The suit was brought by British engineering firm BladeRoom Group (BRG), which in 2015 alleged “BRG spent years developing and refining the prefabricated, modular design and the transportation and construction techniques that Facebook blithely passed off to the world in 2014,” the company said in its federal lawsuit. The company said that Facebook “simply stole the BRG Methodology and passed it off as its own.” BladeRoom notes that Facebook shared some of the ideas for the Swedish data center on the Open Compute Project blog and did not “make any attempt to attribute or credit BRG for any of the elements of the innovative new approach” that Facebook “claimed” it had developed.
BRG says it holds the intellectual property rights and trade secrets to what it termed are “mission-critical modular buildings with complex mechanical and electrical components.” Those buildings, according to the company, include industrial kitchens, hospitals, theaters, clean rooms, and data centers.
At the recent “Law, Borders, and Speech” conference at Stanford, several participants debated the relevance of server location in determining jurisdiction. Some Silicon Valley attorneys at the conference argued that the location of a server should not be just one of the factors in a jurisdictional inquiry, but that it should be the determinative factor for jurisdiction. Support for this position is consistent with the recent Microsoft (Data Stored in Ireland) decision in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in dicta, suggested that the location of a server containing data should determine jurisdiction over that data (for commentaries on the decision see, for example, here and here). Does it make sense for internet companies (ISPs, content providers, etc.) to take this position?
The position that the location of a server should be determinative in a jurisdictional inquiry makes sense in the context of the companies’ fight against data location requirements – the rules through which countries mandate that companies locate their servers (and data) in the countries’ territory if the companies want to do business there. The USTR has criticized these data location requirements and has included “data localization [sic] requirements” among the “Key Barriers to Digital Trade.” [I favor the phrase “data location” over “data localization” for reasons I explain at the end of this post.]
Google, the Internet software and services arm of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAG:GOOGL), offers a tremendously valuable portal to the wider Internet through its flagship search engine service. One of the more popular aspects of Google’s search engine is the image search features; as of July 2010, Google’s image search was delivering one billion pageviews per day […]
On December 8th, famed basketball star Michael Jordan was partially successful in a legal action filed in Chinese courts over the use of his name and likeness on shoes and sportswear marketed by a domestic Chinese firm. The case is further proof of a major change in the fortunes of foreign intellectual property owners in the highest courts of the world’s second-largest economy. The Jordan trademark suit goes back to 2012 when the suit was filed against Qiaodan Sports, a sportswear manufacturer operating thousands of retail locations in China which was founded in 2000 according to business information reported by Bloomberg.
On October 24 and 25, 2016, the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School hosted a conference entitled “Law, Borders, and Speech.” The excellent, thought-provoking conference featured panels of U.S. and international speakers, a number of whom were from Silicon Valley internet companies. Most of the participants have dealt with matters of international conflict of laws (prescriptive jurisdiction, adjudicatory jurisdiction, choice of applicable law, and enforcement) for a number of years. The conference marked a milestone in Silicon Valley’s relation to this field of law, and at the same time might have sent some warning signals to conflict-of-laws experts.