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Intellectual Property

Trillions of Dollars at Stake: The Internet of Things - Podcast

Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast
Neil Chilson, Jamie Susskind, Eric Wenger, Kelly A. Donohue July 21, 2016

Cisco and other industry leaders estimate that the Internet of Things (the “IoT”) has the potential to inject trillions of dollars of value over the next decade into both the public and private sectors. It holds tremendous promise to transform and improve our lives, generating unprecedented opportunities in the way we govern and are governed, the way we do business, and the way we manage our daily activities. We stand at the cusp of an era in which everything from cars to cows can be given an Internet address and connected to the IoT network.

This rapid expansion of new technologies and capabilities brings new technical, legal, and policy challenges to the forefront. The IoT has undoubtedly caught the attention of federal policy makers, as demonstrated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (“NTIA”) recent request for comments. There are many potential touchpoints in the IoT ecosystem for regulators and policymakers, from addressing spectrum requirements to ensuring the security of systems to establishing data protection frameworks. Unfortunately, the risk of overregulating or promulgating inconsistent regulations runs high.

Our experts discussed the current and future regulatory landscape of the IoT. Is the NTIA’s proceeding a harbinger for more regulation in this nascent space? What is the correct framework to ensure the successful deployment of the IoT? Is there any role for government? What policy decisions could make or break the evolution of the IoT?

Featuring:

  • Neil Chilson, Attorney-Advisor to Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen, Federal Trade Commission
  • Jamie Susskind, Legislative Counsel, Senator Deb Fischer
  • Eric Wenger, Director for Cybersecurity and Privacy Policy, Global Government Affairs, Cisco
  • Moderator: Kelly A. Donohue, Partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP

Privacy and Cell-Site Simulators - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Howard W. Cox, Brian L. Owsley July 20, 2016

Cell-site simulators are devices used by law enforcement. In response to the signals emitted by a cell-site simulator, cellular devices in the proximity identify the simulator as the most attractive cell tower in the area and transmit signals to the simulator that identify the device. Using these simulators, investigators can locate cellular devices whose unique identifiers are already known to law enforcement, or determine the unique identifiers of an unknown device by collecting limited signaling information from devices in the simulator user’s vicinity.

It has been a subject of debate whether the use of cell-site simulators by the government requires a warrant supported by probable cause. In September 2015, the Justice Department released a policy requiring federal investigators to obtain a warrant prior to employing a simulator, except under exceptional circumstances.

Is there a Fourth Amendment reasonable expectation of privacy in the data collected by cell-site simulators? Who is in the best position to establish limits in this area (if any), Congress or the courts? Should investigators be permitted to use simulators, even with a warrant?

Featuring:

  • Howard W. Cox, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University
  • Prof. Brian L. Owsley, Assistant Professor of Law, UNT Dallas College of Law

Protecting Property Rights in the Sharing Economy - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
Grady Gammage, Christina Sandefur July 15, 2016

On June 1, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation prohibiting local and municipal governments from banning Internet-based “sharing economy” rental services like Airbnb and VRBO, which connect travelers with short-term vacation rentals. Property rights advocates have applauded the legislation, claiming that cities across the country have been banning private short-term rentals without legitimate justification, turning responsible property owners into outlaws simply because they allow guests to stay in their homes. Opponents assert that allowing commercial sharing-economy hosts to operate what they characterize as “illegal hotels” is unfair to conventional hotel operators who are forced to compete on an uneven playing field, as well as to property owners who may suddenly find their buildings and neighborhoods filled with busy rental properties. Our experts discussed the legislation and broader issues relating to property rights and the sharing economy.

Featuring:

  • Grady Gammage, Jr., Founding Member, Gammage & Burnham PLC
  • Christina Sandefur, Executive Vice President, Goldwater Institute

Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 7-14-16 featuring Gregory Dolin
Gregory Dolin July 14, 2016

On June 20, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee. In 2011, the America Invents Act created an expedited procedure, known as inter partes review, to provide a cost-effective alternative to litigation for resolving certain challenges to patent validity. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board, contained within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), hears these disputes rather than a federal district court. When construing patent claims, the Board applies a “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard rather than the “plain and ordinary meaning” standard typically applied by federal courts. 

Here, Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC. (Cuozzo) owns a speed limit indicator patent. Garmin International, Inc. (Garmin) petitioned the Board for inter partes review (IPR) of claims regarding the patent. The Board found that certain claims were unpatentable and denied Cuozzo’s request to replace those claims with several others. Cuozzo appealed the Board’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which (1) held that it lacked authority to review the PTO’s decision to institute IPR, and (2) affirmed the Board’s final determination, finding no error in its application of the “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard.

There were two questions before the Supreme Court: (1) Whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding that the Board may, in IPR proceedings, construe claims according to their broadest reasonable interpretation rather than their plain and ordinary meaning; and (2) whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding that, even if the Board exceeds its statutory authority in instituting an IPR proceeding, the decision to institute the IPR proceeding is judicially unreviewable.

By a vote of 8-0 and 6-2, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Federal Circuit. Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court, which held that the underlying statute precluded judicial review of the kind of claim at issue here, involving the PTO’s decision to institute IPR. The Court further concluded that the PTO was authorized to issue the regulation, setting forth the “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard. 

A unanimous Court joined Justice Breyer’s opinion with respect to Parts I and III. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Kagan joined the opinion with respect to Part II. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Alito filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Justice Sotomayor joined.

To discuss the case, we have Gregory Dolin, who is Assistant Professor of Law and Co-Director, Center for Medicine and Law at University of Baltimore School of Law.

Taking Private Property? Examining the Patent Review Process - Podcast

Intellectual Property Practice Group Podcast
Gregory Dolin, Camilla Hrdy, David S. Olson, Ben Picozzi July 14, 2016

The 2011 America Invents Act created provisions for Inter Partes Review (“IPR”) and Post Grant Review (“PGR”) of patents. According to PTO statistics, to date, nearly 50,000 patent claims have been challenged under IPR, and nearly 11,000 (22.4%) of those claims have been invalidated. On June 20, 2016, in Cuozzo Speed Technologies v. Lee, the Supreme Court upheld the Patent Trial and Appeal Board's (PTAB) interpretation of two key elements of IPR. The Court held that (1) decisions to institute IPR proceedings are non-appealable, and (2) the PTO has the authority to determine claim meaning and validity under its “broadest reasonable construction” standard.

Important outstanding questions about the constitutionality of IPR and PGR remain, however. Specifically, once the Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent, does a decision made by an administrative judge within the executive branch to invalidate the patent under IPR/PGR amount to a taking under the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Moreover, does such a procedure by which issued patents are reviewed for validity by non-Article III judges raise separation of powers issues?

Professor Greg Dolin participated in the Teleforum to elucidate the argument that he and Irina Manta make in their recent article, Taking Patents, that PGR and IPR decisions invalidating patents do indeed amount to takings under the 5th Amendment. Professor Camilla Hrdy and Yale Information Society Law Project Fellow Ben Picozzi believe that PTAB decisions invalidating patents under IPR and PGR do not raise takings problems. These patent experts also discussed separation of powers issues related to IPR and PGR.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Gregory Dolin, Co-director of the Center for Medicine and Law, University of Baltimore School of Law
  • Prof. Camilla Hrdy, Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition Fellow, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Prof. David S. Olson, Associate Professor of Law, Boston College Law School
  • Mr. Ben Picozzi, Student Fellow, Information Society Project, Yale Law School