet. See, ICANN release.
1/26. The EPIC submitted a FOIA request to the Defense Department (DOD) regarding its dealings with Internet filtering company N2H2, the maker of Bess. The Wall Street Journal reported on Jan. 26 that N2H2 sells a product named Class Clicks that consists of "monthly reports that detail where kids are going on the Internet". However, the data is aggregate; it does not identify individual students, or schools. The DOD has purchased the report. As a federal agency, it is subject to the FOIA. The EPIC requested copies of records regarding DOD communications with N2H2, and regarding N2H2 products.
1/26. The comment period closed for submitting comments in response to the Judicial Conference of the United States' Request for Comment on Privacy and Public Access to Electronic Case Files. The Denver based Privacy Foundation submitted a comment in which it "recommends that a National Commission be formed to conduct a comprehensive study to determine how court documents should be publicly available and by what means -- paper and/or electronic." The Washington DC based Electronic Privacy Informatin Center (EPIC) submitted a comment in which argued that "The challenge is to formulate a scheme that guarantees robust access to public records while also preventing unwarranted invasions into the personal matters of litigants and witnesses." For example, "Unhindered access to bankruptcy case files may result in a further increase in identity theft."
1/26. Cooley Godward announced changes to its management. Janet Cullum, who currently heads the Intellectual Property Litigation Group, will become Litigation Department Chair. Lee Benton will resign as Managing Partner, effective Feb. 9. Stephen Neal, the current Litigation Department Chair, will become Chairman and CEO, and Mark Pitchford will become COO. See, release.
1/25. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, wrote a letter to Richard Clarke, the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-Terrorism, of the National Security Council. He complained about the Clinton administration's last minute appointments to the National Infrastructure Assurance Council (NAIC), and its failure to provide to the Congress a final report on the Administration’s efforts to protect the most sensitive government computer networks from cyber attacks by hackers or terrorists, as required by law.
1/25. SEC Commissioner Paul Carey gave a speech in Coronado California to the 28th Annual Securities Regulation Institute on market data. The emergence of electronic communications networks (ECNs) has created new issues regarding who owns market data, how it will be disseminated, and how it will be priced. Carey stated that the SEC's Market Information Advisory Committee is studying the subject, and that he hopes that "industry can reach consensus on a model".
1/25. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and several broadcasters filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (EDPa) against the Register of Copyrights challenging its Dec. 11 rule [PDF] regarding webcasts of AM/FM signals. The Register of Copyrights determined that broadcasters who choose to transmit their radio signals over a digital communications network such as the Internet may do so under a compulsory license, but that the broadcaster is not exempt from a copyright owner's digital performance right for sound recordings under these circumstances. The NAB complaint alleges that the Register of Copyrights exceeded its authority, and seeks declaratory relief that the rule is invalid. See also, web site of the Copyright Office.
1/25. An individual filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DColo) against New Era of Networks (NEON) alleging violation of federal securities law. The plaintiff, who is represented by the law firm of Berger & Montague, seeks class action status. The plaintiff alleges violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. NEON, based in Englewood Colorado, makes e-business enabling software. Berger & Montague is a Philadelphia based law firm that specializes in plaintiffs' class action litigation.
1/25. The U.S. District Court (SDIn) issued a post verdict ruling [68 pages in PDF] in Simon v. mySimon, a trademark infringement case. Plaintiff, Simon Property Group (SPG), is a Delaware limited partnership based in Indianapolis; it is a real estate investment trust, that also operates a web site located a shopsimon.com. MySimon Inc. is a California corporation owned by CNET Networks Inc. that operates a comparison shopping web site located at mysimon.com. Last August the jury found that mySimon's name, Internet address, and a cartoon character named "Simon" violated SPG’s rights under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, and Indiana unfair competition laws. The jury also rejected mySimon’s laches defense to the federal claim and assessed compensatory damages totaling $16.8 Million. Under SPG’s Indiana unfair competition claim, the jury assessed punitive damages of an additional $10 million. This still left pending SPG's request for injunctive relief. Both parties also filed post verdict motions. The Court left standing the verdict of liability for trademark infringement and unfair competition. It awarded permanent injunctive relief to SPG. But, it vacated all but $50,000 of the damages awards, subject to a new trial on the issue of "corrective advertising." Both parties stated that they will appeal. Meanwhile, mySimon continues to use the Simon mark. See also, SPG release [PDF] and CNET release.
