by Ude Lu, UMN Law Student, MJLST Staff.
On April 18th, 2013, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) was passed with wide spread controversies. CISPA aims to help national security agencies to investigate cyber threats by allowing private companies, such as Google and Facebook, to search users' personal data to identify possible threats. Commentators argue that CISPA compromises the Fourth Amendment, because, under CISPA, agencies can get privacy data of suspects identified by the privacy companies without a judicial order. CISPA bridges the gap between crime investigations and the privacy data stored and analyzed by social media companies.
by Nihal Parkar, UMN Law Student, MJLST StaffThe America Invents Act (AIA) was signed into law in 2011 and fully went into effect on March 16, 2013. The AIA resulted from efforts to strengthen the US patent system and bring it in conformity with global patenting standards. One of the aims of the AIA was to reduce post-grant litigation related to patent validity. It is common for alleged infringers to challenge the validity of patents that are asserted against them in court. However, such litigation can be expensive and protracted.
by Jennifer Nomura, UMN Law Student, MJLST Staff
When most people think of patents they think of the latest computer technology or advances in medical science; but what about women's shapewear? For those unaware of what shapewear is, it's basically the modern version of a corset; it keeps everything pulled in, but (hopefully) more comfortable than a corset. Heather Thomson, founder of Yummie Tummie, has a patent on some of her styles of tank-top shapewear. When she found out that Spanx, a competing company, was making a very similar looking piece of shapewear, Thomson wasn't happy. Thomson sent a cease-and-desist letter to Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx and then took to social media to complain. Websites like Forbes and the Huffington Post picked up the story. So far, the situation sounds fairly typical of other patent infringement cases, so why all the press coverage? Did I mention that Heather Thomson is a TV star of Bravo's Real Housewives of New York? Needless to say, Thomson is not afraid of a little drama. Thomson has declared war against Blakely and Spanx. But Sara Blakely is not the underdog in this situation. Blakely founded Spanx in 2000 and is now a self-made billionaire. Blakely has now filed a declaratory judgment action in court alleging that Spanx is not infringing any of Yummie Tummie's patents.
by Katelyn DeRuyter, UMN Law Student, MJLST Staff
The FDA is responsible for safeguarding public health by "assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation." The FDA inspects products and manufacturing facilities in order to ensure these important goals. If the inspection finds that a company has fallen short of the applicable standards, the FDA often will issue a Warning Letter. An FDA warning letter is written correspondencee "that notifies regulated industry about violations that FDA has documented during its inspections or investigations." The FDA views warning letters as giving the recipient an opportunity to take voluntary and prompt corrective action before the FDA initiates official enforcement action. Despite the fact that the FDA Warning Letter is considered a mechanism for inducing "voluntary" compliance, in recent student note published in Issue 12.2 of the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, entitled "FDA Goes Loko," Rebecca Boxhorn argues that warning letters do not induce truly voluntary compliance because recipients that do not wish to voluntarily comply have limited options. Under the current state of the law, FDA Warning Letters are not subject to judicial review. This lack of judicial review is problematic because warning letters subject recipients to real consequences. Boxhorn proposes that FDA Warning Letters should be subject to judicial review.
by George David Kidd, UMN Law Student, MJLST Staff
Globally, obesity and its underlying ailments have overtaken tobacco as the top preventable cause of death. But, while eating right and exercising might go a long way towards solving the problem, the solution might not be that simple. What drives consumer buying behavior, through more modern forms of how we interact with the world, might substantiate food science and advertising as powerful mechanisms to attack the obesity epidemic.
by Bryan Dooley, UMN Law Student, MJLST Staff
While most would likely agree that threats to cybersecurity pose sufficient risk to warrant some level of new regulation, opinions vary widely on the scope and nature of an appropriate response. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, one of several proposed legislative measures intended to address the problem, has drawn widespread criticism. Concerns voiced by opponents have centered on privacy and the potential for misuse of shared information. Some fear the legislation creates the potential for additional harm by allowing or encouraging private parties to launch counterattacks against perceived security threats, with no guarantee they will always hit their intended targets.
by Caroline Marsili, UMN Law Student, MJLST Staff
In a 6-3 decision that came down March 25, the Supreme Court held that copyright's first sale doctrine, which allows the lawful purchaser of a copyrighted product to resell the product without interference from the copyright holder, applies to copyrighted works lawfully made abroad. Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons marks the resolution of a decades-long uncertainty over the potential international reach of the first sale doctrine. This moment of clarity, however, is sure to be followed by challenges, given the newly-sanctioned threat to some domestic industries.
by Benjamin Hamborg, UMN Law Student, MJLST Articles Editor
As predicted inJohn Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Kirtsaeng: The Uncertain Future of the First-Sale Doctrine, the Supreme Court last month held, by a 6-3 margin, that the first sale doctrine does apply to works lawfully made outside of the United States. The first sale doctrine, which allows the lawful owner of a copyrighted work to dispose of that copy as he or she sees fit, was in danger of disappearing as applied to works manufactured overseas after the Second Circuit decided in August of 2011 that the doctrine only applied to works made in America.
by Ashley Zborowsky, UMN Law Student, MJLST Notes & Comments Editor
In a split decision on December 3, 2012, the Second Circuit issued its long-awaited opinion in U.S. v. Caronia--a case concerning off-label promotion and commercial free speech. The 2011 U.S. Supreme Court holding in Sorrell v. IMS Health acknowledging off-label promotion to be "per se" protected under the First Amendment marked a significant shift in this area of law. Previously, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was able to recover billions of dollars in penalties from manufacturers engaged in off-label promotion, or the act of promoting regulated products for uses other than those approved by the agency. Despite other challenges on constitutional grounds, the FDA has been successful at defending its current practice--that is, until recently.
by Bryan Morben, UMN Law Student, MJLST Staff
There has been a lot of attention on North Korea and the possibility of a nuclear war lately. In fact, as recently as April 4, 2013, news broke that the increasingly hostile country moved medium-range missiles to its east coastline. It is reported that the missiles do not have enough range to hit the U.S. mainland, but is well within range of the South Korean capital. Tensions have been running high for several months, especially when the North took the liberty to shred the sixty year old armistice that ended the Korean War, and warned the world that "the next step was an act of 'merciless' military retaliation against its enemies."