SAN FRANCISCO — Several months after reversing and remanding a final judgment of willful infringement in a dispute over a copyrighted textile design, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 14 denied a request by the defendant for reimbursement of attorney fees it incurred in the successful appeal (Unicolors Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz L.P., Nos. 18-56253, 56548, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 29135).
NEW YORK — The context, alteration and use of a photograph of actor Jon Hamm by the website HuffPost constituted fair use, a New York federal judge ruled Sept. 10, dismissing a photographer's copyright complaint against HuffPost owner Oath Inc. (Lawrence Schwartzwald v. Oath Inc., No. 19-9938, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165641).
CINCINNATI — In a wide-ranging ruling issued Sept. 10, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a Michigan federal judge's denial of a copyright and trademark defendant's motion for a new trial while also affirming the judge's determination that the plaintiff in the case is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law with regard to its "CATIA" trademark (Dassault Systèmes, SA v. Keith Childress, Nos. 17-2175, -2239, -2416, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 28941).
SAN FRANCISCO — In an opinion and separate memorandum disposition both issued Aug. 20, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals partly upheld a grant of summary judgment in favor of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE), accused of copyright infringement and unfair competition in connection with its software patch and technical support for Oracle America Inc.'s "Solaris" software (Oracle America Inc. v. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, No. 19-15506, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 26457, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 26508).
NEW YORK — Musician Edmond Grant, professionally known as Eddy Grant, sued President Donald J. Trump and his campaign in New York federal court on Sept. 1, claiming that the president's recent use of his 1983 hit song "Electric Avenue" in a campaign video that was posted on his Twitter account constituted copyright infringement (Edmond Grant, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 20-7103, S.D. N.Y.).
CINCINNATI — In an Aug. 21 ruling, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals left intact a final judgment that copyrighted database-script source code was infringed by Carrier Corp. in its effort to develop heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) testing software (ECIMOS LLC v. Carrier Corporation, Nos. 19-5436, -5519, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 26722).
NEW YORK — A dispute between hip-hop recording artists Curtis James Jackson III ("50 Cent") and William Leonard Roberts II ("Rick Ross") over a sample from Jackson's song "In Da Club" was properly resolved in Roberts' favor by a Connecticut federal judge on summary judgment, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 19 (Curtis James Jackson III v. William Leonard Roberts II, No. 19-480, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 26264).
SAN FRANCISCO — Dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction in a copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit over the "ePorner" website was affirmed Aug. 17 by a deeply divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in a holding that spawned two concurrences and a dissent (AMA Multimedia LLC v. Marcin Wanat, No. 18-15051, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 26140).
NEW YORK — In an Aug. 17 holding, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed findings by a New York federal judge that allegations of copyright infringement against CBS Broadcasting Inc., producer of "Star Trek: Discovery" fail as a matter of law (Anas Osama Ibrahim Abdin v. CBS Broadcasting Inc., et al., No. 19-3160, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 25956).
NEW YORK — A photographer was not required to show that BuzzFeed Inc. knew that its posting of his picture without proper copyright management information (CMI) would result in future third-party infringement to succeed on his Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claim against the website operator, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Aug. 13, upholding a judgment and an award in the photographer's favor (Gregory Mango v. BuzzFeed Inc., No. 19-0446, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 25674).
ST. LOUIS — Although agreeing with a Minnesota federal judge that claims of copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation involving payroll source code do not warrant preliminary injunctive relief, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 14 vacated the district court's order in part, with instructions to consider "in the first instance" allegations that the software was wrongfully sublicensed (MPAY Inc. v. Erie Custom Computer Applications Inc., et al., No. 19-2206, 8th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 25816).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In finding that Led Zeppelin's classic song "Stairway To Heaven" did not infringe a song by the band Spirit, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in limiting the scope of the Copyright Act of 1909 to just sheet music, a trustee for the original songwriter argues in an Aug. 6 petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that he says will affect "the future of music copyright law" (Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et al., No. 20-142, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In an Aug. 3 holding, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a California federal judge's rejection of allegations The Walt Disney Co. infringed an author's copyright with the film "Inside Out" (Carla Masterson v. The Walt Disney Co., No. 19-55650, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 24394).
NEW YORK — In an Aug. 4 holding, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a New York federal judge's determination that copyright management information (CMI) was not removed from a plaintiff's advertising materials, compelling dismissal of an infringement lawsuit (James H. Fischer v. Stephen T. Forrest Jr., et al., No. 18-2959, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 24491).
DENVER — In an Aug. 11 holding, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a Utah federal judge's grant of summary judgment in favor of two defendants accused of infringing the popular "LifePlanner" personal organizer, finding that "no reasonable juror could conclude" that a competing organizer is substantially similar (EC Design LLC v. Craft Smith LLC, et al., No. 19-4087, 10th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 25342).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In supplemental briefs filed Aug. 7 at the U.S. Supreme Court's direction, Google LLC and Oracle America Inc. offer competing views as to whether the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals correctly applied the de novo standard of review when it reversed a judgment based on a jury verdict, which found that Google's use of Java code in creating its Android operating system (OS) constituted fair use and did not infringe Oracle's copyrights (Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., No. 18-956, U.S. Sup.).
By Virginia Wolk Marino and Emily Kappers
PHOENIX — After two remands by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a federal judge in Arizona on July 27 denied a motion to dismiss allegations of copyright infringement leveled against various entities and one individual associated with the website Porn.com (AMA Multimedia LLC v. Sagan Limited, et al., No. 16-1269, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132333).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on July 24 ruled that a home design website developer has sufficiently cured pleading deficiencies relating to its state and federal trade secret law claims made against Facebook Inc. and one of its affiliates and Princeton University in connection with the defendants' alleged scraping of digital information from its website (UAB "Planner5D" v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 3:20-cv-02198, N.D. Calif.).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 21 reversed a Colorado federal judge's grant of summary judgment in favor of a copyright infringement defendant, finding instead that there is a genuine issue of material fact with regard to whether a sculpture of the human body is a useful article (Zahourek Systems Inc., et al. v. Balanced Body University, Nos. 18-1300, -1312, 10th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 22656).