DOJ no longer asking to force Apple to unlock iPhone in drug case
Apple is no longer under pressure from the Justice Department and a New York District Court for refusing to extract data from a suspect's iPhone 5s, as the defendant in the case has pleaded guilty. Jung Feng has admitted guilt on three counts related to the distribution of methamphetamine, effectively negating the need for the DOJ to try and coerce Apple into breaking its own iOS security to help the government with its case.
Controversial parallel between phone unlock and lethal injection made
The judge at the head of the iPhone unlocking controversy court hearings has upped the ante somewhat. In arguments Monday, Judge James Orenstein said that forcing Apple to extract data from a suspect's iPhone 5s would be tantamount to forcing a pharmaceutical company to provide drugs for executions against company mandate.
Defendant, iPhone model named in federal counter-filing
A federal filing has shed some light on the court matter involving Apple's unwillingness to unlock an iPhone 5s owner's phone running iOS 7. The filing, made yesterday, points out the suspect's name, as well as device type, and notes that Apple has had no problem unlocking devices with court order in the past. Additionally, the US attorneys claim that Apple has no legal standing to decline the search warrant on the basis of tarnishing the brand of the company.
Device at heart of case one of 10 percent of devices Apple can unlock
Apple has filed its brief with the US legal system, reiterating that it cannot decrypt all of its phones on demand, but still has the "technical ability" to unlock older phones. However, the device in question, one of the estimated 10 percent of devices on an operating system older than iOS 8 can be unlocked by Apple, and the company will do so if has been given clear legal authority to do so -- but would rather the judge not request the company do so.
Monitoring term has concluded successfully, says Apple and US government
Apple's contentious time spent with e-book antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich has may be coming to a close. A letter filed jointly by Apple and the US government claims that the computer manufacturer has "implemented meaningful antitrust policies, procedures, and training programs that were obviously lacking at the time Apple participated in and facilitated the horizontal price-fixing conspiracy found by this court," and recommends that the antitrust monitor's tenure need not be extended.
Track record for such meetings not great, may head off damages retrial
Apple and Samsung have agreed to participate in court-supervised mediation to try and finally find a settlement sum satisfactory to both parties over the first of their two US patent trials, which originally ended with a judgement against Samsung for $1.05 billion. Through various legal actions, that sum has been whittled down to half of its original amount, and is about to be re-scrutinized yet again in yet another damages retrial. The two companies will be meeting with a new judge sometime on or before November 15.
Argues case has 'surpassing importance' to US economy
A Supreme Court docket entry revealed on Wednesday that Apple will file a petition to have the court overturn its 2013 conviction of leading a conspiracy to fix e-book prices. The request for time to file a petition for certiorari was filed by former Solicitor General Seth Waxman, now of the WilmerHale legal group, and Theodore Boutrous of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The original conviction was handed down in a bench trial by Judge Denise Cote, but was upheld on appeal this past June by two of the three judges on the federal panel.
In digital world, boundaries for countries, law enforcement mean little
As has been predicted for some time, the US government is clashing with technology companies over the encryption of personal data when it comes to law enforcement. The Justice Department is accusing Apple of disobeying a court order that it turn over text messages, in real time, between suspects in a guns-and-drugs case who are using iPhones. Apple has said the messages are encrypted without third-party keys, and thus it cannot comply with the order. Microsoft is also fighting the government, over whether emails stored outside the US should be given to US officials.
Apple avoids $533 million in penalties awarded by East Texas patent jury
US District Court Judge Rodney Gilstrap has denied Apple a chance at a new trial to clear its name from charges that it willfully infringed on patents owned by patent troll Smartflash last February, but has decided to retain the dismissal of the original $532.9 million awarded to the company for damages, clearing the way for a damages retrial later this month. Judge Gilstrap reversed the jury's award, but not its findings of infringement, after he determined his own instructions on calculating royalties may have confused the jury.
Third jury trial between sparring companies may finally force Samsung to pay
US District Court Judge Lucy Koh, who has presided over both of the previous Apple vs Samsung juried trials (and one prior damages retrial), has set a date in either March or April of next year for the second damages retrial stemming from the first patent trial, brought on by a decision from the Federal Court of Appeals. That first patent trial's original $1.05 billion judgement against Samsung has been steadily whittled down through appeals, and is now approximately half its original amount.
