August 2012

Copyright cases involving translations of ancient religious texts are rare, but in its August 2, 2012, 75 page opinion in Society of the Holy Transfiguration Monestary v. Archbishop Gregory of Denver, the First Circuit addresses many issues of modern copyright law in a case involving just that.  The issues the First Circuit discusses include the transfer of copyright ownership by operation of law, the consequences of publication without copyright notice prior to March 1, 1989, the requirement of originality in derivative works, substantial similarity analysis (along with its many sub-doctrines), the requirement that the accused infringed have engaged in “volitional conduct,” the DMCA and fair use.

While not making new law in any of these areas, this case is a good round up of copyright law in the First Circuit.… Read the full article

Yet another federal appeals court has attempted to parse the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act’s (“CFAA”) ambiguous statutory language.  The issue, on which the federal courts cannot agree, is whether an employee who has authorized access to a computer, but uses that access for an illegal purpose — typically to take confidential information in anticipation of resigning to start a competing company or join one — violates the CFAA.

The controversy is focused on the words “without authorization” and “exceeds authorized access” in the law:

[Whoever] knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and by means of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value … shall be punished. 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(4).

Late last year, in a widely noted decision, the 9th Circuit adopted the “narrow” view of the CFAA, holding the law does not extend to an employee who has authorized access but uses that access to make unauthorized use. … Read the full article

How to Follow the Apple v. Samsung Patent Trial

The Internet has made following trials in real time feasible, more or less.  For the press to cover controversial trials is nothing new, but in the past these were mostly criminal cases.  Today, thanks to sites like groklaw.net, people can follow technology industry cases in detail – descriptions of what is going on in the courtroom, documents and (in the case of groklaw), unsparing commentary.

Groklaw is following Apple v. Samsung from a distance (at least compared to its recent coverage of Oracle v. Google), and the traditional press appears to be covering the case heavily, but only at a general level of detail.  However, someone has put together a twitter feed consolidating the tweets of several industry reporters.  It’s almost like a shadow jury, but a jury of people more knowledgeable about the companies involved than the average juror.  And, in some cases, openly opinionated.

The lawyers involved in this case, and certainly in any case covered in detail by groklaw, must dread the possibility that jurors are reading these materials.… Read the full article

Apple’s “Bounce Back” Patent

by Lee Gesmer on August 2, 2012

Apple's "Bounce Back" Patent

It seems that Google’s “bounce back” patent is going to play a big role in the trial between Apple and Samsung, underway in federal district court in Palo Alto.  References to it in Apple’s opening statement highlighted this patent. I wasn’t sure what the “bounce back” was, but I think I’ve tracked it down.

How do you know that you’ve reached the bottom or top of a page on an iPhone or iPad?  The screen “bounces back” in the opposite direction.  Or, as described in patentese in U.S. patent  7,469,381, issued to Apple in December 2008:

In accordance with some embodiments, a computer-implemented method for use in conjunction with a device with a touch screen display is disclosed. In the method, a movement of an object on or near the touch screen display is detected. In response to detecting the movement, an electronic document displayed on the touch screen display is translated in a first direction.

Read the full article