TLJ News from August 11-15, 2007

Department of Commerce to Host Closed Meeting on Identity Management in E-Commerce

8/15. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) International Trade Administration's (ITA) Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce (OTEC) announced that it will host a closed meeting on September 18, 2007, to discuss identity management in electronic commerce.

See, notice in the Federal Register, August 15, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 157, at Page 45731. The DOC did not disclose the time or location of this event. The deadline to submit requests to participate in or attend the meeting is August 20, 2007.

The OETC web site states that "A number of high-profile incidents involving security breaches and identity theft have created the need for government and the private sector to discuss their respective roles in privacy and security issues."

The OTEC's notice in the Federal Register states that the meeting will address five topics: "(1) The need for improvements in existing identity management practices; (2) the impact of identity management on business competitiveness and the ability of businesses to use electronic commerce to enhance international trade; (3) industry best practices in identity management and challenges associated with promulgating these best practices; (4) the trade-related implications of identity management; and (5) ways to create an identity management landscape that balances the needs of consumers, industry, and government and enables the growth of e-commerce."

This notice also states this meeting will consist of "twenty experts in the field of identity management to hold this discussion", and "up to thirty additional individuals to participate as part of the audience".

This notice also states that "This roundtable will be closed to the press."

Bush Again Extends Export Control Regulations

8/15. President Bush issued another notice in a series of annual notices to maintain in effect the export regulations of the Department of Commerce's (DOC) Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). These regulations implement the Export Administration Act of 1979, which expired in 2001.

These regulations affect, among other things, exports and "deemed exports" of dual use items, such as computers, software, and encryption products. These regulations also regulate some employment practices.

The President's notice states that "On August 17, 2001, consistent with the authority provided to me under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 170l et seq.), I issued Executive Order 13222. In that order, I declared a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States in light of the expiration of the Export Administration Act of 1979, as amended (50 U.S.C. App. 2401 et seq.). Because the Export Administration Act has not been renewed by the Congress, the national emergency declared on August 17, 2001, must continue in effect beyond August 17, 2007. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13222." (Parentheses in original.)

See also, letters sent to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, and notice in the Federal Register, August 16, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 158, at Pages 46135-46137.

On August 16, 2007, the BIS's Deemed Export Advisory Committee announced that it will meet on September 10, 2007, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 NOON at an undisclosed location. Friday, August 24 at 5:00 PM is the deadline to submit requests to make presentations at this meeting. Monday, September 3 at 5:00 PM is the deadline to submit prepared testimony. See, notice in the Federal Register, August 16, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 158, at Page 46035.

People and Appointments

8/15. President Bush named John Adams to be Associate Counsel to the President. Adams has clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and for Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir). He has also worked in the Richmond, Virginia, office of the law firm of Hunton & Williams. Adams represented Cingular Wireless (now AT&T) in antitrust litigation. See, Hunton & Williams release.

More News

8/15. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced in a release that it has awarded a $119,968,468 contract to IBM to run the digital to analog converter box program associated with the DTV transition.

US Requests WTO Dispute Settlement Panel Re PRC Failure to Protect IPR

8/13. The United States (US) submitted a request [8 pages in PDF] for the establishment of a Dispute Settlement Panel (DSP) to the World Trade Organization (WTO) that alleges that the People's Republic of China (PRC) has violated its obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in connection with its failure to protect copyrights and trademarks in books, music, videos and movies.

This is another step in an ongoing process. On April 10, 2007, the OUSTR submitted two related requests for consultations with the WTO on this subject. See, story titled "US to Complain to WTO Regarding PR China's Failure to Protect IPR" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,562, April 9, 2007. See also, the WTO's web page for DS362 and web page for DS363.

See, full story.


8/13. The U.S. Court of Appeals (11thCir) issued its opinion [14 pages in PDF] in AT&T Mobility v. NASCAR, vacating the judgment of the District Court. There will be no AT&T car in the NASCAR Cup Series.

National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for stock car racing, including the NASCAR Cup Series, which is currently named the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.

