Diane's Feed
Nov 18, 2014

U.S. patent office tightens rules for examiners working from home

WASHINGTON, Nov 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Patent and Trademark
Office has tightened supervision of patent examiners who work
full-time from home, an official said on Tuesday, but critics in
Congress questioned whether the office was not going far enough
to curb abuse.

The estimated 5,000 patent examiners who work from home full
time must now be available electronically when they are on duty,
among other changes, Margaret Focarino, commissioner for patents
at the USPTO, said in testimony prepared for a hearing.

Nov 17, 2014

Halliburton faces tough sell in taking Baker Hughes deal to regulators

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Halliburton Co will have a tough time convincing U.S. regulators to approve its $35 billion deal to buy smaller rival Baker Hughes Inc but could prevail with the right divestitures, antitrust experts said Monday.

The deal, if approved, would create an oil services behemoth that would overtake current No. 1 Schlumberger NV.

Nov 14, 2014

Executives of NSK Ltd, Jtekt Corp indicted for price-fixing: U.S.govt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two executives from Japanese auto parts manufacturers have been indicted as part of the U.S. Justice Department’s long-running investigation into price-fixing in the auto parts industry, the government said on Friday.

Hiroya Hirose, who works for NSK Ltd, and Masakazu Iwami of Jtekt Corp were indicted on Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky on charges of conspiring to fix the prices of bearings sold to Toyota Motor Corp, the department said.

Nov 13, 2014

Exclusive: U.S. FTC asking Apple about health data protection

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is seeking assurances from Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) that it will prevent sensitive health data collected by its upcoming smartwatch and other mobile devices from being used without owners’ consent, two sources told Reuters.

The two people, both familiar with the FTC’s thinking, said Apple representatives have met on multiple occasions with agency officials in recent months, to stress that it will not sell its users’ health data to third-party entities such as marketers or allow third-party developers to do so.

Nov 12, 2014

U.S. telecoms to battle Obama Internet plan in courts, Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. telecommunications industry plans to fight tooth and nail against President Barack Obama’s call for stricter regulations on Internet service providers, taking its case to regulators, courts and Congress.

Obama on Monday stunned the telecom community by urging the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify ISPs so they could be regulated more like public utilities as a way to preserve “net neutrality.”

Nov 6, 2014

Republican win in Senate breathes life into patent legislation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate has brightened prospects for an effort to fight frivolous patent litigation, although the path to success is far from clear, sources close to the lobbying effort said on Wednesday.

The House of Representatives easily passed a bill in December to cut down on abusive litigation brought by patent assertion entities, or “patent trolls”: companies that buy or license patents, then aggressively pursue licensing fees or file infringement lawsuits.

Nov 4, 2014

Antitrust lawmakers air concerns about AT&T plan to buy DirecTV

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top two lawmakers on the U.S. Senate’s antitrust panel have written to regulators expressing concerns about AT&T Inc’s plans to buy DirecTV for $48.5 billion, including the impact on three regional sports networks.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, wrote last week to Attorney General Eric Holder and to Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, to urge that they take several key issues into consideration as they decide if the deal should be allowed.

Nov 3, 2014

U.S. files lawsuit to stop merger of large movie ad companies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department said it filed a lawsuit on Monday seeking to block National CineMedia Inc’s (NCMI.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) proposed $375 million acquisition of smaller rival Screenvision LLC, a deal that would significantly concentrate a niche advertising market.

The companies are the big players in the slice of the advertising industry which books commercials to be shown in movie theaters. The companies and theaters share in the revenue, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Oct 29, 2014

Antitrust regulators face clashing missions in U.S. cigarette deal

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Cigarette maker Reynolds
American’s proposal to buy smaller rival Lorillard Inc
presents antitrust regulators with a conundrum: Their
mandate is to prevent higher prices because of mergers, but U.S.
public policy aims to make cigarettes more expensive to
discourage smoking.

Reynolds, the No. 2 U.S. cigarette maker, said in July it
would buy No. 3 Lorillard for $27.4 billion.

Oct 28, 2014

U.S. sues AT&T over data throttling on some phone plans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government filed a lawsuit against AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Tuesday, alleging the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier sold consumers unlimited data plans but would reduce their Internet speeds once they exceeded a certain amount of data.

The Federal Trade Commission said that this “throttling” of Internet feeds was deceptive and that in some cases data speeds were slowed by nearly 90 percent.