CLIP-ings: September 1, 2017

Internet Governance

Interfered Innovation: Despite opposition from the Iranian people, Apple continues to aggressively remove apps developed for and by Iranians from its App Store in compliance with current U.S. sanctions against the country.


Final Destination? Uber’s chief security officer has announced that users will once again be able to disable a feature that previously forced them to be tracked by the app for up to five minutes after completing a trip, in response to a series of controversies involving spying, stalking, and generally poor handling of private location data.

Fundamental Fears: Last week the Indian Supreme Court ruled that privacy is a fundamental right protected by their constitution; this move will hopefully alleviate the difficulties the Indian government faced in its push for the adoption of unique ID cards that store large amounts of sensitive information, from banking information to fingerprint data.

Information Security and Cyberthreats

Please Drive Through: A group of security researchers have devised a way to remotely hack into internet-connected car washes by writing an “attack script” that can trap vehicles and can cause the machinery to damage the vehicle and even spray water on passengers inside.

Trust Issues: A WikiLeak revealed that the CIA utilizes its technical liaison service personnel to conduct software updates for its partner agencies; disguising a data siphoner as the software update, the CIA gains access to the agency’s biometric data to see if the agency is holding back information.

Intellectual Property

Cube Copy: Rubik’s Brand Ltd., maker of the iconic Rubik’s cube, sued another toy maker for manufacturing “twist puzzles” that allegedly copy the original trademark-protected design and create confusion among consumers in violation of the Lanham Act.

Crackin or Snackin: Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds LLC (Wonderful) is suing Utz Quality Foods LLC (Utz) for trademark infringement as alleging that Utz’s new slogan “Get Snacking” is too similar to and will likely cause mass customer confusion with Wonderful’s longstanding slogan “Get Crackin”.

Free Expression and Censorship

Away with Anonymity: To discourage “false rumors, filthy language and illegal messages,” China will require tech firms to track the real identity of any user who posts a comment in an online message board in what is being seen as the latest move by the Chinese government to silence political opposition.

Say Cheese? A group of voters interested in having the ability to take selfies with their marked ballots is asking a New York court to repeal a 127-year-old state law banning the practice of showing a completed ballot to others, claiming that the law violates their First Amendment rights despite concern that repealing the law would result in undue political pressure to show a ballot to others.

Practice Note

Acquisition Aspirations: As more startups now aim to be acquired by larger companies instead of to become long-term businesses, patent counsel should be mindful of the shift when advising startup clients on intellectual property matters and take into account not only the interest of the client to drive up its valuation but also the interest of the acquiring company to purchase a firm with substantial IP protection.

On The Lighter Side

Aww, Mom! An app designed by Toyota utilizing Google Map’s API to monitor teenage drivers, triggered by unlawful behavior such as texting and driving or surpassing the speed limit, results in the app playing an embarrassing Spotify playlist chosen by the teen’s parents until the teen resumes lawful motorist conduct.

Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

N. Cameron Russell
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Yemi Danmola
Harrison Kay
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP