Law Stories May 5, 2016

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Earlier this year Immersion Corporation, one of the leading companies in haptic feedback technology, filed a lawsuit against Apple over haptic technology used in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and Apple Watch. Today, the company has filed a second lawsuit against Apple and AT&T in which it says the MacBook and MacBook Pro violate one patent relating to haptic feedback. Additionally, Immersion says the iPhone 6s infringes on three more of its patents not mentioned in the first lawsuit.

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Law Stories May 2, 2016

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For the first time in a federal case, a suspect has been ordered to use her fingerprint to unlock her iPhone using Touch ID. The LA Times reports that a federal judge signed a warrant allowing the FBI to compel a suspect in an identity theft case to to unlock the phone just 45 minutes after her arrest.

Authorities obtained a search warrant compelling the girlfriend of an alleged Armenian gang member to press her finger against an iPhone that had been seized from a Glendale home […]

In the Glendale case, the FBI wanted the fingerprint of Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan, a 29-year-old woman from L.A. with a string of criminal convictions who pleaded no contest to a felony count of identity theft.

The warrant is consistent with a 2014 case where a Virginia District Court ruled that while passcodes are protected by the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, fingerprints are not. Legal experts, however, have differing views …

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Law Stories December 14, 2015

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The long-running investigation into the legality of Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland has been expanded, with the European Commission now seeking additional information from the Irish government, reports the FT. This means that the investigation is likely to be extended well into next year. A ruling had originally been expected before the end of the year.

While Irish authorities had expected the case to be concluded soon, they have instead been sent bulky sets of supplementary questions, meaning it will be difficult to reach a final verdict until after the 2016 election, which is expected as early as February […]

The Irish finance ministry confirmed that the government was supplying the requested additional information to the commission. “We do not expect any decision until after the new year,” said a spokesman.

If the ruling goes against Apple, it could face a bill for billions of Euros in underpaid tax …

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Law Stories November 27, 2015

Backing up your own music now illegal for Brits, and Apple Music terms may need to change

Back in the summer, the UK’s High Court overturned legislation allowing citizens to duplicate copyrighted material for personal use. The British government has now accepted this ruling, meaning that the private-copying exception to anti-piracy laws no longer applies – and the government will not attempt to reintroduce it.

This means that we’re back where we started: doing something as simple as ripping a CD, backing-up your music to Time Machine or uploading it to a cloud service is once more illegal, reports copyright blog 1709.

So where does this leave ordinary users in the UK? Clearly some will have been unaware of the introduction of the exception last year, and possibly a larger minority will have been unaware of the rescinding of the exception, so they will no doubt continue to format shift their personally owned music and store tracks on the cloud in blissful ignorance that that is not legal in most cases.

It also means that Apple may need to change the terms of both iTunes Match and Apple Music in the UK.

Operators of cloud services may face pressure to amend their terms of service to reflect the new status quo, and some streaming services may be forced to tighten up their procedures to prevent users from creating multiple copies of the same download.

Yep, technically you can’t have the same music on your iPhone and Mac …

It seems unlikely that anyone will actually enforce the law, but these days, who knows. Just as plastic bags come with warnings that they should be kept out of the hands of infants, technology should come with a warning that it should be kept out of the hands of governments.

Via Gizmodo

Law Stories November 4, 2015

Wikipedia founder says Apple should stop selling iPhones in the UK if govt bans end-to-end encryption

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has tweeted that Apple should stop selling iPhones in the UK if the British government succeeds in passing a “stupid” new law completely banning end-to-end encryption. The tweet was reported by the Independent.

[tweet https://twitter.com/jimmy_wales/status/661604239794376704 align=’center’]

The Investigatory Powers Bill would require all Internet and technology companies to hand over to the government any communications data it requests. As things stand, Apple would be unable to comply with this requirement as it uses end-to-end encryption for services like iMessage and FaceTime.

As an illustration of the technological illiteracy of the government’s proposals, it originally wanted to ban encrypted communication altogether. It had to be pointed out to ministers that this would make Internet banking and online shopping illegal …

Apple has come under fire in the U.S. for its uncompromising stance on the privacy of customer data, with DOJ and FBI officials complaining that was Apple winning the PR battle. Apple lobbied Obama to reject similar proposals in the USA.

Photo: Apple Store in Regent Street, London (Foster & Partners)

Law Stories November 3, 2015

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With Apple Pay, Google Wallet and other services transforming the way people carry out transactions, Apple has joined forces with four other companies to ensure that lawmakers don’t end up ‘inadvertently’ stifling innovation in the financial services field.

Technology industry leaders Amazon, Apple, Google, Intuit and PayPal today announced the formation of Financial Innovation Now, a coalition that will promote policies to help foster greater innovation in financial services.

