Apple and Other Companies File Brief Arguing Against ‘Rigid Analog-Era’ Fourth Amendment Rules

Apple, Twitter, Snap, Facebook, Microsoft, and a collection of other technology companies have filed a legal brief this week, aimed at the Fourth Amendment and its "rigid analog-era" protections that lag behind protecting users in the modern age (via Reuters).

The brief was filed in regards to the case Carpenter v. United States, which is a Supreme Court case focusing on the warrantless search and seizure of historical smartphone records, and whether or not such data collection by the government is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizures.


Carpenter v. United States specifically ties to smartphone data held by a third party -- or any company that has access and can store personal user data -- and includes information revealing the "location and movements" of the user over 127 days.

With the new filing, which is in support of neither party, the companies state that customers should not be "forced to relinquish Fourth Amendment protections" against intrusion by the government, simply because they choose to use modern technology.
"To resolve this case, the Court should forgo reliance on outmoded rules that make little sense when applied in the digital context. In particular, the third-party doctrine and the content/non-content distinction should not operate to categorically foreclose Fourth Amendment protection; instead, Fourth Amendment law should favor a more flexible approach that assess reasonable expectations of privacy in light of new and evolving technologies and the highly sensitive data they implicate."
Other companies included in the brief included Airbnb, Google, and Dropbox. The case in question dates back to 2011, when Timothy Carpenter was convicted on robbery charges after investigators uncovered smartphone data with his past location information without a warrant. The Supreme Court agreed to review the case in June 2017, and it's now on the Court's term docket for October 2017.

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Supreme Court Ruling Should Spell the End of Apple’s Patent Troll Battles in East Texas [Updated]

The Supreme Court of the United States today decided that U.S. companies may only face patent infringement lawsuits in the jurisdiction in which they are incorporated, which in Apple's case would be California.


The decision is significant for Apple, as the iPhone maker faces several patent infringement lawsuits in a single district court in Eastern Texas that is considered friendly to patent holding entities, or so-called "patent trolls."

That very court in Tyler, Texas has, for example, ordered Apple to pay $532.9 million to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC in 2015, and $22.1 million to Acacia Research last September for infringing upon patents it acquired from Nokia.

By limiting where patent infringement lawsuits can be filed, the Supreme Court's decision means that Apple will likely be able to battle patent infringement lawsuits in Northern California, and finally put East Texas behind it.

The Supreme Court's decision today relates to a Delaware-based lawsuit between Heartland Food Products Group and The Kraft Heinz Company, but it extends to all domestic companies across the United States.

Update: The appears to be considerable confusion throughout media coverage of this ruling. The ruling narrowly limited a company's "residence" to the place of incorporation, but patent lawsuits may still be filed anywhere "the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business." As a result, it appears patent lawsuits can still be filed against Apple in many jurisdictions, including the Eastern District of Texas.


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Samsung gets a big chunk of money back from Apple

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Three months after Apple secured a huge court win over rival Samsung, the United States Supreme Court has stepped in and reversed the previous ruling, throwing out hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and sending the case back to a lower court. 

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday is a new chapter in the five-year-old battle between the two companies. This particular round related to $399 million Samsung was ordered to pay Apple for copying the iPhone’s rounded edges, flat screen, and the way in which apps are arranged.

BREAKING: Supreme Court throws out $399 million judgment against Samsung in company’s patent dispute with Apple over iPhone design.

— The Associated Press (@AP) December 6, 2016 Read more…

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