Sunday, October 24, 2010

Northern California Daily Digest

Here are some of the other recently decided cases in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Datel Holdings Ltd. v. Microsoft Corp. began as an antitrust case over Microsoft's alleged monopolizing of the X-Box 360 and X-Box 360 accessories.  Microsoft counterclaimed against Datel Holdings for violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for making  accessories that bypass the X-Box 360's security protocol.  Presently, Microsoft is moving to bifurcate the DMCA claims from the other claims because if the Datel Holdings materials violate the DCMA then the other claims fail. Modesto Irrigation District v. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (N.D. Cal. 2004)(Patel, J.) ("Courts have long recognized that "an action under the antitrust laws will not lie where the business conducted by the plaintiff, and alleged to have been restrained by the defendant, was itself unlawful.").  Magistrate Elizabeth D. Laporte noted that Microsoft's success on the DCMA claim would limit the antitrust claim but it would not resolve it because Datel Holdings is complaining a wide scope of uncompetitive behavior. "Microsoft’s dashboard upgrade is also intended to foreclose competition from Datel in the sale of other aftermarket Xbox accessories and add-ons, including gamepad controllers, through the implementation of predatory technological barriers." Judge Laprote denied the motion to bifurcate.

Hodge v. Oakland Unified School District is a employment discrimination case where the plaintiff is a teacher who claims she was denied an opportunity to teach a summer school class on account of her race or age.  In addition to more traditional employment claims (Title VII, Rehabilitation Act) Ms. Hodge claims a constitutional violation but does not name 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.  In the First Amended Complaint (FAC), Ms. Hodge alleges that the OUSD violated Ms. Hodge's First Amendment rights by not allowing her to teach the class.  Judge Richard Seeborg had previously dismissed this count of complaint with prejudice stating that the Eleventh Amendment prohibits actions for damages against state entities (such as school districts) and that the complaint appeared to be suing individuals in their official capacity, which would extend Eleventh Amendment immunity to them as well.  In the second amendment complaint, interestingly, Ms. Hodge raises this same issue again.  OUSD again moved to dismiss it.  Judge Seeborg explains:
Moreover, in her opposition to the motion to dismiss, Hodge ignores the First Amendment claim and simply addresses the claim under the Rehabilitation Act, which defendants are not moving to dismiss.  Therefore, the SAC’s First Amendment in count three is dismissed without leave to amend.
Xcentric Ventures v. Arden is a trademark and copyright infringement suit where the plaintiff is now moving for a writ of execution.  Xcentric operates the website where consumers can register complaints.  According to Xcentric, has improperly used the "Rip-off Report" trademark and a large amount of copyrighted material.  Xcentric obtained a default judgment in the District Court of Arizona.  The defendants subsequently tried to vacate the default judgment and failed.  In March 2010, Plaintiff registered the judgment with the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California seeking a writ of enforcement on the judgment, to levy upon the domain name  The defendants argue that the court lacks personal jurisdiction because the domain is registered with a company based in Dulles, Virginia.  Judge Susan Illston stated this does not matter:
the location of the domain name is immaterial at this time. What is important is that plaintiff has filed a proper affidavit of identity, which the Court has determined states sufficient facts to permit a writ of execution to be issued with the names, Sergey Kudrjavcev, March Shultz (also spelled Mark Schultz), and Business Networks Ltd.
She granted the writ of execution.

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