WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY? How the ‘Value of a Standard’ Should be Apportioned in FRAND Licensing Royalties

A note by Matt Pham

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Although well-intentioned to mitigate patent holdup risks, recent case law on Standard Essential Patents and FRAND Licensing misses the mark on how a standard adds value to a technology and vice versa. Considering that technologies are not arbitrarily selected, the value of a standard is likely enriched by the inherent properties of its adopted technologies, justifying its inclusion within the relevant royalties. The inclusion of a standard’s value thus does not necessarily factor in any wrongful holdup value and would, to the contrary, mitigate any patent holdout concerns.  This note will explain how technologies contribute to the value of a standard and justify the standard’s inclusion in a FRAND royalty rate. This note will also show how the actual contribution of SSOs to a standard’s value can be distinguished in order to justify a lower FRAND royalty rate.… Read the rest

REVERSE ENGINEERING: Reconciling Trade Secret Law with 3D Printing and Scanning

A note by Prateek Viswanathan

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This Note proposes requiring competitors to sell original products if they reverse engineer competing products with 3D scanning and printing. This proposal would mitigate market destructive effects by providing first inventors lead time to recoup R&D expenses.  Part II of this Note provides background on 3D printing and scanning, Illinois’s trade secrecy law, and reverse engineering. Part III analyzes how 3D printing and scanning may make reverse engineering market destructive and stress the patent system. Part IV proposes a localized solution by amending Illinois’s statute to require originality in competing products.… Read the rest

ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL: The ‘Illinois Brick’ Co-conspirator Exception’s Treatment by United States Circuit Courts

A note by Preslav Mantchev

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The Supreme Court’s 1977 ruling in Illinois Brick Company v. Illinois profoundly shaped private antitrust enforcement at the federal level in the United States. Yet, the Supreme Court’s avoidance of subsequent questions stemming from its Illinois Brick ruling has created a circuit split regarding plaintiff standing in cases involving anticompetitive behavior by multiple co-conspirators. This Note examines the origins of this “co-conspirator” exception to Illinois Brick and analyzes the differences in the exception’s treatment by circuit courts across the United States in order to promote a clearer, more-uniform application of the legal theory going forward.… Read the rest

RIDESHARING & REGULATION: How Ridesharing Apps are Regulated and How They Should be Regulated

A note by Dawson Oler

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This note will discuss the question of whether Uber should be legally classified as a technology company or a private taxi company. Uber should be classified as a taxi company because although they consider themselves merely a technological intermediary between passenger and driver, their practice is more similar to a taxi company. Like a taxi company, transportation is its main supply and without it, the service would not exist. In addition, classifying Uber as a taxi company protects consumers. Part II of this note will provide more background into this question and how courts have grappled with it in the past. Part III of this note will analyze the way ride-sharing apps like Uber have been regulated since they first came into existence. Part IV recommends that other states follow the example of one particularly innovative state who found a solution … Read the rest

Hands Off the Wheel: An Analysis of Ethical and Legal Issues Facing Autonomous Automobiles

By George Cortina

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The days of having our hands on the wheel while cruising along a highway will soon be over. The advent of autonomous and semi-autonomous automobiles presents many new opportunities to enhance safety and comfort in one’s daily commute. However, this does not come without its challenges. Many ethical and legal questions remain unanswered as car manufacturers and automators continue to develop their autonomous driving technologies. As a result, further cooperation between stakeholders, legislators, and businesses is necessary to find answers to these questions and ensure a viable future for autonomous cars.… Read the rest

Legislating Low-Wage Non-Competes: Reconciling Policy Interests with Common Law

By Derek Franklin

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In August 2016, the Illinois General Assembly enacted the Illinois Freedom to Work Act, which prohibits non-compete agreements with private sector employees making less than $13 per hour altogether.   Although there are legitimate policy reasons for invoking the Act, banning these agreements with low-wage workers without any room for exception runs the risk of unnecessarily nullifying some agreements that actually are backed by a “legitimate business interest” and do not impose unreasonably restrictive restraints.  One possible solution to this would be to amend the statute to allow for a small set of narrowly-defined exceptions when a non-compete agreement with a low-wage worker may be enforceable.  Incorporating a narrow set of highly specific exceptions when employers could enter into enforceable non-compete agreements with low-wage employees would prevent the statute from being overly broad and divergent from the Illinois common-law approach without sapping its ability … Read the rest

To Infinity & Beyond: Legal Implications for Space Tourism

By Colin Mummery

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The drastic rise of numerous space tourism companies suggests that the prospects of viable and even cost-conscious space tourism may be in reach. This entirely new frontier promises immense rewards in terms of financial remuneration for the companies involved, but there are significant legal issues that remain entirely unanswered. This note investigates the existing legal and regulatory framework including a discussion of the legal requirements for a company involved in space travel in the United States. Further analysis includes a look at the legal liabilities for private space tourism companies. This note argues that the FAA needs to immediately clarify certain definitions and classifications for the space tourism industry. More importantly, the proper allocation of risk and liability is of central importance for the growth and long term viability of the industry. As such, a hybrid risk sharing solution should be maintained via … Read the rest

Leaving NAFTA: The Insurmountable Legal and Economic Challenges Facing the Trump Administration

By Sophie Park

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The fate of NAFTA is up in the air as negotiators from the United States, Canada, and Mexico try to find agreeable terms. This note examines the brief history of NAFTA and what formidable legal challenges the United States would face if it arbitrarily exits the agreement. The plain text of NAFTA does not allow clear and legally effective withdrawal from it, and the Foreign Affairs Power under the United States Constitution mandates the participation of Congress on the issue.… Read the rest

Sharing is not Caring: Internet Service Providers Selling Customer Data Without Consent

By Stuart Walker

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Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have the ability to sell or share customer data without consent and internet users have few broadband alternatives. Based on an analysis of preemption cases involving the FCC, it is likely that states’ efforts to regulate ISPs with their own privacy laws would be preempted by the FCC. The best solution for meaningful change is broad federal privacy legislation that addresses ISPs and internet companies that has a customizable balance between business and user privacy interests.… Read the rest

Keeping Information Secure: The Federal Trade Commission’s Role in Data Security

By Brittany Wiegand

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Cybercrime damages are expected to be in the trillions by 2021. Law firms’ data security is only becoming more relevant and important, yet technological advancements far outpace governmental standards and frameworks to assist businesses in protecting clients’ security. This note argues that the Federal Trade Commission stands in a position to take the lead in regulation and security enforcement and that the FTC should promulgate regulations to prevent future security breaches.… Read the rest