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The Ongoing Battle of Copyright Protection and Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

Federal Copyright Law generally protects works that are fixed in a tangible medium from unauthorized use, including copying, performance, exhibition, and broadcasting. However, sound recordings from before 1972 are treated uniquely under the law—a situation that has resulted in real legal problems. When enacted, the Federal Copyright Law preempted any state rights relating to copyright […]

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2014 Supreme Court Cases Relating to Intellectual Property

On January 10, 2014 the Supreme Court agreed to review a variety of intellectual property cases in the upcoming session, including two patent cases, a copyright case, and a trademark case (including Lanham Act claim). A brief overview of these cases is provided and more detail will be available once decisions are entered by the […]

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The Role of DVRs in Copyright Infringement

InFox Broadcasting v. Dish Network, Fox Broadcasting Company ("Fox") appealed a ruling by the District Court of Central District of California that Fox did not demonstrate a likelihood of success on most of its copyright infringement and breach of contract claims, and that Fox was not entitled to a preliminary injunction against Dish Network. The […]

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New and Useful – July 8, 2013

· The Federal Circuit inUltramercial, Inc. v. Hulu, LLC held that the district court erred in holding that the subject matter of U.S. Patent No. 7,346,545 ('545) is not a "process" within the language and meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Federal Circuit reversed and remanded this case stating the claims were not abstract […]

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New and Useful – April 5, 2013

· In Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc. the Federal Circuit clarified several points relating to claim construction, determinations of non-obviousness, and calculation of damages. The court confirmed that claiming a “circuit” in conjunction with a sufficiently definite structure for performing the identified function is adequate to bar means-plus-function claiming. The court also […]

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Supreme Court Decides Foreign First Sale Doctrine

The Supreme Court recentlydecided a much anticipated case, finally answering a long awaited question: Does the first sale doctrine apply to copyrighted works manufactured in other countries? According to the Supreme Court in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the answer to this question is yes. John Wiley & Sons sued Supap Kirtsaeng for […]

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Supreme Court hears arguments today regarding first sale doctrine and international purchases

This morning the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Omega S.A., a case regarding the potential international scope of the first sale doctrine. Costco lawfully purchased authentic Omega watches abroad and imported them to the United States for sale in its stores. Omega sued for copyright infringement, arguing the watches […]

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Ninth Circuit: AutoCAD purchasers are licensees, so first sale doctrine does not apply to resale

In a decision last week, the Ninth Circuit held the purchaser of a copy of AutoCAD software was not an owner of the copy, but instead a licensee. As a result, the purchaser did not have the protection of the first sale doctrine (codified in 17 U.S.C. § 109(a)) when attempting to resell the software […]

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Copyright Office issues new DMCA exemptions: iPhone jailbreaking, noncommercial use of DVD snippets

Every three years, the United States Copyright Office seeks proposals for exemptions from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). As part of the DMCA, it became unlawful to circumvent access control measures copyright holders used to secure their copyrighted works. For example, it is arguably a violation of the DMCA to use a program to […]

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Ninth Circuit: Filing copyright application sufficient to bring suit under Section 411(a)

In a decision last week, the Ninth Circuit held the filing of an application for registration with the copyright office is sufficient to meet the requirement that a copyright be "registered" before suit is brought under 17 U.S.C. § 411(a). In the first circuit court decision on the subject since the Supreme Court's Reed Elsevier […]

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