WASHINGTON, D.C. — Findings by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the addition of a generic top-level domain (TLD) to a generic term can transform that combination into a protectable, descriptive trademark were affirmed June 30 by a divided U.S. Supreme Court (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al. v. Booking.com B.V., No. 19-46, U.S. Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. — The operator of two Russian-based “stream-ripping” websites, which a group of record labels accuse of engaging in piracy, has contacts with Virginia that “are quantitatively and qualitatively sufficient to demonstrate that he purposefully availed himself of the privilege of conducting business” in the state, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 26, reversing a trial court’s dismissal of a copyright infringement lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction (UMG Recordings Inc., et al. v. Tofig Kurbanov, et al., No. 19-1124, 4th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 20037).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The collection of publicly available data from a website does not violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a data analytics firm tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a June 25 brief opposing LinkedIn Corp.’s petition for certiorari over an injunction preventing the professional network operator from blocking such data collection (LinkedIn Corp. v. hiQ Labs Inc., No. 19-1116, U.S. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A group of creators of Black-themed content on YouTube LLC’s online video-sharing platform filed a punitive class complaint in California federal court on June 16, claiming that the company engages in “knowing and intentional” race discrimination by targeting and restricting videos on the basis of “race, identity or viewpoint” (Kimberly Celeste Newman, et al. v. Google LLC, No. 5:20-cv-04011, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Upholding a grant of summary judgment to the operator of “the Internet Movie Database,” a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 19 found that a California statute, which required the website operator to remove subjects’ age information upon request, to be a content-based restriction on speech that violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (IMDb.com Inc. v. Xavier Becerra, et al., Nos. 18-15463 and 18-15469, 9th Cir.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In a June 16 request for inter partes review (IPR), a petitioner maintains that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board should cancel various claims of a patent that, among other things, discloses the display on a mobile device of contact icons in the form of “contact bubbles” that may be combined to form contact groups (Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless v. Huawei Device Co. Ltd., No. IPR2020-01117, PTAB).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 16 shot down a petition for mandamus by Apple Inc., paving the way for a Texas trial on allegations that the software giant infringed various patents through products that support the IEEE 802.11ac wireless networking standard (In re: Apple Inc., No. 20-127, Fed. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 18899).
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Responding to an objection to the settlement of a class action over the accessibility of the website of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the school and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed responses May 26, telling a Massachusetts federal court that the objector misstates the settlement’s provisions and fails to establish that it is unfair (National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, No. 3:15-cv-30024, D. Mass.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a June 11 holding, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals disagreed with a Nevada federal judge that a defendant accused of disseminating, via BitTorrent network, the copyrighted film “Criminal” is entitled to reimbursement of her attorney fees (Criminal Productions Inc. v. Tracy Cordoba, No. 18-15919, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 18538).
ATLANTA — More than a year and a half after the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held arguments in Winn-Dixie Stores Inc.’s appeal of a ruling that it was obligated to make its website equally accessible for vision-impaired consumers under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the customer who sued the grocery chain filed a supplemental brief on June 15, drawing the court’s attention to the statutory interpretation standard used in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued the same day (Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. v. Juan Carlos Gil, No. 17-13467, 11th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA — After rehearing en banc an appeal of a products liability suit against Amazon.com Inc., the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 2 certified a question to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court about whether an e-commerce business can be held liable under state law for a third-party vendor’s product (Heather B. Oberdorf, et al. v. Amazon.com Inc., No. 18-1041, 3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 17974).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald J. Trump’s recent executive order addressing censorship on social media platforms violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) alleges in a complaint filed June 2 in District of Columbia federal court, because the order’s objective of redefining immunity for interactive computer service (ICS) providers under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) is retaliatory and will chill free speech on the internet (Center for Democracy and Technology v. Donald J. Trump, No. 1:20-cv-01456, D. D.C.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Communications Decency Act (CDA) bars fraud and unfair competition claims by a man who claims that Facebook Inc. destroyed his social network pages and his related business income by removing posts that purportedly violated its community standards, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 12, affirming a trial court’s dismissal of his complaint (Jason Fyk v. Facebook Inc., No. 19-16232, 9th Cir.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A public sector financial technology (FinTech) platform company sued a former employee and an industry competitor he formed in New Jersey federal court on June 9, alleging that the former employee misappropriated the company’s trade secret information to build a competing business and destroy the plaintiff’s business in violation of state and federal trade secrets law (Statistical Zero Group LLC v. Sergio Marrero, et al., No. 20-7030, D. N.J.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In a June 9 petition for inter partes review (IPR), Amazon.com Inc. requests cancellation of 30 claims of a patent relating to a client-server system (Amazon.com Inc. v. Hammond Development International Inc., No. IPR2020-01066, PTAB).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A patent covering an active matrix organic electroluminescent display with a pixel structure that allows for increased brightness should be canceled as obvious, Apple Inc. asserts in a June 8 petition for inter partes review by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Apple Inc. v. Solas OLED Ltd., No. IPR2020-01059, PTAB).
PHOENIX — A dispute over the www.uffizi.com domain name yielded an award of $119,460 in attorney fees and costs on June 3, when a federal judge in Arizona agreed that a declaratory judgment action qualifies as exceptional (BoxNic Anstalt v. Gallerie degli Uffizi, No. 18-1263, D. Ariz., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98121).
AUSTIN, Texas — After two Texas trial courts and an appellate court declined to dismiss three lawsuits claiming negligence for sex-trafficking incidents that were initiated through contact on its social network, Facebook Inc. on May 29 filed of petition for mandamus with the Texas Supreme Court, asserting that the Communications Decency Act (CDA) provides it with immunity from the lawsuits that were based on communications by third parties (In re Facebook Inc., et al., No. 20-0434, Texas Sup.).
BOSTON — Harvard University’s switch to online-only education in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a subpar learning opportunity for students, a graduate student alleges in a May 20 putative class complaint filed in a Massachusetts federal court seeking refunds for tuition and various fees (Student A, et al. v. Harvard University, No. 20-10968, D. Mass.).
CHICAGO — Opining that although a software developer has been given numerous opportunities to sufficiently identify trade secrets a former business partner is alleged to have misappropriated when it developed its own rebate portal processing system using the developer’s trade secrets, a federal judge in Illinois on May 31 held that the developer has failed to do so (NEXT Payment Solutions Inc. v. CLEAResult Consulting Inc., No. 17-8829, N.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94764).