Posts Tagged: "Google"

Take Steps to Deter the Spy in Your Business

Tesla recently filed two lawsuits for theft of trade secrets. In March, the auto maker sued several former employees and the two companies they joined, Zoox and Chinese EV automaker Xiaopeng. The trade secrets involved their driverless vehicle technology. Haliburton just sued a former employee for stealing information, getting a patent on it, and then trying to sell it back to Haliburton. Phillips is suing a former employee for stealing secrets that will give competitors a “decades long head start.” Waymo, Google’s self-driving car program, settled with Uber for theft of trade secrets. The settlement was reported by CNN Business to be a portion of Uber’s equity, estimated at $245 million. In In August, the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the Northern District of California charged former Google employee Anthony Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets from Google under 18 U.S.C. § 1832 of the Economic Espionage Act (EEA). These cases, and many more like them, involve employees leaving and taking trade secrets with them. Employees come and go, but they shouldn’t take your valuable secrets. You can stop them if you have systems in place, but you have only yourself to blame if you don’t.

Other Barks & Bites, Friday, September 13: CASE Act Moves Out of Committee, Iancu Discusses SEPs and PTAB Designates Two Decisions as Precedential

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the Federal Circuit issued precedential decisions regarding secondary considerations of non-obviousness, limits to design patents and collateral estoppel of antitrust claims in patent cases; the CASE Act moved out of the House Judiciary Committee towards a floor vote; AIPLA reported increasing prices for trade secret and pharmaceutical patent lawsuits; the PTAB designated a pair of precedential decisions that limit IPR institutions; the DOJ identified two foreign nationals in GE Aviation trade secret case; LeBron James and Ohio State University lost their respective trademark bids; USPTO Director Iancu talked about balancing innovation and preventing hold-up in the SEP context; Google agreed to a $1 billion fine over European tax evasion; and the UKIPO reported lower patent application filing levels for 2018.

Other Barks & Bites, Friday, September 6: CAFC Says State Sovereignty Doesn’t Authorize Suit in Improper Venue; USPTO Revises Guidance on U.S.-Licensed Attorney Requirement for Trademark Applicants

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the Chinese government announces stricter punitive measures in its IP system; the Federal Circuit says state sovereignty principles do not allow the University of Texas to bring suit in an otherwise improper venue; Congressional leadership asks Google to expand copyright protections under its Content ID tool; Google and Facebook to face antitrust probes from state AGs; George Mason University to create an Innovation Law Clinic; Ariana Grande files a copyright and trademark infringement suit against Forever 21; the Hudson Institute publishes a report on China’s 5G developments; and South Korea’s government has reportedly been collecting copyright payments for use of North Korean TV broadcasts.

Separating Fact from Fiction in United States v. Levandowski

In August, the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the Northern District of California charged a pioneer of self-driving car technology, Anthony Levandowski, with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets from Google under 18 U.S.C. § 1832 of the Economic Espionage Act (EEA). According to the indictment, Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 files containing critical information about Google’s autonomous-vehicle research before leaving the company in 2016. The indictment alleged that Levandowski then made an unauthorized transfer of the files to his personal laptop. Some of the files that Levandowski allegedly took from Google included private schematics for proprietary circuit boards and designs for light sensor technology, known as Lidar, which are used in self-driving cars. Levandowski joined Uber in 2016 after leaving Google when Uber bought his new self-driving trucking start-up, “Otto.” Levandowski has repeatedly asserted that he never disclosed the download, nor made use of the information while he was at Uber.

Congress Members Ask to Grill Google in Roundtable on Content ID Tool

Eight members of Congress have sent a letter to Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai requesting that the company participate in “a roundtable with Congressional offices and members of the creative community” to discuss its responses to a series of questions relating to Google-owned YouTube’s Content ID tool. The tool is meant to prevent copyright infringing material from appearing on YouTube but has come under scrutiny for its failings in recent years. In the letter sent September 3, the Congress members questioned whether the tool was effective for all users. “We have heard from copyright holders who have been denied access to Content ID tools, and as a result, are at a significant disadvantage to prevent the repeated uploading of content that they have previously identified as infringing,” said the letter.