1/25. Michael Powell, George Bush's nominee to be Chairman of the FCC, announced that Marsha MacBride will be Chief of Staff. She currently works for Walt Disney. Prior to that she worked at a number of positions at the FCC. She was Legal Advisor to Powell for mass media and cable television matters, and Executive Director of the FCC's Task Force on Year 2000 Conversion. She started in the Political Programming Branch of the Mass Media Bureau's Enforcement Division. She was also Acting Deputy Chief of the Cable Services Bureau, Senior Legal Advisor to the Chief, Mass Media Bureau, Associate Chief in the Office of Engineering and Technology, and Legal Advisor to former Commissioner James Quello. See, release.
1/25. Powell also announced the following FCC staff appointments: Jane Mago, who is currently Deputy Bureau Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, will be responsible for the interim management of the agency's legal functions, overseeing the Office of General Counsel. Paul Jackson will be responsible for the interim management of inter-governmental, legislative and lobbying functions. Peter Tenhula will be Senior Legal Advisor to the Chairman, and will be responsible for wireless and international issues. Kyle Dixon will be Legal Advisor with responsibility for common carrier and select broadband and advanced services issues. Susan Eid will Legal Advisor with responsibility for mass media and cable TV issues. Antonia McGowan will continue as Confidential Assistant, and Dorothy Clingman will be Senior Staff Assistant. See, release.
1/25. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan testified before the Senate Budget Committee regarding the contribution of information technology to recent economic growth, George Bush's proposed tax cut, and other issues. See, prepared testimony. Regarding the effect of technology, he stated: "Had the innovations of recent decades, especially in information technologies, not come to fruition, productivity growth during the past five to seven years, arguably, would have continued to languish at the rate of the preceding twenty years. The sharp increase in prospective long-term rates of return on high-tech investments would not have emerged as it did in the early 1990s, and the associated surge in stock prices would surely have been largely absent. The accompanying wealth effect, so evidently critical to the growth of economic activity since the mid 1990s, would never have materialized." He also addressed Bush's proposal to cut taxes by $1,600,000 million over 10 years, without mentioning the President Bush. "Lately there has been much discussion of cutting taxes to confront the evident pronounced weakening in recent economic performance," said Greenspan. "And should current economic weakness spread beyond what now appears likely, having a tax cut in place may, in fact, do noticeable good." See also, statement of Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM).
1/25. The SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations issued a report titled Examinations of Broker-Dealers Offering Online Trading: Summary of Findings and Recommendations. Internet based trading was first introduced in 1995. According to the report, there are now about 7.8 Million people trading online, making around 807,000 trades per day. Over 200 broker-dealers provide retail investors the ability to trade online. Along with the growth in online trading, there has been a surge in investor complaints related to online trading. The report makes many recommendations, including:
• "broker-dealers should consider enhancing their web sites to provide a basic explanation of securities trading"
• "Broker-dealers should take steps to prevent executions of unintended duplicate orders"
• "Firms should evaluate the information they provide to customers about margin to ensure that it is in plain English and conspicuous"
• "broker-dealers ... conducting online initial public offerings ... should provide customers with a full and accurate description of their online IPO allocation and distribution methods, including the probability of receiving shares"
• "Firms should ensure that their advertising is balanced, describing the risks as well as the potential rewards of trading and investing"
• "broker-dealers should take steps to prevent capacity or other operational concerns from disrupting market operations"
• "Firms should evaluate the security of their web site and e-mail systems" (the report then addresses encryption, firewalls, passwords, and cookies)
1/25. VTech Holdings filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (SDNY) against Lucent alleging various claims arising out of its purchase of Lucent's consumer telephone division last year. VTech makes telephones, electronic learning toys, and paging devices.
1/25. Chiquita filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg against the European Commission for failing to implement 1997 WTO rulings. The case is about bananas. However, ongoing trade disputes between the U.S. and EU over agricultural products has the potential to lead to reciprocal trade sanctions, in which case the EU would target U.S. high tech exporters for retaliation.
