STLR Link Roundup – Oct. 24, 2014

President Obama Nominates New Director of the USPTO On Thursday, October 16, President Barack Obama nominated Michelle Lee to be the next director of the United States Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) following former director David Kappos’ resignation last year. Formerly a Partner at Silicon Valley firm Fenwick & West, Lee served as Google’s deputy general counsel from 2003 to 2012 before serving as the Director of the Silicon Valley Office of the USPTO. She Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – Oct. 17, 2014

San Francisco Leading the way in Regulating Airbnb Regulating Airbnb, the online, community-based home rental service, has been difficult. For example, Airbnb in New York has shown how the deregulated nature of that market leads to complaints from neighbors, springboards for illicit activity, and violations of local laws in subletting, zoning, and tax, even prompting action by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. New York’s regulations in response to Airbnb may be too overreaching in Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – Oct. 10, 2014

Twitter Fights for Transparency Regarding the Scale of Government Surveillance Twitter is taking on the Administration in an attempt to deliver more information to its customers about the scale of government surveillance. Twitter sued the U.S. government, alleging that restrictions on its ability to disclose law enforcement requests for user data violate the company’s First Amendment rights. Tech companies may report aggregate data on requests for customer data, but only in broad ranges of 1000 Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – April 26, 2014

Aereo at the Supreme Court The lion’s share of the public attention devoted to this week’s Supreme Court oral arguments was captured by Aereo, an Internet start-up company battling with traditional broadcasters over the future of how Americans watch network television. Aereo is a for-pay cloud-based television service that allows subscribers to access television broadcasts via their web browser. Unlike other online streaming services such as Netflix, however, Aereo bypasses paying expensive licensing fees to Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – April 16, 2014

Patent Reform Bill Delayed Again The Senate Judiciary Committee has delayed consideration of the patent reform bill yet again. The bi-partisan bill, aimed at combatting patent trolls or non-practicing entities, was widely expected to go before the committee this week. However, by Monday evening, hopes had begun to fade as negotiations continued into the night. Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement promising a new version of the bill would be Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – March 30, 2014

Proposed NSA Reforms: Salient or Superficial? President Obama urged Congress for NSA reform this past Thursday. Under his proposal, phone companies would release their customers’ records to the NSA only after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approves requests for specific phone numbers. Queries would also be limited to “two hops” rather than “three hops” – meaning that the NSA would (still) receive “all the contacts of all the contacts of suspected persons.” President Obama Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – March 24, 2014

Obama Administration Takes Technological Action Against Climate Change A week after the Senate Democrats hosted an overnight session highlighting climate change, the Obama administration launched the Climate Data Initiative, a broad effort to harness the power of data and data-driven tools to help communities across America prepare for the effects of climate change. Key components of the initiative include the launch of climate.data.gov—a website which contains data and resources pertaining to sea-level rise and coastal Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – March 21, 2014

Class Action Status Denied for Gmail Case In its fight against claims that it illegally scanned private e-mails on its Gmail accounts, Google has just won a major victory. The U.S. District Court in San Jose, California refused a bid for class-action status. Allowing the case to proceed as a class action would have allowed plaintiffs to pool resources, and would ultimately have put greater pressure on Google to settle. E-mail users have claimed that Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – March 5, 2014

Warning to Patent Trolls: Supreme Court Could Endorse Fee-Shifting in Frivolous Patent Suits In the morning of February 26, 2014, the Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases concerning who should pay attorney fees in frivolous patent cases. The Court will decide, under the attorney’s fees provision of 35 U.S.C. § 285, when a federal judge may order the plaintiff to pay for the defendant’s attorney’s fees as punishment for having brought a patent infringement Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – February 25, 2014

Comcast is causing a stir On February 13, 2014, Comcast announced that it would acquire Time Warner Cable, making the largest broadband cable provider even bigger. Despite growing concerns that the F.C.C. will pursue an antitrust claim against the proposed merger due to the creation of a monopsomy market, Comcast is acting like a market leader. Yesterday, February 24, 2014, Netflix agreed to pay Comcast for smoother streaming of its online video. (See a recent STLR Continue Reading →