WASHINGTON, D.C. — A dispute over collateral estoppel and the rights of heirs to terminate copyright licenses under the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (CTEA) will not be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which on Oct. 5 denied certiorari as requested by the estate of author John Steinbeck's son (The Estate of Thomas Steinbeck, et al. v. Waverly Scott Kaffaga, No. 19-1181, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its Oct. 5 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court revealed it will let stand findings by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the Led Zeppelin classic song "Stairway To Heaven" does not infringe a copyrighted song by the band Spirit (Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et al., No. 20-142, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — Arguing that PepsiCo. Inc. did not abide by the provisions of an agency services agreement, a Connecticut advertising agency tells the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in its Sept. 11 appellant brief that a trial court erred in finding no substantial similarity between an ad that it pitched to the soft drink firm and television advertisements company ended up airing (Betty Inc. v. PepsiCo Inc., No. 20-891, 2nd Cir.).
ATLANTA — In a Sept. 30 unpublished opinion, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a Georgia federal judge's rejection of allegations that several appellees filed fraudulent trademark infringement notices and misrepresented the nature of a trademark injunction in their dispute with a former distributor (Steven Mandala v. Tire Stickers LLC, et al., No. 19-14416, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 31016).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — Two expert witnesses for a woman alleging copyright infringement by the makers of professional wrestling video games for reproducing the tattoos she inked on one wrestler withstood challenges to their opinions on video game design and damages when an Illinois federal judge on Sept. 26 denied motions to exclude the experts' testimony from trial (Catherine Alexander v. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., No. 18-966, S.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177131).
CINCINNATI — A federal judge in Tennessee did not err in instructing jurors that where use of "unauthorized preexisting material pervades the entire work . . . copyright protection may not be granted," the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 23 (Hiller LLC v. Success Group International Learning Alliance LLC, et al., No. 19-6115, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 30396).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee federal judge on Sept. 22 deemed three defendants asserting co-authorship rights in the Everly Brothers' song "Cathy's Clown" "aggressors" in the case, in that they "clearly seek affirmative relief" and assert grounds that "effectively mirror their defense" to a plaintiff's declaratory judgment action with regard to the validity of a termination notice (Isaac Donald Everly v. Patrice Everly, et al., No. 17-1440, M.D. Tenn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173698).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Sept. 18 awarded a professional photographer partial summary judgment on his copyright claim leveled in connection with the display by Elie Tahari Ltd. of his picture of model Linh Niller on social media without his consent (Mark Iantosca v. Elie Tahari, Ltd., No. 19-4527, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171512).
ATLANTA — A federal judge in Florida did not err in rejecting on summary judgment allegations of copyright and trademark infringement levied by a used car dealership against a competitor, in connection with the parties' billboard advertisements, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 17 (Off Lease Only Inc. v. Lakeland Motors LLC, No. 20-10825, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 29691).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a long-running dispute over copyright infringement and software licensing between a British and an American company, the American firm on Sept. 16 filed a motion in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a 60-day extension of its deadline to respond to a petition for certiorari concerning the authority of U.S. courts to enforce monetary judgments against foreign companies under the All Writs Act (AWA) (World Programming Limited v. SAS Institute Inc., No. 20-304, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A month after The Walt Disney Co. waived its right to respond to a petition for certiorari in a case where both a trial court and an appeals court found that Disney's movie "Inside Out" did not infringe characters created by a child development expert, the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 16 requested a response from the company to address questions about the proper copyright standard for fictional characters (The Moodsters Co. v. The Walt Disney Co., et al., No. 20-132, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 16 found that it need not answer the question of whether the voluntary dismissal of copyright infringement claims renders a defendant a "prevailing party" for purposes of an award of attorney fees because a New Jersey federal judge correctly deemed the defendant unentitled to such an award (Morning Sun Books Inc. v. Uncle Dave's Brass Model Trains, No. 18-3510, 3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 29448).
LAS VEGAS — In a 94-page order issued Sept. 14, a federal judge in Nevada — in response to seven separate motions for partial summary judgment — ruled in favor of software maker and copyright infringement counterclaimant Oracle Corp., rejecting various defenses raised by a plaintiff seeking a declaration of noninfringement (Rimini Street Inc. v. Oracle Corp., No. 14-1699, D. Nev., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168222).
CHICAGO — A copyright dispute over the retransmission of local television stations to DISH Network subscribers was dismissed Sept. 14 by a federal judge in Illinois, who found that DISH had consent to continue airing footage from 13 Cox Enterprises television stations (Terrier Media Buyer Inc. v. DISH Network, No. 20-583, N.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167540).
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).