While the new organization uses relatively diplomatic language, it’s pretty clear that the aim is to ensure that politicians don’t screw things up by introducing poorly thought-out legislation, like the infamous example proposed by Democratic Rep. Joshua Peters …  expand full story

Law Stories July 8, 2015

Officials, common sense warn against the use of gun-shaped iPhone cases

Update: eBay told 9to5Mac via email that it recently started removing listings for gun-shaped iPhone cases due to their violation of the company’s replica gun policy. eBay also noted that the cases pose a safety threat to consumers.

The New York Times reports that police officials around the United States are speaking out against a wave of gun-shaped iPhone cases that are gaining popularity. The cases, which are available in black, white, and pink, are mostly imported from Asia and are causing concern for police departments. Officials are urging users not to purchase the accessory, citing the confusion it causes for police officials.

Law Stories June 30, 2015

A federal appeals court today has upheld the 2013 ruling in Apple’s long-winded and high-profile ebooks case. The case, which centered around Apple price fixing content in the iBooks store, went through three years of litigation thanks mostly to Apple. Today’s ruling by a federal appeals court will see Apple pay $450 million in damages at long last.

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Law Stories August 25, 2014

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As we’ve previously covered, the state of California has been in the process of passing a bill that would require all smartphones sold within the state to come with a remote killswitch option to deter thieves. The bill was passed by the state legislature earlier this year, and today it was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, as noted by CNET.

The law goes into effect in July 2015, and will require all smartphones sold within the state to include an option for remotely disabling a stolen device. Apple has already met the requirements of this law with its Activation Lock and Find My iPhone services, but now such features will be required by law on Android, Windows Phone, and other handsets.

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Law Stories May 7, 2014

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Earlier this month Apple announced its decision to notify customers of law enforcement requests for user information. Today the company also published a new set of guidelines for law enforcement officials regarding how it will handle such requests, what types of information can be obtained, and more.

Most of the document contains information regular customers won’t ever need to know, but for those interested in Apple’s participation in the legal process will find a wealth of information here. The document also confirms once again that Apple will notify users in most cases where law enforcement requests their personal information:

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Law Stories February 10, 2014

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A motion by Apple to halt the operations of a court-appointed antitrust monitor has been rejected, the Wall Street Journal reports. The lawyer, Michael Bromwich, was appointed by the court to ensure the compliance Apple’s iBook platform with antitrust laws. Apple previously petitioned the court to have Bromwich removed from his post, believing that his $1,100/hour legal fees were leading him to take undue investigative steps solely for the purpose of overcharging the Cupertino company.

Bromwich was temporarily taken off of Apple’s case, but subsequently returned to continue his duties. Apple then accused Bromwich of going beyond his legal authority and requested once again that he be removed from the company’s case. Today the court ruled that Apple’s request would have resulted in Bromwich being unable to execute his legal duties, and thus rejected the injunction.

The full ruling is embedded below:

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Law Stories June 12, 2013

Apple changes wording of warranty policy in EU to clarify two year guarantee

Update 2: The changes appear to be EU wide as pictured above.

Update: Apple updated its warranty policy in France and Germany too. (Thanks @settebit)

Belgian consumer groups have been following the move of Italian regulators in recent months to push Apple for changes to its warranty programs in order to clarify rules regarding a statutory warranty enforced by EU law that requires companies to make sure products are free from defects for two years. It isn’t the only other nation pushing for changes to warranties, consumers groups in at least Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, and Portugal had also filed lawsuits against Apple over its AppleCare and warranty practices. Now, Dutch-language a-n-v.be reports Apple has tweaked its online warranty program in Belgium to meet EU law.

The change in the online warranties tweaks the wording of Apple’s 1-year warranty for free repair and replacements to clarify the 2 year statutory warranty, much the same as what happened in Italy.

Apple published a document on its website highlighting the changes.

Law Stories February 27, 2013

Judge upholds $368M VirnetX verdict over Apple, AAPL stock expected to take a small hit

As reported at Seeking Alpha:

The parties are ordered to get together between themselves for “royalty” mediation settlement for future use of the technologies in dispute or the judge has stated that he will make a ruling if not reached within 45 days.

Patent troll, East Texas kangaroo court, lawyers making a lot of money over ideas that seem obvious (transparent VPN and DNS). AAPL is down slightly in pre-trading this morning.

Law Stories October 27, 2011

Watch out! Using Siri while driving is still illegal in California

MercuryNews was told by the San Jose Police that using Siri while driving is illegal. The San Jose Police Luitenant said that the actual act of talking to Siri isn’t illegal, but it’s the part when you use you’re hands to navigate through its functionality when things start getting setup for a nice ticket. “It’s […]

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