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2011-2012

Articles

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The Attorney–Client Privilege and Discovery of Electronically-Stored Information
Adjoa Linzy

Date posted: 2-24-2011

The attorney-client privilege is the most sacred and important privilege in our legal system. Despite being at the center of daily practice, the privilege still remains a mystery for many lawyers. This is primarily because the privilege is not absolute, and there are certain actions or non-actions that may waive it. The application of the privilege is further complicated by electronic discovery, which has both benefits and drawbacks. On one hand, it has made the practice of law more efficient. On the other hand, it has made it easier to inadvertently waive the attorney-client privilege in response to a discovery request. This iBrief examines attorney-client privilege issues that may arise during e-discovery, and provides practical guidelines for attorneys responding to e-discovery requests.

Topic: eDiscovery

 

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Sherley v. Sebelius: Stem Cells and the Uneasy Interplay Between the Federal Bench and the Lab Bench
Ryan P. O'Quinn

Date posted: 3-26-2011

After Barack Obama's election to the presidency, he promised that one of his top priorities in office would be to relieve the restrictions initiated by President George W. Bush on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. President Obama followed through on his promise, but the celebrations in the nation's research labs were short-lived. Anti-abortion advocates and other scientists working in the field that would allegedly be out-competed in the federal funding arena brought a legal challenge to the new government position. The struggle culminated in August 2010 with a federal district court issuing a preliminary injunction to halt the new funding initiative. Although the government successfully appealed for a stay on the injunction pending arguments in the Court of Appeals, the decision has paralyzed research in the field. This iBrief argues that the injunction was wrongly granted, predicts how higher courts might treat the case, and suggests that the proper forum for addressing this controversy lies within the scientific community, not the judiciary.

Topic: Health & Biotechnology

 

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The Invisible Power of MacHines Revisiting the Proposed Flash Order Ban in the Wake of the Flash Crash
Austin J. Sandler

Date posted: 3-28-2011

Technological innovation continues to make trading and markets more efficient, generally benefitting market participants and the investing public. But flash trading, a practice that evolved from high-frequency trading, benefits only a select few sophisticated traders and institutions with the resources necessary to view and respond to flashed orders. This practice undermines the basic principles of fairness and transparency in securities regulation, exacerbates information asymmetries and harms investor confidence. This iBrief revisits the Securities and Exchange Commission's proposed ban on the controversial practice of "flash trading" and urges the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to implement the ban across the securities and futures markets. Banning flash trading will not impact high-frequency trading or other advantageous innovative trading practices, and will benefit all market participants by making prices and liquidity more transparent. In the wake of the May 6, 2010 "flash crash" and the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, now is an opportune time for the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission to implement the ban.

Topic: eCommerce

 

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Non­–Per Se Treatment of Buyer Price-Fixing in Intellectual Property Settings
Hillary Greene

Date posted: 4-5-2011

The ability of intellectual property owners to earn monopoly rents and the inability of horizontal competitors to price fix legally are two propositions that are often taken as givens. This iBrief challenges the wholesale adoption of either proposition within the context of buyer price-fixing in intellectual property markets. More specifically, it examines antitrust law’s role in protecting patent holders’ rents through its condemnation of otherwise ostensibly efficient buyer price fixing. Using basic economic analysis, this iBrief refines the legal standards applicable at this point of intersection between antitrust and patent law. In particular, the author recommends the limited abandonment of per se condemnation of buyer price-fixing within pure intellectual property contexts. As an alternative, a coarse screen which accounts for both price and innovation effects is proposed. This recommendation represents one example of how antitrust law can better account for the complicated and imperfectly understood effects of the patent system on social welfare.

Topic: Patents & Technology

 

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Speaking of Music and the Counterpoint of Copyright: Addressing Legal Concerns in Making Oral History Available to the Public
Jeremy J. Beck and Libby Van Cleve

Date posted: 4-5-2011

Oral history provides society with voices and memories of people and communities experiencing events of the past first-hand. Such history is created through interviews; an interview, however, like any other type of intellectual property—once in a fixed form—is subject to copyright law. In order to make oral history available to the public, it is critically important that individuals generating and acquiring oral history materials clearly understand relevant aspects of copyright law. The varied nature of how one may create, use, and acquire oral history materials can present new, surprising, and sometimes baffling legal scenarios that challenge the experience of even the most skilled curators.

