Technically Legal

Technology and the law. Done right.

Podcast 65: iLike Facebook Ads

HP and Lexmark Sue over Ink Jet Cartridges, again, Facebook Sued over Kids Liking ads, iPad and People

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HP and Lexmark sue over Ink Jet Cartridges

Lexmark, HP Using Patent Law To Try To Block Replacement Ink Cartridges From The Market
Arizona Cartridge Remanufacturers Association Inc. v. Lexmark International Inc.
HP guns for printer ink competition
Lexmark sues 24 cartridge makers over patents

Facebook Sued over Kids Liking Ads

Lawsuit Says Teens Should Not Be Allowed To Like Ads On Facebook
Facebook Offers Exhibit A In Its Defense Against Teen Lawsuit

People Magazine and the iPad

iPad News: People Magazine Launches Delayed App
17 USC 106

Comments Off Posted in: Podcast on August 30, 2010

Judge Denies Injunction in CrunchPad/Fusion Garage Case

The opinion, released last week, largely slipped through the cracks. I can’t imagine why TechCrunch wouldn’t report on this.

To recap, breifly, Mike Arrington wanted to make a sub-$200 internet tablet. He started the CrunchPad project which went a whole lot of nowhere until a company called FusionGarage came in. FusionGarage had a near-finished project that Arrington liked and they agreed to work together to polish it off, and get funding to bring the price down from $500 a unit to the $200 target price. Mere weeks before the supposed launch date, FusionGarage backed out, launched their project on their own, and got sued by Arrington for pretty much everything under the sun. Arrington also asked the judge to freeze the proceeds from the sales of FusionGarage’s tablet, called the joojoo.

The judge denies the injunction, saying that TechCrunch hasn’t shown that, absent the injunction, they would be unable to recover monetary damages should they win the lawsuit.

The judge then goes on to dismiss Arrington’s claim for theft of business ideas, because business ideas aren’t really independently protectable, absent some recognized intellectual property right. A fraud claim was also dismissed because it was not specific enough, this was dismissed with a chance to refile the claim. The judge also dismissed a Federal and state unfair competition claim, also with leave to amend the claims and refile.

So, this isn’t a total loss for Arrington. While he lost the injunction the theft of business practices claims, his breach of fiduciary duty claim stands, and he can amend his complaint to fix everything else.

Comments Off Posted in: Analysis on August 30, 2010

Half of Facebook Stolen!

Facebook is going after for violating their trademarks. Teachbook is a social networking site for teachers, but you may have already guessed that based on the name, which is precisely why Goliath is going after David in this case. The word “book”, or at least “[something]” has the potential to become synonymous with social networking sites, especially if more somethingbook websites start popping up.

One of Teachbook’s two employees said “We’re trying to understand how Facebook, a multibillion-dollar company, feels this small enterprise in Chicago is any type of threat.” However, that’s not the right defense. Besides the dilution of Facebook’s trademark, Teachbook is a threat because there is the possibility of confusion between the two, and it essentially rides on the coattails of Facebook’s trademark. And despite the claim that books are educational and therefore Teachbook is just two educational words, the most crucial piece is that I doubt they would have named their website Teachbook without Facebook’s trademark already existing.

This follows the amusing trend where portions of words are considered violations of the trademark. Consider the ill-fated Scrabulous, borrowing Scrabble’s first five letters, and the various -opoly games that borrowed too heavily from Monopoly. Each of those is five letters, compared to the four in “book.” I’m curious to see if anyone will be sued for any smaller or more generic portions of trademarks.

2 Comments Posted in: Analysis, Links on August 26, 2010

Episode 64: Big, Scary Design Patents!

Apple gets a couple of scary design patents, AT&T thinks wireless is different, and Oracle sues the Java out of Google.

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Apple Design Patents

Article (via TUAW)

Patent #s: D621848, D621849

AT&T on Net Neutrality

AT&T’s Statement

Oracle (d/b/a Sun) Sues Google Over Java (N.D.CA, No. 1418106)

Article (via Tech Crunch)


Ben and David Lu!! are MIA this week.


