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Posts Tagged: "Facebook"

D.C. Court Says FTC’s Antitrust Claim Against Facebook Can Proceed

On Tuesday, January 11, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied Facebook’s motion to dismiss a complaint brought against it by the U.S.  Federal Trade Commission (FTC), holding that the FTC had stated a plausible claim for relief under Section 2 of the Sherman Act. The FTC filed a complaint on December 9, 2020, asserting one count of monopoly maintenance under Section 2 of the Sherman Act. Facebook moved to dismiss both this case, and a related state case. The district court dismissed the Commission’s complaint but granted the FTC the opportunity to amend. Following a leadership change from when the complaint was initially filed, the FTC filed an amended complaint in August of 2021. L

Twitch Data Breach is Another Example of Why Cybersecurity is a Must for all Businesses

Just as we thought Facebook’s six-hour outage could be the biggest cybersecurity news in October, hackers were able to expose more than 100GB of data from Twitch. The livestreaming platform – purchased by Amazon for $970m in 2014 – is understood to still be trying to figure out how it happened. While this investigation unfolds, security experts are already warning of the potentially serious consequences for the business.

Third Circuit: Facebook Not Immune to Right of Publicity Claims Under IP Carve-Out of Section 230

On September 23, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed in part a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ultimately holding that Karen Hepp’s complaint against Facebook was not barred by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.In 2018, Hepp was informed by a coworker that a photo of her was being used online. The photo of Hepp was taken without her knowledge or consent and she never authorized the use of the image in any advertisements.

Hepp’s complaint cited two sets of posts online of the photo, which Hepp alleged under Pennsylvania law violated her right to publicity. The first post appeared on Facebook as an advertisement to a dating app. The advertisement encouraged Facebook users to use the app and used the image of Hepp to promote the dating service. The second post appeared on Reddit, where a user linked to a post on Imgur. The Reddit post was upvoted hundreds of times and incited indecent user commentary regarding the photo of Hepp.

Senators Tear into Facebook and Google Reps During ‘Big Data, Big Questions’ Hearing on Competition and Privacy

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights held a hearing yesterday titled “Big Data, Big Questions: Implications for Competition and Consumers,” in which both Republican and Democratic senators pushed representatives of Facebook and Google to answer difficult questions about their platforms’ impact on everything from competitive marketplaces to teenagers’ body image. The hearing is one in a series that aims to conduct a bipartisan review of America’s competition issues, according to Subcommittee Chair, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

FTC’s Antitrust Complaint Against Facebook Highlights Another Missed Opportunity to Address Big Tech’s Anticompetitive Activities Through Patent Reform

On August 19, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a first amended complaint for injunctive and other equitable relief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking a judgment that would split Instagram and WhatsApp away from Facebook as punishment for the social media giant’s alleged violations of antitrust law. The complaint, which traces many of the same arguments raised in a previous FTC suit that was dismissed by the District of Columbia this June, is yet another reminder that the current wave of antitrust enforcement against Big Tech has been an inevitable result of abysmal reforms of the U.S. patent system that have taken place since the mid-2000s, especially those reforms creating the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and turning Section 101 subject matter eligibility analysis into “validity goulash.”

Will Trump Class Actions Against Social Media Platforms Revive Section 230 Debate?

Former President Donald J. Trump announced today that he is suing Facebook, Twitter and Google/YouTube in separate class action suits, claiming, among other allegations, that the platforms have “increasingly engaged in impermissible censorship resulting from threatened legislative action, a misguided reliance upon Section 230 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230, and willful participation in joint activity with federal actors.”… All three complaints take aim at Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, dubbing it “[l]egislation passed twenty-five (25) years ago intended to protect minors from the transmission of obscene materials on the Internet, and to promote the growth and development of social media companies” that has outgrown its original intent and enabled each of the companies to become behemoths who censor content of their choosing.

CAFC Weighs in Again on IPR Joinder Estoppel, Affirms PTAB Holding that Uniloc Patent Claims are Obvious

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled yesterday in Uniloc v. Facebook, Inc., WhatsApp, Inc. that the “no appeal” provision of 35 U.S.C. § 314 does not preclude the court from reviewing a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) finding that a petitioner is not estopped from maintaining an IPR proceeding under the IPR estoppel provision of 35 U.S.C. § 315(e)(1). However, the court noted that its decision was based on the particular facts of this case, where “the alleged estoppel-triggering event occurred after institution.”

‘We Want Action’: Rightsholder Reps Address Platforms in IP Subcommittee Hearing, as DMCA Reform Draft Looms

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held its last hearing of the year on reforms to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) today, three days before Subcommittee Chairman Thom Tillis (R-NC) is set to release a discussion draft of a DMCA reform bill he has said will contain “revolutionary changes to online copyright law.” Tuesday’s hearing included representatives of YouTube and Facebook; Twitter refused to participate, and Tillis recently published a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey expressing his disappointment with the decision.

