"Blame It On Rio" - THIS WEEK in LAW

I once again had the pleasure of joining Denise Howell on the legal podcast This WEEK in LAW on Friday. Evan was out and I did my best to fill in for him while he was away. Take a listen and hopefully you can learn about some of the latest news stories going on in technology and entertainment law!

Click to read more ...


How I Graduated From Law School With A Job

The job market is horrible. You can walk around moaning and groaning about it. You can join in with the complainers out there, debating whether law school is worth the time and effort. However, that's not going to help you get a job.

Getting a job is difficult, stressful, time-consuming, and lots of other horrible adjectives. But, I want you to know that it can also be a life-changing experience. You have the choice to make it rough and tough; or, you can follow some simple tips and tricks to put yourself one step closer to landing a job. I'm not guaranteeing it will be your dream job right away, but it's somewhere better than your current position, right?

Earlier this week, I reached out to a few friends from across the country that recently graduated from law school and obtained legal jobs. I have compiled below a number of tips, tricks, and suggestions that you can implement as you embark upon your own job search.

Click to read more ...


BMW Faces Patent Lawsuit Over In-car Hotspots

Cross-posted on the ABA-IPL's Law Student Action Group blog.

BMW's removable "Car Hotspot LTE" system is controlled from the center console and can support up to 8 devices.On Wednesday, Antennatech, LLC filed a five-page complaint against BMW of North America LLC for patent infringement.  There are two patents allegedly violated by BMW: U.S. Patent No. 5,493,702 ("Antenna Transmission Coupling Arrangement") and U.S. Patent No. 8,180,279 ("Wireless Hotspot Arrangement").

The complaint accuses BMW of infringing the '702 patent by the implementation of a system that connects a cell phone to an external antenna in order to boost reception. Additionally, Antennatech alleges that BMW infringes upon the '279 patent through use of a car system that connects a cell phone to an internal radio frequency ("RF") system.  The internal RF system uses one RF antenna to transmit and receive signals from the cell phone while another RF system is used to transmit and receive the signals from nearby networks.  The system then utilizes a hotspot-type computer-controlled bridge to connect and control the two antennae.

BMW announced the removable ConnectedDrive at last spring's New York International Auto Show. The newest upgrade to the system introduced LTE support and the implementation of the in-car hotspot.  The device, stored in the center console, uses its own SIM card and grabs a signal boost from the car's antenna.  Based upon the complaint, this setup appears to be what Antennatech argues infringes their patents.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued the '702 patent to Antennatech in February 1996 and the '279 patent in May 2012.

Download and read a copy of the complaint here.

Figure 2 from the '702 patent.Figure 3B from the '279 patent.


This WEEK in LAW Discussion of eBook Article

A few weeks back, the This WEEK in LAW panel discussed one of my recent blog posts on an eBook deal in 2011 that violated an earlier publication deal from 1971.  Guest panelist Nancy Sims brought up an excellent comparison Supreme Court case, New York Times v. Tasini, from 2000. Sims discussed the negative outcome these types of agreements have on access to publications, especially classic publications and publications that might not be in an economic position to gain the attention of the larger publishers for being pulled forward into the digital age.

As Denise Howell requested, I went to find the original contract that was signed back in 1971 using my trusty friends over at Bloomberg Law.  Unfortunately, the exhibits to the docket that provided access to the original contract were filed under seal.  When I reached out to Bruce Rich, counsel for HarperCollins, he was unable to offer any additiona details due to the ongoing litigation with the case.  Our curiosity surrounding the 1971 contract – such as who was the original drafter, if they drafted in anticipation of future media formats, or what inspired them to draft with such broad language at the time – will have to be satisfied by the fragments of the contract that were made public through the opinion of Judge Buchwald.

Despite a lack of access to the original agreement, this case can still serve as a valuable lesson in contract drafting.  Watch the discussion from This WEEK in LAW on YouTube.


Apple, Netflix, Amazon, and More Face Lawsuit Over Media Transfer Patent

Image credit: Franklin Graves

On Friday, iMTX Strategic LLC filed a series of nearly identical complaints in Delaware federal court against multiple media technology companies for an alleged violation of U.S. Patent No. 7,269,854.  The patent, called "Transaction System for Transporting Media Files from Content Provider Sources to Home Entertainment Devices," purports to control the method in which a user's request for particular media is sent to a media server, authenticated for that particular user, and then subsequently received by the user from media severs.

The '854 patent was granted in 2007 and has been owned by iMTX since 2011, according to the patent registration record.  The six complaints filed on April 25 include allegations that the media companies violated the patent by the methods used to offer streaming music and video, as well as provide music and video on-demand services.

Individual complaints were filed against Apple, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Verizon, and Vudu.  The complaints do not include a specific amount of damages or lost licensing royalties iMTX Strategic is seeking to recover.  Similar complaints have been filed by iMTX Strategic within the past year against Vimeo, Rhapsody, and Spotify.  Vimeo has since filed a response to the complaint denying all allegations of infringing the '854 patent.  Further, Vimeo claims in their response that their services do not utilize the unique encryption process described in the '854 patent.

iMTX Strategic hasn't filed any additional patent-related lawsuits other than these nine complaints to date.  You can check out all the complaints and Vimeo's answer here. It remains to be seen how these media industry giants will respond to the complaints.  What do you think of this patent?