May 2009

ALI's Proposed Principles of the Law of Software Contracts Approved for Final Release

In a previous blog posting, I discussed the new ALI Principles of the Law of Software Contracts. On May 19, 2009, the ALI membership, at its annual meeting, gave final approval to these principles. A number of provisions will prove controversial among software companies, particularly the new non-waivable implied warranty of no hidden material defects.

Symbian Foundation Legal Policy

Notwithstanding recent inroads made by Apple with respect to the iPhone Mac OS-based operating system, the Symbian operating system is the most successful operating system in use today for high-end smart phones, largely thanks to the efforts of Nokia. The Symbian Foundation, a non-profit consortium of various companies in the wireless industry, is charged with charting the future course of the open source Symbian Foundation Platform, based on Symbian OS.

On-Line Contracts that May Be Modified at any Time per Notice Held Unenforceable

A United States district court in Texas issued an important ruling regarding the enforceability of online terms of use agreements, in a dispute between users of Blockbuster Online, an on-line video rental service Blockbuster Inc. controls, and the users of such service who alleged that Blockbuster violated the Video Privacy Protection Act. The Act prohibits disclosure of personally identifiable information in connection with video rentals.

US Appeals Court Rules an Irrevocable License Cannot Be Terminated Even in the Case of Material Breach

In 1998, Nano-Proprietary Inc. granted Canon Inc. an "irrevocable" and "perpetual" license under Nano-Proprietary's field emission display patents, useful in field of flat panel televisions. The license expressly prohibited sublicenses. A mere six months later, Canon entered into a joint development venture with Toshiba to develop technology utilizing Nano's patents. After Nano brought suit, the lower court in the case ruled that the joint venture constituted an impermissible sublicense and therefore a material breach of the agreement.

ALI's Proposed Principles of the Law of Software Contracts Set for Final Release

Founded in 1923, the American Law Institute (ALI) consists of “judges, practicing lawyers, and legal scholars from all areas of the United States as well as some foreign countries, selected on the basis of professional achievement and demonstrated interest in the improvement of the law” who are tasked with publishing “various Restatements of the Law, model codes, and legal studies to promote the clarification and simplification of the law.”

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