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Category Archives: Copyright Law

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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

Federal Circuit Applies Broadened Test For Divided Infringement

Posted in Copyright Law

On April 18, 2016, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Akamai Technologies, Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc., 797 F.3d 1020 (Fed. Cir., August 2015) (“Akamai IV”), cert. denied, 2016 U.S. LEXIS 2768.  The Court declined Limelight’s petition for review of a $46 million jury verdict against Limelight for patent infringement.  The jury had found Limelight… Continue Reading

Copyright Infringement and the First Sale Defense

Posted in Copyright Law

The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in the case of Dolby Systems, Inc. v. Christenson, focuses primarily on the issue of which party bears the initial burden of proof with regard to a “first sale” defense in a copyright infringement action. As the reader will see, however, this case really provides a cautionary tale as to… Continue Reading

Five IP Pitfalls That Start-Up (and Grown Up) Companies Can Easily Avoid

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

In business, there are numerous opportunities for pitfalls, mistakes and errors and they come up in all different legal areas – from basic formation issues to labor and employment to intellectual property. Mistakes and missteps involving intellectual property can be particularly problematic because IP is a company asset; it constitutes a part of (often a… Continue Reading

When Copying is Not Copyright Infringement

Posted in Copyright Law

A longstanding battle between Google and the authors of published books has been resolved (at least for now) in favor of Google. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has held that Google’s use of copyrighted books in its Library Project and Google Books website, without the permission of the authors, is fair use and therefore… Continue Reading

ISPs That Ignore Notices From “Copyright Trolls” Risk Losing DMCA Safe Harbor Protections

Posted in Copyright Law, Uncategorized

Representing copyright owners attempting to enforce online infringement is often routine, but can sometimes prove challenging. This tends to be the case when a content owner is trying to address large scale infringement of one or multiple works. Most often ISPs are cooperative, but on occasion an ISP may resist responding to a content owner… Continue Reading

Yoga and the Copyright Idea/Expression Dichotomy

Posted in Copyright Law

Over the last half century there has been an explosion in the popularity of yoga in the United States, much of it attributable to Bikram Choudhury, the self-proclaimed “Yogi to the Stars.” In 1979, he published a book titled Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class, which centered on a sequence of 26 yoga poses and two breathing… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Clarifies Copyright Holder’s Responsibility When Sending A Takedown Notice Under The DMCA

Posted in Copyright Law

In July, this author wrote about Lenz v. Universal which, at the time, was pending before the 9th Circuit.  On September 14, 2015 the 9th Circuit came down with a ruling which answered whether a copyright owner must consider fair use before proceeding with a takedown notice under the DMCA, and, if so, what are… Continue Reading

A Chicken Sandwich is Not Copyrightable – Really?

Posted in Copyright Law

As reported in Law 360 and other outlets, the First Circuit has ruled that a chicken sandwich, no matter how amazingly delicious it may be, cannot be copyrighted. A Puerto Rican epicure named Norberto Lorenzana argued that he created the “Pechu Sandwich” which is “a fried chicken breast patty, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and garlic… Continue Reading

Will Lenz v. Universal Make Online Copyright Enforcement More Challenging for Copyright Owners

Posted in Copyright Law

Pending before the 9th Circuit is a case which may change the landscape for online copyright protection. The case, Lenz v. Universal, may make it more difficult for copyright owners to protect against infringement in today’s environment of hyper infringement. Defenders of Lenz argue that this case represents the quest for a legitimate balance between… Continue Reading

“Desert Warrior” Vanquished: Google Defeats Cindy Lee Garcia’s Copyright Claims

Posted in Copyright Law

Cindy Lee Garcia thought she was playing a bit part in “Desert Warrior,” an adventure film being made by an amateur film maker. The film was never completed. Instead, Ms. Garcia’s performance was re-purposed, and her physical on screen appearance was used in a film titled “Innocence of Muslims,” with her voice redubbed, changing her… Continue Reading

Brewing Up Some IP

Posted in Copyright Law, Patent Law, Trademark Law

With so many new microbreweries popping up in Sacramento, the Bay Area, and the Greater San Diego area, I felt compelled to write the present piece for the benefit of the aspiring, as well as the established, microbrew entrepreneur. These individuals undoubtedly pour (excuse the pun) their hearts, souls, and hard-earned money into the development… Continue Reading

The Blurred Lines of an Infringement Action

Posted in Copyright Law

Many of you may be familiar with the pop hit “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, Clifford Harris, more popularly known as T.I., and Pharrell Williams (the “Composers”).  If it does not sound familiar by title, perhaps you may recall it for its controversial nudity laden music video, or the fact that it was the song… Continue Reading