PTAB Institutes Series of IPRs Brought by Pfizer Against Sanofi Patents

During the week of August 12 – 16, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), issued 26 institution-phase decisions in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings. Nine IPR petitions were denied institution while 17 were instituted; nine of the instituted IPRs were joined to other proceedings that are already ongoing at the agency. Pfizer saw a lot of success last week in having seven IPRs instituted against Sanofi-Aventis, challenging four injectable insulin treatment patents that are at the center of district court infringement litigation between the two parties. The PTAB also instituted IPRs on a series of three LifeNet patents covering tissue graft technologies, which have been asserted against RTI Surgical, including one patent which helped LifeNet earn a multimillion-dollar award for patent infringement in district court.

Last Week at the PTAB: Three Intel Petitions Instituted on Qualcomm Patent, Major Tech Firms Join Google IPR

Last week, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued 39 decisions regarding petitions for inter partes review (IPR) patent validity proceedings, instituting 26. Eight of those proceedings involve major tech firms Samsung, ZTE, Huawei and LG Electronics, all of which won on motions to join previous Google IPRs filed to challenge a pair of Cywee Group patents. Qualcomm also faces a trio of IPRs brought by Intel to challenge the validity of a patent involved in the now-settled legal battle with Apple.

Five Tips for Keeping Safe with Your Head in the Cloud

Management of trade secrets is fraught with competing interests. There is the tradeoff between security and inconvenience—for example, the annoying wait for a special code to allow “two-factor identification” when you already have your password handy. There is trusting your employees while knowing they might leave to join a competitor. And there is the tension between corporate secrecy and the public interest, such as when the fire department insists on knowing what toxic chemicals are used in your facility. And now we have the cloud (like “internet,” its ubiquity merits lower case), which offers unparalleled convenience and flexibility to outsource corporate data management to others. But moving IT functions outside the enterprise creates new vulnerabilities for that data, which happens to be the fastest growing and most valuable category of commercial assets. So understanding this environment has to be a high priority for business managers.

Big Tech Under Fire in Congress

A hearing of the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law held yesterday examined whether big tech companies—Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple—are becoming too powerful and deterring innovation. In “Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 2: Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” Subcommittee Chair, Representative David Cicilline (D-RI), said that Google controls search, Amazon controls nearly half of all online U.S. commerce, Facebook captures over 80% of global social media revenue, and Apple has total power over their customers’ devices. In his opening statement, Cicilline took issue with the 30% commission Apple charges on every developer sale in the first year, and 15% thereafter, pointing to this year’s Supreme Court decision in Apple v. Pepper which held that iPhone owners can sue Apple for monopolizing the retail market for the sale of apps, thereby raising prices for consumers. “A former Apple executive who oversaw app store approvals for seven years has also described Apple as having ‘complete and unprecedented power over their customers’ devices and using this power as a weapon against competitors,’” Cicilline said.

Antitrust Laws Are Not Enough to Kill Big Tech Monopolies

The United States is looking to antitrust law to break up big tech. Later today, for example, the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law will be meeting for a hearing on “Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 2: Innovation and Entrepreneurship.” Unfortunately, this may have become necessary, but it will not solve the problem of big tech monopolies. That can only be solved by understanding how big tech creates megamarkets and how they use shadow patent systems to regulate and perpetuate their monopolies—a power traditionally reserved for sovereigns. A patent is nothing but an exclusive right. All it can do is remove an infringer from the market. That incredible power enables startups to attract investment, commercialize new technologies, and challenge incumbents. The value of a patent is dependent on demand and market size. Since national borders establish the market size, the larger the country, the larger the market, and the more valuable a patent can become. But big tech markets are not restricted to national borders, so they get larger. Apple has 1.4 billion active devices reaching four times the 327 million population of the United States.