1/25. The USPTO submitted a Report to Congress [18 pages in PDF] titled The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999, section 3006 concerning the abusive registration of domain names. The report concludes: "We conclude that the time is not ripe for further Federal legislation to protect personal names from abusive registration as domain names. In the political area, we see no need at this time for the FEC to intervene to create a centralized accurate list of official candidates and potential candidates for Federal, state or local offices. With regard to existing remedies available under trademark law, unfair competition, and dilution, we observe that aggrieved personal name holders are eligible for protection under these laws." The USPTO also published in its web site PDF scans of all of the public comments that it received.
1/25. The FTC settled a civil administrative claim against Indigo Investment Systems, Inc., and its CEO, Frank Alphonso, regarding making false and unsupported claims about the performance of Indigo's investment trading software. To put the agreement into effect, the FTC filed an administrative complaint [huge PDF file] and proposed agreement [PDF]. See also, FTC Analysis [PDF] and FTC release [HTML].
1/25. The U.S. Court of Appeals (4thCir) issued its opinion in Columbia Communications v. EchoStar, several consolidated appeals from a U.S. District Court (DMd) judgment in a case regarding a contract for the use of a satellite transponder to transmit TV programs.
1/25. Microsoft stated that on Jan. 25 it "was the target of a denial of service attack against the routers that direct traffic to the company's Web sites" and that it "has made the FBI aware of this situation". See, release.
1/25. Microsoft announced its Java User Migration Path to Microsoft .NET (aka "JUMP to .NET"), a set of technologies and services to assist programmers in migrating Java language projects onto the Microsoft .NET Platform. See, release. The announcement comes two days after Microsoft and Sun Microsystems settled their Java related litigation. See also, settlement agreement.
1/24. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced S 164, the Technology for Teachers Act of 2001, a bill to authorize the Education Department's Office of Educational Technology to award grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements on a competitive basis to train teachers to use technology. The bill was referred to the Senate Health, Educ. and Labor Committee.
1/24. The Senate confirmed by unanimous votes Tommy Thompson (Sec. of Health and Human Services) and Norman Mineta (Sec. of Transportation). Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee delayed consideration of the nomination of John Ashcroft (Attorney General). Democrats want answers to 260 written interrogatories before the Committee votes. Also, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a member of the Committee, released a statement in which she announced her opposition.
1/24. Microtune filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (EDTex) against Broadcom alleging patent infringement. Microtune, based in Plano, Texas, makes RF broadband chips for use in cable modems, set-top boxes, PC/TV multimedia, TV/digital TV and other consumer appliances. It alleges that Broadcom's BCM 3415 microchip infringes its U.S. Patent No. 5,737,035, titled "Highly Integrated Television Tuner on a Single Microcircuit." Microtune seeks monetary damages resulting from the alleged infringement, and an injunction against further infringement. Microtune is represented by the law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski. See, Microtune release.
1/24. The FCC published in its web site its Memorandum Opinion and Order [154 pages in PDF] granting SBC's Section 271 application to provide long distance service in Oklahoma and Kansas. The FCC announced this order on Jan. 19. (CC Docket No. 00-217.)
1/24. Hewlett-Packard hired Phil Bond to head its Washington DC lobbying office, effective Feb. 26. He will replace Gary Fazzino, who was appointed VP of HP Government and Public Affairs. Bond has held many jobs in Washington DC, including Chief of Staff to Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-WA), and Principal Dep. Asst. Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs under Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. See, release.
1/24. The U.S. District Court (2ndCir) issued its opinion in Matthew Bender and Hyperlaw v. West Publishing Co., an appeal of an attorneys fees award following the long legal battle over West's claim that it is entitled to copyright protection with respect to judicial opinions that it publishes in its case reporters. The U.S. District Court awarded $813,724.25 in attorneys fees to Hyperlaw based upon its finding that West violated 17 U.S.C. § 403 by failing to delineate the portion of its works for which copyright protection was claimed, and its finding that West conducted the litigation in bad faith. The Appeals Court reversed and remanded. (The copyright issues were addressed previously. See, Matthew Bender & Co. v. West Publishing Co., 158 F.3d 674 (2d Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1154 (1999) (HyperLaw I), and Matthew Bender & Co. v. West Publishing Co., 158 F.3d 693 (2d Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1154 (1999) (HyperLaw II).)
