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Category Archives: Copyright Law

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Googling Google

Posted in Copyright Law, Cyberspace Law, Trademark Law, Web/Tech

“I googled it …” has become ubiquitous in every day conversation. Many of us refer to “googling” as the act of searching the internet regardless of whether we use the Google search engine to do so.  But has our everyday use of the verb “googling” rendered the Google trademark unprotectable?  “Nope,” said the Ninth Circuit… Continue Reading

Lawsuits are the Inevitable Cost of YouTube Success

Posted in Copyright Law, Cyberspace Law, Entertainment Law, Web/Tech

Whenever there is a report of a YouTube creator being sued for copyright infringement, the response from the creator and the community seems to be one of shock and surprise.  The truth is, successful YouTube content creators should not be surprised when they get sued for copyright infringement.  Any person or company that creates content… Continue Reading

The Fabric of Copyright Infringement: Obtaining Summary Judgment on Copying Element

Posted in Copyright Law

Generally, the issue of copyright infringement presents issues of fact to be decided by a jury.  However, when evidence that a design is so “substantially similar” to a copyrighted design, the trial court can find infringement as a matter of law and grant summary judgment to the copyright owner.  The Ninth Circuit recently approved of… Continue Reading

Unauthorized Downloading and Copyright Infringement

Posted in Copyright Law, Cyberspace Law, Web/Tech

Liability for copyright infringement can result when one downloads protected software without the copyright owner’s authorization.  The Ninth Circuit was recently tasked with exploring the scope and reach of copyright protection in such cases in Design Data Corp. v. Unigate Enterprise, Inc. Design Data is the creator of a computer aided design (CAD) software program… Continue Reading

Northern District of California Revises Local Patent Rules

Posted in Copyright Law, Legal Info, Patent Law

On January 17, 2017, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued revisions to its Local Patent Rules requiring early disclosure of damages-related discovery and contentions. The revised rules are effective immediately in all patent cases pending in the Northern District.  Local Patent Rules are rules that apply to all civil… Continue Reading

Paramount and Star Trek Fan Film Producers Settle

Posted in Copyright Law, Entertainment Law, Patent Law, Trademark Law

Paramount and Star Trek Fan Film Producers Settle The copyright infringement lawsuit between Star Trek fan film producer, Axanar Productions, and Paramount Pictures came to an end less than two weeks before trial.  The settlement was undoubtedly triggered by the court’s early January ruling that the fan fiction film, Prelude to Axanar, is not protected… Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Requires Standing to Appeal PTAB’s Final Decisions

Posted in Copyright Law, Patent Law, Trademark Law

Although arguably foreshadowed, some may be surprised to learn that a party with the right to challenge the validity of a patent at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) may not have the right to appeal an unfavorable decision.  In Phigenix v. ImmunoGen, the Federal Circuit clarified that while there is no standing… Continue Reading

“It’s In The Game” – Proof Issues In Software Copyright Infringement Cases

Posted in Copyright Law, Entertainment Law, Patent Law, Web/Tech

A recent Ninth Circuit decision in Antonick v. Electronic Arts, Inc. (filed Nov. 22, 2016), shows some of the proof issues that a plaintiff may encounter in prosecuting claims for copyright infringement in connection with software.  A jury found in favor of plaintiff’s claims of infringement; however, the trial court granted the defendant’s motion for… Continue Reading

From Rogue One to Forces of Destiny: A Star Wars Intellectual Property Story

Posted in Copyright Law, Cyberspace Law, Entertainment Law, Trademark Law

With last weekend’s release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars is once again living and thriving. Rogue One opened with a most impressive $155 million opening in North America, and $290 million worldwide, making it the 12th largest opening in United States History. Now, this isn’t really related to intellectual property, but… Continue Reading

Phasers Set to Stun – Star Trek and Fan Film Producers Trade Copyright Shots

Posted in Copyright Law, Entertainment Law

Fan films and fan fiction ordinarily don’t end up being the subject of a federal court lawsuit.  Most fan fiction are creative expressions reflecting adoration of a series, film or character and the majority of copyright owners take a permissive view of fan fiction.  However, Paramount Pictures, the owner of the Star Trek franchise, which… Continue Reading

Holiday Horror Series: Part 1- Could You Patent Christmas?!

