Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog


Bad News for Patent Trolls: Forum Shopping Is Finally Over

After a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in TC Heartland v. Kraft, patent trolls will have a harder time proving their cases. That's because now patent claims will have to be made in a defendant's home state -- not in a forum-friendly jurisdiction that trolls have used to litigate claims on patents they purchased just to sue.

"Forum shopping in patent litigation is over," said patent lawyer Shawn G. Hansen. "Half of the patent cases previously filed in East Texas will now have to shift to places like Delaware, California and New York."

Facebook Revenge Porn and 'Sextortion' -- Too Many Cases to Handle

'Sextortion' is what is sounds like, and you shouldn't have to see it to know it.

Likewise, 'revenge porn' is descriptive enough that you probably know what's wrong with that picture. In a time when pornography has reached virtually every corner of the internet, perhaps it is no surprise that sextortion and revenge porn are big problems for the family-friendly Facebook.

But 54,000 cases in a month on the website! Are you Facebook-kidding me?!

Read My Lips: No Password Necessary

You may soon be able to replace your password with just a spoken word, according to scientists at Hong Kong Baptist University.

They have invented lip-reading software, apparently the first of its kind. Users will be able to speak into their smart devices, which will unlock as the software recognizes their lip movement. It will work even with a silent whisper.

Futurism, a technology news site, gushes that it "could spell the end of passwords as we know them."

Why Hackers Should Be Defended in Court

James Donovan, portrayed by Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies, was a real-life insurance attorney who volunteered to defend a Russian spy in the 1950s.

His true story is stranger than the fictional account, but the message of the movie is just as true for lawyers today. "Everyone deserves a defense," Donovan said. "Every person matters."

It's a surprising truth for some, especially when a high-profile defendant seems really guilty. Matthew Keys, who is in prison for hacking, is one of those defendants. Mark Jaffe, who learned that sometimes it pays to work for free, is one of his lawyers,

Thunderbird Email to Stay Under Mozilla's Wing, For Now

After Mozilla gave birth to Firefox, the popular web browser, it created an email client in Thunderbird.

But as the two grew up, Thunderbird turned out to be a problem child. Concerned about its effect on the family, Mozilla started to push Thunderbird out of the nest.

Five years have passed, and Thunderbird is still hanging around. For now, Mozilla is keeping the email client under its wing but with conditions and not for long. The Mozilla drama is a study in the challenges of freeware.

Trump Issues Cybersecurity Executive Order

If last week's global ransomware attack last week is any indication, then President Trump's executive order on cybersecurity is just about on time.

Fortunately, the ransomware attack that hit hundreds of thousands of computers from Taiwan to the United Kingdom missed most of the United States. And while a president's order may not stop all cybersecurity breaches, it is a good sign that the president, whose main form of communication seems to be Twitter, is trying to do his part for the security of that and other online platforms. Trump's Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert said the order is designed to fulfill the president's promise to "keep America safe, including cyberspace."

Waymo v. Uber Lawsuit Referred to Criminal Investigators by Federal Judge

If this story starts to sound like something you've heard before, don't worry. It gets better, or worse, depending on how you see it.

Google's self-driving car division, Waymo, sued Uber for allegedly stealing trade secrets for its own self-driving cars. Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer, downloaded 14,000 files from the company before he started his own and promptly sold the technology to Uber for $680 million.

The case is pending in federal court, where the judge has just dropped a bombshell. He denied Uber's request to move the case into arbitration, and instead referred it to the U.S. Attorney's Office for criminal investigation.

Amazon's Digital Assistant Alexa Will Track Your Billable Hours

If you haven't met Alexa yet, you're gonna love her now.

Alexa is Amazon's digital assistant -- and she does more than ever. She started out as a desktop version of Siri, the iPhone know-it-all who responds to voice commands.

Now, thanks to innovation from Thomson Reuters, FindLaw's parent company, Alexa does something only a lawyer could love. She keeps track of billable hours!

When Lawyers Fear Legal Tech, Business Suffers

If the shark is at the top of the ocean food chain, what are sharks afraid of?

Starvation, that's what. It doesn't matter how many teeth you have if there is nothing left to bite.

Lawyers can relate. As technology takes away legal work, lawyers feel the threat of starvation. But the real danger is for lawyers who don't adapt to the changing times. Clients expect lawyers to keep up with technology. Even basic tech tools can significantly increase efficiency.

Without embracing new tech, lawyers may become toothless in an ocean with fewer sources of food. The good news is that technology isn't expected to take all the legal jobs anytime soon, and there's still time to adapt.

How Google Shut Down Phishing Scam

Fending off hackers can be like fixing a leaky roof -- as soon as you patch one, another spot springs a leak.

Google managed to recover from a big one last year, then quickly sealed off another last week. The company says it shut down the Google Doc phishing scam in less than an hour.

"Fewer than 0.1 percent of our users were affected by this attack, and we have taken steps to re-secure affected accounts," said Mark Risher, director of counter-abuse technology for the company.

With about 1 billion Gmail users, that's about 1 million people whose accounts were compromised. A far cry from the 1.5 billion Yahoo users who were hacked, but still ...