1/24. The U.S. Court of Appeals (5thCir) issued its opinion in Peel v. Rug Market, a copyright infringement case. Peel copyrighted a rug design. Rug Market, a rug wholesaler, carried rugs made in India that Peel alleged infringed its design. Peel filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (EDLa). The Court granted Rug Market's motion for summary judgment, on the grounds that Peel would not be able to meet its burden of proof that the rug producer had access to the design, and that the designs had sufficient similarity. The Appeals Court found material issues of fact, and reversed.
1/23. Microsoft and Sun Microsystems settled their Java litigation. MSFT and Sun entered into a TLDA in 1996 under which Sun licensed its Java technology to MSFT. Sun filed a complaint against MSFT in the U.S. District Court (NDCal) in late 1997. Microsoft has since decided to develop its own competing programming language, C#, as an alternative to Java. The settlement agreement provides that:
• "Microsoft agrees that the TLDA is terminated but the parties agree that Microsoft's consent is not an admission of any breach of the TLDA by Microsoft";
• "Sun's termination of the TLDA does not terminate, revoke or impair in any way licenses granted during the term of the TLDA by Microsoft to third parties ...";
• Microsoft will pay Sun $20 Million;
• Microsoft can continue to ship current products and those in beta; and
• Microsoft can develop competing products.
1/23. MSFT and Sun released a pair of acrimonious press releases about their Java litigation settlement agreement, and their competing software products. "Microsoft has proven time and again that it is unwilling to abide by the common rules of the internet," said Sun EVP Patricia Sueltz. "Its behavior with regard to the Java technology was just one instance. And when presented with the choice of compatibility or termination, Microsoft chose termination." Microsoft stated that the TLDA was "due to expire in two months" anyway. Moreover, "The Microsoft .NET platform is the best way to build, deliver and aggregate Web Services," said MSFT VP Sanjay Parthasarathy. See, MSFT release and Sun release.
1/23. Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), Sen. Paul Sarbanes, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) introduced S 149, the Export Administration Act of 2001 [167 pages in PDF], a bill that would exempt mass marketed items from export regulation. Sen. Gramm stated at a press conference in Washington DC that "there is inherent conflict between protecting technology that has defense implications and dominating the world in terms of selling high tech products around the world. ... the bottom line is, once it is sold on a mass-marketed basis, you're wasting your time in trying to protect that technology." Sen. Gramm is Chairman, and Sen. Sarbanes is the Ranking Member, of the Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over non tariff trade issues, including this bill. Sen. Gramm stated that the Committee would hold hearings in February. See also, summary of bill, Sarbanes statement, Enzi statement, and State Dept. statement.
1/23. The ICANN Board of Directors elected Stuart Lynn to succeed Michael Roberts as President and CEO. In 1999 Lynn retired from the University of California, were he was Associate Vice President for Information Resources and Communications for the University of California Office of the President. See, release.
1/23. The USPTO published in its web site the January issue of USPTO Today. An article by Tod Preston of the Office of Legislative and International Affairs reviews the intellectual property agenda for the 107th Congress. He wrote: "two issues that are likely to be focused on early in the congressional session are USPTO fee diversion and copyright protection, particularly as it relates to music-swapping services such as Napster. Indeed, key members of the House and Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees have already indicated that they intend to examine whether traditional copyright law is keeping pace with the Internet revolution. ... With respect to patent policy, the patenting of business methods and genomics is likely to remain an area of interest. In addition, action is also possible on the AIPA technical corrections legislation, non-copyright protection for databases, and state sovereign immunity and federally-protected IP rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 1999 Florida Prepaid decisions. On the trademark front, attention will once again focus on securing ratification and implementation of the Madrid Protocol." (Emphases added. See, pages 6-8.)
1/23. The USPTO announced that it will hold a public meeting on computer implemented business method patents on March 1, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM in Arlington VA. Also, the patent depository libraries in Sunnyvale, Detroit, and Houston will provide videoconferencing. See, release. Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced the Business Method Patent Improvement Act late last year.
