SAN FRANCISCO — One day before a ban of the WeChat social media app was set to go into effect, per an August executive order from President Donald J. Trump, a California federal magistrate judge on Sept. 19 granted a motion by a group of WeChat users to preliminarily enjoin implementation of the ban, finding the plaintiffs likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the ban is a prior restraint on their speech in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (U.S. WeChat Users Alliance, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 20-5910, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172816).
BALTIMORE — A man who tweeted an image designed to induce a seizure to a journalist with epilepsy agreed to pay $100,000 in an offer of judgment served in the journalist's lawsuit against him. A Maryland federal judge entered final judgment on the offer on Sept. 10 (Kurt Eichenwald v. John Rivello, No. 17-01124, D. Md.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Although expressing concern that a federal judge in Texas "did not move more quickly" to resolve a motion by Google LLC to dismiss or transfer patent infringement allegations for improper venue, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 18 nonetheless denied Google's petition for a writ of mandamus (In re: Google LLC, No. 20-144, Fed. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 29904).
LOS ANGELES — One day after confirming a partnership with Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc. that it says "resolves . . . security concerns" raised by President Donald J. Trump, TikTok Inc. on Sept. 20 filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of a complaint it had filed in California federal court alleging constitutional violations in an executive order that threatened to shut down operations of TikTok's social networking app (TikTok Inc., et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 20-7672, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO —Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Sept. 18 published a list identifying the specific transactions prohibited in President Donald J. Trump's recently announced ban on the WeChat social media app, and the government on the same day filed a notice in California federal court offering assurances that the ban does not affect private citizens' use of the app and arguing that a motion by WeChat users to enjoin enactment of the ban merits denial (U.S. WeChat Users Alliance, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 20-5910, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 15 affirmed a lower court's denial of a request made by the franchisor of Subway restaurants to arbitrate a putative class action concerning violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) because an agreement to arbitrate does not exist between the parties under New York law (Luis Arnaud v. Doctor's Associates, Inc., No. 19-3057, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 29504).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a long-running dispute over copyright infringement and software licensing between a British and an American company, the American firm on Sept. 16 filed a motion in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a 60-day extension of its deadline to respond to a petition for certiorari concerning the authority of U.S. courts to enforce monetary judgments against foreign companies under the All Writs Act (AWA) (World Programming Limited v. SAS Institute Inc., No. 20-304, U.S. Sup.).
LAS VEGAS — In a 94-page order issued Sept. 14, a federal judge in Nevada — in response to seven separate motions for partial summary judgment — ruled in favor of software maker and copyright infringement counterclaimant Oracle Corp., rejecting various defenses raised by a plaintiff seeking a declaration of noninfringement (Rimini Street Inc. v. Oracle Corp., No. 14-1699, D. Nev., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168222).
By Hiram Kuykendall
PORT HURON, Mich. — Partly denying a motion to dismiss by a web hosting company, a Michigan federal judge on Sept. 9 found that one of its clients sufficiently alleged a breach of contract claim related to a ransomware attack that destroyed much of its hosted data (Grifo & Company PLLC v. Cloud X Partners Holdings LLC, No. 3:20-cv-10858, E.D. Mich., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164314).
NEW YORK — The context, alteration and use of a photograph of actor Jon Hamm by the website HuffPost constituted fair use, a New York federal judge ruled Sept. 10, dismissing a photographer's copyright complaint against HuffPost owner Oath Inc. (Lawrence Schwartzwald v. Oath Inc., No. 19-9938, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165641).
CINCINNATI — A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 9 concluded that two former employees' purported misuse of proprietary information obtained via their company-issued devices did not constitute a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) because they were authorized to access those devices, affirming a lower court's dismissal ruling (Royal Truck & Trailer Sales and Service Inc. v. Mike Kraft, et al., No. 19-1235, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 28508).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Sept. 10 and 11, amicus curiae briefs were filed in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Facebook Inc. by parties such as the Home Depot Inc., Credit Union National Association Inc. (CUNA), public interest groups and trade associations, with most arguing that the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals applied too broad of a definition to "automatic telephone dialing system" (ATDS) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) in a lawsuit where the social network is accused of violating the statute by sending unwanted text messages (Facebook Inc. v. Noah Duguid, et al., No. 19-511, U.S. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California appeals panel on Sept. 11 affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of Google LLC in a putative class action lawsuit alleging that Google's subscription data storage plan violated California's automatic renewal law, finding that the law's unconditional gift provision does not confer standing for a claim under California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Eric Mayron v. Google LLC, No. H044592, Calif. App., 6th Dist., 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 864).
LOS ANGELES — Because a blind man's claims against it under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are based on the purported inaccessibility of its website and mobile app, Domino's Pizza LLC on Aug. 31 asked a California federal court to compel the plaintiff to produce any devices he may have used, along with responses and answers to interrogatories about his attempts to access the site and app (Guillermo Robles v. Domino's Pizza LLC, No. 2:16-cv-06599, C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Pennsylvania school district on Aug. 28 filed a petition for certiorari, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve a circuit split over whether, under Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, schools are permitted to discipline students for disruptive speech that happens off campus, notably online speech (Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., No. 20-255, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Digital Justice Foundation (DJF) each filed amicus curiae briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 3, arguing that a police officer's for-profit search of a law enforcement database violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) because he exceeded his access privileges to sensitive information (Nathan Van Buren v. United States, No. 19-783, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Sept. 2 holding, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found no reversible error in two final written decisions by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that resulted in the confirmation that some claims of a Blackberry Ltd. patent are valid while others are not (Google LLC v. Blackberry Ltd., No. 19-1568, Fed. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 27973).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Sept. 3 denied a video game company's motion to dismiss a minor's claims for declaratory relief, negligent misrepresentation and violation of all three prongs of California's unfair competition law (UCL), finding that the plaintiff states a plausible claim that the company's alleged conduct of luring minors to spend a lot of money on in-App Fortnite purchases without their parents' consent is "immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous, or substantially injurious to consumers" (C.W., et al. v. Epic Games, Inc., No. 19-03629, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162490).
SEATTLE — The attorney general of the state of Washington in an Aug. 13 lawsuit asks the state's King County Superior Court to impose civil penalties on a California e-liquids retailer that allegedly sold vape products online to customers in Washington state without a license and without verifying customers' ages as required by state law (Washington v. E-Juice Vapor, Inc., No. 20-2-12563-6, Wash. Sup., King Co.).