Intellectual Property Litigation

Calling it a “ball of confusion,” the Ninth Circuit recently considered a case involving the music of the Turtles, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and whether royalties are owed under California copyright law for music dating prior to 1972. In doing so, the Ninth Circuit reviewed nearly 200 years of copyright law to reach its conclusion.

In a lawsuit that was originally filed in 2013 titled, Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc., the Ninth Circuit confronted the issue of “whether digital and satellite radio stations have a duty to pay public performance royalties for pre-1972 songs under [California] copyright law.” The crux of the case turned on the meaning of the phrase, “exclusive ownership,” which the California legislature used in California’s copyright statute in 1872.
Continue Reading “Happy Together” – The Ninth Circuit Plays the Golden Oldies of Copyright Law

How many of the lawyers out there liked hypotheticals in law school? I did not, but this case prompted me to write one!  So, for those of you who enjoy hypotheticals, here it is:

Company A, a North Carolina LLC, owns four patents.  A new company is formed, Company B, a Texas LLC.  Company B has the same corporate address in North Carolina and the same five shareholders as Company A.  Company B conducts no business activities.  About 20 days after Company B is formed, Company A assigns its four patents to Company B, with an agreement that gives Company B the rights to sue for patent infringement only in the district court for the Western District of Texas.  (And assume that the Western District of Texas is a very fast and favorable court for plaintiffs in patent infringement cases.)  About ten days after the assignment, Company B files two lawsuits for patent infringement in the Western District of Texas, alleging that the defendants sell mobile devices that use third party applications that infringe the patents.  The defendants move to transfer the cases to the district court in the Northern District of California on grounds of convenience.  They allege that the Western District of Texas is not the proper venue because most of the third-party applications were researched and developed in the Northern District of California, while none were developed in the Western District of Texas, and several witnesses and inventors were located in the Northern District of California, while none were in the Western District of Texas.  Here’s the question: Should the district court for the Western District of Texas grant the motions to transfer?
Continue Reading You Can’t Manipulate Venue!

In this week’s episode of The Briefing by the IP Law BlogScott Hervey and Josh Escovedo discuss the Ninth Circuit Ruling on the trademark aspects of Dr. Seuss “mashups.” They also provide a recap of last week’s episode, which covers the copyright aspects of the case.

Watch episode two on the Weintraub

In this episode of The Briefing by the IP Law BlogScott Hervey and Josh Escovedo discuss the Ninth Circuit Ruling on the copyright aspects of Dr. Seuss “mashups.” In the second episode of this two-part series, they discuss the trademark aspects of this case.

Watch episode one on the Weintraub Tobin YouTube channel,

In Thaler v. Commissioner of Patents, case number VID 108 of 2021, in the Federal Court of Australia, an Australian Federal Judge became the first known jurist to rule that inventions developed by artificial intelligence can qualify for patent protection.

The case involved a patent application from Dr. Stephen Thaler, a researcher who runs a Missouri company called Imagination Engines. An artificial intelligence system, which has been described as a device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience (DABUS), was named as the inventor by Dr. Thaler. DABUS was the inventor of two inventions, a type of improved beverage container and a type of flashing beacon meant to be used in emergencies.
Continue Reading Australian Judge Rules Inventions Developed by Artificial Intelligence Can Qualify for Patent Protection