RCR Team # 31 competes in NASCAR Cup Series races. Its driver, Jeff Burton, drives a car numbered 31, that is covered with sponsors' logos. The RCR web site for car 31 still displays pictures of the car with the letters "at&t", and the AT&T blue and white striped globe logo. See, recent picture. The car is Cingular orange. It previously carried the letters "cingular", and the Cingular X man logo. See, old picture.

NASCAR enters into contracts with series sponsors, and the competing teams. It has a contract with Sprint Nextel that provides that no other wireline or wireless telecommunications company, including AT&T, may sponsor the series or any team. The agreement also requires NASCAR to protect Sprint Nextel's exclusivity. However, at the time that Sprint Nextel negotiated its contract, Cingular was a sponsor of car 31. Hence, the contract carved out an exception for Cingular. There is also a contract between NCR and NASCAR. AT&T is not a party to this contract.

Cingular was operated by SBC and BellSouth. AT&T merged with SBC, and then with BellSouth. AT&T acquired Cingular in its merger with BellSouth. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominally approved the merger on December 29, 2006. It released the text of its order [PDF] approving the merger on March 26, 2007.

In January of 2007, AT&T sought to become the main sponsor of car 31. NASCAR refused NCR permission to change the appearance of car 31 to contain the letters "at&t" and the AT&T logo.

AT&T then filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (NDGa) against NASCAR seeking a preliminary injunction barring NASCAR from interfering with its display of its logo on car 31 in NASCAR cup series races. It asserted breach of the contract between NCR and NASCAR. Sprint Nextel intervened.

The District Court concluded that AT&T is a third party beneficiary of the contract, and granted the injunction. See, opinion published at 487 F.Supp.2d 1370

NASCAR and Sprint Nextel brought the present appeal. The Court of Appeals vacated the judgment of the District Court. It reasoned that AT&T is neither a party to, nor a third party beneficiary of, the NASCAR NCR contract. Thus, it lacks standing to seek enforcement of the contract. The Court of Appeals remanded the case for dismissal of the action.

Moreover, the FCC has no express statutory authority to regulate NASCAR racing or advertising.

This case is AT&T Mobility LLC v. National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corporation, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, App. Ct. No. 07-12299, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, D. C. Docket No. 07-00623-CV-MSH-1.

Lupin Resigns As Qualcomm General Counsel

8/13. Qualcomm announced in a release that Lou Lupin "has resigned his position as executive vice president and general counsel".

On August 6, 2007, the U.S. District Court (SDCal) issued a scathing order [54 pages in PDF] in Qualcomm v. Broadcom, a patent infringement case involving U.S. Patent Nos. 5,452,104 and 5,576,767, which relate to video compression technology.

The District Court held that Qualcomm waived its right to enforce these patents due to intentional and persistent concealment during a standards setting process. See, Qualcomm release and Broadcom release. This case is Qualcomm, Inc. v. Broadcom Corp., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, D.C. No. 05-CV-1958-B(BLM).

On August 6, 2007, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) decided to permit to become permanent the exclusion order of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) that bars importation by Qualcomm of certain cellular phone chips alleged to infringe a Broadcom patent.

See, OUSTR statement. The USITC proceeding is titled "Certain Baseband Processor Chips and Chipsets, Transmitter and Receiver (Radio) Chips, Power Control Chips, and Products Containing Same, Including Cellular Telephone Handsets" and numbered 337‑TA‑543. See also, Broadcom release.

Qualcomm added that Carol Lam, who joined Qualcomm in February of 2007, will be the acting General Counsel. She was previously the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California, until removed by the Bush administration. Qualcomm is searching for a new General Counsel.

More People and Appointments

8/13. Karl Rove, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to President Bush, resigned. See, statements by President Bush and Rove, and transcript of news conference of Rove.

More News

8/13. Discovery Communications announced that it will only license the Discovery Kids name and characters for use only in connection with healthy food and beverage products. Elected representatives, and government regulators praised the announcement. See, statement by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), statement [PDF] by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, statement by FCC Commissioner Deborah Tate, and statement [PDF] by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps.

People and Appointments

8/12. Qwest Communications International announced in a release that Edward Mueller has been named Chairman and CEO. He replaces Richard Notebaert, who previously announced his retirement.

Go to News from August 6-10, 2007.