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How Governments and Companies can Fight Cyberespionage

While rapid technological advances have been leading to greater connectivity and data storage and global growth, they have also been resulting in greater cyberespionage and intellectual property theft, especially trade secrets. Businesses are now more at risk than ever to having their corporate networks breached and having their trade secrets stolen. On average, trade secrets comprise of about two-thirds of the value of firms’ information portfolios, and once they are made public or obtained by a competitor, their value may be substantially or entirely lost.

This phenomenon is occurring globally. General Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, stated that U.S. companies lose $250 billon per year due to IP theft. A survey conducted for the European Commission showed that over the past 10 years, approximately one in five respondents experienced at least one attempt or act of misappropriation. South Korea estimates that costs from economic espionage more than tripled between 2004 and 2008. It is also estimated that the largest global organizations could face $35 million in losses over a two-year period from attacks on cryptographic keys and digital certificates.

In an effort to combat increasing cyberespionage, the Obama administration released a “Sttrategy to Mitigate the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets” in February 2013, and an issuance of Executive Order 13636 on “Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity” shortly after. The order focuses primarily on protecting critical infrastructure, and there is still room to enact laws to protect intellectual property that may be held more broadly by U.S. businesses.

The strength in trade secret laws has an effect on the level of cyberespionage in each country. Trade protection in the U.S. is relatively more advanced than in most of the rest of the world. Much of the rest of the world has very weak laws and enforcement practices, including the large emerging economies such as China, Brazil, Russia, and India. As supply chains and operations expand globally, weak rule of law and ineffective enforcement in countries will harm companies’ ability to protect their trade secrets.

What can governments and companies do to address these trade secret threats? First, a company should have its own protection program and make investments on strong security technologies and procedures. A study shows that companies that obtained “sufficiently budgeted resources” for security saved around $2.2 million annually. Governments should utilize trade policy tools to raise the importance of trade secrets protection and promote more effective deterrence. U.S. ties through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement with 11 other Asian-Pacific nations and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with the European Union give it means to do so. Trade secret protection should also be considered in regional organizations and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. The U.S. government should also improve internal coordination among agencies responsible for cybersecurity and protection of trade secrets. Overall, protection from cybersecurity will require a collateral effort from companies and governments worldwide.

Grist to the Google Mill: Calif. Judge Finds a Way to Continue Claims Against Internet Giant

by Jose Landivar, Arther Law’s Industry Insider

A judge in California refused to toss out a class action lawsuit against Google this past Thursday over allegations that the company violated a federal wiretap statute by scanning user’s emails for the purpose of targeted advertising.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, allowed the plaintiffs’ claim to proceed on the grounds that Google’s privacy policies did not provide explicit notification of email interceptions and that scanning emails to profile users in order to send out targeted ads were not “instrumental operations” for an email system or within the “ordinary course of business” exception provided under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.


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iTunes Radio Enters the Streaming Radio Scene


“iTunes Radio is free streaming radio with the best selection of music.  It builds and brings together stations you’ll love from day one. And the more you listen, the more personalized your stations become. It’s radio re-imagined.” boasts Apple in its description of iTunes Radio.

iTunes Radio gives you the ability to use the radio on iPod, iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC,  and Apple TV.  The more you use iTunes and iTunes Radio, the more the radio adapts to your personal preferences. Obviously, the unique tailoring is in place with hopes that users will be more apt and loyal to iTunes radio rather than other streaming sites.

The hurdle iTunes Radio will have to conquer is that it presently does not have all the preferences of the users, while Pandora already has this. Will users be willing to start a brand new bond with a new streaming radio site?  Read More…

BlackBerry’s Valuable Patents Could Spark a Bidding War

BlackBerry has been struggling for years as other smartphone companies have been pushing it off the market. It is at a point where it is about to be bought off for around a mere $5 billion. However, an upside is that Blackberry’s patents are valued at $2-$3 billion. Chris Marlett, CEO of MDB Capital Group, an intellectual property focused investment bank, says that although there is little value for the company’s actual hardware business, its intellectual property value is substantial. Read More…

No Safe Harbor for Vimeo on Capital Records’ Lip Synch Lawsuit

by Jose Landivar, Arther Law’s Industry Insider


Online video-sharing service Vimeo failed in its efforts last Wednesday to dismiss Capitol Records’ copyright suit over user-generated lip-sync videos of artists such as Radiohead and the Beatles, when a federal judge ruled that some of the videos might not qualify for safe-harbor protection and that a factual issue was presented on the grounds that the company should have known about the alleged infringement simply because its employees uploaded and commented on some of the videos. Read More…

Twitter IPO, In Under 140 Characters: Thank You #JobsAct


#IPO. #JOBSActThanks

This could’ve been a social media reference to Twitter’s announcement on Thursday afternoon that it was filing confidential paperwork with the SEC to begin the process for its highly anticipated and widely speculated public offering.

The timing and secrecy surrounding Twitter’s announcement is widely believed to have been executed at this time in order to maximize the advantage offered by new regulations passed under 2012’s JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, which for the first time allowed certain companies to initially file IPO paperwork confidentially with SEC regulators.

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U.S. Supreme Court: Human DNA Cannot be Patented. (Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-398.)

On June 13, the US Supreme Court unanimously held that naturally occurring human genes cannot receive patent protection.  The ruling served as a partial victory for science and biotechnology as the field fought to gain protection for the genes.

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