US “Privacy Bill of Rights” Proposal 2

The Federal Trade Commission, consumer advocates, and some legislators have been considering online privacy for years, but the issue has been increasingly in the forefront. The FTC released a “Do Not Track” Proposal in December, and several media sources have focused on the issue recently. The Wall Street Journal ran a series last summer entitled ...

Microsoft lobbies Washington state for anti-piracy laws

Microsoft, concerned with the effects of software piracy on jobs and profits, is lobbying the Washington state legislature for stricter anti-piracy legislation. The proposed legislation would create a cause of action by making manufacturing companies liable for damages. It would also give companies and the state attorney general the right to file for

Microsoft challenges Apple’s attempt to trademark “App store”

In 2008, Apple applied for a trademark of the term “App store”, which Microsoft challenged as “too generic” and would prevent competitors from describing their own services accurately. Yesterday, Apple made a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office asking that the challenge be dismissed, stating that “the focus in evaluating genericness is on ...

Koch Industries sues parody website over hacking, trademark abuse

In December, a website purporting to belong to Koch Industries, known for their skepticism of global warming, wrote a fake news release announcing “new environmental commitments. Koch Industries is now suing those responsible for the site, members of a group called Youth for Climate Truth, for damages, alleging hacking, trademark abuse and cybersquatting. The lawyer ...

U.S. Government Seeks Veto of Domain Names

The US government is seeking veto power over internet domain names, which would share authority over new domain suffixes with other countries, but could have profound effects on freedom of expression. Currently, the government has a contract with Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to manage new domain suffixes and internet addresses; applications for ...

Do Corporations have Personal Privacy Rights?

In a case involving the US telecommunications giant AT&T, the US Supreme Court considered whether or not a corporation could have personal privacy rights. AT&T had tried to block the release of documents it had given to the Federal Communications Commission, basing the attempt on an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act which protects ...

WikiLeaks, Twitter and communications privacy law

Although we may be tired of reading the word “WikiLeaks”, the United States government’s reaction to Julian Assange’s revelations has brought issues of privacy law in communications to the forefront. According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Department of Justice obtained a court order from a district court in Alexandria, Virginia, on December 14th, asking ...

Increase in Patents Issued to Apple

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple, which has become an increasingly important force in the world of technology, was issued almost twice as many patents in 2010 than in 2009. The company was issued 563 patents in 2010, 289 in 2009 and 186 in 2008. This makes Apple #46 in IFI Claims Patent Services’ ...

Canadian wireless company WiLAN sues cable companies

The Canadian wireless company WiLAN has filed a lawsuit against Time Warner, Comcast and Charter Communications, alleging that the cable companies have violated one of its patents by marketing and selling cable modems. The suit, filed in Texas, is one of a long line of recent patent infringement suits by the Ottawa-based company; recently, it ...

U.S. considering new online privacy regulations

The U.S. Commerce Department and the Federal Trade Commission are preparing independent reports on online privacy regulatory measures, which will be considered by the government. The agencies are likely to advocate different approaches, from a laissez-faire self-regulation based on agreements between users and websites, to binding “do not track” lists which would regulate online privacy ...