Why Technology Provides Compelling Reasons to Apply a Daubert Analysis to the Legal Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Cases

By: Nichole Hines

Traditionally, courts have applied a “customary practice” standard in determining the legal standard of care in medical malpractice cases. Recently, a few courts have abandoned this dated standard and instead applied a Daubert analysis to the standard of care, which focuses on medical evidence that is scientifically based . In light of these recent holdings, this iBrief argues that with the increasing amounts of technologies improving evidence-based medicine, the customary practice standard is no longer a useful or appropriate test for determining the standard of care in medical malpractice cases. By applying a Daubert analysis to an expert’s testimony on the standard of care, the testimony becomes a scientifically based testimony rather than an expert’s notion of what is common practice in the medical profession.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0018

Posted in Health & Biotechnology

When Is Employee Blogging Protected by Section 7 of the NLRA?

By: Katherine M. Scott

The National Labor Relations Act forbids employers from retaliating against certain types of employee speech or intimidating those who engage in it. This iBrief examines how blogging fits into the current statutory framework and recommends how the National Labor Relations Board and the courts should address the unique features of employee blogs.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0017

Posted in Media & Communications

The Constitutionality of WIPO’s Broadcasting Treaty: The Originality and Limited Times Requirements of the Copyright Clause

By: Adam R. Tarosky

Because the proposed WIPO Broadcasting Treaty extends perpetual copyright-like protections to unoriginal information, its implementation would violate at least two fundamental limitations on Congress’s Copyright Clause power: the originality and “limited times” requirements. But Congress has a trump card–the Commerce Clause. This iBrief argues that to give proper effect to the limitations of the Copyright Clause, Congress should not be allowed to implement copyright-like legislation under the less restrictive Commerce Clause.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0016

Posted in International

The End of Net Neutrality

By: William G. Laxton Jr.

In 2005, the FCC changed the competitive landscape of the high-speed Internet access industry by classifying both DSL and cable modem service as “information services.” While many hail this move as a victory for competition and free markets, others fear the ruling could jeopardize the future of the Internet. This iBrief examines the potential end of “net neutrality” and concludes that new federal regulations are unnecessary because antitrust laws and a competitive marketplace will provide consumers with sufficient protection.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0015

Posted in Media & Communications

What, if Any, Are the Ethical Obligations of the U.S. Patent Office? A Closer Look at the Biological Sampling of Indigenous Groups

By: Marina L. Whelan

The patenting of biological resources collected from indigenous groups has become a controversial trend. Two U.S. patents in particular, one claiming a cell-line from a 26-year old Guayami woman and one claiming a leukemia virus from a Hagahai man in Papua New Guinea, demonstrate just how volatile this issue has become. This iBrief examines how, in light of such “ethically questionable” patents, the U.S. Patent Office has failed to implement any procedures to identify or curb patent applications involving indigenous peoples.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0014

Posted in Health & Biotechnology

Injunction Junction: Remembering the Proper Function and Form of Equitable Relief in Trademark Law

By: Ryan McLeod

Injunctions are supposed to be among the most extraordinary remedies in the American judicial system, yet they have become anything but rare in trademark litigation. Although the unique nature of trademark protection may explain the frequency of injunctive relief, the process by which this relief is issued is rapidly devolving into rubber-stamping by the courts. This iBrief argues that courts should (1) recommit themselves to the principles of equity before granting injunctions and (2) seriously apply the specificity requirements of Rule 65(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to avoid overly broad orders.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0013

Posted in Copyrights & Trademarks

Download, Stream, or Somewhere in Between: The Potential for Legal Music Use in Podcasting

By: Benjamin Aitken

Podcasting is an increasingly popular new digital technology with the potential to be a great conduit of expression. Currently, the use of music is limited in podcasting due in large part to uncertainty as to what rights must be licensed before copyrighted music can be used legitimately. This iBrief examines what legal rights are implicated by podcasting by analyzing U.S. copyright law and comparing related technologies. This iBrief concludes that onerous licensing requirements are unnecessary, and for podcasting to realize its potential, a simple licensing framework must be established.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0012

