Reuters blog archive
from Alison Frankel:
Once again, we are reminded that defendants underestimate the creativity of the class action bar at their own peril.
Last week, the firms Reese Richman and Halunen & Associates filed quite an interesting class action complaint in federal court in San Francisco. The case asserts that Samsung's infringement of various Apple patents in its mobile devices - as established in a jury trial in federal court and in a proceeding at the U.S. International Trade Commission - has injured unwitting Samsung mobile device buyers who believed they were purchasing non-infringing products. According to the complaint, the resale market for Samsung devices has been hard-hit by infringement findings against the company; the suit claims that Samsung owners are actually in danger of violating the Tariff Act of 1930 if they attempt to resell infringing tablets and smartphones.
As you may recall, Samsung is on the hook to Apple for more than $900 million in damages after a partial damages retrial in November of its first round of patent infringement claims against Samsung in San Francisco federal court. The purported nationwide consumer class action actually claims far more than that on behalf of Samsung device purchasers. Under one of the suit's causes of action, the class wants Samsung to repay the entire cost of the infringing mobile devices to the consumers who bought them - or at least the lost value consumers have realized as a result of Samsung's infringement. Under another theory, class members assert that Samsung must disgorge to them all of its profits from selling infringing devices. That's a lot of money: According to Apple, Samsung took in $3.5 billion in revenue from the sale of almost 11 million infringing devices.
So what are these theories that give rise to such outsize potential liability? The complaint claims breach of warranty on behalf of Samsung purchasers nationwide, citing state consumer warranty laws. It also claims violations of New York and New Jersey deceptive trade practices laws on behalf of the nationwide class. The New York law, according to the complaint, provides for at least $50 in statutory damages to every purchaser of an infringing device (or, if Apple's sales tally is correct, $550 million). The New Jersey law allows consumers to seek damages based on arguments that they wouldn't have bought the devices at all if they'd known of Samsung's infringement. But that's not all: The suit also alleges unjust enrichment under California, New York and New Jersey statutes, demanding restitution of the full purchase price of the infringing products. (In addition, the complaint alleges California unfair trade practices laws on behalf of a California-only class.)
from The Great Debate:
In his State of the Union address last month, President Barack Obama urged cities and states to bypass Congress and enact their own minimum wage increases. "You don't have to wait for Congress,” he stated.
On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the president's advice. De Blasio announced, in his State of the City address, that he plans to ask Albany next week to give the city the power to raise the minimum wage.
from Photographers' Blog:
WARNING: SOME IMAGES CONTAIN NUDITY
San Francisco, California
By Beck Diefenbach
Photographing the nude body in America presents many challenges. So when Reuters editor Mike Fiala asked me to shoot the latest chapter in the public nudity ban in San Francisco, I knew I would have a lot of factors to consider.
Different parts of the world react differently to nudity in the news. In America, it is often considered taboo to print a photo of frontal nudity even if it is considered newsworthy.
Sony, in a bout of bad timing, is hosting an event on March 7 in San Francisco for tech reporters at the same time as Apple's reported iPad 3 unveiling and the Japanese conglomerate wants to make sure it won't get ditched.
Sony, which some people consider to be the "Apple of the '80s", sent out a helpful e-mail on Tuesday informing invited members of the press of the scheduling conflict without mentioning the world's most valuable tech company.
A group opposed to male circumcision said they have collected more than enough signatures to qualify a proposal to ban the practice in San Francisco as a ballot measure for November elections.
But legal experts said that even if it were approved by a majority of the city's voters, such a measure would almost certainly face a legal challenge as an unconstitutional infringement on freedom of religion.
from Reuters Investigates:
By Ben Berkowitz
The March 11 Great Tohoku Earthquake in Japan was a tragic disaster of historic proportions -- but from a purely financial standpoint it pales in comparison. (For a special report on insurers, click here.)
Estimates are still coming in but it seems likely the quake will end up ranking as the costliest of the last generation in insured losses, surpassing even the Northridge earthquake that struck southern California in 1994. (The one that collapsed a number of major freeways, by way of reference).
from Environment Forum:
Solar energy is not a new technology, yet the adoption rate in the United States continues to crawl along. Just one percent of homes have made the switch to solar power and the reason is primarily a lack of understanding of how it all works, says Dave Llorens, founder and CEO of One Block Off the Grid (1BOG), a California solar retrofit company that groups together neighbourhoods to cut costs for consumers.
"The problem is nobody has it, but you should," Llorens recently told Reuters in San Francisco, adding that it is common for in-home Q&A sessions to go on for hours and hours. "Everybody is so hungry for information, it's like nobody knows anything."
If you read often enough about the supposed death of the newspaper business, you would think that the nation's newsrooms are increasingly depopulated, barren places, with darkened offices and empty cubicles... the occasional tumbleweed blowing past. (Actually, large stretches of Tribune Co's New York bureau look just like that, as I saw earlier this year).
In San Francisco, Chicago and other metropolitan centers, you would be wrong. It's true that both cities bear unfortunate marks of how rough the advertising decline, rise of the Internet and financial crisis have treated their news operations: Hearst was toying with shutting down the San Francisco Chronicle, and Chicago's leading daily papers, the Tribune and the Sun-Times, are owned by bankrupt companies. Improbably enough, both are turning into hot spots for local news competition.
Top of the bill is Dave Mathews Band along with Jason Mraz, Raphael Saddiq, Thievery Corporation and many others all performing at the event in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.