On February 16, 2016, Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym in the01-Caliguri-Er-15EX-web United States District Court for the Central District of California issued an order compelling Apple, Inc. to provide technical assistance to the F.B.I. so it can access an iPhone 5C that belonged to a shooter in the recent San Bernardino, California attack.

The order, which issued without obtaining Apple’s initial input, requires Apple to write new software and take other measures to disable passcode protection on the attacker’s iPhone. The court issued the order under 28 U.S.C. § 1651, the “All Writs Act,” which authorizes the United States federal courts to “issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.” The order also allowed Apple to make a request to the court for relief from compliance with the order if such compliance would be unreasonably burdensome. Apple made this request via a motion to vacate the order on February 25, 2016. In its motion to vacate the order, Apple raises three general arguments.

First, Apple argues that the relief the government seeks is not justified under an extension of the All Writs Act because law enforcement assistance by technology providers is already addressed by existing laws that specifically omit providers like Apple from their scope. Apple argues the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (“CALEA”), 47 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., specifies when private companies must assist law enforcement in the decryption of electronic communications obtained during surveillance, and the nature of the assistance such companies must provide. Specifically, under CALEA a company has no obligation to assist law enforcement where the company does not retain a copy of the decryption key, which Apple says it does not have in this case. Thus, Apple asserts that Congress opted not to provide courts with the authority to compel companies like Apple to assist law enforcement in cases such as this one where Apple designed and manufactured the device but did not retain a decryption key. Therefore, Apple says the government’s attempt to use the All Writs Act to expand the obligations imposed by CALEA is improper and violates the separation of powers doctrine.


Continue Reading Apple Argues It Should Not Be Compelled to Write Software for the F.B.I.

transparentWith the prevalence of smartphones in today’s society, one cannot help but to have at least heard of Google’s Android operating system.  This operating system came about with the intent of competing with the superpower known as Apple’s iPhone.  Of course, when Google released this platform for the first time in 2007, the Android operating system was perceived to be the first generation.  Recently, however, an Illinois man asserted that perhaps Google’s Android was not the first generation.  Well, not quite, but he did assert that Google infringed his federally registered trademark, “Android Data.”

During the Dot.com Boom of the late 1990s Erich Specht decided he wanted to get into the lucrative software business.  As such, in 1998, he founded a suite of e-commerce software that became known as Android Data Corporation (“ADC”).  Through his entity, he intended to license software to his would-be clients, and provided website hosting and computer consulting services.   Two years after the company’s inception, Mr. Specht applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for federal registration of the “Android Data” mark.  The mark was registered in 2002.

Unfortunately for Mr. Specht, by the end of 2002, his company had hit the end of the road.  It ceased all major operations, lost the bulk of its clients, and moved its headquarters into Mr. Specht’s home.  Mr. Specht then caused ADC to transfer the Android Data mark to his wholly-owned company, The Android’s Dungeon Incorporated (“ADI”).  For the remainder of the year, Mr. Specht attempted to sell ADC’s assets, including the mark, but was unable to find a willing buyer.  He kept the ADC website running for a short period thereafter, but eventually allowed the registration for the company URL to lapse.
Continue Reading Google’s Android: Was It Truly The First Generation?