U.S. antitrust enforcement may be due for a shot in the arm as Joe Biden takes office, backed by Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress and led by lawmakers who have vowed to increase funding for competition enforcement and push other reforms.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2021 Follow Technology Law360



New President, New Senate, New Antitrust Ballgame

U.S. antitrust enforcement may be due for a shot in the arm as Joe Biden takes office, backed by Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress and led by lawmakers who have vowed to increase funding for competition enforcement and push other reforms.

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High Court Parses FCC's Mandate To Promote Diversity

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned whether the Federal Communications Commission has collected enough data on female and minority control of broadcast stations to justify its repeated attempts to relax TV and radio station ownership rules. However, the justices also appeared open to claims that ending the limits could protect broadcasters from losing ground to cable and online media.

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Android Users Slam Google's 'All Or Nothing' Privacy Stance

A proposed class of Android smartphone users urged a California magistrate judge Tuesday to keep alive claims that Google illegally harvests data to gain an advantage over rivals like TikTok, with the users arguing that Google's "broad" data-collections disclosures are insufficient, and "consent is not an all or nothing proposition."

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Iancu Resigns As USPTO Director, Urges Eligibility Reform

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu confirmed Tuesday that he is leaving the agency, and as he said his goodbyes, he joined congressional leaders in calling for immediate patent eligibility reform.

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Trump Tells Agencies To Stop Buying Risky Foreign Drones

President Donald Trump on Monday directed agencies to develop ways to halt federal purchases for drones made by U.S. adversaries such as China, citing "unacceptable" risks to national security and a desire to build up a domestic industrial base.

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Fed. Circ. Won't Undo PTAB Rulings On Motorola Patents

The Federal Circuit stood firm on Tuesday and rejected efforts from the Chinese radio manufacturer Hytera Communications Corp. to reverse three Patent Trial and Appeal Board decisions that mostly upheld patents owned by rival Motorola Solutions.

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Fed. Circ. Judge Calls Sipco Appeal 'Colossal Waste' Of Time

Two Federal Circuit judges questioned Tuesday why their three-judge panel had been summoned to hear Sipco LLC's appeal of a Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision invalidating outdated claims in a patent covering remotely operated systems, with one calling it "a colossal waste" of time. 

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Buyers Tell 7th Circ. Best Buy Geek Squad Plan Is A Warranty

Two customers who purchased an allegedly defective plasma television from Best Buy urged the Seventh Circuit Tuesday to overturn a lower court's decision that deemed the chain's "Geek Squad Protection Plan" a service contract instead of a warranty.

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Perspecta Raised $7.7B Award Issues Too Late, Court Says

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims said that Perspecta Enterprise Solutions LLC should have raised concerns over a former-U.S. Navy officer's involvement in Leidos Inc.'s bid for a $7.7 billion naval award before the rival won the contract, tossing Perspecta's suit.

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PTAB Nixes 2 Cellular Patents In Win For Mercedes-Benz

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has struck two mobile communications patents challenged by Mercedes-Benz, finding the disputed claims to be obvious due to earlier inventions.

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Google Slips $90M RICO Claims Of Blacklisted Website

A Florida federal court has tossed a $90 million RICO suit accusing Google of blacklisting the website SeniorCare.care and intentionally demoting its ranking in search results because it is owned by conservative individuals, as the judge found the operator failed to state a valid claim.

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Tech Co. Wins $134K After Trial With Former Merger Partner

A Boston federal judge agreed with a software company Tuesday that a former would-be merger partner violated a settlement agreement and misled potential customers by falsely suggesting it was victorious in a lawsuit over the soured deal, awarding $134,000 after a bench trial.

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Pierce Bainbridge, Funder Ditch Claims Over Poaching Client

A federal judge has dismissed a Philadelphia attorney's claims that Pierce Bainbridge and litigation funder Parvati Capital poached a client, ruling that he had already failed to sue the firm and that the underlying case's failure meant there was no win he could recover from the funder.

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Amazon Hit With Another Antitrust Suit Over E-Books

Amazon has been hit with another proposed class action, this time accusing it of scheming with five book publishers on price restraints that resulted in consumers paying "supracompetitive prices" for e-books not purchased on Amazon's website.

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Self-Driving Car Co. Cruises To $30B Value With New Funds

General Motors-backed electric driverless vehicle startup Cruise, advised by Latham & Watkins, unveiled a $30 billion valuation Tuesday as it announced new equity investments and a strategic partnership with Microsoft.

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4 Cos. Join IPO Pipeline Seeking To Raise $3.9B Total

A clinical diagnostics company, a software company, a solar power company and a Brazilian investor set price ranges for initial public offerings on Tuesday, with three of the four companies saying they expect to bring in at least $1 billion at midpoint.

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Electric Car Biz Rivian Closes On $2.7B Funding Round

Electric vehicle maker Rivian said Tuesday it closed on $2.65 billion in a funding round led by T. Rowe Price that arrives the same year it expects to deliver its first vehicles.

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Shearman, Kirkland Aid Citrix's $2.25B Buy Of Software Co.

Citrix Systems will acquire private equity-backed project management software maker Wrike for $2.25 billion in cash, the companies said Tuesday, in a transaction guided by Shearman & Sterling and Kirkland & Ellis.

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Drug Benefits Co. Valued At $1.1B In PE Deal Led By 3 Firms

Advent International will acquire a significant stake in RxBenefits as part of a recapitalization that values the Alabama-based pharmacy benefits services provider at roughly $1.1 billion, the companies said Tuesday, in a deal built by Goodwin Procter, Weil Gotshal and Maynard Cooper.