This iBrief presents and discusses two real-world scenarios that raise various issues related to oral history and copyright law. These scenarios were encountered by curators at Yale University’s Oral History of American Music archive (OHAM), the preeminent organization dedicated to the collection and preservation of recorded memoirs of the creative musicians of our time. The legal concerns raised and discussed throughout this iBrief may be familiar to other stewards of oral history materials and will be worthwhile for all archivists and their counsel to consider when reviewing their practices and policies.

Topic: Copyrights & Trademarks

 

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The Classic 25% Rule and the Art of Intellectual Property Licensing
Robert Goldscheider

Date posted: 5-30-2011

Fifty years ago, Robert Goldscheider helped pioneer the use of a methodology known as “the 25% Rule,” a tool for determining reasonable royalties in intellectual property licensing negotiations. The Rule holds that licensees of intellectual property normally deserve the lion’s share of the profit because they usually bear the bulk of the business risk associated with bringing the intellectual property to market. Experts familiar with the art of intellectual property licensing frequently rely on the 25% Rule to rationally determine reasonable royalties in litigation and transactional settings.

The Rule’s prominence has been accompanied by unfortunate misunderstandings about its form and substance. It is not, as some suggest, intended to be a simple shortcut to determine patent royalties. Rather, it was developed as, and remains, a meticulous methodology inspired by significant private transactions and ultimately refined by brilliant judicial interpretation. As such, it is inappropriate to condescendingly diminish it to a mere “rule of thumb.” When properly understood and applied, the Classic 25% Rule is an effective discipline that achieves the high standards of reliability demanded by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Daubert.

Topic: Patents & Technology

 

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Copyright Enforcement of Non-Copyright Terms: MDY v. Blizzard and Krause v. Titleserv
Justin Van Etten

Date posted: 8-9-2011

The rise of software and software licensing has led to another phenomenon: the attempted enforcement of software licenses through copyright law. Over the last fifteen years, content creators have begun to bring copyright suits against licensees, arguing that violation of license terms withdraws the permission needed to run the software, turning the use of the software into copyright infringement. Not surprisingly, courts have rejected this argument, and both the Ninth Circuit, in MDY v. Blizzard, and the Second Circuit, in Krause v. Titleserv, have developed new legal rules to prevent copyright enforcement of contract terms. This iBrief explores software licensing in detail, analyzes the courts’ responses, and concludes that the Ninth Circuit’s approach to copyright enforcement of license terms is preferable to the Second Circuit’s approach because it is supported by legislative history, more straightforward, and more likely to prevent future content creators from enforcing their licenses through contract.

Topic: Copyrights & Trademarks

 

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Electronic Discovery in the Cloud
Alberto G. Araiza

Date posted: 9-20-2011

Cloud Computing is poised to offer tremendous benefits to clients, including inexpensive access to seemingly limitless resources that are available instantly, anywhere. To prepare for the shift from computing environments dependent on dedicated hardware to Cloud Computing, the Federal Rules of Discovery should be amended to provide relevant guidelines and exceptions for particular types of shared data. Meanwhile, clients should ensure that service contracts with Cloud providers include safeguards against inadvertent discoveries and mechanisms for complying with the Rules. Without these adaptations, clients will be either reluctant or unprepared to adopt Cloud Computing services, and forgo their benefits.

Topic: eDiscovery

 

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Checking the Staats: How Long Is Too Long to Give Adequate Public Notice in Broadening Reissue Patent Applications?
David M. Longo Ph.D. and Ryan P. O’Quinn Ph.D.

Date posted: 11-7-2011

A classic property rights question looms large in the field of patent law: where do the rights of inventors end and the rights of the public begin? The right of inventors to modify the scope of their claimed inventions, even after the patent issues, is in direct tension with the concepts of public notice and the public domain. The Patent Act currently permits broadening of claims so long as a reissue application demonstrating intent to broaden is filed within two years of the original patent issue. Over the years, however, this relatively straightforward statutory provision has sparked numerous disputes over its meaning and application.

