NEW ORLEANS — In what it deemed a case of first impression, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 15 ruled that failure to mitigate damages does not preclude liability altogether when assessing statutory damages under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 504(c), and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. § 1203(c) (Energy Intelligence Group Inc. v. Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors LP, No. 18-20350, 5th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 1347).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Jan. 15 ruling, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that a federal judge in Connecticut did not abuse his discretion in granting LEGO A/S a preliminary injunction barring a competitor from selling action figures that infringe LEGO’s “minifigure” copyrights (LEGO A/S v. ZURU Inc., No. 19-2122, Fed. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 1282).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ten months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Rimini Street Inc. on nontaxable costs in a nearly decade-old copyright dispute with Oracle USA Inc., the high court on Jan. 13 declined to grant the software support firm’s second petition for certiorari, this time on a question on injunctive relief related to an innocent infringement verdict (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al., No. 19-589, U.S. Sup., 2020 U.S. LEXIS 210).
NEW ORLEANS — A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 9 that the statutory bar for pre-registration damages set forth in Section 412 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 412, extends to post-registration copying when the copying differs from a defendant’s pre-registration copying (Southern Credentialing Support Services v. Hammond Surgical Hospital, No. 18-31160, 5th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 624).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on Jan. 6 awarded the personal representative of the estate of Prince Rogers Nelson summary judgment and a permanent injunction in connection with a YouTube user’s posting of five clips of the late singer in concert (Comerica Bank & Trust N.A. v. Kian Andrew Habib, No. 17-12418, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1343).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its Jan. 6 opening merits brief, Google LLC tells the U.S. Supreme Court that the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in finding that its use of a small portion of Java code infringed Oracle America Inc.’s copyright, asserting that the ruling wrongly discounted a jury’s reasonable finding of fair use and runs counter to the merger doctrine (Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., No. 18-956, U.S. Sup.).
CONCORD, N.H. — In a Jan. 6 holding, a federal judge in New Hampshire agreed with a defendant that allegations that it infringed a trademarked headstock design as depicted in a photograph used by the defendant without authorization fail because the design in question is not entitled to trademark protection (D’Pergo Custom Guitars Inc. v. Sweetwater Sound Inc., No. 17-747, D. N.H., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1358).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 27 affirmed the dismissal by a California federal judge of allegations that Office Depot Inc. committed copyright infringement when it made copies of a publisher’s math curriculum for schools and school district licensees (Great Minds v. Office Depot Inc., No. 18-55331, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 38553).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A fabric design company tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a Nov. 27 petition for certiorari that the invalidation of a copyright registration under Section 411(b) of the Copyright Act requires that an applicant’s inclusion of inaccurate information on a copyright application be knowing and intentional (Gold Value International Textile Inc. v. Sanctuary Clothing LLC, et al., No. 19-708, U.S. Sup.).
MOBILE, Ala. — Two defendants accused of infringing a copyrighted photograph that was the subject of an existing settlement agreement and subsequent release were awarded $20,632.50 in attorney fees and $250.30 in costs on Dec. 20 by a federal judge in Alabama (Richard N. Bell v. Sandy Frost, et al., No. 19-230, S.D. Ala., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 219035).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal magistrate judge in California on Dec. 20 dismissed a declaratory judgment counterclaim of false advertising alleged in a dispute over co-authorship of the documentary “Sign My Name to Freedom” (Focal Point Films LLC, et al. v. Arjot Sandhu, No. 19-2898, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 219314).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Following a 12-day trial, a jury empaneled in Virginia federal court on Dec. 19 deemed internet service provider (ISP) Cox Communications a willful infringer of 10,017 copyrighted musical works; the jury assessed damages of $99,830.29 for each work, awarding the recording industry $1 billion in damages (Sony Music Entertainment, et al. v. Cox Communications, No. 18-950, E.D. Va.).
SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on Dec. 17 ruled that “no reasonable person would conclude” that he was not impartial in his handling of a trade secret misappropriation and Copyright Act lawsuit and determined that the owner of a sole-proprietorship failed to sufficiently show that reconsideration of the judge’s order dismissing her claims in an amended complaint is necessary (Sara Elizabeth Siegler v. Sorrento Therapeutics Inc., et al., No. 18-1681, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 216776).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A determination by a North Carolina federal judge that a federal statute regulating pesticides precludes copyright protection for the required elements of fungicide labels was “premature,” a Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 18 (Syngenta Crop Protection LLC v. Willowood Limited, et al., Nos. 2018-1614, -2044, Fed. Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A software company was properly awarded a preliminary injunction barring its former employees and their new employer from disclosing or using source code acquired during their employment, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 16 (Softketeers Inc. v. Regal West Corporation, et al., No. 19-55529, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 37079).
CHICAGO — Citing lack of contacts by three defendants with a forum state, an Illinois federal judge on Dec. 13 granted dismissal of copyright infringement claims stemming from the alleged copying of a product catalog (Seven Oaks Millwork Inc. v. Royal Foam US LLC, et al., No. 19-6234, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 214721).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nine months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against it in a dispute over an award of nontaxable costs in a long-running software copyright lawsuit, Oracle USA Inc. on Dec. 6 waived its right to respond to a new petition for certiorari filed by defendant Rimini Street Inc., this time over the propriety of a permanent injunction against an “innocent” infringer (Rimini Street Inc., et al. v. Oracle USA Inc., et al., No. 19-589, U.S. Sup.).
ST. LOUIS — “Stickers” depicting a plaintiff’s name and logo placed on a copyrighted work “may constitute” copyright management information (CMI), a federal magistrate judge in Missouri ruled Dec. 10 (etrailer Corp. v. TexTrail Inc., No. 19-2490, E.D. Mo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 212304).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its Dec. 9 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court turned away an author’s challenge to a decision by the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that affirmed dismissal of copyright infringement allegations against a movie studio and book publisher (Jennie Nicassio v. Viacom International Inc., et al., No. 19-560, U.S. Sup.).
SEATTLE — Two months after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a copyright infringement dispute over the use of photos by Zillow Inc. in its online real estate listings, Zillow, on remand, moved for judgment on the pleadings on Dec. 6, telling a Washington federal court that an intervening “landmark ruling” by the high court in Fourth Estate Pub. Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, 139 S. Ct. 881 (2019), mandates dismissal of a real estate photography firm’s claims against it because copyrights in the photos at issue were not registered before the suit was filed (VHT Inc. v. Zillow Group Inc., et al., No. 2:15-cv-01096, W.D. Wash.).