CHICAGO — A motion to dismiss filed by an investment bank and its agent was denied Dec. 13 by an Illinois federal judge, who rejected as premature the defendants’ claim that the information in dispute is factual and not subject to copyright protection (UIRC-GSA Holdings Inc. v. William Blair & Company, et al., No. 15-9518, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 210499).
NEW YORK — In a Nov. 29 appellee brief, pop singer Ed Sheeran asks the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm the denial of a third party’s motion to intervene in a suit alleging copyright infringement of Marvin Gaye’s 1973 hit “Let’s Get It On,” arguing that the prospective intervenor waited more than three years to take action over its purported rights in the song (Kathryn Townsend Griffin, et al. v. Edward Christopher Sheeran, et al., No. 18-1862, 2nd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Efforts by SAP SE to obtain dismissal of allegations of copyright infringement allegations were unsuccessful Dec. 12, when a California federal judge deemed the claims adequately pleaded; in the same ruling, however, the judge agreed to dismiss allegations of trade secret misappropriation, upon finding that the asserted trade secrets are not sufficiently identified (Teradata Corp., et al. v. SAP SE, et al., No. 18-3670, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209872).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 12 agreed with a New York federal judge that a digital music resale service infringes the recording industry’s exclusive right to reproduce copyrighted works under Section 106(1) of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 106(1) (Capitol Records LLC, et al. v. ReDigi Inc., et al., No. 16-2321, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34914).
NEW YORK — A wedding guest who later copyrighted his photograph of President Donald Trump crashing a wedding prevailed on summary judgment on Dec. 10 in his New York federal infringement lawsuit against a news outlet that published the image online (Jonathan Otto v. Hearst Communications Inc., No. 17-4712, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208698).
CHICAGO — An infringement dispute over copyrighted architectural plans for a hotel in Chicago will proceed, but not in federal court, an Illinois federal judge ruled Dec. 10 (Lothan Van Hook DeStefano Architecture LLC v. SB Yen Management Group Inc., et al., No. 18-275, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207656).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Allegations that various defaulting respondents imported spine boards, cervical collars, CPR masks, training manikins and product literature that infringed the trade dress of two medical device makers were erroneously rejected by the International Trade Commission (ITC) as inadequately pleaded, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 7 (Laerdal Medical Corp., et al. v. International Trade Commission, No. 17-2445, Fed. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34465).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two weeks after filing a brief supporting petitioner Rimini Street Inc. in a dispute over the award of nontaxable costs in an underlying software copyright lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), on behalf of the United States, asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 6 for leave to participate in upcoming oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al., No. 17-1625, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a Dec. 3 ruling, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that the 1976 Copyright Act does not preempt the attorney fees provision of the California Resale Royalties Act (CRRA) (Chuck Close and Laddie John Dill, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. Sotheby’s Inc., et al., Nos. 16-56234, -56235, -56252, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33995).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Florida man who appealed the standard for dismissing his copyright infringement suit against Apple Inc. saw his petition for certiorari denied by the U.S. Supreme Court Dec. 3, leaving a judgment against the pro se litigant in tact (Thomas S. Ross v. Apple Inc., No. 18-494, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 7142).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The provider of an online media-monitoring service saw its petition for certiorari denied in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dec. 3 order list, leaving its question about the transformative use of copyrighted material in a dispute with Fox News Network LLC unanswered (TVEyes Inc. v. Fox News Network LLC, No. 18-321, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 7049).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the Nov. 7 decision by Apple Inc. to waive its right to respond to his petition for certiorari, a pro se litigant awaits a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on whether it will consider his presented question on the standard for granting a motion to dismiss in copyright litigation (Thomas S. Ross v. Apple Inc., No. 18-494, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Members of the band the Four Seasons and others connected with the popular musical “Jersey Boys” tell the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an Oct. 23 appellee brief that any similarities between the play and an unpublished book about the band are attributable to historical elements and constitute fair use (Donna Corbello v. Frankie Valli, et al., No. 17-16337, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Nov. 20 amicus curiae brief supporting petitioner Rimini Street Inc., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce tells the U.S. Supreme Court that an award of nontaxable costs to Oracle USA Inc. in an underlying software copyright lawsuit runs counter to copyright law and will lead to unpredictable results in future litigation (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al., No. 17-1625, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Characterizing an adult entertainment company as a serial litigator, a District of Columbia federal judge on Nov. 16 denied the plaintiff’s motion to conduct pre-conference discovery to learn the identity of a John Doe defendant in a copyright infringement case, chiding the plaintiff for treating the court like “an ATM” in its “high-tech shakedown” (Strike 3 Holdings LLC v. John Doe, No. 1:18-cv-01425, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195580).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge’s determination that a willful copyright infringer should reimburse a plaintiff $794,203.42 in attorney fees was not an abuse of discretion, the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 27 (Spanski Enterprises Inc. v. Telewizja Polska, No. 18-7050, D.C. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33303).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A church accused of copyright infringement succeeded Nov. 21 in persuading an Ohio federal judge to disqualify counsel for a plaintiff, based upon the attorney’s previous provision of legal advice to the church in intellectual property-related matters (Judith Schlueter v. Bethesda Healing Ministry Inc., No. 17-1055, S.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198342).
PHILADELPHIA — In a divided Nov. 21 ruling, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that although two copyright infringement plaintiffs are not bound by a forum-selection clause and that a Pennsylvania federal judge “got it wrong” when transferring one of the cases to New York, mandamus is an “extraordinary remedy” not warranted on the facts of the instant cases (In re: McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings LLC, Nos. 17-2826, 17-3444, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32931).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A news organization in its Nov. 13 merits reply brief tells the U.S. Supreme Court that the Copyright Act permits a copyright owner to sue for infringement after it has applied for a copyright without requiring it to wait until registration has been granted by the U.S. Copyright Office, asserting that finding otherwise would be inconsistent with the statute’s wording and would create barriers to owners’ efforts to protect their works (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, et al., No. 17-571, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — On Oct. 31, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued a modified ruling in a dispute over copyright protection for digitally remastered sound recordings originally fixed before 1972, removing language relating to preemption and derivative works while adding an observation that the recently enacted Music Modernization Act (MMA) preempts state law claims for digital transmissions of pre-1972 sound recordings (ABS Entertainment Inc., et al. v. CBS Corporation, et al., No. 16-55917, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 30808).