Bloomberg Law: 2018 to Bring Major Change to IP, Privacy, and Tech & Telecom

ARLINGTON, VA (December 20, 2017) — Bloomberg Law’s 2018 IP, Privacy and Tech & Telecom Outlook tracks the major issues to watch in the year ahead, including a seismic change in European privacy law, a new legal battle over net neutrality, and the possible upending by the U.S. Supreme Court of patent litigation proceedings. A compilation of these articles is available for download at http://on.bna.com/ziYk30hlEz2

“In 2018, look for repercussions from an expected Supreme Court ruling on patent challenge procedures, the Federal Communications Commission’s rollback of net neutrality rules, and increased court battles and regulatory attention for online platforms that trade Bitcoin and other digital assets,”  said Barbara Yuill, Bloomberg Law’s News Director for IP, Privacy, and Tech & Telecom.  “Across the ocean, the European Union’s long-anticipated new privacy and cybersecurity laws will require a wholesale shift for companies doing business in the region.”

Highlights of the Outlook include:

Intellectual Property: The Supreme Court could change the shape of patent litigation, as it decides the constitutionality of an administrative procedure used to challenge the validity of patents. The proceedings are popular among tech giants, such as Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.'s Google, and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, which have used the generally less costly procedure to kill infringement lawsuits based on what they argue are weak patents that should never have been granted.  

Tech: Online platforms that trade Bitcoin and other digital assets are likely to face more court battles and regulatory attention in 2018, and Congress appears poised to scale back a legal exception that helps the social media industry thrive. 

Privacy: Game-changing new European Union privacy and cybersecurity laws take hold early in 2018.The sweeping General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) covers privacy and data protection in the processing of EU citizens’ personal data and will have extensive impacts on companies doing business in the region. Because the GDPR gives member countries leeway to craft their own national laws, companies need to monitor what is a fluid situation as countries have time to implement these laws before the GDPR goes into effect in late May.  

Telecom: The repercussions of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s deregulatory agenda will be felt in 2018. An expected court challenge to the agency’s  rescinding of  net neutrality rules will leave internet service providers unsure about what rules they must follow and which agency is mainly responsible for regulating them, potentially leaving Congress to settle the issue. Broadcasters, public policy groups and the agency itself are bracing for a court challenge to the FCC’s relaxation of its media ownership rules, which may reshape the broadcast industry and usher in a wave of consolidation.