SEATTLE — In a Nov. 14 ruling, a federal judge in Washington deemed “meritless” allegations of copyright infringement levied against an art studio and held that a $1.6 million attorney fees award is warranted given the “need to deter the type of unsupported and fatally-flawed copyright claims asserted” (Michael Moi v. Chihuly Studio Inc., No. 17-853, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197837).
LOS ANGELES — A request by Marc Jacobs International LLC for dismissal of allegations that it infringed the copyrighted “Happy Face” smiley face design and logo made famous by the rock band Nirvana was denied Nov. 8 by a California federal judge, in an in-chambers ruling entered Nov. 12 (Nirvana LLC v. Mark Jacobs International LLC, et al., No. 18-10743, C.D. Calif.).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In a Nov. 13 decision memorializing her Nov. 7 bench ruling, a federal judge in Tennessee lifted a temporary restraining order (TRO) entered in October against various parties accused of copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation in connection with an upcoming Christmas show (Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market Ltd. v. Glowco LLC, et al., No. 19-966, M.D. Tenn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196660).
NEW YORK — A musical artist’s failure to properly register his song “Walk It Like I Talk It” proves fatal to his copyright infringement allegation against Capitol Records LLC and others, a New York federal judge ruled Nov. 12 (Leander C. Pickett v. Migos Touring Inc., et al., No. 18-9775, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196106).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Allegations by an internet-based subscription news and research service that Bloomberg L.P. misappropriated proprietary information under the common-law “hot news” doctrine were dismissed without prejudice on Nov. 12 by a federal judge in the District of Columbia (DBW Partners LLC d/b/a The Capitol Forum v. Bloomberg L.P., et al., No. 19-311, D. D.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195725).
FORT WORTH, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on Nov. 7 denied a motion to dismiss allegations that a defendant violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. § 1202(b), when it removed copyright management information (CMI), rejecting the defendant’s position that the claim cannot proceed because the technical drawings in dispute are unregistered (Diamondback Industries Inc. v. Repeat Precision, et al., No. 18-902, N.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193637).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Nov. 5 petition, Rimini Street Inc. seeks a second grant of certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court in a long-running software license copyright infringement dispute with Oracle USA Inc., this time asking the high court to find that an infringer’s mental state needs to be considered when deciding whether to grant injunctive relief related to an innocent infringer (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al., No. 19-589, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Counsel for a videographer who asserted claims of copyright infringement against the state of North Carolina argued Nov. 5 before the U.S. Supreme Court that the case was erroneously rejected by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on grounds of sovereign immunity (Frederick L. Allen, et al. v. Roy A. Cooper III, et al., No. 18-877, U.S. Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. — In an Oct. 30 ruling, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found no error in a Virginia federal judge’s determination that allegations of copyright and trademark infringement against a spinoff masonic organization fail as a matter of law (United Supreme Council v. United Supreme Council, No. 18-2034, 4th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32478).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A YouTube user who pursued malicious prosecution claims against a Florida church that was the target of her critical videos and was sued for copyright infringement by the church tells the U.S. Supreme Court in an Oct. 23 reply brief that her petition for certiorari properly presented questions regarding due process and her entitlement to punitive damages (Shirley Jn Johnson v. New Destiny Christian Center Church Inc., et al., No. 19-279, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress acted within its constitutional authority in enacting the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 (CRCA), a videographer tells the U.S. Supreme Court in his Oct. 18 merits reply brief, arguing that the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in finding that sovereign immunity prevented the statute from being enforced against North Carolina in a copyright dispute over vessel salvage footage (Frederick L. Allen, et al. v. Roy A. Cooper III, et al., No. 18-877, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A decision by a federal judge in California to dismiss allegations of copyright infringement against Taylor Swift and others was reversed and remanded Oct. 28 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Sean Hall and Nathan Butler v. Taylor Swift, et al., No. 18-55426, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 32272).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on Oct. 25 ordered copyright infringement claims against Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) and a co-defendant transferred to federal court in Idaho but denied outright dismissal of the action out of “deference to the transferee court” (Tony Hong v. Recreational Equipment Inc., et al., No. 19-951, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185371).
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Oct. 23 granted a recording company’s motion to dismiss all California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims accrued outside the relevant statute of limitations in a copyright infringement dispute but denied the motion as to all other claims (Syl Johnson, et al. v. UMG Recordings Inc., No. 19-02364, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184455).
BOSTON — In an Oct. 24 ruling, a federal judge in Massachusetts found that a copyright infringement plaintiff is not entitled to a preliminary injunction because she is unable to demonstrate a risk of irreparable harm if relief is not issued (Leah Bassett v. Monic Jensen, et al., No. 18-10576, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183888).
BURLINGTON, Vt. — A federal judge in Vermont on Oct. 19 allowed a plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss a request for a declaratory judgment of no copyright infringement but denied the plaintiff’s motion to also dismiss a compulsory infringement counterclaim, rejecting the plaintiff’s position that the voluntary dismissal deprives the court of jurisdiction (Exist Inc. v. The Vermont Country Store Inc., No. 19-58, D. Vt., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181409).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Allegations that a production company for the HGTV series “Good Bones” committed copyright infringement were dismissed Oct. 21 by a federal judge in Alabama who found that the company’s contacts with the forum are too “random, fortuitous, or attenuated” to support jurisdiction (Melanie Tolbert v. Discovery Inc., et al., No. 18-680, N.D. Ala., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181528).
SAN FRANCISCO — A dispute over royalties for various copyrighted musical works was returned Oct. 17 to a California federal district court, when the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that the recent passage of federal law directly impacts the case (Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Pandora Media LLC, No. 15-55287, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 30939).
NEW YORK — In an Oct. 15 ruling, a federal judge in New York concluded that neither a plaintiff nor a defendant embroiled in a copyright dispute over the “Sonic the Hedgehog” comic book series is entitled to an award of attorney fees (Narrative Ark Entertainment LLC v. Archie Comic Publications Inc., No. 16-6109, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178249).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Responding to an amicus curiae brief filed by the U.S. government, Google LLC filed a supplemental brief in support of its petition for certiorari on Oct. 16, telling the U.S. Supreme Court that its presented questions regarding the copyrightability of software interfaces are of “breathtaking importance” to the practice of reimplementation that is vital to the software industry (Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., No. 18-956, U.S. Sup.).