App developers who pay 30% commission fee to Apple via In-App Purchasing should take note of an important legal decision recently presented to the Supreme Court for possible review. The Supreme Court’s decision whether to take the case, and its ultimate decision if it does take the case, will directly affect the commission that developers must pay Apple to sell their products using the App Store. In particular, Apple has asked the Supreme Court to limit the scope of a permanent injunction issued against it by a lower federal court in the Northern District of California in Epic Games, Inc. v. Apple, Inc. and upheld on appeal by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. (Epic also filed a separate petition requesting Supreme Court review of the lower court’s rejection of certain antitrust claims, but this blog only discusses the petition filed by Apple.) Continue Reading Will Supreme Court Consider Whether to Allow an Alternative to In-App Purchasing on the App Store?
In Thorner v. Sony Computer Entertainment America, LLC (Case No. 2011-1114, Feb. 1, 2012) (Moore*, Rader & Aiken (D. Or. sitting by designation)), the Federal Circuit reiterated the prohibition against importing limitations from the specification and reversed a district court construction depending from consistent uses of the disputed phrase in the specification.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Narrows Claim Construction Options in Game Controller Suit
Social media has become a part of everyday life. As Shakespeare has written: "This news is not old enough, yet it is every day news." The minutiae of every moment is narrated through status updates. Digital photographs are taken and instantaneously posted minute-by-minute on the Internet for the world to see. This lightning fast use of social media raises new and different intellectual property challenges which have not been previously addressed by courts. On January 14, 2011, the Southern District of New York addressed a particularly interesting copyright question raised by the use of Twitpic – a service that allows users to post pictures to the Twitter microblogging and social networking website. Agence France Presse v. Morel, 2011 WL 147718 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 14, 2011). Continue Reading Tweet Me! – The Southern District of New York Answers Copyright Questions Raised By Twitter and Twitpic Use
In Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel, Snow Crash, humans interact as avatars in the “Metaverse,” the collective product of online shared three-dimensional space. As imagined by Stephenson, this “Metaverse” has been created by all virtual worlds – it is an augmented and enhanced physical reality, a physically persistent virtual space. The novel is set in Los Angeles during the early 21st Century. The federal government of the United States has relinquished its authority to private entrepreneurs and organizations. Franchising, individual sovereignty, and private automobiles reign supreme. Highway companies compete for traffic in the real world while the Metaverse is populated and travelled by user-controlled avatars and system daemons.Continue Reading Trademarks In The Veldt: Do Virtual Lawyers Dream Of Electric Trademarks?
Digital Media Law Forum at the Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley
On May 13, 2010, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, a panel of experts from Yahoo!, Funny or Die, United Talent Agency, Wired.com, and Sheppard Mullin examined the new business models for content creation, distribution and monetization.Continue Reading Content Monetization: What’s Working?
Video games and feature films have a lot in common. Both tell stories and have exciting visuals and music. Although one is "interactive," recent Blu-ray HD discs are now turning linear films into more immersive, interactive experiences. Rights and talent deals for both have likewise followed a path towards convergence with terms and consideration often being negotiated and drafted the same way. Nowhere is this trend more obvious than the increasing popularity of product placement in enhancing the economic value of video games by making the game play more realistic while providing increased marketing value and good will by allowing the game developer and product owner, generally at no out-of-pocket cost, to reach new audiences.Continue Reading Branded: Product Placement and Video Games
Activision licensed the Gibson trademark and trade dress in November 2006 in connection with Guitar Hero’s "custom guitar controller peripheral." Activision paid a one-time fixed license fee to cover the term of the license and Gibson agreed to help promote the Guitar Hero product.Continue Reading Gibson’s Patent Action Against Activision Hits Wrong Chord With Court In “Guitar Hero” Dispute: Summary Judgment Granted
The upcoming conversion to digital television will be one of our most important historic dates. No president will be sworn into office. No one will land on the moon. Instead…
Hot News! … for IP lawyers. Hot news is still good law. After 90 years, a dusty 1918 Supreme Court case (International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 U.S. 215 (1918)), often overlooked and generally ignored, was resurrected from the judicial cobwebs by Judge Castel. The case before Judge Castel involved the same news gathering icon and was styled Associated Press v. All Headline News Corp. (decided on February 17, 2009, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 08 Civ. 323(PKC)). As an added attraction, Judge Castel also weighed in on an increasingly diverse debate over what constitutes protected "Copyright Management Information," or "CMI," under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).Continue Reading Hot News Meets DMCA
On February 20, 2009 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a California law banning the sale or rental of "violent video games" to minors and requiring such games to be labeled "18" (the legal age for adults). While this decision may surprise some California lawmakers and parents, its holding is fully consistent with substantial United States Supreme Court precedent entitling minors to a significant measure of First Amendment protection, and leaving parents with the duty to supervise "appropriate" content.Continue Reading Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down California Law Banning the Sale or Rental of “Violent Video Games” To Minors