Korean rival again on the hook for around $900M in infringement damages
Samsung has been given the cold shoulder in a bid to yet again re-try the original patent infringement case that found the Korean company guilty of copying Apple patents and other infringements, and originally awarded Apple some $1 billion in damages (later reduced to $930 million). Barring a Supreme Court review, Samsung has now exhausted its appeals on the first trial verdict, and still owes Apple some $548 million from the first trial.
Company again accused of failing to take steps to protect customer data
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today alleged that security firm LifeLock has violated a 2010 settlement with the agency and 35 state attorneys general, by continuing to make deceptive claims about its identity-theft protection services, and by failing to take steps required to protect its users' data. In documents filed with the US District Court for the District of Arizona, the FTC charged that LifeLock failed to live up to its obligations under the 2010 settlement, and asked the court to impose an order requiring LifeLock to provide full redress to all consumers affected by the company's order violations.
Notes court-appointed monitor acted outside remit, but refuses to appoint new one
The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals handed Apple a minor defeat on Thursday in its fight to both get rid of the antitrust "watchdog" a biased lower court had appointed for it, as well as overturn the earlier court ruling entirely. In a decision on the fate of Michael Bromwich, a personal friend of the original trial judge Denise Cote who Apple has argued is not qualified in antitrust and who has attempted to conduct investigations outside his remit, the court decided that while there was evidence of abuse, Bromwich can stay in place until the court decides on Apple's overall appeal.
Data collection will continue until reconsidered by district court
The US National Security Agency (NSA) has been handed a defeat in appeals court. A three-judge panel in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that the NSA phone records collection "exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized" in Section 215 of the Patriot Act. However, the denial of a motion filed by the American Civil Liberties Union to suspend data collection by the NSA has been upheld, so data collection will continue for the time being.
Claims it needs millions to retain 'key' employees; Apple, debtors likely to oppose
In a move sure to be opposed by the myriad companies it owes money to, former Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies is currently asking a bankruptcy court judge for permission to hand out over two million dollars in "executive bonuses" designed to help motivate and retain "key" employees -- largely the same group of senior executives who ran the company into the ground. In total, the company expects to apply for nearly $6 million in total bonuses and incentives to various levels of employees.
Class-action suit by banks will be bellwether for future hack responsibility suits
The judge overseeing the suit filed by banks against Target regarding the "Black Friday" data breach from 2013 has allowed the suit to continue, despite protestations by the retailer. Judge Paul A. Magnuson of the Minnesota district court has ruled that Target failed to respond to warnings that an attack was imminent, and the failure to observe these warnings meant that the company played a "key role" in allowing the data theft.
Philips to end all lawsuits under terms of the cross-license patent agreement
Those considering picking up a Nintendo console in the near future no longer have cause for concern, as the Japan-based hardware and software developer ended its patent dispute with Philips on December 2. The two companies were locked into an infringement battle over motion technologies used inside of Nintendo's consoles, dating back to 2011, which could conceivably have resulted in a sales ban.
Agreement reached November 12, set to end year-long legal battle by end of 2014
Google's legal battle with the Rockstar Consortium over claims that the search company infringes upon seven patents with the Android operating system appears to be coming to an end. According to a filing submitted to the US District Court of the Eastern District of Texas on November 17, both parties have agreed to settle their dispute.
Note-holders want settlement hearing postponed, access to internal documents
[Update: Judge has delayed settlement hearing until December 10] Other creditors left holding the bag after the surprise bankruptcy of GT Advanced Technologies are crying foul over the proposed settlement between Apple and the sapphire-making company, which is due to be ruled on at a hearing next week. Note-holders such as Aristeia Capital have complained to the court that charges from GT Advanced executives that claim a "bait and switch" arrangement from Apple that forced the company into bankruptcy require investigation, and "call into question the adequacy" of the proposed settlement.