Posted in Copyrights & Trademarks

Shielding Journalist-“Bloggers”: The Need to Protect Newsgathering Despite the Distribution Medium

By: Laura Durity

The failure to agree on a sufficiently narrow definition of “journalist” has stalled efforts to enact a federal shield law to legally protect reporter-source communications from compelled disclosure in federal court. The increasing use of the Internet in news coverage and the greater reliance by the public on the Internet as a news source creates further problems as to who should qualify for federal shield law protection. This iBrief argues that a functional definition of “journalist” can be created to shield journalists from compelled source disclosure so as to protect the free flow of information to the public, but limits must be set to prevent abuse of such protection.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0011

Posted in Media & Communications

Protecting Intellectual Property in the Developing World: Next Stop—Thailand

By: Cortney M. Arnold

This iBrief examines the U.S. strategy for strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in Southeast Asia through the use of free trade agreements (FTAs). After briefly examining the U.S. methodology for strengthening IPRs outside the U.S., this iBrief predicts that the intellectual property provisions in the final text of the U.S.-Thailand FTA, which is currently being negotiated, will be very similar to the provisions in previous FTAs that the United States has negotiated with other developing countries.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0010

Posted in International

Unnecessary Indeterminacy: Process Patent Protection After Kinik v. ITC

By: John M. Eden

In Kinik v. International Trade Commission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit suggested in dicta that the defenses available to foreign manufacturers in infringement actions under 35 U.S.C. § 271(g) in Federal district courts do not apply to exclusion actions before the International Trade Commission. This iBrief argues that this decision is problematic for three reasons: (1) the Federal Circuit’s decision is inconsistent with the ITC’s longstanding tradition of consulting the patent statute when adjudicating exclusion actions under 19 U.S.C. § 1337, (2) the court’s suggestion that the ITC should be given broad discretion to resolve conflicts between the patent statute and the Tariff Act is at odds with the Chevron doctrine, and (3) if the ITC employs the broad discretion that Kinik confers to it by excluding more foreign art than Federal district courts could lawfully exclude under the patent statute, the enforcement of domestic patent policy in the United States could conceivably violate obligations of non-discrimination (Article 27.1) and burden-shifting (Article 34) imposed by the TRIPS Agreement.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0009

Posted in Patents & Technology

Mining the Common Heritage of Our DNA: Lessons Learned From Grotius and Pardo

By: Jasper A. Bovenberg

The Human Genome Project generated oceans of DNA sequence data and spurred a multinational race to grab the bounties of these oceans. In response to these DNA property grabs, UNESCO, drawing upon international law precedents addressing analogous grabs in the past, declared the Human Genome the heritage of humanity. The UNESCO Declaration provided, first, that the heritage shall not, in its natural state, give rise to financial gains and, second, that countries establish an international framework to make the benefits from genome research available to all. This iBrief will first examine Grotius’s Mare Liberum to determine whether international law precedent indeed bars the private appropriation of a common heritage. Second, the iBrief will revisit the framework developed by Pardo for the exploitation of the mineral resources of the ocean floor and analyze whether it could serve as a model for an international framework for sharing the benefits of current genome research.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0008

Posted in International

Patent Misuse in Patent Pool Licensing: From National Harrow to “The Nine No-Nos” to Not Likely

By: Daniel P. Homiller

Courts and the Justice Department’s Antitrust division have become increasingly tolerant of patent licensing practices that were previously viewed with suspicion. This trend has put pressure on the doctrine of patent misuse, which arose in the 1940s as a doctrine distinct from, but closely related to, standard antitrust analysis. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently overturned an International Trade Commission order that held unenforceable, on the grounds of patent misuse, six patents licensed as a package by U.S. Philips Corporation. The Federal Circuit’s decision raises the question of just how much remains of the doctrine of patent misuse.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0007

Posted in Patents & Technology

When Discrimination Is Good: Encouraging Broadband Internet Investment Without Content Neutrality

By: Christopher E. Fulmer

Cable television and traditional telephone companies are increasingly offering the same set of services: telephone, television, and broadband Internet access. Competition between these two types of companies would ordinarily require them to improve these services, but unless broadband providers have the ability to discriminate on the basis of content and charge Internet video providers that compete with their own video services, the growth of the Internet will be stunted, as broadband providers will not improve the capacity of their networks.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0006

Posted in Media & Communications

Internet Sales Taxes From Borders to Amazon: How Long Before All of Your Purchases Are Taxed?

