The Circuit: DOJ looks at Verizon’s deal, China hackers hit Commerce, ITC rules on Microsoft, Motorola

LEADING THE DAY: The Justice Department is investigating Verizon Wireless’s airwaves and marketing deal with cable companies for any anti-competitive effects it may have on the telecommunications industry, The Washington Post reported. Justice department officials confirmed that antitrust officials are reviewing the transaction. A person familiar with the review said there is concern that the deal will create “too cushy” a relationship between competitors.

China hackers hit Commerce: A group of Chinese hackers broke into the computer systems at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday, in a complex operation that was shut down in May 2010. The report said it’s unclear how much information the hackers may have seen, but that government employees dealing with Asia policy were told that six weeks of e-mails had been stolen. Two unnamed “people familiar with the Chamber’s internal investigation” told the newspaper that hackers could have accessed the network for more than a year without the breach being uncovered.

ITC rules on Microsoft, Motorola: The International Trade Commission gave an initial ruling on the patent case between Microsoft and Motorola, finding that Motorola had violated one of seven patents held by Microsoft.

“We are pleased with the ITC’s initial determination finding Motorola violated four claims of a Microsoft patent,” said David Howard, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for Microsoft, in a statement.

The technology at issue involves the mechanics of how mobile devices schedule and synchronize appointments.

LightSquared: LightSquared has asked the Federal Communications Commission to confirm its right to use the spectrum that is licensed to it, despite indications that the company’s planned broadband network will interfere with global-positioning system satellites.

In an official petition to the FCC, the company said that the onus of fixing the interference should be on the GPS industry. In a statement, LightSquared Vice President for regulatory affairs Jeff Carlisle said the company would like to assert its “legal rights as the licensee.”

Bradley Manning: Pfc. Bradley Manning, the man accused of conducting one of the largest intelligence leaks in U.S. history, faced the man who told authorities about the breach in court Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.

The prosecution rested its case Tuesday, arguing that there is enough evidence for the government to put Manning on trial. The defense case starts Wednesday.

SOPA debate on hold: The House Judiciary Committee confirmed Tuesday that it will delay continuing debate on the Stop Online Piracy Act until after Congress returns from its winter recess.

Committee spokeswoman Kim Smith said in an e-mailed statement that the hearing is expected to be scheduled for “early next year.”

RIM hits eight-year low: Reuters reported Tuesday that RIM wasn’t interested in merger talks with Amazon. Citing unnamed “people with knowledge of the situation,” the report said that the two companies were in casual talks over the summer, but Amazon never made a formal offer.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft and Nokia also “flirted” with the idea of a joint offer for RIM, but only in informal discussions. RIM shares fell to an eight-year low Tuesday — the best day for U.S. stocks this month, adding fuel to speculations that the company is ripe for a takeover.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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