Warg barred from re-entry into Denmark under verdict, halted for appeals process
After the Court of Frederiksberg in Copenhagen handed down a guilty verdict last week over hacking charges, Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg was sentenced to 42 months in Danish prison on October 31. The sentence was handed down only one day after the guilty verdict, which was reached on a juror vote of four to two in favor of the prosecution.
Court filing calls Microsoft direct hardware competitors after Nokia acquisition
Samsung is petitioning a court to allow it to invalidate its contract with Microsoft, an agreement that it has only belatedly paid patent license fees on for the last year. A late Thursday court filing declares that once Microsoft acquired Nokia, it became a significant competitor with Samsung. The Korean manufacturer claims that the buy puts the two companies on equal footing in the smartphone market, and continuing the contract thus would induce some problems with US laws. Samsung pays royalties to Microsoft on patents it owns that are used in Android and other software.
Trial comes two years after arrest, jury doesn't accept compromised computer defense
In what is said to be the "largest hacking case to date" in Denmark, The Court of Frederiksberg found Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and a 21-year-old co-defendant guilty of hacking in a case that focused on illegal server access dating back to February 2012. Warg waited two years for the trial to take place after being arrested in Cambodia in August 2012.
Court challenges by broadcasters push auction date back from the middle of 2015
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it is delaying the upcoming 2015 incentive spectrum auction until at least early 2016. In a post from Gary Epstein, the chair of the FCC's Incentive Task Force, he said that recent court filings by broadcasters are causing the agency to push back the auction for spectrum previously assigned to television broadcasts.
Nationwide preliminary injunction granted, company exploring further options for survival
Aereo was dealt another blow in its battle to survive today thanks to a New York court. US District Judge Alison Nathan ruled in favor of broadcasters in a 17-page decision, putting a nationwide preliminary injunction in place against the startup. As a result, Aereo can no longer operate its "Watch Now" system that allowed television programs to be rebroadcasted over the Internet.
If approved, GT will sell sapphire furnaces to pay back Apple loan
After much bickering in court during bankruptcy proceedings that took Apple and Wall Street by surprise, former sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies has worked out an agreement with the iPhone maker that will let it pursue its plan of winding down operations at its Mesa, Arizona plant and laying off nearly 700 employees. Though Apple had initially said it would work to preserve the jobs involved, the deal instead offers incentives to certain employees to help wind down the plant, and provides a way for GT to pay back the money it owes Apple.
Company's desire for secrecy could result in another tangle with the DOJ
This Wednesday, the court handling the bankruptcy proceeding for GT Advanced Technology will hear arguments from Apple that its objections to GT's bankruptcy filing should be sealed so as to protect sensitive information, including product plans, research finds and business dealings. The request could bring the iPhone maker into another dispute with the US Department of Justice, which is acting as the US trustee in the case, and the state of New Hampshire -- both of whom want the filings to be public.
Grooveshark disagrees with decision as it's based on 'an early iteration' of the service
After record labels were granted a summary judgment from a US District Court judge in New York in September, streaming music service Grooveshark says it's gearing up for an appeal to the the case. The reason for the appeal sounds somewhat defiant, as Grooveshark states it doesn't agree with the decision since it was based on "an early iteration of Grooveshark."
Third-ranking South Korean phone company forced to sell after bankruptcy woes
Things have gone from bad to worse for South Korean smartphone manufacturer Pantech. After filing for a debt restructuring in February, it asked was forced to ask for a deadline extension in July to pay off its creditors. It turns out that the interest-free, two-year extension granted in August wasn't long enough, as the company is now searching for buyer after filing for court receivership.
One complaint alleged service dog transported in trunk of driver's car
Ride sharing service Uber is being sued by the California branch of the National Federation of the Blind for mistreatment of the disabled. The complaint, filed in the Northern California District Court, alleges refusal of rides to blind persons with service dogs, abandonment of blind travelers in harsh weather conditions, and cancellation fee being charged after being refusing to transport blind riders. Additionally, there is one report of a Uber ride share driver putting a service dog in the trunk of the car, with the driver refusing to pull over and rectify the situation when the passenger realized where the dog was riding.