USPTO Steps Into Social Media Controversy

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) doesn’t often get much action on social media, but last week, five days before the U.S. Presidential election, the Office came under fire for its social media posts touting the United States’ record on intellectual property under the Trump Administration. The posts featured the following quote from USPTO Director Andrei Iancu: “Just a reminder, under President Trump’s leadership, the U.S. intellectual property ecosystem ranks #1 in the world, according to the 2020 International IP Index.”

Delrahim, Simons Caution House Subcommittee Against Drawing Bright Lines on Antitrust Enforcement of Big Tech

The House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law yesterday heard from Joseph Simons, Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, and Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division as part of the Subcommittee’s fourth hearing in its “Online Platforms and Market Power” series. The latest hearing focused on the perspectives of the antitrust authorities, while previous hearings have examined the effects of the big tech companies on innovation and entrepreneurship; online platforms’ effect on a free and diverse press; and the role of data and privacy in competition. While both Delrahim and Simons said they are aggressively investigating and monitoring dominant platforms like Facebook and Google, they warned against overreach. Subcommittee Chair David Cicilline (D-RI) expressed his concern that, over the past decade, the largest tech firms have acquired more than 436 companies, “many of which were actual or potential competitors,” without intervention from antitrust enforcement authorities. The last major monopolization case was brought in 2001 against Microsoft, Cicilline noted. “This has created a de facto antitrust exemption for online platforms.,” he said, questioning whether the failure lies in the need for congressional action to amend and strengthen existing laws, a lack of agency resources to effectively combat the problem, or simply a lack of will to enforce the laws on the books.

This Week in Washington IP: America’s Innovation Leadership, Facebook’s Financial Industry Impact and Personal Data Ownership

This week in tech and innovation hearings in Washington, D.C., the House of Representatives explores issues related to emerging cyber threats, Facebook’s cryptocurrency and its impact on the financial sector, space weather research and supporting clean automobile developments. House committees will also hold two field hearings outside of D.C. on improving Internet connectivity in rural communities and community initiatives in smart mobility programs. In the Senate, committee hearings will focus on ownership of personal data, international energy efficiency efforts and the reauthorization of compulsory copyright licenses for satellite broadcasts under STELAR. Elsewhere, Cato Institute will host an event looking at advances to space technology encouraged by the private sector, while the week closes out with an event at The Heritage Foundation discussing the effect of data surveillance on Fourth Amendment protections.

Facebook Sued by FinTech Company Over Calibra Logo

Facebook is being sued by online banking company, Finco Services, Inc., which operates as Current, for trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false designation of origin relating to Facebook’s controversial subsidiary, Calibra, which plans to launch the digital currency Libra by 2020. Current’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 10, says that the company hired Character, a branding and design agency, in 2016 to develop a logo and branding strategy for Current’s banking services and mobile app. The resulting logo, and iterations thereof, have been used by the company since at least as early as 2016.

National Courts Can Order Worldwide Takedown, Says CJEU in Case Against Facebook

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that host providers, such as Facebook, can be required to take down illegal content, including identical or equivalent variations, worldwide once they are made aware of it. The Court was ruling on the interpretation of the E-Commerce Directive (Directive 2000/31/EC) in a defamation case brought by an Austrian politician. (Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek v. Facebook Ireland Limited, Case C-18/18 [ECLI:EU:C:2019:821].) The politician, Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek of the Green party, asked Facebook Ireland (which operates Facebook outside of the U.S. and Canada) to delete a news clipping and associated comment, which she claimed insulted and defamed her. Following court proceedings in Austria, Facebook Ireland disabled access in Austria to the specific content published. However, the case raised the following questions: could Facebook Ireland additionally be ordered to remove posts with identical or equivalent content to that already found to be illegal, and should it disable access to the illegal content worldwide?

Other Barks & Bites, Friday, September 20: CAFC Issues Precedential Decisions on Patent Term Adjustment, DOJ Announces Trade Secret Charges, USPTO Urges CAFC Deference to POP

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the Federal Circuit issued a pair of precedential opinions affirming the USPTO’s determinations on patent term adjustment; Chuck Yeager filed a trademark lawsuit against Airbus; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with Capitol Hill lawmakers and President Trump; the Office of Technology Assessment Improvement and Enhancement Act was introduced into both houses of Congress; the Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a copyright case lodged against musician Steve Winwood; the U.S. Department of Justice announced criminal charges over the theft of pediatric medicine trade secrets; and the NMPA doubled the damages sought against Peloton after finding more unlicensed songs used by the streaming exercise companies.

Facebook Targets Blackberry Photo Tagging Patent, Apple Takes Aim at Firstface and Continues Serial Challenges Against Nartron

Last week, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued 23 institution-phase decisions in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings, resulting in 14 IPR institutions and nine IPR denials. Two of the instituted IPRs were brought by Facebook, which is seeking to invalidate claims of a photo tagging patent asserted against it in district court by Blackberry. Apple saw two of three IPRs instituted against Firstface, but the consumer tech giant was still successful in challenging claims from both of the fingerprint authentication patents it was seeking to invalidate. Apple also saw two successful IPR institutions against Nartron after failing in a series of petitions challenging the same patent.