1/23. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Pioneer Magnetics v. Micro Linear Corp., a patent infringement case. The Appeals Court affirmed the District Court's granting of Micro Linear's motion for summary judgment that none of its accused products infringe Pioneer’s U.S. Patent No. 4,677,366. The patent describes circuitry designed to receive variant levels of input voltage and to emit a constant output voltage, thereby providing a steady electrical current source to another circuit.
1/23. Qualcomm announced that it prevailed in three patent opposition proceedings in Korea and Europe. The three oppositions were initiated by Motorola. Qualcomm stated that the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) upheld Korean patent 215,947 titled "Method and Apparatus for Controlling Transmission Power in a CDMA Cellular Mobile Telephone System"; that the KIPO rejected an opposition against Korean patent 204,160, titled "Method and Apparatus for the Formatting of Data for Transmission"; and that in December the European Patent Office confirmed the validity of all claims of Qualcomm's European patent 624,275, titled "Method and System for the Arrangement of Vocoder Data for the Masking of Transmission Channel Induced Error." All three patents disclose Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technologies. See, Qualcomm release.
1/23. The U.S. Court of Appeals (7thCir) issued its opinion in Ty v. Jones Group, a trademark infringement dispute involving toy makers. Ty makes "Beanie Babies", plush toy animals that consist of plastic bean pellets inside of stitched fabric. The Jones Group makes "Beanie Racers", bean filled toy NASCAR racing cars. Ty, which has obtained a U.S. trademark registration for the mark "Beanie Babies," filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (NDIll). Ty also sought a preliminary injunction, which the trial court granted. The Jones Group brought this interlocutory appeal. The Appeals Court affirmed.
1/23. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion in AT&T v. FCC, a case involving a US West request to the FCC to forbear from regulating it as a dominant carrier in high capacity services in the Phoenix and Seattle MSAs pursuant to § 10 of the Telecom Act of 1996. The FCC denied the request. US West filed a petition for review. Petition granted; remanded to the FCC.
1/23. The FCC published in the Federal Register its final rule regarding implementation of certain aspects of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999. This rule pertains to the carriage of local TV stations in markets where satellite carriers offer local TV service to their subscribers. See, Federal Register, Jan. 23, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 15, at Pages 7410 - 7432. The FCC released its Report and Order on Nov. 30, 2000. See also, FCC's SHIVA page.
1/23. The FCC issued a release stating that last week it adopted a Third Report and Order to facilitate voluntary clearing of the 700 MHz band to promote the transition of legacy analog TV licensees to digital DT service. (WT Docket No. 99-168.)
1/23. The FCC published in the Federal Register its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding reallocation of spectrum for use by Third Generation (3G) wireless services. 3G is intended to provide broadband Internet access to portable devices. The FCC released this NPRM on Jan. 5. See, Federal Register, Jan. 23, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 15, Pages 7438 - 7443.
1/23. The FCC published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding reallocation of 27 megahertz of spectrum from the 216-220 MHz, 1390-1395 MHz, 1427-1429 MHz, 1429-1432 MHz, 1432-1435 MHz, 1670-1675 MHz, and 2385-2390 MHz bands from government to private sector use. See, Federal Register, Jan. 23, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 15, Pages 7443 - 7457.
1/23. The NTIA released a report [167 pages in PDF] titled "Assessment of Electromagnetic Spectrum Reallocation, Response to Title X of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000." The study focuses on national defense, federal public safety, and civil space programs. For each of these areas, federal agencies do not want to lose more spectrum through reallocations to the private sector.