Carrier claims Huawei built its own testing machine based on stolen information, parts
Wireless carrier T-Mobile USA has filed a lawsuit against Huawei, alleging that the Chinese phone manufacturer stole a number of trade secrets relating to the carrier's phone-testing robot. In the suit filed with a federal court on September 2, the company claims that employees of Huawei took pictures of T-Mobile's "Tappy" robot, attempted to steal components, and tried to sneak back into the testing facility in Washington after they were banned.
Startup will need to take the case district court if it wants to continue fighting
Aereo, the broadcasting startup that allowed users to rebroadcast and time-shift over-the-air (OTA) programming, appears to be running out of ways to stay alive. According to documents acquired by the Washington Post, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has denied the company's recent request to reconsider the case.
Judge allows rideshare company to return to business, ban lasted only four days
Uber fans in Berlin can rejoice for the time being, as the company has been given the go-ahead to resume its UberPop and UberBlack services today for the time being. A judge from the Berlin Administrative Court suspended the municiple ban, allowing the ride-sharing service to return to business. There is no time frame on how long the suspension will last.
Previous rulings favoring Vringo nullified, revenue percentage payout killed
A long-standing court battle between Vringo's I/P Engine and Google is grinding to a halt in the Mountain View-base ad agency's favor. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit declared two patents of Vringo's invalid, nullifying a jury verdict that found the search engine giant and others liable for a total $30 million in damages plus a percentage of Google Adwords profits. The ruling is the latest in a string of verdicts calling into question the overall validity of software functionality patents over that of the code itself.
Amicus briefs filed with NY Supreme Court decry overly broad warrants
Facebook is battling the New York courts over what it says are overly-broad warrants to examine user profiles and data. Supporting the social media giant, Dropbox, Foursquare, Google, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Meetup, Microsoft, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and Yelp have all filed amicus curae ("friend of the court") briefs with courts in support of the Facebook effort, complaining that services like Facebook are multi-faceted and require more granular warrants, rather than a sweeping motion to collect all data about a targeted user.
Department of Justice warrant to obtain emails valid, judge gives Microsoft chance to appeal
A United States District Court judge ruled today that a warrant issued to Microsoft requesting emails stored in Dublin, Ireland is valid. The judge stated that the company must follow the order to produce emails involved in a criminal investigation, in spite of foreign law. The order was temporarily stayed to give Microsoft the opportunity to appeal through the Second United States Circuit Court of Appeals.
Report claims three judges in FISA Court bought Verizon stock in the last year
Judges sitting on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) may not be entirely impartial, according to a report. A number of judges on FISA Court allegedly own stock in Verizon, one of the companies subject to NSA bulk surveillance orders issued by the court, with the report suggesting this could be considered as unethical behavior by judges in an important role.
Broadcasting company tried to use Aereo ruling to force a preliminary injunction
Days after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of broadcasting companies in the Aereo case, Fox Broadcasting attempted to use the judgment as fuel in a case against Dish Network. Stating that there were large similarities between the devices, Fox believed the defense Dish raised no longer held up. In an opinion from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the judges sitting on the case upheld the lower court's ruling against Fox, as the panel of judges failed to be convinced of the alleged connection.
Joint letter suggests Aereo wants cable company-style licenses following Supreme Court decision
Aereo may have found a way to it to continue offering a service to subscribers with the key lying in the recent Supreme Court decision against the start-up. In a joint letter filed with the US District Court, the company claims that, since the Supreme Court ruled it operated as if it is a cable company, it should be eligible to the same statutory licenses cable companies use.
Cloud-based DVR service should pay licenses to broadcasters, rules Supreme Court
Aereo has lost its battle against broadcasters, after the US Supreme Court ruled against the start-up. In a 6-3 ruling, the court states the company violates copyright law by streaming recordings of TV shows to its subscribers, classifying the streams as "public performances" and so requires that Aereo pay content licenses to broadcasters for their programming.
Says fee paid to original attorney claimants too high, judge made appeal too difficult
A settlement agreed to by Apple and a pair of legal firms over early Magsafe adapters and their tendency to fray has been kicked back to a federal district court for reconsideration by the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals over concerns that the original judge had failed to properly safeguard the deal from "self-dealing" between the class counsel and Apple. The court also found fault with Judge James Ware's high barrier to appeal of the decision, requiring a $75,000 bond from objectors.