Posted in Copyright Law, Patent Law

The holidays are upon us.  Given that everything seems to be protected by intellectual property rights, could someone protect Christmas? The most likely candidate to try to patent Christmas would be Santa Claus.  But (assuming all other issues are addressed), could Santa Claus really patent Christmas? Assuming that Santa Claus invented Christmas, then perhaps he… Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Takes A Common Law Approach to “Abstract Idea” Determinations in Alice Cases

Posted in Copyright Law, Entertainment Law, Legal Info, Patent Law, Trademark Law, Web/Tech

By:  Eric Caligiuri In Amdocs (Israel) Ltd. v. Openet Telecom Inc. et al., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently upheld four software patents against a patent-eligibility challenge, finding that the patents do not claim an “abstract idea.”  The patent challenge was under the frame work set out by the U.S. Supreme… Continue Reading

Website Listing of Tequila Client Work Gets PR Firm a Trademark Shot

Posted in Copyright Law, Patent Law, Trademark Law

Can the owner of renowned tequila brand Patrón prevent a former marketing and PR firm from listing it as a client on its website and discussing the services it provided?  Patrón believes it can and has sued its former marketing firm, The Reindeer Group, for trademark infringement in Federal court in Texas. In 2009 Patrón… Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Rules the Patent Trial and Appeal Board Can Consider New Evidence During AIA Review Trial

Posted in Copyright Law, Legal Info, Patent Law, Trademark Law

On September 26, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit declined to review in a unanimous en banc decision a panel Federal Circuit decision affirming that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) at the Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) could hear new evidence during a trial, evidence that was not… Continue Reading

How BREXIT Will Affect Intellectual Property

Posted in Copyright Law, IP Law Blog Lawyers In The News, Legal Info, Patent Law, Trade Secrets

As everyone knows, in June, the United Kingdom passed the BREXIT referendum (driven by British voters), voting to exit the European Union.  What affect does BREXIT have on intellectual property rights in the United Kingdom and the European Union?  There is a two-year process of negotiation between the UK and the EU, provided for by… Continue Reading

En Banc Federal Circuit Rules A Product Must be the Subject of a Commercial Sale or Offer for Sale to Trigger On-Sale Bar

Posted in Copyright Law, Trade Secrets

By:  Eric Caligiuri On July 11, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in a unanimous en banc decision in The Medicines Co. v. Hospira Inc., Federal Circuit case number 2014-1469, that to be “on sale” under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. § 102(b), a product must be the subject of a commercial… Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Rules the PTAB and District Courts Can Continue to Apply Different Standards for Interpreting Patent Claims

Posted in Copyright Law, Patent Law, Trademark Law

Patent litigators and prosecutors have been waiting to hear whether the U.S. Supreme Court would require the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to apply the same claim construction standard as the district courts.  The answer is “No.” For over 100 years, the USPTO has used the “broadest reasonable construction” standard to interpret patent… Continue Reading

Google’s Fair Use Defense Thwarts Oracle’s Attempt to Recover $9 Billion in Copyright Case

Posted in Copyright Law, Patent Law

In a high-profile case, a jury recently found that Google’s use of portions of Oracle’s Java software code was allowable under the fair use doctrine and thus did not constitute copyright infringement.  Oracle sought as much as $9 billion in damages from Google for incorporating approximately 11,000 lines of Oracle’s Java software code into Google’s… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects Current Status of Music Sampling Copyright Infringement And Sets Circuit Split For The Supreme Court

Posted in Copyright Law

On June 2, 2016 the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in a music sampling Copyright infringement case that sets up a split between the Ninth Circuit and the Sixth Circuit which will likely send the issue to the Supreme Court.   At issue in the Ninth Circuit case was a claim of infringement based on Madonna’s… Continue Reading

Tattoo Infringement Case Against NBA 2K Game Publisher Shows Misunderstanding of Applicability of Statutory Damages

Posted in Copyright Law

This isn’t just another tattoo-copyright infringement case.  This case raises an important lesson for all copyright claimants. The backstory: Solid Oak is a licensing firm that represents the go to tattoo artists for NBA royalty, including LeBron James.  Solid Oak filed a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive Software, the game publisher behind the popular “NBA 2K”… Continue Reading