1/23. The California Court of Appeal heard oral argument in Kathleen R. v. City of Livermore. Plaintiff, a parent of a child who used Internet access computers at the Livermore Public Libraries, filed a complaint in California state court to compel the library to install filtering software on computers used by children within the library. The trial court dismissed pursuant to Section 230 of the Telecom Act of 1996 without a formal written opinion. The three judge panel (Daniel Hanlon, Timothy Reardon, and Patricia Sepulveda) heard one half hour of argument from Dan Sodergren (City of Livermore), Matthew Brown (Cooley Godward on behalf of the California State Association of Counties) and Ann Brick (ACLU Northern California), and one half hour of argument from Michael Millen (for Kathleen R.). Afterwards a confident Sodergren predicted "I think the judges are pretty definitely going to rule in our favor." The opinion may be issued within several weeks. See also, Opening Appeal Brief by Kathleen R., Respondent's Brief, Amicus curaie brief by the ACLU NC and PFAW, Amicus curiae brief filed by the Calif. State Assoc. of Counties, and Reply Brief by Kathleen R. The Livermore Public Libraries does not accept e-rate or other federal subsidies for Internet access, so the recently enacted federal statute, the Children's Internet Protection Act, is not applicable to it.
1/23. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) introduced S 150, the Broadband Deployment Act of 2001. The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to provide a tax credit of 10% for certain expenditures related to the deployment of broadband Internet access facilities for users in underserved areas. The bill defines broadband as "transmission of signals at a rate of at least 1,500,000 bits per second to the subscriber and at least 200,000 bits per second from the subscriber." The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
1/22. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced S 88, the Broadband Internet Access Act of 2001, a bill designed to promote deployment of broadband Internet access facilities through tax credits. This bill would offer a 10% tax credit per year for five years to companies that deploy "current generation broadband" telecom technologies to both residents and businesses in rural or underserved urban areas, and offer a 20% tax credit per year for five years to companies that invest in "next generation broadband" services to all residential customers. The bill had 32 original cosponsors. It was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. See, Rockefeller release.
1/22. Fenwick & West announced that Brian Kelly joined the firm as a partner in the Licensing and Online Commerce Group. He will be resident in the Washington DC office, but will also work out of the Palo Alto and San Francisco offices. He has counseled clients such as Intuit, Cisco, and Epicentric regarding the creation and protection of intellectual property rights, Internet and electronic commerce operations, and the structuring and negotiation of software development, distribution and other agreements. See, release.
1/22. Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, announced his legislative priorities for the Committee for the 107th Congress. Several items are technology related, including export law reform and securities law reform. First, he plans to "modernize and refocus" the Export Administration Act. He stated that this statute "seeks to balance the national security needs of the country with our desire to be the world's largest producer and exporter of high-tech items." Second, he plans to reform the New Deal era securities laws. He stated that he has "asked his committee staff to begin a top-to-bottom review of U.S. securities laws. The basic securities laws are over 60 years old, and they are showing their age. The Securities Act of 1933 was based upon the assumption that market information was hard to get and expensive. Today, it is easy to obtain and virtually cost-free." He also stated that the Banking Committee will write a bankruptcy reform bill, and work to promote trade. See, statement.
1/22. FCC Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth praised the nomination of Michael Powell to be Chairman of the FCC. See, statement. Susan Ness also issued a statement praising Powell.
1/22. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced S 41, a bill to make permanent the R&D tax credit. Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) and Rep. Robert Matsui (D-CA) have introduced a similar bill in the House. The 106th Congress passed another in a series of temporary extensions of the R&D tax credit.
1/22. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced S 88, the Broadband Internet Access Act of 2001, a bill to incent deployment of broadband services in rural areas with tax credits. He stated that "The Act would give companies the incentive to build current generation broadband facilities in rural areas by using a very focused tax credit. It would offer any company that invests in broadband facilities in rural or inner city areas a ten percent tax credit over the next five years. This tax credit will help fight the growing disparity in technology I just described.
1/22. Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX) introduced S 136, the Fast Track Trade Negotiating Authority Act. It was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. He stated that this bill "would provide the President with much-needed fast track authority, so that he may expand trade by entering into trade agreements with our partners around the world. Fast track is key to unleashing the wealth-generating machine of trade still further, to all corners of the world. It is long past time to reauthorize this critical provision."
1/22. The U.S. Court of Appeals (2ndCir) issued its opinion in ICOM v. MCI Worldcom. ICOM filed a complaint in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Nassau County, alleging breach of contract under state law, based on MCI WorldCom's failure to install high-speed telecommunications circuits for the purpose of providing the plaintiff with local access telecommunication service. MCI Worldcom removed the case to the U.S. District Court (EDNY). The District Court granted MCI Worldcom's motion to dismiss the suit, holding that the ICOM's claims were preempted by the Communications Act of 1934, and barred by the filed rate doctrine. Affirmed.
