IP/Entertainment Law Weekly Case Update For Motion Picture Studios And Television Networks - June 8, 2011

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Table of Contents:

•Global-Tech Appliances, Inc., et al. v. SEB S.A.

•Brantley v. NBC Universal

Global-Tech Appliances, Inc., et al. v. SEB S.A., US Supreme Court, May 31, 2011

•In a patent infringement case, the Supreme Court held that to be liable for inducing infringement, a party that actively induces infringement must have knowledge that the induced acts constituted patent infringement, though evidence of willful blindness is sufficient to support a finding of knowledge.

Although this case is a patent infringement inducement case, it may have some impact on the manner in which contributory infringement and inducement are viewed in the copyright context. The Supreme Court affirmed the Federal Circuit’s decision, holding that Petitioners violated 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) by actively inducing infringement by willfully blinding themselves to the infringing sales that they encouraged Respondent’s competitor to make.

Brantley v. NBC Universal, USCA Ninth Circuit, June 3, 2011

•Ninth Circuit holds that plaintiffs, cable and satellite TV subscribers, fail to state an antitrust claim against television programmers and distributors where the complaint alleges bundling of “high demand” and “low demand” channels and alleges injury to consumers, but fails to allege injury to competition.

Plaintiffs are a putative class of retail cable and satellite television subscribers who brought suit against television programmers, including NBC Universal Inc., Viacom, Inc., the Walt Disney Company, Fox Entertainment Group and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (programmers) and distributors, including Time Warner Cable, Inc., Comcast Corporation, Comcast Cable Communications LLC, CoxCom Inc., The DIRECTV Group, Inc., EchoStar Satellite LLC and Cablevision Systems (distributors), alleging that the programmers' practice of selling only multi-channel cable bundles prevented distributors from offering a la carte programming and violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Plaintiffs sought monetary damages as well as an injunction compelling programmers and distributors to make channels available on an individual, non-bundled basis.

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