Last month, in Rinky Dink, Inc. v. Electronic Merchant Systems, et al., No 13-cv-01347, 2015 WL 778065 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 24, 2015), online voice and text provider CallFire became one of the first (if not the first) TCPA defendants to avoid liability for pre-recorded calls through the common carrier defense.
Continue Reading Not So Small After All: CallFire Uses Common Carrier Defense to Defeat Rinky Dink TCPA Class Action Case

On December 12, 2014, Judge Sue E. Myerscough issued an epic 238-page order granting in part and denying in part cross summary judgment motions filed in United States of America, et al. v. Dish Network, L.L.C. (“Dish Network”). United States v. Dish Network, L.L.C., No. 09-3073, 2014 WL 7013223 (C.D. Ill. Dec. 12, 2014). Despite finding that Dish was liable for over 50 million phone calls, there was a silver lining for both Dish and future TCPA defendants.
Continue Reading Hold the Phone: Judge Holds Dish Network on the Line for Tens of Millions of Calls, but Leaves Silver Lining for TCPA Defendants

The FCC has made significant changes to the prior express consent requirements under The Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Effective October 16, 2013, senders must obtain prior express written consent to
Continue Reading The Times They Are A Changin’ (Again): A How-To Guide Regarding Compliance With New FCC Regulations Mandating Prior Express Written Consent

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) recently adopted new rules governing the Wireless Communications Service (“WCS”) in the 2.3 GHz band. The new rules largely follow those proposed by AT&T and Sirius XM earlier this year and are designed to both encourage the development of new broadband services and mitigate the potential for harmful interference to Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (“SDARS”) operations in the adjacent portion of the 2.3 GHz band.


Continue Reading FCC Adopts New Rules Governing WCS Spectrum

By Curt Dombek, Brian Weimer, Dan Brooks, and Reid Whitten

Since 1999, strict controls on the export of U.S. satellites and satellite components have drastically eroded U.S. manufacturers’ market share in the global satellite industry. On April 18, 2012, the U.S. Departments of State and Defense released the “1248 Report” containing findings related to reducing some of those controls. The 1248 Report assesses the national security risks of removing certain satellites and related components from the tightly controlled United States Munitions List (USML) and transferring them to the generally less restrictive Commerce Control List (CCL). The report concludes that most communications satellites, lower-performing remote sensing satellites, and related components could be transferred from the USML to the CCL without harming U.S. national security. The transfer of these items to the CCL could greatly benefit the U.S. satellite industry by significantly easing the export controls placed on its products.


Continue Reading Proposed Easing of Satellite Export Controls Could Benefit U.S. Satellite Industry

By Brian Weimer and Dan Brooks

In a striking move by the FCC, the Commission has proposed to eliminate the ancillary terrestrial component ("ATC") rules from the 2 GHz Mobile Satellite Service ("MSS") band and repurpose the spectrum for pure terrestrial use (while retaining the mobile satellite allocation in the band). While the proposal is a long way from being adopted, DISH Network Corporation stands to gain tremendously now that it has become the only 2 GHz licensee after acquiring both DBSD and TerreStar out of bankruptcy earlier this month. The FCC postponed for another day the question as to what to do about the ATC rules for Big LEO MSS (i.e., Globalstar) and L-band MSS (i.e., LightSquared).


Continue Reading FCC Proposes to Grant DISH’s Wish

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS” or the “Committee”) recently submitted its annual report to Congress for calendar year 2010. The report, which provides general information on notices filed, reviews and investigations completed by CFIUS during the year, and the types of security arrangements and conditions that the Committee has employed to mitigate national security concerns, reveals that a larger number of reviews are proceeding to the investigation stage and that the Committee is increasingly conditioning its tacit approval of transactions upon the parties’ adoption and implementation of various mitigation measures.


Continue Reading CFIUS Submits Annual Report To Congress

The author is a member of the Firm’s Government Contracts & Regulated Industries Practice Group. For additional articles and postings concerning this and related topics, please refer to Sheppard Mullin’s Government Contracts Blog, which can be found at www.governmentcontractslawblog.com.

On March 15, 2011, the State Department Directorate of Defense Trade Controls published a proposed new rule that marks a significant change in the approach to ITAR regulation. Historically, ITAR controls have always applied to commercial end products incorporating any ITAR controlled components. This was the basis of the highly publicized QRS chip case, in which the State Department asserted continuing ITAR control over avionics chips that had originated on a military program but had come to be widely used in civilian jet aircraft. That case resulted eventually in a special exception to allow jet aircraft to remain in production and passenger service with the QRS chip and without ITAR licensing.


Continue Reading Proposed ITAR Rule To Relax ITAR Licensing For Components Incorporated Into Commercial Products

On December 21, 2010, the FCC approved controversial net neutrality rules in a party-line vote.  Democratic Commissioners Copps and Clyburn joined Chairman Genachowski in approving the Order, despite concerns that it did not go far enough.  Republican Commissioners McDowell and Baker wrote lengthy dissents, arguing that the FCC had stepped far beyond its regulatory authority in approving Internet regulations.
 


Continue Reading FCC Approves Controversial Net Neutrality Rules

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") and the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") launched a joint initiative to clarify the approval process and regulatory requirements for converged communications and health care devices. In a two-day joint meeting held on July 26-27, 2010, the two agencies solicited comments from industry representatives "to gain a better understanding of the convergence of communications technologies and medical devices, the future of wireless health technologies, and the challenges they face." The goal of the initiative is "to enhance coordination between FDA and FCC for future devices and applications, and to clarify and delineate the respective areas of expertise and jurisdiction between the agencies."
 


Continue Reading FCC And FDA Focused On Convergence Of Communications And Medical Systems