Cy Pres Remedies in the Internet Privacy Class Action Context

Last November, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Marek v. Lane, a class action case concerning potential privacy violations arising from Facebook’s short-lived and controversial “Beacon” program, which automatically posted information regarding users’ transactions on third-party websites to the users’ Facebook feeds. The class action ended in a settlement, in which Facebook agreed to pay $9.5 million into a cy pres fund to “establish a charitable foundation” that would “fund organizations dedicated to educating the Continue Reading →

Freeing the Market in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is known for being home to tech giants such as Apple and Google. These companies, and others like them, set the bar for technological innovations which are generated by and depend upon the hard work of thousands of employees. The Valley is vaunted for its respect for the power of an individual’s idea, and these types of success stories have characterized the area for decades. Why then, in this culture of respect for Continue Reading →

How Should International Purposeful Availment Grow with the Internet?

Courts have used internet activity to find personal jurisdiction in the United States.  Many of these cases have relied on either the Zippo test from Zippo Manufacturing Co. v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc or the Calder test from Calder v. Jones.  The Zippo test applies a sliding scale where a court looks at the interactivity versus passivity of a website to find purposeful availment and is considered to be the main standard in internet jurisdiction Continue Reading →

Is Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” Streaming Service Statutorily Discriminatory Against the Deaf? The Answer is Yes and No.

Netflix has established itself as the world’s premier on-demand Internet streaming media service, with thousands of movies and TV episodes available for unlimited and instant download and more than 33 million subscribers around the world. Yet, despite its overall popularity, over the past year Netflix has found itself defending against allegations that its “Watch Instantly” video stream service is statutorily discriminatory against deaf and hearing-impaired subscribers in Nat’l Ass’n of the Deaf v. Netflix, Inc., Continue Reading →

Smartphone Wars: Part II

On August 24th, Apple won decisively in Apple v. Samsung. The jury awarded Apple $1.04 billion for infringing Apple’s intellectual property. This was less than the $2.5 billion that Apple requested, but the jury found that Apple wasn’t infringing any of Samsung’s patents. Of the many patents that were disputed, the judgment turned on three patents and Apple’s trade dress argument. The pertinent features were the following: (i) bounce-back effect; (ii) pinch-to-zoom feature; and (iii) Continue Reading →

Smartphone Wars

Apple sues Samsung for patent infringement. In response, Samsung files international countersuits on patents of its own. Courts around the world grant preliminary injunctions to each company on a number of their claims, while United States and European Union government agencies investigate allegations of antitrust violations. What’s going on here? Let’s start with the shiny new weapon that Apple added to its arsenal in June of last year: a patent on the original iPhone, the Continue Reading →

Your Smartphone; A Prosecutor’s Best Witness

Introduction Witnesses in the United States may choose to exercise their right to “plead the Fifth,” or refuse to answer a question because the response could provide self incriminating evidence of an illegal act. But how strong is this right if a prosecutor is already aware of where a witness was, what they saw, what they heard, and in some ways even what they were thinking at any given time on any given day? I Continue Reading →

AT&T Says One Antitrust Suit is Enough!

In the wake of the Justice Department’s antitrust suit to stop AT&T’s $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel (the nation’s 3rd largest wireless carrier) and Cellular South (a smaller wireless company in the Southeastern U.S., which changed its name to C Spire last week) filed similar suits seeking to enjoin the merger. The suits were filed under § 16 of the Clayton Act which provides injunctive relief for private parties. The suits by Sprint Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – September 6, 2011

The latest links from STLR: Last week, the Justice Department filed suit in DC District court to block AT&T’s $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile, arguing that the merger violates antitrust laws. Sprint has since filed its own lawsuit in DC District court to block the proposed deal. The Senate debates the America Invents Act on Patent Reform (H.R.1249). These proposed reforms to the patent system are expected to be passed and signed by President Obama Continue Reading →

Wounded Soldiers Returning Home Face a New Battle

Some wounded soldiers leaving the war-zones in Iraq and Afghanistan have arrived home only to find themselves caught in the crossfire of a new battle – a legal one. For some of the 300,000 or more members of the armed forces who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the legal battle ensuing from the Veterans Administration’s denial of long-term disability benefits is extremely important.  Without these government benefits, vulnerable veterans who are not prepared to Continue Reading →