Substantially Similar

News & Analysis as of

California’s New Equal Pay Law Portends Tidal Wave of Gender Pay Discrimination Claims

On October 6, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB358, which amends Labor Code Section 1197.5, California’s existing gender pay equality law.1 Most of the previous statute remains intact, but the...more

California Expands Gender-Based Wage Protections by Adopting “Substantially Similar” Test and Requiring Employers to Justify Wage...

The California Fair Pay Act, which goes into effect on January 1, 2016, prohibits employers from paying employees less than the rate paid to members of the opposite sex who perform “substantially similar” work. Although...more

Chocolate Bear Beats Gummy Bear

Can a wordmark with a particular meaning be infringed by a three-dimensional product design? Disputes regarding the infringement of a wordmark by a purely figurative mark (and vice versa) have been the object of several...more

Gallagher v. Lions Gate Entertainment, Inc. - USDC, C.D. California, September 11, 2015

Plaintiff Peter Gallagher published a book titled The Little White Trip: A Night in the Pines in 2006, of which he sold 5,000 copies. Gallagher brought copyright infringement claims against the writers, including Joss Whedon,...more

Brown v. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment - USDC, E.D. Kentucky, August 27, 2015

Pro se plaintiff Rhonda Kay Jackson Brown, author of the novel Jackson Road and the related screenplay, “Mother’s Son,” brought copyright infringement and unfair competition claims against Twentieth Century Fox and...more

Trademark Review | August 2015

The Redskins Lose Again (Off the Field)- A federal District Court affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB) ruling that “Redskins” cannot be registered as a trademark for use in connection with a...more

Shame on You Productions, Inc. v. Banks - USDC, C.D. California, August 14, 2015

Plaintiff Shame on You Productions, Inc., was assigned a screenplay titled “Darci’s Walk of Shame” by its author, Dan Rosen. Shame on You sued defendants, including actress Elizabeth Banks, for copyright infringement and...more

Could the Bieb Be a Copyright Infringer? - Copeland et al. v. Bieber et al.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacated a district court decision dismissing a copyright infringement claim in a case involving a copyrighted song and a later recording by Justin Bieber concluding that that...more

Let It Go… To Trial: Disney Frozen Out of Summary Judgment In Copyright Infringment Case

Elsa and Anna are going to trial. Well, Olaf and Sven are headed there, at any rate. The sanguine snowman and his reindeer buddy were featured in a trailer for the Disney hit Frozen that is now the subject of a lawsuit...more

Plot Thickens for Screenplay Infringement Cases

INTRODUCTION - For more than three decades no type of lawsuit has been more likely to fail than those asserting that the latest hit movie or television series infringes the copyright in a screenplay or other literary...more

Appellate Court Notes

SC19151, SC19158 - Weiss v. Smulders - Plaintiff sued the defendant claiming it violated an oral agreement to form a new company by merging their existing companies as a joint venture to sell food products. After a...more

Plaintiffs Get “Caught Up” in Dismissal of Copyright Lawsuit

These are his “Confessions!” Usher has emerged victorious in a copyright lawsuit involving the song “Caught Up.” In Edwards et al. v. Raymond et al., Plaintiffs Zacharia Edwards, Mitch Moses, and Vince McClean alleged that...more

Gold Glove Productions, LLC v. Handfield - USDC C.D. California, February 24, 2014

Gold Glove Productions, LLC v. Handfield - USDC C.D. California, February 24, 2014 - In Depth - District court grants summary judgment to defendant film company on issue of substantial similarity, finding...more

Different pay for unequal jobs ‘ok’

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) prohibits sex-based discrimination in pay and benefits. Employers should not pay different wages to employees of the opposite sex for substantially equal work. “Substantially equal” work does...more

Design Patent Case Digest: Keurig, Inc. v. JBR, Inc.

Decision Date: May 24, 2013 - Court: D. Massachusetts - Patents: D502,362 - Holding: Defendant’s motion for summary judgment of non-infringement GRANTED - Opinion: Plaintiff Keurig, Inc. sued JBR,...more

Update on Post-Grant Design Patent Challenges

Since our last article on the topic of design patent reexaminations (see “All or Nothing Design Patent Reexaminations: On the Rise,” June 8, 2010), design patents are more popular than ever. Interest in design patents...more

IP/Entertainment Law Weekly Case Update for Motion Picture Studios and Television Networks - May 10, 2013

Dunn v. DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc., California Court of Appeal, April 30, 2013 (unpublished opinion) - California Court of Appeal affirms judgment in favor of defendant DreamWorks Animation on plaintiff’s breach of...more

IP/Entertainment Law Weekly Case Update for Motion Picture Studios and Television Networks -- February 22, 2013

In This Issue: - Hallford v. Fox Entertainment Group: District court grants defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s copyright infringement claim, finding that defendants’ television show Touch is not substantially...more

February 2013: Entertainment Litigation Update

Second Circuit Steers Away from Strict Copyright Protection in the Photography Arena. According to well-known photographer Janine Gordon, rival photographer Ryan McGinley copied more than 150 of Ms. Gordon’s contemporary...more

Who Owns Cute Girls in Pink Coats on Daddy’s Shoulders?

The Beatles crossing Abbey Road. A nurse and sailor kissing in Times Square as the end of World War II is announced. An African vulture patiently waiting for a starving toddler to die. The 1968 Olympics Black Power salute....more

Thin Copyrights - Protected But Not Infringed

Some appellate decisions are worth examining because they plow new ground. Others serve to explain the ground that was plowed. This decision – dealing with substantial similarity (or lack thereof) between two sets of stick...more

Dissecting Mr. Rockefeller: First Circuit Rejects Copyright Infringement Claim Based on Unoriginal Elements of News Photograph

Clark Rockefeller, aka Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, lived a double life until his conviction for child abduction in 2009. He was subsequently charged with an unrelated murder in California, and that trial is set to begin...more

Speaking Of . . . Copyrights | Did Avatar Rip Off Bats And Butterflies? California Court Says No.

Misunderstood heroes. Space travel. Alien worlds. Humanoids. Greed. Imperialism. Violence. Exploitation. Intercultural war. Redemption. And Copyright Infringement? Everyone’s seen the movie Avatar. How many...more

Non-Probationary Employee Not Proper Comparator For Probationary Employee, Third Circuit Holds

In Mercado v. Donahoe, No. 11-2972, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 13226, (3rd Cir. June 26, 2012), the plaintiff, a probationary part-time employee, sued his employer alleging that he had been discriminated against on the basis of his...more

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