By: Walter J. Baudier

What so many internet consumers believe to be tax-free is actually subject to a state use tax. Faced with pressure from states that realize very little of the use tax owed, many online retailers, such as Wal-mart, “voluntarily” collect sales taxes from their customers. But a recent California Appeals Court decision, Borders Online v. State Board of Equalization, could mark a shift towards more prevalent, if not universal, taxation of internet retail.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0005

Posted in eCommerce

Barriers to Innovation: Intellectual Property Transaction Costs in Scientific Collaboration

By: Megan Ristau Baca

The institution of university science research has evolved over the past century, from one of open science and free information to one of competition and jealously guarded intellectual property rights. This iBrief analyzes the background factors driving the evolution of the institution of science, evaluates the net effects on the progress of science, and considers potential short-term solutions to alleviate the legal transaction costs necessary for scientific collaboration.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0004

Posted in Patents & Technology

Fighting Terrorism in an Electronic Age: Does the Patriot Act Unduly Compromise Our Civil Liberties?

By: Christopher P. Raab

The USA PATRIOT Act is tremendously controversial, both lauded by law enforcement and decried by civil liberties groups. This iBrief considers two of the Act’s communications monitoring provisions, concluding that each compromises civil liberties to a greater degree than is necessary to combat terrorism. Accordingly, Congress should revise the USA PATRIOT Act, bringing it into line with the Constitution.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0003

Posted in Media & Communications

Anti-Employer Blogging: Employee Breach of the Duty of Loyalty and the Procedure for Allowing Discovery of a Blogger’s Identity Before Service of Process Is Effected

By: Konrad Lee

The rapid rise in anonymous anti-employer internet blogs by disgruntled employees has created a tension between the liberty interests of employees in free speech and privacy and employers’ rights to be free from defamation, disparagement and disclosure of confidential information by an employee. This iBrief argues that the anonymity of anti-employer bloggers should not shield employees from breach of the duty of loyalty claims under tort and contract law, and that Congress should enact rules to govern the disclosure of blogger identity.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0002

Posted in eCommerce

Completing the Connection: Achieving Universal Service Through Municipal Wi-Fi

By: K. Joon Oh

The federal universal service scheme is designed to ensure that everyone has affordable access to advanced telecommunications and information services. Despite the development of cost-effective technologies that drastically reduce the cost of telephone services vis-à-vis the Internet and Wi-Fi networks, federal regulations generally prevent municipalities or private companies from providing wireless Internet access with universal service funds. Federal regulations have replaced technology costs, lack of business incentives, and consumer affordability as the primary barrier to universal service. Competitive neutrality, the pro-competitive and technology-neutral approach to universal service funding, must be fully embraced in order to empower local communities with the choice of technologies that best suits their residents in providing universal and affordable access to advanced telecommunications and information services.

Cite: 2006 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0001

Posted in Media & Communications

Attack of the Clones: Legislative Approaches to Human Cloning in the United States

By: Adrienne N. Cash

The legal concerns involving the application of cloning technology to humans should be of utmost concern, as the area is extremely complex. Cloning could potentially have great benefits or disastrous effects. Lawmakers have been careful to make certain that the legislation passed is comprehensive and useful for regulation of the ever-changing field of cloning. From debates on whether reproductive or therapeutic cloning should be permitted or banned, to concerns as to who has jurisdiction over cloning, the battle to develop cloning legislation has been difficult. However, this iBrief argues that the currently-proposed federal legislation is constitutional.