Judge says jury must work with the evidence given; supplies request granted
On the first full day of deliberations in the second Apple-Samsung trial, jurors have asked for two different things: some office supplies to help them in their work, and for additional evidence -- seemingly to help them decide motivations on the part of the CEOs of both Apple and Samsung. The former requests have been granted, but the latter requests were rebuffed by US District Court Judge Lucy Koh, who told the jury that they would have to work with what they already have.
Samsung definitely didn't copy Apple's cool closing style
As reported earlier, it's all in the hands of jury now. The final day of the second Apple-Samsung trial consisted of two of the most contrasting closing arguments quite possibly ever seen in a courtroom: Samsung's mad dash to the finish line, a relay race of four lawyers, too many exhibits and not enough time; Apple's cool, relaxed and compelling storytelling, and a devilishly clever finale as its defensive closing argument offered multiple layers of meaning.
Hearing will decide fate of Aereo, will also have effects on cloud file streaming
In what is likely to be the final stop between Internet over-the-air television streamer Aereo and essentially the entire broadcast industry allied against it, Aereo seems to be fighting an uphill battle. Today's hearing before the US Supreme Court found judges skeptical about Aereo's business model, calling it "based solely on circumventing legal prohibitions that you don't want to comply with."
Apple's case continues with engineer Deniau, experts Mowry and Snoeren
Over the weekend, Apple filed a notice with the court that it could wrap up its main presentation by tomorrow at the earliest, but expects to be done no later than Friday, barring any changes to Samsung's pattern of cross-examination. On Monday, patent expert Andrew Cockburn from New Zealand was summoned back to the witness stand for a scant 16 minutes of light cross-examination, followed by testimony from Apple engineer Thomas Deniau and a pair of additional patent experts.
Clone refill chip manufacturer allowed to seek redress for Lexmark actions
The Supreme Court of the US has ruled against Lexmark, allowing a company it filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) against erroneously to seek legal recompense. The unanimous ruling will allow chip manufacturer Static Control Components (SCC) to seek redress against Lexmark for tarnishing its business reputation, when Lexmark falsely induced consumers "to believe that [SCC] is engaged in illegal conduct."
Supreme court finds lower ruling 'erroneous, greatly complicates defense
The New Zealand Supreme Court has ruled against Internet maven Kim Dotcom, declaring that US prosecutors did not need to pre-disclose evidence against him in a July extradition hearing. The appeals hearing ruled that the lower court was erroneous in its ruling that demanded disclosure of the evidence. A summary of the evidence has already been provided to Dotcom, and is sufficient for defense purposes at this stage, the judges ruled.
Original judge, DOJ misapplied antitrust law, 'ignored economic evidence'
Two economists from CalTech and NYU have filed an amicus curae ("friend of the court") brief that makes powerful arguments for a reversal of the verdict in the original bench trial overseen by Judge Denise Cote. Across more than 30 pages, they tell the appeals court that fundamental concepts of antitrust law and crucial economic evidence and reasoning were "disregarded" by the judge.
Attempts to keep video up as larger appeal is sought fails
After a ruling on February 26 in which the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a previous decision and ordered a YouTube video removed, Google's appeal to appear before a larger panel review has been denied. On Friday, the Ninth Circuit Court rejected Google's request to put the video's removal on hold as the case continued.
CEOs, top lawyers met in early February, but could not come to agreement
Ahead of the second patent trial between Apple and Samsung scheduled for March 31 -- which covers a completely different set of patents and is not an appeal of the first trial, which Apple won last year -- the two companies are said to be making efforts at settling their differences rather than going to trial. Thus far -- as before, ahead of the first trial -- the negotiations have not resulted in an agreement, but in a court filing, both companies said they were willing to keep talking.
Apple had wanted monitor suspended while appeal goes forward
Apple on Monday lost its bid to halt or replace court-appointed antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich, a friend of trial Judge Denise Cote which the company had strenuously objected to for a variety of reasons. The court, while rejecting Apple's claim that Bromwich's "overreaching" and obnoxious behavior was causing the company "irreparable harm," did set stronger limits on Bromwich's activities -- curtailing most of what Apple had objected to.