The year 2016 was momentous in politics and celebrity deaths, but also in the field of technology law. Here’s our wrap-up of the five most significant tech cases that hit the judiciary in the past year.
When Google’s proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility was announced in 2011, the business press focused mainly on the extension of Google’s core business from Internet search into hardware. But from a legal perspective, the treatment given the deal by competition authorities in the United States, the EU and China raises intriguing questions about the scope and objectives of merger policy in emerging technology markets.
Although the AT&T/T-Mobile deal has both horizontal and vertical elements, most media and analyst discussion to date has focused on direct competition for wireless subscribers, the classic horizontal concentration question. Regardless of the result there, observers can expect behavioral injunctions, whether by DOJ consent decree or FCC “conditions” to approval, addressing the deal’s vertical factors.
Sunday’s special ops killing in Pakistan of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden — mastermind, symbol and financial underwriter of the Al Qaeda network — produced real feelings of unity in our divided and atomistic culture, aided by social media.
The outcry over federal judge Vaughn Walker’s decision overturning California’s Proposition 8 — which declared same-sex marriages unlawful — is hardly atypical where the Constitution is concerned. Why should a single judge, or nine (Supreme Court) judges, have the power to override the legitimate majority vote of citizens in a democracy?
It is completely beyond me why the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats could be this obtuse. No one should want — and I doubt any American really does support — the government standardizing serving sizes and recipe compositions, even on health grounds.
Yesterday a federal district judge ruled the “National Day of Prayer” unconstitutional. But observing such a commemorative occasion involved no compulsion, discrimination or penalty on or against any observer of any religious doctrine. So what’s the rub?
Release of Release of the FCC’s “National Broadband Plan” marks the start of what is likely to be a long and hotly debated implementation process, as the plan pits the interests of different industry segments against one other and tests the limits of the FCC’s regulatory authority.
In the United States, our political system does not even make food, shelter and clothing fundamental citizen (let alone human) rights. So where does anyone get off suggesting Congress or the FCC should declare that the Internet is something more important than the reality of basic human needs?
It is hard to understand how “conference reports” from Congress on pending legislation can have fallen from 200 per year to just 11 over the past three decades. But it indicates, sadly, that laws in America are increasingly being made in back rooms, not the public forums our system of politics has traditionally used.