Cite: 2005 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0026

Posted in Health & Biotechnology

Coddling Spies: Why the Law Doesn’t Adequately Address Computer Spyware

By: Alan F. Blakley, Daniel B. Garrie & Matthew J. Armstrong

Consumers and businesses have attempted to use the common law of torts as well as federal statutes like the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Stored Wire and Electronic Communications and Transactional Records Act, and the Wiretap Act to address the expanding problem of spyware. Spyware, which consists of software applications inserted into another’s computer to report a user’s activity to an outsider, is as innocuous as tracking purchases or as sinister as stealing trade secrets or an individual’s identity. Existing law does not address spyware adequately because authorization language, buried in “click-through” boilerplate, renders much of current law useless. Congress must act to make spyware companies disclose their intentions with conspicuous and clearly-stated warnings.

Cite: 2005 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0025

Posted in eCommerce

Buggy Whips and Broadcast Flags: The Need for a New Politics of Expression

By: Garrett Levin

In response to growing fears from the entertainment industry over online file-sharing of valuable content, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) enacted sweeping regulations over the production of electronic devices in the name of protecting digital television broadcasts. Although the FCC’s “broadcast flag” regulation was struck down on jurisdictional grounds, Hollywood has not given up the push for strict control. If Hollywood successfully acquires broadcast flag protection there could be far-reaching implications for innovation and development of new digital technologies. While content providers have important reasons to protect copyrighted material, there is too much at stake to merely acquiesce to their demands in the name of piracy prevention.

Cite: 2005 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0024

Posted in Media & Communications

When the Public Does Not Have a Right to Know: How the California Public Records Act Is Deterring Bioscience Research and Development

By: Nader Mousavi & Matthew J. Kleiman

Many bioscience firms collaborate with public research universities to conduct innovative research through sponsored research agreements. Companies sponsoring this research usually require strict confidentiality from their academic partners in order to protect sensitive information that, if revealed, could put them at a competitive disadvantage and threaten their ability to obtain future patents. Yet, ambiguous disclosure requirements in the California Public Records Act preclude California’s public research universities from guaranteeing that proprietary information provided in connection with sponsored research agreements will remain confidential. Entering into such agreements with public universities in California is therefore a risky proposition for the sponsors. This iBrief argues that unless this is corrected, many of these public/private partnerships, which often lead to significant advances in science and medicine, may be deterred.

Cite: 2005 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0023

Posted in Health & Biotechnology

Unfinished Business: Are Today’s P2P Networks Liable for Copyright Infringement?

By: Christine Pope

In June 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the decision in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios v. Grokster Ltd., a case that asked whether peer-to-peer networks may be held liable for facilitating the illegal distribution of music over the internet. The music industry petitioned the Supreme Court to settle the disagreement between the circuit courts over the standard of liability for aiding in copyright infringement. The case was based on a clash between the protection of technological innovation and the protection of artistic works. This iBrief examines the circuit split and the Grokster opinion and discusses the questions of liability left unresolved by the Supreme Court. It argues that further clarification of the Sony rule is still needed in order to encourage the proliferation of legitimate peer-to-peer networks by protecting their services while discouraging illegitimate file-sharing activities.

Cite: 2005 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0022

Posted in Copyrights & Trademarks

Keyword-Linked Advertising, Trademark Infringement, and Google’s Contributory Liability

By: Benjamin Aitken

A number of trademark holders have recently challenged the policies of Google and other Internet search engines that allow the trademark owner’s competitors to purchase advertising space linked specifically to the owner’s trademarks when entered as search terms. This iBrief examines the application of trademark law to this practice and concludes that Google would be contributorially liable for trademark infringement only when the advertising links lead to consumer confusion about the identity of the advertiser.

Cite: 2005 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0021

Posted in Copyrights & Trademarks

When Big Brother Privatizes: Commercial Surveillance, the Privacy Act of 1974, and the Future of RFID

By: John M. Eden

RFID is a powerful new technology that has the potential to allow commercial retailers to undermine individual control over private information. Despite the potential of RFID to undermine personal control over such information, the federal government has not enacted a set of practicable standards to ensure that personal data does not become widely misused by commercial entities. Although some potential privacy abuses could be addressed by modifying RFID technology, this iBrief argues that it would be wise to amend the Privacy Act of 1974 so that corporations would have a statutory obligation to preserve individual anonymity and respect the privacy preferences of consumers.

Cite: 2005 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0020

Posted in eCommerce