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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

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Brian Fung

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 12/20/2012

Apple patent rejected by USTPO #thecircuit

Apple patent rejected: The U.S. Patent and Trademark office said Wednesday that it has rejected the “pinch-to-zoom” patent. The technology covered by that patent was one of those at issue in the summer trial between Apple and Samsung. Samsung was ordered to pay Apple more than $1 billion in damages for violating that patent and five others.

The Washington Post reported that Apple is expected to ask the office to reconsider that decision.

Facebook halts ad tests: Facebook confirmed that it is halting tests of a new ad service on its network, opting instead to focus on promotions that appear in users’ news feeds.

“We are pausing our mobile ads test off of Facebook,” the company said in a statement. “While the results we have seen and the feedback from partners has been positive, our focus is on scaling ads in mobile news feed before ads off of Facebook. We have learned a lot from this test that will be useful in the future.”

The service, which Facebook announced several months ago, was expected to rival ad exchanges such as Google’s AdSense.

Video game group speaks out: The industry group that represents game publishers broke its silence Wednesday in response to criticism of violent games in the aftermath of a school shooting in Connecticut. Lawmakers have criticized the industry in the wake of the attacks, and on Wednesday, Sen. Jay Rockefller (D-W.Va.) introduced a bill that called for research into links between violent games and violent behavior.

“The Entertainment Software Association, and the entire industry it represents, mourns the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to the families who lost loved ones, and to the entire community of Newtown,” the statement said. “The search for meaningful solutions must consider the broad range of actual factors that may have contributed to this tragedy. Any such study needs to include the years of extensive research that has shown no connection between entertainment and real-life violence.”

App developers pan FTC rules: App developers have spoken out against the rules regarding children’s privacy proposed by the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday, saying that they may place too great a burden on independent developers.

TechFreedom, among others, criticized the decision in statements following the rule announcement.

“Crippling the functionality of kids' sites in this way will drive more kids to lie about their age to use more functional general-audience sites. This will harm kids' media and frustrate COPPA’s core goal: parental empowerment,” said TechFreedom President Berin Szoka in a statement.

By  |  04:00 PM ET, 12/20/2012

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