Comments Off Posted in: Podcast on August 23, 2010

Three-way Battle for Hope Becomes Two-way

As we reported back in Episode 53, there’s been a three-way battle over the iconic Obama/Hope poster, with Shepard Fairey battling the Associated Press over whether his use of an AP photograph is fair use, and Manny Garcia battling the AP over whether they had rights to the photograph he took in the first place. However, today, Garcia dropped his suit, claiming a personal and professional toll.

The trial date for the Fairey/AP case has been set for March. (AP reports)

Comments Off Posted in: Links on August 23, 2010

Apple Awarded Design Patent on Slide to Unlock

The blogosphere was abuzz today with the news that Apple was awarded two patents. One was for slide to unlock, the other for virtual keyboard keys popping up when you tap them.

Both of these, however, were design patents, and not utility patents. That means that other people can implement the same features, as long as they don’t look substantially similar to Apple’s implementation.

Think of design patents more of trademarks than regular patents. This just keeps people from making a lock screen that’s so similar to the iPhone that it will risk confusing people.

Comments Off Posted in: Links on August 17, 2010

Episode 63: Shark Week

Google and Verizon: With Less Speculation, Discovery Channel Takes Shark Week Too Seriously, and a Federal Appeals Court Nixes GPS Tracking

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GPS and Verizon: Redux

Google Public Policy Blog
The Proposal

Discovery Channel’s Shark Week

Discovery Channel Forcing Deadliest Catch Fan Site Offline; Claims Embedding Official Videos Infringes
Discovery Channel Ignores Repeated Twitter Questions, Sends Content-Free Statement
Discovery Forces Takeover of Site [site since taken over] (google cache)

Court 86’s Warrantless GPS Tracking

Court Rejects Warrantless GPS Tracking
The Opinion

Comments Off Posted in: Podcast on August 16, 2010

Futuretap Talks with Lawyers, Apple, Chills Out

On this past week’s podcast, we covered the story of FutureTap alleging that Apple was trying to patent their App.

They’ve since talked to Apple and patent lawyers who’ve told them that the patent doesn’t cover any of Where To’s functionality, and that the illustration included in the patent application was just that, an illustration of a context in which the invention could be used. Basically, what we said on the podcast.

From the FutureTap blog:

We feel honored over this mention and appreciate that Apple is looking into a proper attribution of the screenshot. . . .
I also read a few aggressive (mostly anonymous) feedback comments that called to boycott us because of our inability in understanding patent law. It’s true, we had no clue of patent law, the US one in particular.

Comments Off Posted in: Links on August 11, 2010

Episode 62: E Tu Google?

Does Net Neutrality Violate the Constitution, Are Verizon and Google Making Back Room Deals, Apple Copies an App in a Patent Filing

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Google and Verizon Rumored to have Made Back Room Deal

Google and Verizon Near Deal on Web Pay Tiers
Google’s Response
Verizon’s Response
Ed Markey on Net Neutrality: FCC needs to act quickly

Apple Copies App in Patent Filing

The patent case we haven’t called

Does Net Neutrality Violate the Constitution

Does Net Neutrality Violate the Fifth Amendment?
No, The Fifth Amendment Does Not Complicate Net Neutrality
Virtual Takings: The Coming Fifth Amendment Challenge to Net Neutrality Regulation

1 Comment Posted in: Podcast on August 9, 2010

Google, Verizon Explain Their Net Neutrality Pact

As was much rumored, Google and Verizon have announced their agreement on net neutrality. In addition to the blog post, they’ve conducted a conference call and posted a formal two-page document outlining the agreement.

The agreement, however, is nothing more than a policy memo supporting wired net neutrality and transparancy, and supporting transparency on wireless broadband, but reserving judgement on whether net neutrality should apply to wireless networks.

It’s an interesting intellecutal exercise, and may get around some of the regulatory problems that the FCC has been having, but as of right now it’s just a policy reccomendation from one content provider, and one broadband provider.

Comments Off Posted in: Links on August 9, 2010

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