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Archive for November, 2017

Will virtual reality become commonplace in the courtroom?

Posted on: November 27th, 2017 by Sfl Media No Comments
Virtual reality

Virtual reality could soon revolutionize the courtroom.

At CourtScribes, we’re revolutionizing court reporting and courtroom video through technology. But there’s another technology on the horizon that could profoundly affect the legal system—Virtual Reality.

Most of us think of Virtual Reality in the context of games or other entertainment. But the technology has made inroads in medicine, architecture, and, yes, law.

Bloomberg Law reports that as Virtual Reality’s costs come down, tech-savvy lawyers are examining what it can do to help their presentations and cases:

Though it can still run into six figures, the cost of virtual reality has come down and tech-savvy attorneys say the time is right for a fresh look at the technology’s use during trials, especially in areas like product liability or criminal law where evidence is vital to recreating events or presenting science.

“There are incredible possibilities for using this technology in the courtroom,” defense attorney Noel Edlin told Bloomberg Law.

Virtual reality could be used to “transport members of a jury to a Superfund site, inside a mesothelioma patient’s lungs, to the intersection where an accident occurred, or to a grisly crime scene,” said Edlin, managing partner at Bassi Edlin Huie & Blum in San Francisco.

“I believe that in 10 years, most trial lawyers will be using VR just like they’re using laptops today. VR will be the norm, not the exception,” plaintiffs’ attorney Mitch Jackson, a senior partner at Jackson & Wilson in Laguna Hills, Calif., told Bloomberg Law.

In another article, though, Bloomberg Law reports that there are still hurdles to clear before we see virtual reality headsets in everyday courtrooms. Among those:

Topping the list, three-dimensional graphical presentations with interactivity seem so real to jurors that they may prove unduly persuasive in a legal process built around discerning truth. And people can react very differently to the technology.

Some jurors may lose attention while others may even get motion sick.

Those obstacles may be surmounted by excluding jurors prone to illness and physical stress; and experts can serve as courtroom “tour guides” to keep jurors from losing focus.

Still, virtual reality is definitely a technology to be on the lookout for.

Trump reshapes federal judiciary

Posted on: November 20th, 2017 by Sfl Media No Comments
Donald Trump

Donald Trump is remaking the federal judiciary through conservative appellate court appointments.

President Donald Trump is making good on at least one campaign promise. He is shifting the federal judiciary sharply to the right.

The New York Times reports that, in addition to his high-profile appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Trump is stacking appellate courts with conservatives as part of a strategy at work since the beginning of his presidency.

The Times reports that Donald F. McGahn, who will soon take office as White House Counsel, met with a group of lawyers last year and filled a whiteboard with the names of young, conservative judges. Since then, Trump has been moving to appoint those judges to appellate court vacancies.

Here’s the Times:

Mr. McGahn, instructed by Mr. Trump to maximize the opportunity to reshape the judiciary, mapped out potential nominees and a strategy, according to two people familiar with the effort: Start by filling vacancies on appeals courts with multiple openings and where Democratic senators up for re-election next year in states won by Mr. Trump — like Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania — could be pressured not to block his nominees. And to speed them through confirmation, avoid clogging the Senate with too many nominees for the district courts, where legal philosophy is less crucial.

Nearly a year later, that plan is coming to fruition. Mr. Trump has already appointed eight appellate judges, the most this early in a presidency since Richard M. Nixon, and on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send a ninth appellate nominee — Mr. Trump’s deputy White House counsel, Gregory Katsas — to the floor.

Republicans are systematically filling appellate seats they held open during President Barack Obama’s final two years in office with a particularly conservative group of judges with life tenure. Democrats — who in late 2013 abolished the ability of 41 lawmakers to block such nominees with a filibuster, then quickly lost control of the Senate — have scant power to stop them.

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Samsung out of options in Apple patent case after Supreme Court decision

Posted on: November 13th, 2017 by Sfl Media No Comments
Supreme Court

The Supreme Court refused to hear Samsung’s appeal in a patent battle with Apple.

The Supreme Court of the United States has decided not to hear Samsung’s appeal of a lower court ruling ordering it to pony up for violating Apple patents.

Samsung and Apple have been slugging it out over smartphone patents for years. But the refusal by the Supreme Court may put an end to at least this front in the companies’ wars.

Engadget reports:

The US Supreme Court has refused to hear Samsung’s appeal in the case, upholding a circuit court decision reinstating a $120 million penalty for allegedly infringing on Apple’s patents for technology like slide-to-unlock and autocorrecting text. Samsung had argued that the lower court didn’t consider additional legal material, and supposedly changed laws for both issuing injunctions and invalidating patents.

We’ve asked Samsung for its response to the Supreme Court decision. At first glance, though, it looks like this may be the end of the road for this particular case: Samsung doesn’t exactly have other courts to turn to.

The amount is trivial, of course — $120 million would barely make a dent in Samsung’s $12.91 billion profit from last quarter. Rather, it’s more about the symbolism of having to pay in the first place. The company has been fighting (and serving) phone patent lawsuits for most of this decade, and it doesn’t want the saga to end in defeat.

Reuters reports that while Samsung may have lost this round, it has won previously:

The Supreme Court in December 2016 sided with Samsung in a separate case over its fight with Apple. In that one, the justices threw out a $399 million damages award against Samsung to its American rival for copying key iPhone designs.

A judge in California in October ordered a new trial over damages in that case.

The current appeal stems from a May 2014 verdict by a jury in federal court in San Jose, California ordering Samsung to pay $119.6 million for using the Apple features without permission. Infringement of the quick links feature accounted for nearly $99 million of the damages.

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U.S. court sides with Google in Canadian censorship case

Posted on: November 6th, 2017 by Sfl Media No Comments
Google censorship

A U.S. court has sided with Google in a Canadian censorship case.

A Federal issued a temporary injunction last week against a Canadian Supreme Court ruling that would have required Google to remove links from its worldwide search results.

Judge Edward Davila’s wrote that the Canadian high court’s ruling that Google had to remove links not just in Canada but worldwide, “undermines the policy goals of Section 230 [of the US Communications Decency Act] and threatens free speech on the global internet.”

The Canadian courts had ruled that Google should remove the links after a British Columbia-based company sued the tech giant. ZDNet reports:

The ruling pertains to the case Google v. Equustek, which started with a 2011 complaint from the company Equustek Solutions. The British Columbia firm charged that a group of Equustek distributors (known as the Datalink defendants) were selling counterfeit Equustek products online.

Datalink continued to sell these goods globally, even after the court ordered it to stop, prompting Equustek to ask Google to intervene. Google initially de-indexed 345 specific webpages associated with Datalink on

Equustek then sought an injunction to stop Google from displaying any part of the Datalink websites on any of its search results worldwide. A lower court granted the injunction, and the Canadian Supreme Court upheld it. The ruling’s global implications elicited concern from freedom of speech advocates.

Google asked the U.S. District Court for Northern California to intervene, calling the Canadian court’s ruling repugnant to rights established by the First Amendment. According to ZDNet:

Now that the US District Court has intervened, Google can seek a permanent injunction and ask the Canadian court to modify its original order, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

University of Ottawa Law Professor Michael Geist, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, wrote on Friday that the US ruling “is precisely what critics of the Supreme Court ruling feared with the prospect of conflicting rulings, protracted litigation, and legal uncertainty becoming a reality.”

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