LBN News update—May 12, 2014

Prayers at Public Meetings
The U.S. Supreme Court gave local government officials across the United States more leeway to begin public meetings with a prayer, ruling that sectarian invocations do not automatically violate the U.S. Constitution. In its May 5 decision in Town of Greece, New York v. Galloway, the Court said in a 5-4 vote that the town of Greece did not violate the Constitution's ban on government endorsement of religion by allowing Christian prayers before monthly meetings. For more information, see LBN’s video on the case.

Patent Infringement Battle in Smartphone Industry
A U.S. jury on May 2 ordered Samsung to pay $120 million to Apple in a patent infringement lawsuit. During the month-long trial in a San Jose, California, federal court, Apple accused Samsung of violating patents on smartphone features including universal search, while Samsung denied wrongdoing. The jury found that Samsung had infringed two patents, and the judge had ruled before trial that Samsung had infringed a third. The jury also found Apple had infringed on one of the Korean company's own patents. Samsung was awarded $160,000. The battle by Apple against Samsung has gone on for years. Some experts question whether patent litigation of this sort is a viable strategy. Another interesting outcome of the lawsuit was a suggestion from the jury, after the verdict, that Apple should go after Google directly.

Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recordings, LLC
Former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones has won a $338,000 judgment against the website thedirty.com for a 2009 story entitled "The Dirty Bengals Cheerleader." The verdict has been appealed. The key issue in this case is whether websites can be held liable for what their users write in comments. If the verdict holds it would have broad implications on the internet. For more information, see LBN’s video on the case.

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