The Circuit:

June 21, 2013

FAA may relax in-flight gadget rules: The Federal Aviation Administration is said to be considering draft regulations that would allow passengers to use some electronic devices during takeoff and landing.

The draft report, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal, does not address the use of cellphones on airplanes. Any changes to that policy would have to be evaluated by the Federal Communications Commission.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who has been a vocal proponent of relaxing these rules, said in an e-mailed statement Friday that she was heartened to hear about the reports.

“It’s good to see the FAA may be on the verge of acknowledging what the traveling public has suspected for years — that current rules are arbitrary and lack real justification,” McCaskill said.

Softbank, Sprint: Softbank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son told Reuters that he’s confident that the Japanese firm’s acquisition of Sprint will be completed next month. Dish Network had also been courting Sprint, but said in a filing Friday that it has officially decided to “abandon its efforts” to acquire the nation’s third-largest carrier.

Meanwhile, Dish is fighting Sprint for the acquisition of Clearwire, prompting Sprint to raise its bid for the smaller carrier to $5 per share to win over Clearwire shareholders.

Apple antitrust: Apple’s antitrust trial in New York has drawn to a close, as The Washington Post reported, and a ruling isn’t expected for at least two to three months.

The ruling could have broad implications for other Internet firms, the report said. The case illustrates the Obama administration’s desire to create clear rules for these technology firms, which have been operating in a largely unregulated industry.

If Apple is found liable, the company has said that it is prepared to appeal the ruling. Some experts, the report said, say they believe this case could potentially reach the Supreme Court.

Apple wins patent case in Tokyo: A Tokyo District Court judge ruled that Samsung had infringed on an Apple patent dealing with the visual effects used on touch-panel screens.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the judge has neither ruled on a damage amount nor given an indication of when he may provide one.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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