On September 8, 2011, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments or In re Staats. In this case, Apple Computer, Inc. appeals the rejection of a continuation reissue patent application. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences rejected the application on the grounds that Apple attempted to broaden the scope of its patent claims in a manner not “foreseeable” more than eight years after the patent first issued. Apple contends that the language of the statute and prior case law permit its interpretation, and the application should be allowed in the interest of innovation. This issue is hardly a new one—this submission highlights nearly 140 years of case law, legislative history, and statutory shaping pertaining to broadening reissues. We analyze the issues raised in the briefs from Staats, as well as the oral arguments. Finally, we discuss from a practitioner’s perspective what the Federal Circuit could do—and should do—in the field of broadening reissues.

Topic: Patents & Technology

 

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Programmers and Forensic Analyses: Accusers Under the Confrontation Clause
Karen Neville

Date posted: 11-13-2011

Recent Supreme Court cases involving the Confrontation Clause have strengthened defendants’ right to face their accusers. Bullcoming v. New Mexico explored the question of whether the testimony of the technician who performs a forensic analysis may be substituted by that of another analyst, and the Court held that producing a surrogate witness who was not sufficiently involved in the analysis violates the confrontation right.

The presumption of infallible technology is fading, and courts may soon realize programmers have greater influence over the ultimate outcome of forensic tests than do the technicians who rely on such analytical tools. The confrontation right, so bolstered by recent cases, may encompass defendants’ right to demand testimony from the programmers of machines performing forensic analyses. The Bullcoming decision is certain to affect whether the right to confront the programmer will be recognized.

Topic: Health & Biotechnology

 

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Copyright for Couture
Loni Schutte

Date posted: 11-21-2011

Fashion design in America has never been covered by the extensive intellectual property (IP) protections afforded to other categories of creative works or to the art in other countries. As a result, America has become a safe haven for design pirates. Piracy disproportionately harms young designers who do not have established trademarks for their brands and must rely purely on creativity to propel their designs into the market. H.R. 2511 is a bill that aims to extend copyright protection to fashion designs, albeit narrowly. Compared with previous proposals to extend effective IP protection to fashion design, H.R. 2511 is more of a sui generis protection aimed at the particularities of the fashion industry. It was the result of intensive negotiations between parties of conflicting interests, and has been tailored to address specific yet ubiquitous problems in the fashion industry.

Topic: Copyrights & Trademarks

 

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The Path of Internet Law: An Annotated Guide to Legal Landmarks
Michael L. Rustad and Diane D’Angelo

Date posted: 11-30-2011

The evolution of the Internet has forever changed the legal landscape. The Internet is the world’s largest marketplace, copy machine, and instrumentality for committing crimes, torts, and infringing intellectual property. Justice Holmes’s classic essay on the path of the law drew upon six centuries of case reports and statutes. In less than twenty-five years, Internet law has created new legal dilemmas and challenges in accommodating new information technologies. Part I is a brief timeline of Internet case law and statutory developments for Internet-related intellectual property (IP) law. Part II describes some of the ways in which the Internet is redirecting the path of IP in a globalized information-based economy. Our broader point is that every branch of substantive and procedural law is adapting to the digital world. Part III is the functional equivalent of a GPS for locating the latest U.S. and foreign law resources to help lawyers, policymakers, academics and law students lost in cyberspace.

Topic: International

 

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The “25% Rule” for Patent Infringement Damages After Uniloc
Roy J. Epstein

Date posted: 1-29-2012

The 2011 decision by the Federal Circuit in Uniloc v. Microsoft properly condemned the “25% Rule,” which bases a reasonable royalty on 25% of an infringer’s profits. Nonetheless, at least one proponent of the Rule continues to argue that the Rule is fundamentally valid and should remain in use. This article analyzes the historical development of the Rule, its conceptual basis, its application in actual cases, and relevant insights from other recent Federal Circuit cases. Each analysis shows fundamental problems and contradictions that demonstrate the Rule can never be a reliable patent damages methodology. There is no reason to change the conclusion in Uniloc.

Topic: Patents & Technology