SAN FRANCISCO — An Oregon federal magistrate judge abused her discretion when focusing on a generally unfavorable view of BitTorrent litigation as the basis for denying a copyright infringement plaintiff reimbursement of its attorney fees, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded July 24 (Glacier Films [USA] Inc., et al. v. Andrey Turchin, No. 16-35688, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 20521).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Although avoiding the “far thornier question” of whether written standards for commercial and industrial endeavors retain intellectual property protection after they are incorporated by reference into law, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 17 reversed and remanded a grant of summary judgment in favor of several private organizations that allege that their standards were infringed (American Society for Testing and Materials, et al. v. Public.Resource.org Inc., No. 17-7035, D.C. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 19603).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Upon de novo review, the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 17 upheld a District of Columbia federal judge’s determination that isolated internet-based contacts with the United States are insufficient grounds to support specific personal jurisdiction in a dispute over streamed movies (Triple Up Ltd. v. Youku Tudou Inc., No. 17-7033, D.C. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 19699).
ATLANTA — Allegations by a purported inventor of an electronic reading device that Apple Inc. copied the “non-functional aesthetic look and feel” of his technical drawings submitted in conjunction with a patent application were properly dismissed by a Florida federal judge, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 12 (Thomas S. Ross v. Apple Inc., No. 17-13712, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18991).
SAN FRANCISCO — Efforts by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and others to overturn a March ruling that upheld a $5.3 million damage award for copyright infringement stemming from the hit song “Blurred Lines” failed July 11, when the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied panel and en banc rehearing (Pharrell Williams, et al. v. Frankie Christian Gaye, et al., No. 15-56880, 16-55089 and 16-55626, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18954).
NEW YORK — A music publishing firm tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a June 18 brief that a trial court erred in dismissing its copyright infringement claims related to several songs the Beastie Boys purportedly sampled without permission, asserting its standing to sue as licensor of the sampled songs (TufAmerica Inc. v. Michael Diamond, et al., No. 18-321, 2nd Cir.).
NEW YORK — In a July 6 summary order, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a New York federal judge’s determination that a New York playwright’s use of elements from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” was parodic and thus a fair use of Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) L.P.’s copyright (Matthew Lombardo, et al. v. Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P., No. 17-2952, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18367).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge’s dismissal of claims for resale royalties under the California Resale Royalties Act was partly affirmed and partly reversed July 6 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which agreed that the state statute is preempted by the federal Copyright Act except for a single calendar year, in 1977 (Chuck Close, et al. v. Sotheby’s Inc., No. 16-56234; Chuck Close, et al. v. Christies Inc., No. 16-56235; Chuck Close, et al. v. eBay Inc., No. 16-56252, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18407).
RICHMOND, Va. — A North Carolina federal judge erred in rejecting an assertion of sovereign immunity raised by North Carolina in response to allegations of copyright infringement on grounds that immunity was abrogated by the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 (CRCA), the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 10 (Frederick Allen, et al. v. Roy A. Cooper III, et al., No. 17-1522, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18703).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Washington federal judge did not clearly err in deeming two architectural plans not intrinsically similar, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 27 (YS Built LLC v. Ya Hsing Chiang Huang and Sheng Tan Huang, No. 17-35044, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17636).
DALLAS — A federal judge in Texas on June 27 entered final judgment in a breach of contract, copyright and trademark infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit, ordering that a defendant in the action pay $250 million plus pre- and post-judgment interest after a jury found that several defendants violated the terms of a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) and engaged in false designation in connection with their use of the companies’ proprietary information to develop certain virtual reality (VR) technology (ZeniMax Media Inc., et al. v. Oculus VR Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-1849, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107420).
NEW YORK — In a June 5 reply brief, an Italian composer’s assignee tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that Italian copyright law allowed the composer to retain authorship rights in commissioned film scores, arguing that a New York federal court erred in finding the commissioning agreements analogous to U.S. work-for-hire law, extinguishing the composer’s rights (Ennio Morricone Music Inc. v. Bixio Music Group Ltd., No. 17-3595, 2nd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 27 found that lists of names and addresses compiled by Experian Information Systems Inc. are copyrightable as compilations, but that the lists were not infringed by a competitor; the panel separately found that the same database could be entitled to trade secret protection, upon a showing that the data has economic value and that steps were taken to protect its secrecy (Experian Information Systems Inc. v. Nationwide Marketing Services Inc., No. 16-16987, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17607).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its orders list on June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in a copyright dispute that could resolve a circuit split over whether copyright applicants may sue for infringement before receiving a registration from the Copyright Office (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, et al., No. 17-571, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a wildlife photographer and a website operator filed supplemental briefs in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals June 15, addressing whether en banc rehearing is merited of a panel’s finding that a monkey lacked statutory standing to sue for infringement of selfie photos he took under the Copyright Act (Naruto. v. David J. Slater, et al., No. 16-15469, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge’s decision to award actress Elizabeth Banks and others attorney fees in connection with their successful defense of copyright infringement allegations was not erroneous, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 21 (Shame on You Productions Inc. v. Elizabeth Banks, et al., No. 16-55024, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16764).
SAN FRANCISCO — Allegations by two residential real estate photographers that the real estate software provider for a multiple listing service (MLS) violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by removing their copyright management information (CMI) were properly rejected on summary judgment, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 20 (Robert Stevens, et al. v. CoreLogic Inc., No. 16-56089, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16620).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a June 18 ruling, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a Washington federal judge’s decision to award a single statutory damage award in each of five cases involving the same BitTorrent “swarm” upload of the film “London Has Fallen” (LHF Production Inc. v. Doe 1, et al., No. 17-35237, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16360).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a May 31 petition for certiorari, a software support firm argues that a prevailing party can be awarded only taxable, not nontaxable costs, under the Copyright, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve a difference of opinions among the circuit courts of appeal on the issue (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al.., No. 17-1625, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Responding to a U.S. government amicus curiae brief, a news organization in a June 5 supplemental brief to the U.S. Supreme Court maintains that its petition for certiorari should be granted to resolve a circuit split over whether a copyright applicant is entitled to sue for infringement prior to achieving registration (Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, et al., No. 17-571, U.S. Sup.).