The Second Circuit issued a remarkable decision on termination rights under Sections 203 and 304(c) of the Copyright Act that seemingly, whether knowingly or otherwise, limits the Act’s extraterritorial reach. Ennio Morricone Music Inc. v. Bilio Music Group Ltd., Second Circuit, No 17-3595-cv, decided August 21, 2019 (“Morricone II”). The foregoing provisions of the Copyright Act allow authors to terminate grants after a certain stated period of years, generally after 35 years for grants made by an author. This termination right is unavailable to works-made-for-hire. Identifying the “author” is critical. If “for hire,” the “author” is the employer or commissioning party, and the individual creator, or his or her statutory heirs, may not terminate. Continue Reading
As real-world celebrities continue to expand the reach of their persona into the digital realm, the potential benefit for advertisers, game developers and esports event promoters is exceedingly high. But with increased opportunity comes increased risk.
A New York Supreme Court recently addressed this risk when it construed the State’s right of publicity statute in a dispute over an NBA 2K18 video game avatar. In Champion v. Take Two Interactive Software, Inc., celebrity basketball entertainer Phillip “Hot Sauce” Champion sued the video game developer, alleging violation of his right to privacy for Take-Two’s use of his name and likeness. The Court ultimately dismissed the lawsuit, but not before it provided a helpful discussion of New York’s publicity statute and its modern application to the esports industry. Continue Reading
The USPTO published its second update to the PTAB Trial and Practice Guide last month. The section addressing procedures for addressing multiple challenges to a patent is a new and noteworthy addition.
In the new section addressing “parallel petitions challenging the same patent” by the same petitioner, the Board states that, “one petition should be sufficient to challenge the claims of a patent in most situations. Two or more petitions filed against the same patent at or about the same time (e.g., before the first preliminary response by the patent owner) may place a substantial and unnecessary burden on the Board and the patent owner and could raise fairness, timing, and efficiency concerns.” Continue Reading
In the race to get new products to market, food and beverage businesses sometimes neglect their critically important intangible assets — their valuable trade secrets. Through advance planning and diligence, businesses in that industry can avoid losing the competitive advantage afforded to them by their proprietary information. In our last post we discussed the 7 potential areas of trade secrets in this industry. In this post, we discuss how to protect the secrecy of your proprietary information, which is required to enforce information as trade secrets. Continue Reading
In the race to get new products to market, food and beverage businesses sometimes neglect their critically important intangible assets — their valuable trade secrets. Through advance planning and diligence, businesses in that industry can avoid losing the competitive advantage afforded to them by this proprietary information.
Famous Food & Beverage Trade Secrets. Some food and beverage companies have been very successful in protecting their trade secrets and capitalizing on them. One of the most valuable trade secrets in history is the formula for Coca-Cola. The drink was invented in 1886 and the recipe was passed down by word of mouth until 1919, when it was first written down. At that time, a group of investors took out a loan to purchase the company and the formula was provided as collateral. The written formula was locked in a bank until it was moved into a purpose-built vault, with a palm scanner, a numerical code pad and enormous steel door. According to Coca-Cola, only two senior executives, bound by non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), know the formula at any given time. Neither these executives’ names nor positions have ever been released. Over the years, some have claimed to have cracked the original formula. However, none have been confirmed as the official formula and Coca-Cola’s formula remains a well-guarded and valued trade secret. Continue Reading
On May 2, 2019, the United States Trademark Office issued new Examination Guidelines for goods and services associated with cannabis and cannabis-derived products and services legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill. This crack in the federal armor against the cannabis economy opens the door for the federal registration of trademark rights and is an important step toward normalizing the nation’s laws governing cannabis and cannabis-related business activities in states where such products are legal. Continue Reading
It is very common to defend against a claim of patent infringement by litigating in the district court and the PTAB in parallel. The most straightforward-way for the defendant to win is to persuade the PTAB that the asserted patent is invalid. But, that is becoming more difficult as Director Iancu pushes the PTAB to apply greater scrutiny to petitions in order to address patent owner criticism that the PTAB proceedings are unfair. However, a recent decision disposing of a non-practicing entity’s long-running litigation against Ubisoft highlights how a defendant that ultimately lost on an issue before the PTAB can use the loss to their advantage in district court. Continue Reading
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently issued three interesting, related opinions interpreting and applying the “technological invention” exception to Covered Business Method Review (“CBM Review”). These opinions serve as a reminder that litigation often turns on an advocate’s effectiveness in framing (or re-framing) a critical issue of law before the court.
The three Federal Circuit opinions are:
- IBG LLC, Interactive Brokers LLC v. Trading Technologies Int’l, Inc. (Fed. Cir. Feb. 13, 2019) (available at http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/17-1732.Opinion.2-13-2019.pdf )(“TTI I”);
- Trading Tech. Int’l, Inc. v. IBG LLC, Interactive Brokers, LLC (Fed. Cir. Apr. 18, 2019) (available at http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/17-2257.Opinion.4-18-2019.pdf) (“TTI II”); and
- Trading Tech. Int’l, Inc. v. IBG LLC, Interactive Brokers, LLC (Fed. Cir. Apr. 30, 2019) (available at http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/17-2323.Opinion.4-30-2019.pdf) (“TTI III”).
A federal decision recently reminded businesses about the importance of taking appropriate measures to protect their proprietary information before any misappropriation occurs. In Abrasic 90 Inc. v. Weldcote Medals, Inc., the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction “largely because [the plaintiff] did not protect its supposedly secret information.” The court’s order underscores that businesses may be unable to enforce as a trade secret their valuable information unless they have taken adequate steps to protect its secrecy.
In that case, a manufacturer of grinding and sanding disks sought to enjoin its former employees and their new employer from operating in the abrasives industry and from using its trade secrets. The defendants took information about the plaintiff’s pricing, customers and suppliers when they left the company to start a competing business. Yet, the court declined to issue an injunction on the ground that Abrasic had failed to protect its supposedly trade secret information. Continue Reading
Patentees and inventors of cannabis compounds may be happy to learn a district court in Colorado recently held that, based on the record before it, U.S. Patent No. 9,730,911, entitled “Cannabis extracts and methods of preparing and using same,” is not directed to unpatentable natural phenomena. United Cannabis Corporation v. Pure Hemp Collective Inc., No. 1-18-cv-01922 (Apr. 17, 2019, Order) (William J. Martinez). Continue Reading