SHERMAN, Texas — A defendant that won dismissal with prejudice of allegations that it infringed the copyright and trademark of a system for displaying the results of a personality assessment tool was awarded costs Nov. 17 by a federal judge in Texas, but not attorney fees (CoreClarity Inc. v. Gallup Inc., No. 20-601, E.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 214265).
NEW YORK — In a Nov. 12 ruling, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld findings by a federal judge in New York that a two-part miniseries produced by NBC Television and others is not substantially similar to a collection of short stories authored by a copyright owner (Wilhelmina Montgomery v. NBC Television, et al., No. 19-3665, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 35731).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Russian man who was accused of copyright violations for his operation of two stream-ripping websites filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 12, seeking guidance on the nature of contacts necessary to confer U.S. jurisdiction over foreign website operators when there has been no purposeful direction of infringing behavior at a forum state (Tofig Kurbanov v. UMG Recordings Inc., et al., No. 20-503, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Nov. 13, The Walt Disney Co. filed its opposition to a petition for certiorari that centers on allegations that characters from the movie “Inside Out” infringed a group of characters called “Moodsters,” with Disney telling the U.S. Supreme Court that the standard for determining the copyrightability of characters, independent of a copyrighted work, is long settled and uniformly enforced by the federal appeals courts (The Moodsters Co. v. The Walt Disney Co., et al., No. 20-132, U.S. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Nov. 13 dismissed with prejudice a California unfair competition law (UCL) claim but allowed claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and breach of license agreement to proceed in a lawsuit involving graph database software, concluding that allegations that the defendants failed to operate under the requirements of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization are insufficient to demonstrate an unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business practice (Neo4j, Inc. v. Graph Foundation, Inc., No. 19-06226, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 212896).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a Nov. 4 unpublished ruling, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment by an Oregon federal judge in favor of a defendant accused of conversion, on grounds that the claim is preempted by federal copyright law (Lori Bokenfohr v. Christine Guidera, No. 19-35992, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 34914).
ATLANTA — In an Oct. 29 holding, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a Florida federal judge’s dismissal with prejudice of a copyright and trademark case for lack of prosecution was an abuse of discretion because the judge earlier told the plaintiff that dismissal would be without prejudice (The Lasswell Foundation for Learning and Laughter Inc., et al. v. Timothy Schwartz, No. 20-10263, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 34195).
BROWNSVILLE, Texas — In a Nov. 9 order, a federal judge in Texas agreed with the holder of the distribution rights for the 2017 match between boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor that a Texas bar infringed when it broadcast the bout, entitling the plaintiff to five times its standard license fee (Joe Hand Promotions Inc. v. Bella’s Bar & Grille LLC, et al., No. 19-140, W.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209769).
PITTSBURGH — A plaintiff on Nov. 5 accused a licensee of accessing, without authorization, its copyrighted software program at least 278 times over a five-year span in a complaint filed in Pennsylvania federal court (Ansys Inc. v. Actox Corporation, No. 20-1694, W.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK — In a Nov. 10 filing in a federal court in New York, the exclusive holder of the distribution rights to major motion picture “The Crow: Salvation” (also known as “The Crow III”) accused Miramax LLC and its affiliates of “knowingly and blatantly” infringing the copyrighted work for a decade (Library Rights Company UK Ltd. v. Miramax LLC, et al., No. 20-9396, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK — In a Nov. 9 holding, a New York federal judge stood by his earlier dismissal of allegations of copyright infringement leveled by a professional photographer because the display of his photograph by a defendant constitutes fair use (Stephen Yang v. Mic Network Inc., No. 18-7628, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208851).
NEW YORK — A declaratory judgment action in New York will not result in a query to the U.S. Copyright Office regarding the registration covering the Phillie Phanatic mascot, a New York federal magistrate judge ruled Nov. 4 (The Phillies v. Harrison/Erickson Inc., et al., No. 19-7239, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 206749).
PHILADELPHIA — A request for entry of default judgment by a professional photographer in connection with allegations that a U.K. website infringed his copyright were unsuccessful on Nov. 2, when a federal judge in Pennsylvania instead dismissed the dispute for lack of jurisdiction (Thomas J. Kelly III v. Vertikal Press Ltd., No. 20-2315, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203824).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A recent Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in favor of the band Led Zeppelin in a dispute over the alleged copying of another band song in the iconic “Stairway To Heaven” has resulted in a “fundamental attack on the principles of Copyright law,” a petitioner tells the U.S. Supreme Court in an Oct. 30 petition for rehearing in which he asks the high court to reconsider its denial of certiorari on questions related to protection under the 1909 Copyright Act (Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et al., No. 20-142, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The writers of a Christian rap song who initially prevailed in a copyright infringement suit against pop singer Katy Perry, tell the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an Oct. 13 appellant brief that a trial court judge wrongly relied on inadmissible evidence and an improper substantial similarity standard in vacating a $2.9 million judgment in their favor (Marcus Gray, et al. v. Kathryn Elizabeth Hudson, et al., No. 20-55401, 9th Cir.).
ATLANTA — In an Oct. 27 holding, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found no error in a Florida federal judge’s rejection of allegations by the author of a memoir about her relationship with the drug lord Pablo Escobar that a popular television show copied portions of her work (Virginia Vallejo v. Narcos Productions LLC, et al., No. 19-14894, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 33809).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Oct. 22 cleared the way for two copyright and trademark infringement plaintiffs to serve a copy of their complaint via email to defendants purportedly located in Pakistan (Versah LLC, et al. v. Ul Amin Industries, et al., No. 20-12657, E.D. Mich., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195922).
SAN FRANCISCO — In an Oct. 21 holding, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found no error in a California federal judge’s dismissal, on jurisdiction grounds, of allegations that an appellee infringed the copyright for the USA Sumo Open when it rebroadcast portions of the event throughout Japan (Superama Corporation Inc. v. Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc., No. 19-55981, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 33221).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an Oct. 15 order upheld an Oklahoma federal judge’s denial of a copyright infringement defendant’s motion for relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) (Christ Center of Divine Philosophy Inc. v. Ellen Veronica Elam, No. 19-6186, 10th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32533).
NEW YORK — A defendant’s motion to dismiss allegations of copyright infringement leveled in connection with an image of the American flag was denied Oct. 16 by a federal judge in New York, who found that the plaintiff’s design might merit copyright protection (NYC Image International Inc. v. RS USA Inc., No. 19-10355, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193016).