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Category Archives: Copyright Law

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USPTO Finalizes Rule for Privileged Communications in Trials Before the PTAB

Posted in Copyright Law, Legal Info, Patent Law

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”) provided for trials before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in inter partes reviews, post-grant reviews, the transitional program for covered business method patents, and derivation proceedings.  While patent agents are registered to practice before the USPTO, they are… Continue Reading

Google May be a Verb, but Verb Use Alone Does Not Constitute Genericness

Posted in Copyright Law, Cyberspace Law, Legal Info, Web/Tech

Just Google it. Can you Google the score? Have you Googled the restaurant’s reviews? These are all common phrases in today’s internet-reliant society, and it’s entirely due to the creation of Google and its widespread success. By all measures, this should be a good thing for Google. Its company’s primary trademark, Google, has become such… Continue Reading

Wine and Spirits Are not Always Confusingly Similar

Posted in Copyright Law, Patent Law, Trademark Law

  Brand litigation can be extreme in the consumer products space and even more so for alcoholic beverages (legal cannabis brand owners take note and start stockpiling your war chest).  It’s not uncommon for litigation to arise whenever an alcoholic beverage brand owner believes that another alcoholic beverage brand infringes.  Such was the case for… Continue Reading

Federal Circuit: PTO Can’t Shift Burden of Proof of Patentability to Applicant

Posted in Copyright Law, Patent Law

In In re Stepan Co., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16246, decided August 25, 2017 the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals made it very clear that during patent prosecution, the burden of proving patent ability lies with the PTO examiner.  The patent applicant was Stepan Co., who filed a patent application for formulas of an herbicide. … Continue Reading

Eagles Ltd. v. Hotel California Baja, LLC: Any Time of Year, You Can Find Infringement Here

Posted in Copyright Law, Patent Law, Trademark Law

Recently, Eagles Ltd. (the “Eagles”), the entity in control of legendary rock band The Eagles’ business affairs, filed a lawsuit against Hotel California Baja, LLC for trademark infringement. While I’m sure most of us are familiar with the Eagles’ song Hotel California, it may come as a surprise to most trademark aficionados that the Eagles… Continue Reading

The Jury Is Still Out on What “Registration” Means Under Section 411 of the Copyright Act.

Posted in Copyright Law

  The Copyright Act provides that “Registration” of a copyright is a precondition to filing suit for copyright infringement.  17 U.S.C. § 411(a).  We are still trying to figure out exactly when registration occurs. While copyright registration is voluntary, the Copyright Act provides several incentives for a copyright owner to register a copyright, one of… Continue Reading

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