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Charter Rescinds Request To Nix Merger Conditions

Charter Communications officially withdrew its petition seeking to end conditions imposed by the Federal Communications Commission when the cable giant merged with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in a Friday letter.

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FCC Warns Amateur Radio: Don't Air Criminal Threats

The Federal Communications Commission has issued a stark warning to amateur radio operators not to broadcast anything that incites criminal activity, an admonition that comes amid rising extremist speech over the transfer of White House power.

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FCC Exempts Certain Pharma Calls From TCPA Rules

The Federal Communications Commission has declared that prerecorded calls seeking participants for clinical pharmaceutical trials did not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

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FCC Has More Guidelines For Accurate Broadband Mapping

The Federal Communications Commission released new rules Tuesday designed to ensure that the agency collects accurate information about the availability of broadband across the country. The rules lay out when and how broadband providers must disclose their service areas as well as the speed and quality of those services.

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Addressing The Security Risks Of University Foreign Funding

Higher education institutions that accept foreign funding should address serious concomitant security risks by identifying specific sources and establishing compliance procedures that promote transparency, protect data and research, and account for U.S. national security interests, say attorneys at Manatt.

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How SEC Can Address 'Inherent Dilemma' Of Its Mandate

Tom Selman at Scopus Financial suggests three ways the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission might reconcile the rights of market participants with the regulator's responsibility to protect investors, on the heels of Commissioner Hester Peirce's recent remarks calling out this "inherent conflict."

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Arizona May Have Nudged US Law Firms Toward Future IPOs

No U.S. law firm has its shares listed on a public stock exchange unlike some lucrative overseas counterparts, but by allowing nonattorneys to become stakeholders in law firms, Arizona may have paved the way for this to change should other U.S. states — particularly New York — follow suit, says Marc Lieberman at Kutak Rock.

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Girardi Gained Their Trust, But Left Them With Regret

In an airy conference room overlooking downtown San Francisco, celebrity trial lawyer Thomas V. Girardi looked into Kathy Ruigomez's sleepless eyes and told her everything was going to be all right.

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Girardi Doesn't Need Guardian In Bankruptcy, Edelson Says

Embattled celebrity attorney Tom Girardi is clearly not mentally incompetent and doesn't need a guardian, Edelson PC told a California bankruptcy court Tuesday, pointing to recent video footage of Girardi giving a coherent interview and speaking on a panel for the Consumer Attorneys of California.

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Trump's Imprint On The Judiciary In 6 Charts

With 234 judicial appointments during his four years in office, President Donald Trump enjoyed the most productive single term since the 1970s and named the same number of appellate jurists as President Barack Obama did in two terms.

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Cooley Partner Tapped For Biden's Acting Solicitor General

Cooley LLP partner Elizabeth Prelogar, who previously worked under former special counsel Robert Mueller and helped write his final report to Congress, has been tapped to serve as acting solicitor general once President-elect Joe Biden takes office, Cooley confirmed Tuesday.

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A Look At Court Precautions On Inauguration Day

Fears of extremist right-wing violence have spurred court closures and other changes in cities across the country ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday.

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Feds Say NY Court Worker Threatened AOC, Pelosi, Schumer

A New York state Office of Court Administration employee who prosecutors said took to social media threatening to kill Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was denied bail ahead of his trial, the U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday.

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Texas Courts Order Sensitive Docs Filed Offline After Breach

The Eastern and Northern Districts of Texas have ordered parties to file only physical copies of certain "highly sensitive" documents in the wake of a sprawling, suspected Russia-backed data breach that compromised the federal courts case management system.

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Hogan Lovells Offers Billable Hour Credit For Diversity Work

Hogan Lovells said Tuesday that it will begin offering U.S. associates and counsel billable hour credit for approved diversity and inclusion work, in an effort to recognize the added responsibilities lawyers from underrepresented backgrounds take on and to incentivize further work to improve diversity.

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Shook Hardy Opens NYC Office With 2 Pharma Partners

Kansas City, Missouri-based Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP has opened an office in New York helmed by two lateral partners focused on the pharmaceutical industry lured from Phillips Lytle LLP, the firm announced Tuesday.

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Top NY Judge Urges Gov. To Put Jurists In Vaccination Rollout

New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore expressed dismay that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration has yet to include judges among the categories of people who are next in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

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Myers Bigel Dodges Race, Sex Bias Suit At 4th Circ.

The Fourth Circuit on Tuesday turned down a former Myers Bigel PA equity partner's request to revive her race and gender bias suit against the firm, saying her high-ranking status meant she wasn't an employee for the purposes of Title VII.

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XL Fleet Hires Boutique Investment Bank Founder As GC

Vehicle electrification company XL Fleet Corp. announced Tuesday it has brought on boutique investment bank founder Jim Berklas as its new general counsel.

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Atty Fired After Capitol Attack Reps Trump Voters In Suit

A former Goosehead Insurance in-house attorney who was fired earlier this month for his apparent involvement with the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol has filed a suit on behalf of Donald Trump voters claiming that their rights were violated by coronavirus-inspired changes to voting rules.

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Surveilled Ex-Trump Aide Can Speak At FBI Atty's Sentencing

A D.C. federal judge is allowing former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to speak at this month's sentencing hearing for an ex-FBI lawyer who pled guilty to falsifying an email to justify surveilling Page, but declined to rule on whether he qualifies as a victim under federal law as he has insisted.

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Coronavirus Regulations: A State-By-State Week In Review

The COVID-19 vaccination effort led to milestones over the past week in states including Florida and Texas, which became the first in the nation to administer its millionth dose, and prompted New York to call on Pfizer for direct purchase access so the state can meet increased demand due to expanded eligibility.

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