Ninth Circuit: Non-Exclusive Licensing Agent Has No Standing to Sue for Copyright Infringement

By Trisha Farmer Lau and David G. Barker In DRK Photo v. McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings, LLC, the Ninth Circuit held that an Arizona stock photo agency could not sue McGraw-Hill under the Copyright Act for using images in textbooks without permission. The court recognized there was no bright line answer to this now oft-litigated issue, when it affirmed summary judgment in favor of the defendants, “because DRK is a nonexclusive licensing agent for the photographs at issue and has failed to demonstrate any adequate ownership interest in the copyrights to confer standing.” DRK Photo (“DRK”) licenses stock photos created   Read More »

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Ninth Circuit Construes Family Movie Act and Affirms Injunction Against Streaming Service

By Jacob C. Jones and David G. Barker In December 2016, a California federal court issued a preliminary injunction against VidAngel, Inc.’s custom-filtered video streaming service.  Thursday, in Hollywood Studios v. VidAngel, Inc., a Ninth Circuit panel affirmed the injunction, agreeing that Disney, Fox, and Warner were likely to prevail on their copyright infringement and technology circumvention claims and that VidAngel’s fair use defense would fail. VidAngel provided customizable filters that enabled users to skip scenes or silence objectionable content streamed to their devices.  The end-user purchased a newly-released DVD or Blu-ray disc from VidAngel, who would hold the physical media   Read More »

Posted in Copyright Litigation, IP and Technology Litigation | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

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District Courts Disagree on Venue-Waiver Issues After TC Heartland

By David G. Barker At the end of May this year, the Supreme Court unanimously clarified the law on venue in patent infringement lawsuits (see here). For 27 years, litigants had relied on a Federal Circuit decision, VE Holding Corp. v. Johnson Gas Appliance Co. (1990), that allowed patent owners to file suit virtually anywhere an infringing product was sold. In TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, the Supreme Court limited venue, and district courts are reaching different conclusions about whether litigants have waived venue arguments by not asserting them before TC Heartland. TC Heartland held that a 1957   Read More »

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A Good Day for Free Speech Advocates: Supreme Court Holds Unconstitutional Federal Trademark Law’s Anti-Disparagement Provision

By Andrew F. Halaby In Matal v. Tam, the United States Supreme Court held unconstitutional, under the First Amendment, the “disparagement clause” of 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), which permits denial of a trademark registration application by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on the ground that it may “disparage . . . or bring . . . into contemp or disrepute” any “persons, living or dead.”  The PTO had rejected under that statute an Asian-American dance-rock band’s application to register the band’s name, “THE SLANTS.” All of the eight justices considering the rejection – new Justice Gorsuch playing no   Read More »

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Supreme Court to Consider Constitutionality of AIA Inter Partes Review Proceedings

By Rachael Peters Pugel and Andrew F. Halaby The Supreme Court has granted a writ of certiorari challenging the constitutionality of inter partes review proceedings conducted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office under the America Invents Act.  The Court’s ruling in this matter, especially if it holds inter partes reviews to be unconstitutional, could massively destabilize the patent law system by casting into doubt an administrative regime that has diverted thousands of patent disputes from the federal court system, as well as the many hundreds of decisions invalidating patent claims so far yielded by that regime. Post-issuance proceedings   Read More »

Posted in Inter Partes Review, IP and Technology Litigation, Patent Litigation, Post Grant Proceedings | Tagged , , , , ,

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