NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 8 upheld a New York federal judge’s rejection of allegations that a photographer and a makeup company incurred legal liability for their use of an appellant’s “makeup artistry” in a photoshoot (Sammy Mourabit v. Steven Klein, et al., No. 19-2142, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 18281).
NEW YORK — A dispute over the use by the Welsh government of two copyrighted photographs of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas will proceed, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 8, because the Welsh government — a political subdivision of the United Kingdom — is not entitled to immunity in an infringement action (Pablo Star Ltd., et al. v. The Welsh Government, No. 19-1262, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 17936).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 9 agreed with a copyright owner that a California federal judge abused his discretion in imposing the “harsh penalty” of dismissal for failure to prosecute, just 81 days after the lawsuit was filed (Nick Koudis v. Real Estate Heaven International Inc., No. 19-56016, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 18069).
CINCINNATI — A majority panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 1 found that a $296,208 judgment entered against a copyright infringement defendant “shocks the conscience,” requiring remand of the dispute to a Tennessee federal judge for calculation of an appropriate remittitur or, if necessary, to retry the question of damages (Singletary Construction LLC v. Reda Home Builders Inc., et al., No. 19-5491, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 17371).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a May 29 decision, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a California federal judge’s final judgment of willful infringement following a jury trial in a copyright case on grounds that the district court was required to submit a defendant’s allegation that the copyright registration in question contained inaccurate information to the Register of Copyrights (Unicolors Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz L.P., Nos. 18-56253, 56548, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 17097).
NEW YORK — A former collaborator of Jerry Seinfeld asked the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to rehear an appeal that dismissed his copyright claims over the comedian’s series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” arguing in his May 22 petition for rehearing that a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision pertaining to accrual of authorship claims supports his claims (Christian Charles v. Jerry Seinfeld, et al., No. 19-3335, 2nd Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its May 26 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will not review a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a Texas company possessed an implied copyright license to use a Canadian company’s decades-old seismic data (Geophysical Service Inc. v. TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Co., No. 19-873, U.S. Sup.).
ATLANTA — A federal magistrate judge erred in determining that although a software company had sufficiently shown that its transformative database is a trade secret in a pair of lawsuits against industry competitors, the company failed to show that the defendants misappropriated the trade secret because he failed to consider multiple alternative types of misappropriation contemplated under Florida’s trade secret law, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 20 in partly remanding the magistrate judge’s findings of fact (Compulife Software Inc. v. Moses Newman, et al., Nos. 18-12004 and 18-12007, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 16052).
CINCINNATI — A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 14 upheld a Tennessee federal judge’s decision to deny a copyright owner’s request for an injunction that would have barred a Christmas-themed light show from taking place during the 2019 holiday season (Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market Ltd. v. Glowco LLC, et al., No. 19-6282, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 15482).
LAS VEGAS — In the latest dispute between Oracle USA Inc. and Rimini Street Inc. in their decadelong lawsuit over copyright infringements and software licenses, Oracle on May 12 filed a motion for sanctions in response to Rimini’s recent motion to enforce, which the plaintiff characterizes as harassment and an example of the defendant’s repeated attempts “to circumvent and undermine” an injunction issued against it by the Nevada federal court (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00106, D. Nev.).
SEATTLE — On remand after a mixed Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling, a Washington federal judge on May 8 ruled that a subsequent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the copyright registration requirement did not affect the status of the lawsuit in which Zillow Group Inc. was found to have infringed the copyrights of photos posted in its online real estate listings (VHT Inc. v. Zillow Group Inc., et al., No. 2:15-cv-01096, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81714).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Defendants, including Toys ‘R’ Us (TRU), accused of design patent, copyright and trade dress infringement were properly granted summary judgment by a Florida federal judge, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 14 in a dispute over a toy chalk holder (Lanard Toys Limited v. Dolgencorp LLC, et al., No. 19-1781, Fed. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 15422).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its May 18 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari that challenged findings by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a consent judgment relating to trademarks and trade secrets was assignable (M.W. Watermark LLC, et al. v. Evoqua Water Technologies LLC, No. 19-1079, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 13 ruled in what it deemed a case of first impression that a California federal judge had discretion to entertain a request for attorney fees under the Copyright Act in a declaratory judgment action concerning alleged copyright abandonment (Doc’s Dream LLC, et al. v. Dolores Press Inc., et al., No. 18-56073, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 15329).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A pair of amicus curiae briefs were submitted April 29 in support of a petition for certiorari filed by the estate of John Steinbeck’s son, with the amici urging the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve a circuit split over collateral estoppel and the rights of heirs to terminate copyright licenses under the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (CTEA) (The Estate of Thomas Steinbeck, et al. v. Waverly Scott Kaffaga, No. 19-1181, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — In a wide-ranging decision issued May 12, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found that a 2014 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court did not abrogate the Second Circuit’s application of the “discovery rule” for calculating the accrual date for a copyright infringement claim but clarified that damages for such claims are still limited to the three years preceding an infringement action (Joseph Sohm, et al. v. Scholastic Inc., Nos. 18-2110, 18-2245, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 15103).
NEW YORK — A lawsuit over the television series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” was filed more than three years after an appellant’s copyright claim accrued and was thus properly dismissed as time-barred, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 7 in a win for comedian Jerry Seinfeld (Christian Charles v. Jerry Seinfeld, et al., No. 19-3335, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 14596).
LAS VEGAS — In a May 7 reply supporting its motion to enforce orders separating the subject matter of two lawsuits between the same parties, Rimini Street Inc. asks a Nevada federal court to find that Oracle USA Inc. is judicially estopped from arguing that Rimini’s new customer support process violates a previous process that is the subject of an injunction because the new process, which is at issue in a separate lawsuit, “fundamentally changed” the infringing process (Oracle USA Inc., et al. v. Rimini Street Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-00106, D. Nev.).
LOS ANGELES — In a complaint filed May 4 in California federal court, a tequila company co-owned by Michael Jordan is accused of copyright infringement in connection with its use of photographs taken during a photoshoot in Mexico that were later used without authorization or permission (Anaïs Ganouna, et al. v. Colors You Like LLC, et al., No. 20-4070, C.D. Calif.).
CINCINNATI — A Tennessee federal judge erred in granting summary judgment to a copyright plaintiff that the statute of limitations barred a counterclaim for co-authorship, a divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 4 (Isaac Donald Everly v. Patrice Y. Everly, et al., No. 19-5150, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 14212).