Supreme Court of the United States Copyright

The United States Supreme Court is the highest court of the United States and is charged with interpreting federal law, including the United States Constitution. The Court's docket is largely discretionary... more +
The United States Supreme Court is the highest court of the United States and is charged with interpreting federal law, including the United States Constitution. The Court's docket is largely discretionary with only a limited number of cases granted review each term.  The Court is comprised of one chief justice and eight associate justices, who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate to hold lifetime positions. less -
News & Analysis as of

Chevrons, Stripes, Cheerleaders, and Copyright: The Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands

The closely watched case of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands was argued in front of the the Supreme Court on Monday, offering anxious fashion designers a glimpse into how the Justices may rule. ...more

We’ve Got the Copyright, How ‘bout You? Supreme Court Grapples with Cheerleader Uniforms

On Halloween, the highest court in the land heard oral argument on whether cheerleader uniform designs are subject to copyright protection. Varsity Brand, Inc. (“Varsity”), the country’s largest maker of cheerleader uniforms,...more

“Gimme a C!” (for Copyright): Supreme Court to Weigh Cheerleader Apparel Copyright Case

Are cheerleading outfits functional “useful items” that normally are ineligible for copyright protection? Or do they contain distinct design elements that allow for copyright ownership? ...more

Advanced Copyright Issues on the Internet

During recent years, the Internet has become the basic foundational infrastructure for the global movement of data of all kinds. With continued growth at a phenomenal rate, the Internet has moved from a quiet means of...more

Design Patents and Copyrights for Designs on Useful Articles

Two recent cases illustrate the potential benefits of protecting intellectual property rights with both design patents and copyrights, particularly for an article that has both utility and a design, including because a design...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Summer 2016

Supreme Court Expands Discretion to Award Enhanced Damages for Patent Infringement and Eliminates the Federal Circuit’s ‘Seagate Test’ - In Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court...more

The Supreme Court Clarifies Standard For Attorney Fee Awards In Copyright Cases

Copyright infringement litigation has been on the rise in recent years, particularly in the Central District of California, with the apparel industry feeling the brunt of this uptick. In a typical case, a plaintiff alleges...more

MoFo IP Newsletter - August 2016

Supreme Court Abolished Federal Circuit's Test for Willfulness - On June 13, 2016, in Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., 579 U.S. ___ (2016), the Supreme Court unanimously abrogated the Federal Circuit’s...more

Kirtsaeng II: Fees in Copyright Cases Depend on Reasonableness of Litigation Position

Under 17 USC § 505, a “court may . . . award a reasonable attorney’s fee to the prevailing party.” However, when deciding whether to award attorneys’ fees under the Copyright Act’s fee-shifting provision, 17 USC § 505, the...more

Business Litigation Report - July 2016

Article: Increase in Vertical Price Restraint Enforcement in China - In recent months, Chinese anti-monopoly enforcement actions scrutinizing and penalizing pricing-related issues have noticeably increased. A growing...more

Supreme Court to Clarify Test for Copyright Protection of Useful Articles

On May 2, 2016, the Supreme Court granted certiorari from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to resolve a multi-circuit split over “the appropriate test to determine when a feature of a useful article is...more

Supreme Court Affirms Discretion to Award Fees in Copyright Suits, But Case Precedence Not Relevant

The Copyright Act states that the trial court “may…award” attorney’s fees to the prevailing party. Legal fees incurred by plaintiffs and defendants alike in copyright and other intellectual property cases can be staggering,...more

Don’t Be Unreasonable: U.S. Supreme Court Sets the Standard for Awarding Attorneys’ Fees in Copyright Cases

You have just received a cease and desist letter related to something that was posted on your company’s website.  Some person that you’ve never heard of before is threatening to sue you for thousands of dollars for copyright...more

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc. - U.S. Supreme Court, June 16, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court holds “objective reasonableness” of losing party’s position is important factor but not controlling one in considering award of attorneys’ fees under Copyright Act. Graduate student Supap Kirtsaeng, a...more

The Kirtsaeng Opinion: Supreme Court Guidance on Attorneys’ Fees Awards in Copyright Cases

Recently, in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court provided substantial guidance in an unsettled area of law by holding that, when deciding whether to award attorneys’ fees under 17 U.S.C. §505, the...more

Supreme Court In Kirstaeng V Wiley: Objective Reasonableness Not Controlling For Attorney Fees

The case of Kirstaeng v. Wiley hit the headlines in 2013 when the Supreme Court held that importation and sale in the United States of books bought from the copyright owner in Thailand was not an infringement of copyright,...more

Supreme Court Injects Uncertainty Into Attorney’s Fee Awards in Copyright Cases

The day after it liberalized the standard for awarding enhanced damages in patent cases, a unanimous Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Justice Kagan, substantially broadened lower courts’ discretion in granting...more

High Court Eases Ability to Recover Enhanced Remedies in Patent and Copyright Cases

Within the past week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down two unanimous rulings that could make it easier for prevailing parties in patent cases to recover enhanced damages and for winning parties in copyright cases to recover...more

The Importance of Being Earnest and Objectively Reasonable

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. continues to make controlling copyright law, visiting the U.S. Supreme Court for the second time on an issue of great importance to copyright owners and litigants. This time, the issued...more

Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Supreme Court Sets Standard for Attorney Fee Awards in Copyright Cases

In a unanimous opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court recently held that in considering whether to award attorneys’ fees to a prevailing party as an element of “costs” under the Copyright Act, a court should give substantial weight...more

Objective Reasonableness Can Be Central to Fee-Shifting Analysis in Copyright Cases

In Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the Supreme Court clarified the test for awarding attorney’s fees when applying the Copyright Act’s discretionary fee-shifting provision, 17 U.S.C. § 505. The Court held that the...more

“Objective Reasonableness” is a Primary Factor, But Not the Sole Factor, When Determining a Fee Award in a Copyright Case

FACTS: John Wiley & Sons (“Wiley”) filed a lawsuit against Supap Kirtsaeng (“Kirtsaeng”) when it discovered that Kirtsaeng’s family and friends abroad were purchasing Wiley textbooks at a discounted rate and shipping them to...more

The Double-Edged Sword: Supreme Court Holds “Objective Reasonableness” Important But Not Dispositive in Copyright Act Fee Awards

It is a common misperception that a party will automatically recover its attorneys’ fees if it prevails in an action for copyright infringement. First, certain statutory requirements must be met in order to qualify for the...more

"Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for Awarding Attorneys’ Fees Under the Copyright Act"

On June 16, 2016, in an 8-0 decision in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 579 U.S. __, the U.S. Supreme Court held that when district courts determine whether or not to award discretionary attorney fees to prevailing...more

Supreme Court: Courts Must Take into Account “Relevant Factors” before Awarding Fees in Copyright Cases

Supap Kirtsaeng realized he could buy cheaper, identical textbooks in Thailand and resell them for a profit in the U.S. John Wiley & Sons, the publisher of some of these textbooks, sued him for copyright infringement. ...more

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