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. — In a March 16 reply brief supporting its petition for certiorari, a maker of storm shelters asks the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the application of a manufacturer-distributor test in its dispute over the ownership of the “LifeSaver Storm Shelters” trademark with a former dealer of its products (Southern Illinois Storm Shelters Inc., et al. v. 4SEMO.Com Inc., No. 19-990, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an April 2 opposition brief, a water quality firm tells the U.S. Supreme Court that the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals correctly found that it was the assignee of a 2003 consent judgment that pertained to trademarks and trade secrets at issue in the present suit, asking the high court to deny a petition for certiorari raising questions of assignability and enforcement of such consent decrees (M.W. Watermark LLC, et al. v. Evoqua Water Technologies LLC, No. 19-1079, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Although agreeing with an Arizona federal judge’s determination that the Jack Daniel’s trademark and related bottle design trade dress are valid, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 31 reversed findings that the trademark and trade dress are infringed and diluted by a squeaking dog toy in the shape of a liquor bottle (VIP Products LLC v. Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc., No. 18-16012, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 10037).
TRENTON, N.J. — In an April 1 memorandum, a federal judge in New Jersey ordered a nonprofit organization to pay a fellow nonprofit more than $11 million in disgorged profits for trademark infringement (Kars 4 Kids Inc. v. America Can!, Nos. 14-7770, 16-4232, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56857).
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.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in California erred in declaring four patents relating to voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology ineligible under Section 101 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. §101, the patent owner maintains in a Feb. 24 appellant brief filed with the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (VoIP-Pal.com Inc. v. Apple Inc., No. 20- 1241, 20-1244, Fed. Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a March 9 holding, a majority of the en banc Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the inverse ratio rule for establishing substantial similarity between copyrighted works, overruling its own precedent in a win for Led Zeppelin (Michael Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, et al., Nos. 16-56057, 16-56287, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 7585).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In a March 31 final written decision, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found that a system and method for blending butane into gasoline streams at any point along a petroleum pipeline is unpatentable (Magellan Midstream Partners LP v. Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals L.P., No. IPR2019-00025, PTAB).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on March 30 ruled that a medical imaging systems manufacturer and two of its subsidiaries have sufficiently stated their claims for trade secret misappropriation in violation of state and federal law because they have properly pleaded that certain software and systems they manufacture for their ultrasound hardware devices are trade secrets (Philips North America LLC v. Summit Imaging Inc., et al., No. 19-1745, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55073).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 30 affirmed an award of $42,901 in a dispute over two musical works, rejecting competing challenges by a copyright infringement plaintiff and defendant (Alisa Apps v. Universal Music Group Inc., No. 18-15987, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9827).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 31 reached the merits of and ultimately affirmed a Texas federal judge’s construction of various disputed claims in a fracking patent, after rejecting a challenge to the court’s appellate jurisdiction (EnerPol LLC v. Schlumberger Technology Corp., Nos. 2019-1079, -1120, Fed. Cir.).
SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in California on March 27 denied a motion for summary judgment by MillerCoors LLC, which stands accused of willfully infringing the “STONE®” trademark when “refreshing” the packaging for its sub-premium “Keystone” beer (Stone Brewing Company LLC v. MillerCoors LLC, No. 18-331, S.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54864).
ORLANDO, Fla. — A consumer survey to determine the likelihood of confusion of trademarks was rendered meaningless when the expert who conducted the survey removed the marks from the two products used in the comparison, a Florida federal judge held March 30 in granting a defendant company’s motion to exclude the expert’s testimony (Pro Video Instruments, LLC v. Thor Fiber, Inc., No. 6:18-cv-1823, M.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54876).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In a March 30 final written decision, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board canceled all 14 challenged claims of a patent directed to a bandwidth-sensitive data compression system, in a win for Netflix Inc. (Netflix Inc. v. Realtime Adaptive Streaming LLC, No. IPR2018-01817, PTAB).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a March 25 appellee brief, the two named inventors of a patented treatment for castration resistant prostate cancer defend the rejection by a California federal judge of an appellant’s assertion that he is a co-inventor (Degui Chen v. Michael Jung, et al., No. 20-1255, Fed. Cir.).
RICHMOND, Va. —The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 27 agreed with a North Carolina federal judge that an appellant’s claimed trade dress for its chicken feeder is functional, and thus qualifies for protection only via utility patent (CTB Inc. v. Hog Slat Inc., No. 18-2107, 4th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9642).
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.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A patent owner’s request for rehearing of a recent decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that denied a stay or termination of nine inter partes reviews (IPRs) of six patents was denied March 25 by the board (Comcast Cable Communications LLC v. Rovi Guides Inc., Nos. IPR2019-00224, IPR2019-00231, IPR2019-00237, IPR2019-00239, IPR2019-00281, IPR2019-00290, IPR2019-00292, IPR2019-00299, IPR2019-00555, PTAB).
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).