Tech Law: FairPoint Files, Apple Sued, DOJ to Investigate Optical Drive Industry, More

Last Updated Nov 3, 2009 8:11 AM EST

A look at highlights of the past week in the high tech legal world: courts, regulation, and lawsuits.

FairPoint files chapter 11 bankruptcy -- Telecom carrier FairPoint, which took over service of three New England states from Verizon, is perhaps finding out why the latter wanted to drop them, as it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. [Source: AP]

DOJ to investigate optical drive industry -- It was Tuesday, so it must have been ... antitrust day. The Department of Justice is looking into possible antitrust activity among optical drive manufacturers. Sony, Hitachi, and Toshiba have all acknowledged receiving subpoenas. [Source: Reuters]

Apple being sued ... again -- Two different suits for the price of one. Apple said that it would "vigorously" defend itself against Nokia's patent infringement suit. In addition, St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants, which has successfully sued Canon and Sony for patent infringement in the digital camera arena is now targeting Apple. [Source: AppleInsider, MacDailyNews]

And Apple sued once more, this time with AT&T -- Remember that stretch of time during which every week seemed to bring a new would-be consumer class action suit against Apple and AT&T over some problem with the iPhone? Another one has come along, this time for alleged misrepresentation of the multimedia messaging service capabilities. [Source: TechCrunch]

Facebook awarded $711 million over spam -- A judge granted Facebook a default judgment against spammer Sanford Wallace along with an order that Wallace pay $711 million to the company. As a Facebook representative said, "[W]e don't expect to receive the vast majority of the award." You think? They'd have to put Wallace back in business to even start getting close. But you could see the headlines: world's first billionaire spammer. [Source: CNET]

Gavel image via Flickr user Thomas Roche, CC 2.0.

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.