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?
On June 8, 2023, the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision held that a trademark claim concerning “a squeaky, chewable dog toy designed to look like a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey” which, as a play on words, turns the words “Jack Daniels” into “Bad Spaniels” and the descriptive phrase “Old No. 7 Brand Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey” into “The Old No. 2 On Your Tennessee Carpet” does not receive special First Amendment treatment where the accused infringer used the trademarks at issue to designate the source of its own goods and that, with respect to a Lanham Act dilution by tarnishment claim, “[t]he use of a mark does not count as noncommercial just because it parodies, or otherwise comments on, another’s products.”Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules “That Dog Don’t Hunt”: Bad Spaniels Toy’s Use of JACK DANIELS Marks is a Poor Parody and Dilution Act Applies
On May 18, 2023, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of famed rock photographer Lynn Goldsmith against the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.’s (AWF), in a long-awaited decision impacting fair use under Section 107(1) of the Copyright Act. The opinion written by Justice Sotomayor, in which Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett and Jackson joined, held that the “purpose and character” of AWF’s commercial use of Warhol’s portraits of Prince shared the same commercial purpose of the original photograph taken by Ms. Goldsmith and, as a result, did not constitute fair use. The Court’s decision affirmed the ruling of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that the Warhol work was derivative of the original, and noted that “the new expression may be relevant to whether a copying use has a sufficiently distinct purpose or character” but that factor was not dispositive by itself. The Court found that the Warhol Foundation’s licensing of the Orange Prince to Conde Nast did not have a sufficiently different purpose as the Goldsmith photograph because both were “portraits of Prince used in magazines to illustrate stories about Prince.”Continue Reading Supreme Court Finds Warhol’s Commercial Licensing of “Orange Prince” to Vanity Fair Is Not Fair Use and Infringes Goldsmith’s Famed Rock Photo
On May 18, 2023, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a unanimous decision in the case of Amgen Inc. et al. v. Sanofi, et al., No. 21-757. After a nine-year saga, beginning when Amgen sued Sanofi for allegedly infringing two of its patents in 2014, the Supreme Court held that Amgen’s asserted patents failed to satisfy the enablement requirement under 35 U.S.C. § 112(a), and are thus invalid.Continue Reading SCOTUS: “The More a Party Claims for Itself the More it Must Enable”
For the first time, the Supreme Court has agreed to review the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The Court’s initial review of the CFAA comes in the wake of a federal circuit split as to whether the statute can only be deployed against hackers and unauthorized users of electronic systems, or also against authorized users who use the information for unauthorized purposes. The Court’s decision may significantly affect not only how law enforcement uses the CFAA, but also whether civil litigants, such as employers, may use the CFAA to defend against unauthorized employee activities.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Case Preview—Van Buren v. United States: Does Use of a Computer for an “Improper Purpose” Violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?
Yesterday, in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, No. 16-341, the United States Supreme Court significantly changed the geography where future patent infringement suits can be filed. The patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C § 1400(b), provides that a patent-infringement lawsuit may be brought either (1) in a State where the defendant resides or (2) where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business. In TC Heartland, the Supreme Court concluded that the “residence requirement” of the patent venue statute refers only to the State of incorporation of domestic corporations. By interpreting “resides” as “is incorporated,” the Supreme Court has significantly restricted where patent owners can file infringement lawsuits.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Unanimously Changes Where Patents May Be Litigated
The Supreme Court agreed on September 29 to consider whether a provision of the Lanham Act that allows the USPTO to refuse to register “disparaging” trademarks violates the constitutional right to free speech. The case is Lee v. Tam (Docket No. 15-1293).
Continue Reading Lee v Tam