SAN FRANCISCO — After its previous copyright infringement claim against Facebook Inc. and Princeton University was dismissed for failing to plead compliance with, or exemption from, the Copyright Act’s registration requirement, a Lithuanian firm on March 31 filed a new lawsuit against the same defendants in California federal court, realleging its claim that its now-registered collection of 3D objects was copied (UAB “Planner5D” v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 3:20-cv-02198, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two weeks after Illinois waived its right to respond to a petition for certiorari questioning whether the Illinois Supreme Court used the proper scrutiny standard in determining that the state’s revenge porn law does not violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 2 requested a response from the state to the questions raised by a woman who was indicted under the statute (Bethany Austin v. Illinois, No. 19-1029, U.S. Sup.).
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana appeals court panel on March 31 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a ransomware attack against an insured did not trigger computer fraud coverage under its commercial insurance policy, finding that although the hijacker's conduct was illegal, there was no deception in the hijacker's bitcoin ransom demands (G&G Oil Co. of Indiana v. Continental Western Insurance Company, No. 19A-PL-1498, Ind. App., 2020 Ind. App. LEXIS 126).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a March 13 merits reply brief, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) tells the U.S. Supreme Court that longstanding case law teaches that the adding of a top-level domain (TLD), such as “.com,” to a generic term does not create a registrable, protectable trademark, asking the high court to reverse a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling to the contrary in favor of Booking.com B.V. (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al. v. Booking.com B.V., No. 19-46, U.S. Sup.).
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A Massachusetts federal magistrate judge on March 27 granted preliminary approval to an agreement between the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that would settle NAD’s class claims over website inaccessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in exchange for the institute’s commitment to proactively provide captioning for video and audio content posted on its website (National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, No. 3:15-cv-30024, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53643).
OAKLAND, Calif. — In a lawsuit in which it alleges copyright infringement and computer fraud by a purported group of hackers, Niantic Inc. filed a brief in California federal court on March 26, opposing the defendants’ motion to dismiss the video game maker’s requests for statutory damages and attorney fees related to two of the three games at issue in the lawsuit (Niantic Inc. v. Global++, et al., No. 4:19-cv-03425, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Opposing a petition for certiorari by the family members of terror attack victims, Facebook Inc. filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on March 24, arguing that claims that it aided terrorists via their use of its social network were properly dismissed as barred by the Communications Decency Act (CDA) (Stuart Force, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 19-859, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Allegations that Google LLC willfully infringed a patent covering a portable QWERTY keyboard were dismissed March 26 by a federal judge in California, but the patent owner was granted leave to amend (Google LLC v. Princeps Secundus LLC, No. 19-6566, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52753).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Alabama Supreme Court correctly found jurisdiction lacking in a lawsuit over a page that Facebook Inc. declined to take down, the social network said in a March 23 brief opposing a petition for certiorari by the woman who requested the page’s takedown, with the respondent asserting that it did not have any suit-related contacts with Alabama (K.G.S. v. Facebook Inc., No. 19-910, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK — A majority of Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals judges on March 23 voted to deny a petition for rehearing by President Donald J. Trump of a panel ruling that found that the president violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by blocking certain Twitter users from responding to his tweets, which the panel held constituted viewpoint discrimination on a public forum (Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 18-1691, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9025).
SAN DIEGO — A California appeals panel on March 20 held that a lower court erred in finding that plaintiffs have demonstrated a probability of prevailing on the merits of their libel, false light and unfair competition claims arising from the publication of an article regarding the safety of a cannabidiol (CBD) product, reversing and remanding with directions to enter an order granting the defendants' motion to strike these three claims under California’s strategic lawsuit against public participation (anti-SLAPP) statute (Medical Marijuana, Inc., et al. v. ProjectCBD.com, et al., No D074755, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1, 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 233).
NEW YORK — An artist won the right to amend her complaint on March 19, when a New York federal magistrate judge approved the addition of two defendants accused of contributory copyright infringement (Annamarie Trombetta v. Marie Novocin, et al., No. 18-993, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47816).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on March 16 ruled that although the lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit against graphics processing unit (GPU) manufacturer NVIDIA Corp. and certain of its senior executives have sufficiently pleaded loss causation in arguing that the defendants misrepresented the company’s revenues based on the sale of its gaming GPU to cryptocurrency miners in making their federal securities law claims, the lead plaintiffs failed to plead their claims with the required falsity or scienter (Iron Workers Local 580 Joint Funds, et al. v. NVIDIA Corp., et al., No. 18-7669, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45259).
BOSTON — A technology company’s former employee breached the terms of his employment agreements by providing the company’s proprietary set of algorithms used in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) to Facebook Inc. in violation of state and federal trade secret laws, the company alleges in a March 4 complaint filed in Massachusetts federal court (Neural Magic Inc. v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 20-10444, D. Mass.).
SEATTLE — Concluding that YouTube LLC is a private entity, despite its size and ubiquity, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 26 upheld the dismissal of a conservative organization’s claims that the video-hosting platform’s censoring of its videos violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it is not a state actor (Prager University v. Google LLC, et al., No. 18-15712, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 5903).
By Karen Cestari and Bryce Friedman
TAMPA, Fla. — The day after a putative class of content moderators moved in Florida federal court for discovery of settlement details in a similar unsafe workplace suit against Facebook Inc., the social network on March 16 filed a notice confirming a proposed settlement in the other case in which moderators purportedly experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from viewing violent and disturbing content, while expressing reluctance to reveal nonfinalized details prior to the filing of a pending preliminary approval motion (Debrynna Garrett, et al. v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 8:20-cv-00585, M.D. Fla.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Granting a dating website operator’s motion to compel, a California federal magistrate judge on March 11 found that a Cyprus-based defendant that allegedly engaged in trademark infringement did not provide sufficient declarations and explanation in its responses to discovery requests related to establishing U.S. jurisdiction over the purported competing “sugar daddy” site operator (Reflex Media Inc., et al. v. Apiriliaco Ltd., et al., No. 8:16-cv-00795, C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a March 9 petition for certiorari, LinkedIn Corp. asks the U.S. Supreme Court to decide “a question of fundamental importance” as to whether a public-facing website can claim the unauthorized access protections of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) against companies that employ data collection methods such as scrapers and bots (LinkedIn Corp. v. hiQ Labs Inc., No. 19-1116, U.S. Sup.).