Archive | February, 2012

Case Note: Reverse Engineering and Trade Secret Misappropriation

Reverse engineering of a proprietary computer program is not necessarily, and in this case was not, a misappropriation of trade secrets.  Aqua Connect, Inc. v. Code Rebel LLC, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17962, No. CV 11-5764-RSWL (C.D. Cal. Feb 13, 2012). Facts In the words of the court: Plaintiff alleges that Movants downloaded a trial […]

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Patentable Subject Matter: New Federal Circuit Case

Yet another post-Bilski pronouncement: the Federal Circuit has held that patent claims directed to “an investment tool designed to enable property owners to buy and sell properties without incurring tax liability” do not recite patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C.  § 101.  Fort Properties v. American Master Lease, No. 2009-1242 (February 27, 2012). Background United […]

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Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: Civil Rights of Action Have an Uncertain Bar

Federal district courts have been split, and the courts of appeals thus far silent, on what allegation of “loss” a plaintiff must make to state a case under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  18 U.S.C. § 1030.  The CFAA, a criminal statute barring unauthorized access of specified categories of computers, provides for a civil […]

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Detroit Patent Office to Cover Software

Detroit is excited about the branch office of the United States Patent and Trademark Office opening downtown in July.  And with good reason.  Moreover, based on the USPTO’s recent job posting for people with computer backgrounds to serve as administrative law judges in Detroit, it appears that the Detroit Patent Office will go beyond the […]

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Case Note: Copyright First Sale Doctrine

A California court recently reaffirmed the principle that a restrictive software license is not a “sale” for purposes of the federal copyright laws, and that the license could not be used to assert a defense to copyright infringement based on the first sale doctrine.  Adobe Systems Inc. v. Hoops Enterprise LLC, No. 4:10-cv-02769-CW (N.D. Cal., Feb. […]

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Introducing the Non-Lawyers’ Pages

While this site presents issues mainly of interest to other lawyers, those issues are vitally important to the non-lawyers who work in the information technology industry.   Therefore, I am introducing The SWIP Report’s “Non-lawyers” pages.  Here you will find basic information relating to protecting and transferring intellectual property related to software.  I have started with […]

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Will the Supreme Court Revisit Software Patents?

Last fall, in Ultramercial, LLC v. Hulu, LLC [1], the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals surprised many people by upholding a patent claim, reproduced in footnote [2], directed to a “method for distribution of products over the Internet via a facilitator.”  One of the defendants in that case, game provider WildTangent, recently asked the U.S. […]

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Software Patents, Copyrights, Morality, and Pragmatism

Regardless of your philosophical leanings on the issue of software patents, if you’re in the software business, you need to worry about them.  A lot of people, such as the inventor of modern e-mail, are opposed to software patents.  I have certainly written patent applications with many software engineers who did not like the idea.  […]

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More on Google and Privacy

Google’s new privacy policy and terms of use are, as I have commented, scary stuff.  Two authors at Slate magazine, coming at the issue from the “open technology” perspective, recently explained why they agree that Google’s simplification of some sixty disparate policies into one is not so benign.  As the authors note, “while the new […]

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Patentability of Software: A Summary of the Case Law

Software patents.  The mere phrase can arouse a lot of controversy.  But regardless of where you come down on the whole idea of patenting software, unless you run your business without a computer, you need to understand the state of the law governing software patents. The law in this area has continued to evolve, and […]

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