SAN FRANCISCO — In an April 24 ruling, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that an Arizona federal judge abused his discretion in concluding that various copyright infringement defendants were “transaction participants” capable of invoking a forum-selection clause contained within a content partner revenue sharing agreement (CPRA) (AMA Multimedia LLC v. Sagan Ltd., et al., No. 18-17117, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 13218).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A divided U.S. Supreme Court on April 27 found that because “no one can own the law,” the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals properly concluded that annotations to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) are ineligible for copyright protection (Georgia, et al. v. Public.Resource.Org Inc., No. 18-1150, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An American geophysical firm filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on April 20, opposing a Canadian competitor’s petition for certiorari over questions related to implied copyright licenses, telling the high court that no circuit split exists over the matter and that the petitioner’s failure to object to a governmental disclosure provision decades earlier defeated its infringement claims (Geophysical Service Inc. v. TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Co., No. 19-873, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its April 20 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court turned away a photographer’s challenge to a decision by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that upheld dismissal of allegations that Scholastic Inc. is liable for copyright infringement (Michael Yamashita, et al. v. Scholastic Inc., No. 19-894, U.S. Sup.).
ATLANTA — A federal judge in Florida did not err in rejecting allegations that a guitar maker is liable for copyright infringement and unfair competition in connection with its use of a “lightning storm” graphic without the consent of an appellant, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 16 (Buddy Webster v. Dean Guitars, No. 19-10013, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 12078).
DENVER — Adopting a magistrate’s recommendation to deny a dismissal motion, a Colorado federal judge on April 15 found that a group of record labels suing an internet service provider (ISP) for secondary copyright infringement based on its subscribers’ actions sufficiently alleged that the ISP benefited financially from, and that it had the ability to control, the infringing actions (Warner Records Inc., et al. v. Charter Communications Inc., No. 1:19-cv-00874, D. Colo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66249).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a March 26 reply brief supporting his petition for certiorari, a photographer tells the U.S. Supreme Court that in ruling for a publisher with which he has a licensing dispute, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals improperly “graft[ed] additional elements onto the two-prong” copyright infringement pleading standard previously articulated by the high court (Michael Yamashita, et al. v. Scholastic Inc., No. 19-894, U.S. Sup.).
BOSTON — Although agreeing with a Puerto Rico federal judge that a songwriter’s copyright infringement complaint against pop singer Enrique Martin-Morales fails without evidence of a copyright registration, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 13 nonetheless remanded for a determination of whether the plaintiff should be granted an opportunity to supplement his complaint with registration information (Luis Adrian Cortes-Ramos v. Enrique Martin-Morales, No. 19-1358, 1st Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 11545).
LAS VEGAS — In an April 2 motion, Rimini Street Inc. asks a Nevada federal court to enforce previous rulings in which the court specifically declined to relate two separate copyright suits with Oracle USA Inc., asserting that Oracle’s attempt to present purported findings related to a process at issue in the other lawsuit into the present case should be denied (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00106, D. Nev.).
MINNEAPOLIS — In an April 9 decision, a federal judge in Minnesota enjoined several former franchisees from using or displaying the “Mainstream Boutique” trademarks, copyrights and “Mac and Me” exclusive products for a period of two years or until further modification by the court (Mainstream Fashions Franchising Inc. v. All These Things LLC, et al., No. 19-2953, D. Minn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62673).
CHICAGO — A federal jury improperly awarded Motorola Solutions Inc. nearly $246 million in disgorgement under federal trade secret and copyright law even though such relief “is an equitable remedy not triable of right by a jury,” a Chinese firm and two of its affiliates accused of trade secret theft and copyright infringement argue in an April 2 motion for judgment as a matter of law as to liability and/or damages filed in Illinois federal court (Motorola Solutions Inc. v. Hytera Communications Corp., et al., No. 1:17-cv-01973, N.D. Ill.).
LOS ANGELES — In a March 31 in chambers order, a California federal judge denied motions to alter a $62.2 million judgment against VidAngel Inc. or to grant the defendant a new trial in a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against the video-filtering company by a group of movie studios, finding that substantial evidence supported the damages amount and that no legal errors were committed during the trial (Disney Enterprises Inc., et al. v. VidAngel Inc., No. 2:16-cv-04109, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 1 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that coverage for an underlying contempt proceeding against an insured is barred by a general liability insurance policy’s intellectual property and unfair competition exclusions, rejecting the appellants’ argument that the exclusions violate public policy pursuant to California law (Great American E&S Insurance Company v. Theos Medical Systems, Inc., No. 19-15351, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 10345).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal magistrate judge in Arizona properly granted two copyright infringement defendants summary judgment but also properly denied their motion for attorney fees, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 31 (SellPoolSuppliesOnline.com LLC v. Ugly Pools Arizona, Inc., et al., Nos. 18-16839, 19-15714, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 10348).
SAN FRANCISCO — After its previous copyright infringement claim against Facebook Inc. and Princeton University was dismissed for failing to plead compliance with, or exemption from, the Copyright Act’s registration requirement, a Lithuanian firm on March 31 filed a new lawsuit against the same defendants in California federal court, realleging its claim that its now-registered collection of 3D objects was copied (UAB “Planner5D” v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 3:20-cv-02198, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a March 9 holding, a majority of the en banc Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the inverse ratio rule for establishing substantial similarity between copyrighted works, overruling its own precedent in a win for Led Zeppelin (Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et al., Nos. 16-56057, 16-56287, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 7585).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on March 30 ruled that a medical imaging systems manufacturer and two of its subsidiaries have sufficiently stated their claims for trade secret misappropriation in violation of state and federal law because they have properly pleaded that certain software and systems they manufacture for their ultrasound hardware devices are trade secrets (Philips North America LLC v. Summit Imaging Inc., et al., No. 19-1745, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55073).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 30 affirmed an award of $42,901 in a dispute over two musical works, rejecting competing challenges by a copyright infringement plaintiff and defendant (Alisa Apps v. Universal Music Group Inc., No. 18-15987, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9827).
OAKLAND, Calif. — In a lawsuit in which it alleges copyright infringement and computer fraud by a purported group of hackers, Niantic Inc. filed a brief in California federal court on March 26, opposing the defendants’ motion to dismiss the video game maker’s requests for statutory damages and attorney fees related to two of the three games at issue in the lawsuit (Niantic Inc. v. Global++, et al., No. 4:19-cv-03425, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge’s determination that the vocal music director at Burbank High School and others are not liable for copyright infringement in connection with their use of sheet music in a show choir performance was affirmed March 24 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on grounds of fair use and lack of standing (Tresóna Multimedia, LLC v. Brett Carroll, et al., Nos. 17-56006 -56417 -56419, 9th Cir., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186059).