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  • Intellectual Property Law Primer for Multimedia and Web Developers - by J. Dianne Brinson and Mark F. Radcliffe.
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Digital Equipment Sues Intel
Digital Equipment Corp. filed suit against Intel Corporation May 12, 1997 in a Massachusetts federal court,, alleging that Intel, the market leader in microprocessors for personal computers, is violating a number of Digital patents with its Pentium Pro and Pentium II product lines.
 
Website Challenges 1996 Communications Decency Act
In a bid to persuade a federal judge that there is a constitutional right to annoy, a San Francisco-based multimedia company that operates a site called annoy.com sued the U.S. Justice Department on Jan. 30, 1997, challenging an as-yet-untested component of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. Also, read the memo of points filed by the plaintiffs Jan. 30, 1997 in support of a preliminary injunction against the 1996 Act.
Reporters Sue Fox Televsion
Two reporters, Steven Wilson and Jane Akre, are suing Fox Television alleging that Fox managers had pressured them to distort facts relating to an investigative report they produced on Florida dairy farmers' use of an artificial growth hormone. The plaintiffs, who were employed by the Fox affiliate WTVT Channel 13 in Tampa, also claimed they were threatened with immediate dismissal should they air their report as planned. Wilson and Akre, who are married, were eventually dismissed in September 1997. Fox has yet to file a response to the lawsuit.
 
Government Files Antitrust Suit
The Justice Department's long-awaited antitrust suit against Microsoft, filed on May 18, 1998, focuses on three specific business practices by the Redmond, Washington based conglomerate, most notably its aggressive pushing of its Internet Explorer technology and its anti-competitive agreements with computer manufacturers and Internet service providers.
 
States File Antitrust Suit
The joint suit filed by twenty-one state attorneys general on May 18, 1998 covers many of the same issues as the complaint filed simultaneously by the Justice Department: edging out its competitors in the Internet browser market, limiting computer manufacturers' control of the initial boot-up screens of PCs, exclusionary agreements with Internet service providers.
 
Microsoft Settles Contempt of Court Claim
Microsoft reached an agreement with the Department of Justice January 22, 1998 to allow manufacturers of personal computers the option to remove the icon for the Internet Explorer browser from the Windows 95 operating system. The agreement comes in response to a motion filed by the Department of Justice declaring Microsoft in contempt of a temporary order issued December 11, 1997 by U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield. The order enjoined Microsoft from forcing computer makers to include Internet Explorer as a condition of licensing Windows 95.
 
Microsoft Antitrust Ruling
A federal judge temporarily precluded Microsoft from forcing computer manufacturers to package Microsoft's Internet Explorer with its Windows 95 operating system. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson acknowledged that "Microsoft has enjoyed for some time a virtual monopoly in the sale of PC operating system software." The Judge denied, however, the Justice Department's request to fine Microsoft $1 million a day for contempt of a August, 1995 court order. The following is the December 11, 1997 preliminary ruling. A final ruling is expected no sooner than the summer of 1998.
 
Netscape Letter to Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition
Netscape attorney Gary Reback sent this letter to The Wall Street Journal's online edition in connection with Netscape's ongoing conflict with Microsoft. Netscape alleges that Microsoft is using anticompetitive tactics against the developers of the most popular World Wide Web browser software, Netscape Navigator, in violation of a 1995 consent decree reached between Microsoft and the Justice Department.
 
Netscape Calls For Justice Department Investigation
Netscape Communications claims Microsoft is violating its antitrust agreement with the government and wants the Justice Department to investigate. In this letter, Netscape says Microsoft is using its dominance in personal computer operating systems to influence computer makers, Internet service companies and others into giving Microsoft's Internet software prominence over competitors like Netscape. For instance, Netscape claims Microsoft is charging less money for its Windows 95 operating system to PC makers who agree to make other Web browser programs less accessible to computer users. Both companies recently released new versions of their products. Microsoft charged Netscape's letter was timed around the rollouts because its browser is catching up to Netscape's in technical features.
 
War of Words Between Netscape and Microsoft
The Web war between Netscape Communications and Microsoft is getting nasty. Netscape has accused rival Microsoft of abusing monopolist powers in the industry and wants the Justice Department to investigate. The accusations came in response to a letter from a top Microsoft lawyer demanding that Netscape stop making claims about its price advantage over Microsoft. Netscape also insists that a new Microsoft license, which limits the number of users who can connect to the workstation version of Microsoft's new Windows NT operating system to 10, allows Microsoft to position its more expensive NT Server as the product to be used by multiple users.
 
DOJ Response to Microsoft Attempt to Quash Subpoena
In investigating Microsoft Corp for alleged antitrust violations related to bundling its online software with Windows 95, the Department of Justice issued several Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) requesting documents from the software giant. Microsoft filed a petition to block the demands and the DOJ responded in this memorandum.
 
Caldera v. Microsoft
On July 23, 1996, Caldera, Inc. filed this antitrust suit against Microsoft, alleging that the computer software company monopolizes the DOS market; practices exclusive dealing; and tortiously interferes with economic relations. Caldera bought a line of computers products called DR DOS from the Novell Corporation, and alleges that Microsoft practices severely limit the product line's market share
 
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Microsoft Fights Subpoena
Trying to quash a government subpoena for records relating to the launch of its online service, Microsoft Corp. filed this petition June 23, 1995 in federal court in New York.

Microsoft: Appeals Court Victory
Microsoft triumphed in a five-year battle over federal antitrust charges when an appeals court ordered a federal trial court to approve the company's negotiated settlement with the Justice Department. The three-judge appellate panel also removed U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin from the case, finding he had overstepped his authority in ruling against the settlement in February. This is the June 16, 1995 ruling.

U.S. v. Microsoft: Sporkin Order
On March 14, 1995, U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin issued the following order defending his earlier rejection of an antitrust consent decree between the Justice Department and the Microsoft Corporation. In the order, the judge disputes a Justice Department brief to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals contending that he infringed on the government's prosecutorial discretion. He also argues in support of his broad interpretation of the Tunney Act and says Microsoft's plea that he be disqualified should have been made to him before it was made to the Court of Appeals.

U.S. v. Microsoft: The Appeal
The Department of Justice's brief in its appeal of Judge Stanley Sporkin's rejection of the government's plea agreement with Microsoft. The Justice Department argues the judge overstepped his authority under the Tunney Act, and that the agreement it negotiated served the public interest.

U.S. v. Microsoft: The Appeal
In the following motion, the Department of Justice's appeals a federal judge's refusal to enter the consent decree negotiated by the government and Microsoft. The government argues that Judge Stanley Sporkin overstepped his authority in rejecting the agreement.

U.S. v. Microsoft: The Appeal
The following is the Microsoft Corporation's brief to the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals appealing U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin's rejection of Microsoft's antitrust consent decree with the Justice Department.

U.S. v. Microsoft: Sporkin Ruling
In this Feb. 14, 1995 ruling, U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin's ruling rejecting a proposed agreement between the Justice Department and the Microsoft Corp.

U.S. v. Microsoft and Intuit: Expedited Litigation Order
The following order sets out guidelines for expedited litigation in the federal government's challenge to the proposed merger of the Microsoft Corp. and Intuit Inc.

U.S. v. Microsoft and Intuit: The Complaint
In this complaint, the Justice Department formally opposed the proposed acquisition of Intuit Inc., the manufacturer of the software program "Quicken," by the Microsoft Corp. on the grounds that the acquisition would reduce competition in the market for personal finance software. The Justice Department press release follows the complaint.