Glassdoor Can’t Bar Grand Jury Subpoena for Posters’ IDs

(November 9, 2017) Glassdoor, Inc. can’t prevent a grand jury from seeing the email addresses and other information of users who posted anonymous reviews about their employer because their posts are not protected by the First Amendment.

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a denial of a request by Glassdoor to quash subpoenas requiring the company to disclose information provided by posters on its website. Employers use the site to promote their company to potential employees. In turn, Glassdoor allows the employer’s ...

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Single Newsletter Sent to 10 Residents Not Enough for Jurisdiction

(November 1, 2017) A United Kingdom company sending a single newsletter to a small number of recipients in California where the company has no customers is not sufficient to maintain a copyright infringement lawsuit in the United States.

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the case brought by Axion Foods, Inc. and Growing Naturals, LLC against Acerchem UK Limited. All the parties sell health and nutritional products.

In November 2014, Acerchem sent a newsletter promoting its rice protein products to ...

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Cheryl Balough Heads Cyberspace Law Committee

(October 20, 2017) Cheryl Dancey Balough has been appointed chair of the Cyberspace Law Committee of the ABA Business Law Section.

The committee provides a forum for the analysis of corporate, transactional, and regulatory issues related to the internet and digital technologies. The committee’s areas of expertise include privacy, information security, cybersecurity, e-commerce, mobile/telecommunications, digital media and internet infrastructure and governance.

In addition to her duties as chair, Ms. Balough has made numerous presentations on legal issues related to the internet and ...

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Subway Settlement Giving Attorneys a Lot of Dough Doesn’t Measure Up

(August 25, 2017) A settlement giving the class attorneys $525,000 without giving customers any meaningful benefits was thrown out by the Seventh Circuit, which found class never should have been certified because the case sought only worthless benefits to class members.

The opinion aptly described this case by comparing it to another, finding, “A class action that ‘seeks only worthless benefits for the class’ and ‘yields [only] fees for class counsel’ is ‘no better than a racket’ and ‘should be ...

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Court Dismisses Action Against Zillow for its Zestimates

(August 24, 2017) A lawsuit to enjoin Zillow.com from publishing “Zestimates” on home values has been dismissed because the price estimate is not an official appraisal, does not invade the homeowner’s privacy rights, and is not deceptive.

The plaintiffs filed a class action against Zillow, Inc. after the company’s “Zestimates” reported values that plaintiffs believed were far under the actual value of the homes, making their homes harder to sell above the online estimate.

The complaint alleged that publishing estimates of home ...

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Inaccurate Online Credit Report Is Sufficient Harm Under Fair Credit Act

(August 17, 2017) Spokeo.com’s publishing of an inaccurate credit report online is sufficient concrete harm to support a claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).

The ruling by the Ninth Circuit means that Thomas Robins may pursue his case against Spokeo, Inc. under the FCRA. The trial court originally dismissed his claim for lack of standing because he did not allege any injury in fact. The Ninth Circuit reversed. The U.S. Supreme Court remanded the matter back to the ...

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Facebook Displaying Ads on Page Not Sufficient for Right of Publicity Claim

(August 11, 2017) Facebook did not violate a country-rap singer’s right of publicity by allowing third parties to place ads on pages that contained critical comments about the singer.

Country rap artist Mikel Knight, whose real name is Jason Cross, sued Facebook alleging six causes of action. Three of the causes of action were dismissed by the trial court in an anti-SLAPP hearing, when the court found Facebook was protected under the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) because it was a provider ...

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Supreme Court Strikes Down PTO Prohibition Against Derogatory Trademarks

(June 20, 2017) The United States Supreme Court has found that the Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) prohibition against registering trademarks that may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute any persons is unconstitutional.

The PTO denied registration for “The Slants” by a rock group comprised of Asians. The trademark was rejected by the PTO examining attorney because “slants” is a derogatory or offensive term to some Asians. The PTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed.

The group’s leader said he ...

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Website Posting Alone Cannot Support Finding of Access for Copyright Infringement

(June 8, 2017) Placing copyrighted materials on a website does not justify an inference that an alleged infringer accessed the materials, especially when the materials are not strikingly similar, the Seventh Circuit found.

The case involved whether a homebuilder infringed copyrighted home plans. The appellate court said the home-plan field was “crowded,” making it difficult to find protectable creative expression “because opportunities for originality are tightly constrained by function requirements, consumer demands, and the vast body of similar designs already ...

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Autonomous Vehicle Legal Issues Explored by Richard C. Balough

(May 11, 2017) As autonomous and driverless vehicles take to the roads, drivers, car manufactures, programmers, and insurance companies will face new legal challenges, said Richard C. Balough in a presentation at the 2017 Intellectual Property Litigation Seminar sponsored by DRI.

“Because today’s and tomorrow’s cars are computers that happen to move physically on the roadway, there are subject to performance failures by inadequate design, malware, or hacking,” Mr. Balough told the group of defense and in-house counsel.

The code used in ...

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