360° Coverage : Why Google Is Stepping Into A Fight Over Dental Retainers

1 Updates

Why Google Is Stepping Into A Fight Over Dental Retainers

Feb 15 2014, 12:14pm CST | by

An obscure fight over dental retainers before a little-noticed federal agency in Washington has set up a battle between movie studios and publishers on one side and Internet giant Google on the...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

27 weeks ago

Why Google Is Stepping Into A Fight Over Dental Retainers

Feb 15 2014, 12:14pm CST | by

An obscure fight over dental retainers before a little-noticed federal agency in Washington has set up a battle between movie studios and publishers on one side and Internet giant Google on the other.

The argument comes down to whether the International Trade Commission, which polices the nation’s trade channels for illegal goods like fake Rolex watches and patent-infringing devices, should also take on the job of policing the Internet for illicit electronic transmissions.

Google thinks word “articles” in Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 means physical objects, the kind of stuff U.S. Customs agents have seized from shipping containers and air-cargo warehouses for decades. But the Motion Picture Association of America thinks “articles” encompasses movies, TV shows, musical recordings and software that can cross borders with the click of a mouse.

The case that has divided the two involves both types of article: Clear plastic dental retainers, produced in Houston on 3-D printers utilizing engineering data transmitted electronically from Pakistan.

Align Technology, a San Jose, Calif. manufacturer, has been engaged in a long-running fight with a former executive who went into the business in Pakistan, producing what Align says are retainers that violate its patents.  After it won an order from the ITC prohibiting the importation of the offending products into the U.S., Align says, the competitor, ClearCorrect Pakistan (Private) Ltd., switched to sending  engineering documents to the U.S. in digital form and producing them here.

“Our argument is that the digital files being sent over are articles,” said said Thomas Counts, a partner with Paul Hastings in San Francisco who represents Align. “ They are articles of commerce.”

After more than a year of deliberation an administrative law judge agreed, recommending a cease-and-desist order prohibiting ClearCorrect from “importing” its digital files.

Align is also suing ClearCorrect in for patent infringement in federal court, but Counts said the ITC provides much quicker relief for companies facing illegal competition. A typical patent case may take years and millions of dollars in legal fees to resolve and exposes both sides to the whims of a jury that may not be expert in patent law, he said, while the administrative law judges at the ITC handle only intellectual property issues and typically can reach a decision within 18 months.

Administrative law judges can’t enact their own recommendations, however. They require the approval of the six-member ITC board, politically appointed commissioners split between Republicans and Democrats. The review was supposed to have been completed six months ago, Counts said, but it has dragged on as the commissioners apparently have debated whether the ITC should get into the business of policing electronic transmissions.

At the end of January, the commission put the question out for public comment. Within days it had responses from MPAA, Google, book publishers and even cellphone-technology company Nokia.

“The surprise we got was Google,” Counts said. “ It’s not clear exactly what Google’s interests are, but it’s clear they are opposed to the ITC’s jurisdiction over digital articles imported by electronic transmission.”

Google’s filing says “articles” should be restricted to physical objects, and it isn’t hard to see why. The company is already barraged with subpoenas by other federal agencies and litigants seeking the contents of its e-mail servers. Adding a new federal agency to the list would make it subject to even more requests that it hand over the private data flowing over its network.

Nokia is on the other side, however. In a Feb. 10 filing, the company, which sold its physical cellphone business to Microsoft last year to focus on network equipment, says courts have already determined that electronically transmitted software can be a “component” of patent-infringing goods and therefore should be covered by the ITC’s enforcement powers. Since telecommunications network equipment runs on patented software, it makes sense Nokia would want broad federal authority to block competitors from transmitting infringing technology.

No one, even Align, is suggesting the ITC could actually monitor the global Internet for infringing data transmissions (although Edward Snowden’s revelations make it more plausible than previously believed.) But armed with a court order, competitors can find infringing files on a company’s computers as Align did with ClearCorrect.

“We identified what files were being transmitted,” Counts said. “They admitted the files were used to print the molds to make the aligners.”

For Counts, the question is whether the ITC can assert its jurisdiction over “articles” that are merely a stream of digital data.

“With the advent of 3D printing, you can just email that digital file over, and then the person prints out that exact same infringing product,” Counts said. “While the law always lags technology, it’s interesting that this issue hasn’t been resolved already.”/>/>

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
1

10 hours ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17" hits home ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Use hollow-head toothbrush? Junk it now
New York, Aug 29 (IANS) After reading this news, go check your toothbrush type. According to research, solid-head toothbrushes retain less bacteria compared to hollow-head toothbrushes.
 
 
Electric currents may boost memory
New York, Aug 29 (IANS) Electric currents could be the key to treating memory impairments caused by conditions such as stroke, early-stage Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury, cardiac arrest and the memory problems that occur in healthy ageing.
 
 
How movement affects hearing
New York, Aug 29 (IANS) Ever wondered why we stop moving when we carefully want to listen to someone? This, scientists have found, is not just to prevent unwanted sounds generated by our own movements.
 
 
Chinese herbal drug sends Australian woman to hospital
Melbourne, Aug 29 (IANS) A Chinese herbal medicine meant for back pain triggered life-threatening heart condition for an Australian woman, physicians reported.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

US midfielder Freddy Adu sues Brazilian club
Rio de Janeiro, Aug 29 (IANS) US footballer Freddy Adu has launched legal action against his former Brazilian club Bahia over alleged unpaid wages. The 25-year-old former child prodigy is suing the Brazilian outfit...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Iceland volcano eruption triggers red alert
London, Aug 29 (IANS) The Icelandic Met Office raised its aviation warning level near the Bardarbunga volcano to red after an eruption began, BBC reported Friday. Scientists said a fissure eruption one-km-long started...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Over three million fled Syria: UN
London, Aug 29 (IANS) The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Friday announced that over three million Syrians have been registered as refugees and the crisis is only getting worse, BBC reported. The UNHCR said Syria is now "...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Splitsville for Britney Spears, David Lucado
Los Angeles, Aug 29 (IANS) Pop star Britney Spears has split from her boyfriend David Lucado. The star made the announcement via a post on Twitter which read: "Ahhhh the single life!" Spears has stayed quiet on the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Valverde wins first mountain stage to retake Vuelta lead
Madrid, Aug 29 (IANS) The first mountain stage of the Vuelta de Espana cycling race produced the expected big changes to the leadership board as Alejandro Valverde took both the stage and the overall leader's red...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Use hollow-head toothbrush? Junk it now
New York, Aug 29 (IANS) After reading this news, go check your toothbrush type. According to research, solid-head toothbrushes retain less bacteria compared to hollow-head toothbrushes. During the study, researchers...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Electric currents may boost memory
New York, Aug 29 (IANS) Electric currents could be the key to treating memory impairments caused by conditions such as stroke, early-stage Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury, cardiac arrest and the memory...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
How movement affects hearing
New York, Aug 29 (IANS) Ever wondered why we stop moving when we carefully want to listen to someone? This, scientists have found, is not just to prevent unwanted sounds generated by our own movements. This interplay...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Chinese herbal drug sends Australian woman to hospital
Melbourne, Aug 29 (IANS) A Chinese herbal medicine meant for back pain triggered life-threatening heart condition for an Australian woman, physicians reported. The woman began experiencing facial tingling and numbness...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Indian business opportunities showcased in Seoul
Seoul, Aug 29 (IANS) With over 600 South Korean companies active in India with a total investment of over $4 billion. one of the biggest Indian business symposia was organised here with a large business audience in...
Read more on Business Balla