This Week on Capitol Hill: Copyright Office Oversight, Threats to the Trademark System and Big Tech Antitrust Issues

This week features a busy schedule of hearings on Capitol Hill involving technology, innovation and intellectual property topics. In the House of Representatives, the House Financial Services Committee will get their chance to vet Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, while other hearings focus on wireless spectrum policy, antitrust issues posed by Internet platforms, as well as issues facing the U.S. trademark system, including counterfeits and register cluttering. In the Senate, Google censorship, oversight of the U.S. Copyright Office and NASA’s plans to send a manned mission to Mars will be under the microscope. Elsewhere, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation explores the current state of robotics and how they can help American productivity.

The Only Way to Counter False Claims on Patent Reform is to Enter the Debate

Coverage of the ongoing patent reform debate in the Senate Judiciary Committee by the popular press has been alarmist and largely incorrect. For example, even just yesterday—five days after the final hearing on patent eligibility reform concluded—the top story in Google’s patent alert results was “Corporations shouldn’t be able to patent your DNA,” which leads with the sentence, “The practice of patenting genes, once banned by the Supreme Court, may come back soon despite a measure of horror the very idea once inspired.” It would seem that those companies and entities that oppose reform to patent eligibility requirements are not going to meaningfully participate in the political process, and instead will wield their considerable PR machines in an effort to confuse, conflate and misdirect the public as part of their ongoing scheme to suppress innovation in America. Indeed, we know that the high-tech industry was invited to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but refused, as Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) explained at the second hearing. Why would the high-tech industry choose to ignore these Senate hearings, where many dozens of witnesses both for and against reform were invited to share their views?

A Look at Google’s Patent Applications for Light Field Technology

Google’s U.S. patent application 20190124318—originally assigned to Lytro, an American developer of light-field cameras, before it went defunct in March 2018—was published in April 2019. Google is actively working on concepts constructing Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) and has spun out products like Daydream, ARCore, Cardboard, Jump, Tilt Brush and Blocks, all of which benefit from light field technology. CNET reported last year that a number of Lytro employees were heading to Google after Lytro folded, and that Google would likely acquire some Lytro patents as a result. Global market research and management consultation company, Global Market Insights, reports that the light field market will grow to $1.5 billion by 2024, rising from $650 million in 2017. The 2017 figures point to media and entertainment industries like gaming, theaters and amusement parks, making up 25% of the overall industry shares. The adoption of the technology in cameras is predicted to drive this growth.

Protect Your Rights Online: Understanding ICANN’s New gTLDs and RPMs

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the California-based nonprofit public-benefit organization with authority over the global Internet’s system of unique identifiers, e.g. IP addresses and domain names, known as generic top-level domains (gTLDs). ICANN’s New gTLD Program has seen the addition of more than 1,200 top-level domains to the Internet’s Domain Name System.  Each new gTLD is contractually obligated to provide a set of trademark Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs), including mainly the Trademark Claims Service, Sunrise, and the Uniform Rapid Suspension system, discussed more fully below. From the perspective of brand owners, new gTLDs—like the Internet itself—continue to create both opportunities and challenges for protecting intellectual property and serving consumers in the online marketplace.

Other Barks & Bites – Friday, May 31: Copyright Infringement for Embedded Images, Poland Complaint on New Copyright Rules, and Senate IP Panels Announced

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the Senate IP Subcommittee announces its roster of panels for its first two of three hearings on patent eligibility in America; the U.S. International Trade Commission institutes a Section 337 investigation of lithium ion batteries over trade secret claims; reports indicate that Amazon could buy Boost Mobile; Poland files a formal complaint over the European Union’s new copyright rules; Time settlement leaves open question of copyright infringement for photos embedded on social media posts; Finjan Holdings loses patent infringement claims against Juniper; VoIP-Pal.com announces positive results at the PTAB and U.S. district court; Japan’s IP court hands win to Nintendo in Mario Kart trademark case; and the Federal Circuit vacates district court over failure to consider joining relevant patentee.