1/22. Arash Aziz-Golshani and Hootan Melamed were sentenced in U.S. District Court (CDCal) for orchestrating an Internet based pump and dump securities fraud scheme. The two purchased stock in a company, and then posted false messages touting the stock on electronic bulletin boards operated by Yahoo! and other Internet companies. The stock price rose. They sold. A federal grand jury indicted them. Golshani previously plead guilty to securities fraud, and Melamed plead guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Golshani received a sentence of 15 months in federal prison. The case was investigated by the FBI Computer Crime Squad in Los Angeles, with substantial assistance for the SEC. See, USAO release.
1/22. President George Bush nominated Michael Powell to be Chairman of the FCC. He is currently a Commissioner of the FCC. Powell released a statement [MS Word]: "I am deeply honored and privileged to have received President Bush's designation to be Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission. I look forward to working with the new administration, Congress, my fellow Commissioners and the very talented FCC staff on the important and challenging communications issues facing our nation." See also, praise for the nominee from from the NAB, NCTA, and USTA.
1/22. House Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) praised the nomination of Powell. "In my opinion, this is one of President Bush's best -- and most exciting -- selections for his new administration. Michael Powell ranks among America's brightest, young leaders. He understands the benefits to consumers of aggressive competition in the marketplace, and I believe he will work with Congress to complete the task of deregulating the telecommunications industry. For years, watching the FCC work has been like watching an old black-and-white movie. But now, with Michael Powell in charge, get ready for an FCC broadcast in HDTV. He's the one person best suited to bring the agency into the 21st century."
1/22. The FCC released its Memorandum Opinion and Order in its AOL Time Warner merger review proceeding. The FCC announced its approval, with conditions, on Jan. 12.
1/22. The National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council (NIPLECC) submitted its Annual Report 2000.
1/22. The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari in NCTA v. Gulf Power Co. and FCC V. Gulf Power Co. (Nos. 00-832 and 00-843) The Court limited the issues to "1) Whether those provisions of the Pole Attachments Act apply to attachments by cable television systems that are simultaneously used to provide high-speed Internet access and conventional cable television programming. 2) Whether those provisions of the Pole Attachments Act apply to attachments by providers of wireless telecommunications services no less than to attachments by providers of wireline telecommunications services." The Court also granted AT&T Wireless Services' motion to file an amicus curiae brief. See, Order List for Jan. 22, at pages 4-5.
1/22. The U.S. Court of Appeals (4thCir) issued its opinion in Bradford v. Rockwell Semiconductor, a case involving a discharge based on alleged age discrimination. Bradford was discharged. He had an employment contract that provided for mandatory arbitration, with the fees of arbitration split equally. He pursued, and lost, an arbitration proceeding. He also filed a complaint in U.S. District Court. The Court granted Rockwell's motion for summary judgment, concluding that Bradford had failed to meet his burden of demonstrating that the arbitration agreement was unenforceable. The Appeals Court affirmed.
1/22. The U.S. Court of Appeals (4th Cir) issued its opinion in Virtual Works v. Volkswagen, a cybersquatting case. Virtual Works registered the domain name vw.net with Network Solutions (NSI) in 1996. Virtual Works then used the vw.net domain name for about two years as a part of its small ISP business. It then told Volkswagen that it would sell the domain name to the highest bidder. Volkswagen invoked the NSI dispute resolution process. NSI told Virtual Works to either transfer the name to Volkswagen, or file a complaint for declaratory relief in U.S. District Court, which it did. Volkswagen counterclaimed for trademark dilution, infringement, and cybersquatting under the ACPA. The District Court granted Volkswagen's motion for summary judgment on its cybersquatting, dilution, and infringement counterclaims, and ordered Virtual Works to relinquish to Volkswagen the rights to the vw.net domain name. Virtual Works appealed. The Appeals Court affirmed. It found that "Virtual Works attempted to profit in bad faith from Volkswagen's famous mark."
1/22. The FCC approved SBC's Section 271 request to provide long distance service in Oklahoma and Kansas. See, SBC release.