Photo of Julia Kropp

Julia Kropp focuses her litigation practice on technology clients, specifically in representing companies in the hardware, software, semiconductor, and solar industries. She represents public and private corporations in litigation as both defense and plaintiff’s counsel. Julia is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) - the global gold standard for privacy professionals accredited by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

Contact: jkropp@fbm.com

As privacy-related litigation continues to heat up, Judge Beth Freeman (ND Cal.) recently laid out in In re Google Assistant Privacy Litigation (Case No. 19-cv-04286)[1] a potential roadmap for surviving or winning a motion to dismiss on privacy-related causes of action.

The consolidated lawsuit against Google alleges violations on twelve counts, all relating to the Google Assistant product – a voice-activated technology used in mobile and home devices that listens for “hotwords” in order to carry out user commands. This case is an important one to watch and should be broadly instructive as many companies, big and small, are and have been hard at work on voice-activated technologies (compare, for instance, to Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and countless speech recognition start-ups around the world). Huge numbers of households and individuals currently have these devices in their homes and/or on their person at all times.
Continue Reading A Roadmap to Litigating Privacy Claims? A Look at a Recent Order From the Google Assistant Privacy Litigation

As we are all well aware by now, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) (Cal. Civ. Code Sections 1798.100 et seq.) went into effect on Jan. 1. Through its amendments and regulations (the latter of which have yet to be finalized as of this article’s publication), one aspect of the act has stayed largely consistent: the CCPA grants a private right of action only in limited situations. While the California Attorney General has the ability to impose fines for any CCPA violation, the private right of action is specifically limited (over significant debate and a proposed amendment that failed to pass) to data breach. Moreover, in creating that private right of action, the act specifically notes that violations “shall not be interpreted to serve as the basis for a private right of action under any other law.”

Does that mean there will not be significant litigation concerning the CCPA outside of the data breach realm? The answer is clearly a resounding “no.” Indeed, we have already seen multiple lawsuits filed taking direct aim at the CCPA’s claimed limitations on private enforcement. In those cases, in direct contravention of the stated limitation on private rights of action, plaintiffs have claimed (among other things) that the failure to provide proper notice required by the CCPA predicates a violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law (Cal Civ. Code. Section 17200) (the UCL). See, e.g., Burke v. Clearview AI, Case No. 3:20-cv-00370 (S.D. Cal., filed Feb. 27, 2020); Sheth v. Ring, Case No. 2:20-cv-01538 (C.D. Cal., filed Feb. 18, 2020). Whether such claims will fail as expressly barred by the act remains to be seen.
Continue Reading Private Rights of Action and the CCPA—Unlimited Limitation?

With all of the business interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many worldwide trademark offices have taken steps to recognize the issues caused by the crisis. The offices in which applicants from the U.S. most commonly file – the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) – have provided some relief.
Continue Reading Trademark Office Deadlines and Coronavirus-Related Delays

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that went into effect on January 1, 2020 provided for a grace period to allow companies additional time to come into compliance with the new regulation. That grace period ensured the California Attorney General’s office would not bring enforcement actions until six months after publication of the office’s regulations, or July 1, 2020, whichever came first.  The AG’s office continues to revise its proposed regulations, including revisions as recent as March 11, 2020, so the grace period is still currently scheduled to end July 1, 2020.
Continue Reading CCPA Enforcement During COVID-19 Pandemic