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 »

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Glimmers of Justice Gorsuch’s Prospective IP Jurisprudence

On April 10, 2017, Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as the 113th justice of the Supreme Court, filling the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia.  While on the Tenth Circuit, Justice Gorsuch wrote opinions on complex trade secret, copyright, and trademark issues in a detail-oriented manner that indicates balanced treatment of intellectual property owners and challengers. His intellectual property opinions delve into complicated issues and thoroughly explain his reasoning.  But his criticism of Chevron deference, exemplified in his concurring opinion in Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch (2016), raises questions about how he will approach agency interpretation of intellectual property laws. Click here   Read More »

Posted in Copyright Litigation, IP and Technology Litigation, Patent Litigation, Trade Secrets Litigation, Trademark Litigation | Tagged

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Supreme Court Defines Test for Copyright Eligibility of Useful Article Design Features

Today, in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc. (previously discussed here), the Supreme Court resolved an issue that previously had been the subject of “widespread disagreement” in the federal courts—the proper test for determining when a feature incorporated into the design of a useful article is eligible for copyright protection. The Copyright Act protects “original works of authorship,” which include “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works,” and are further defined as “two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art, photographs, prints and art reproductions, maps, globes, charts, diagrams, models, and technical drawings, including architectural plans.” “Useful articles”— articles   Read More »

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Someone Copied My Company’s Website Without Permission — What Can I Do About It?

You encounter a website that looks very similar to your company’s website. The similarities make clear that your website was copied.  Even worse, it was copied by a competitor.  Please see this article that discusses the remedies you may have under intellectual property laws.

Posted in Copyright Litigation, Internet and Domain Name Litigation, Patent Litigation, Trademark Litigation

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