The Copyright Act

News & Analysis as of

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Cheerleader Apparel Copyright Case

The issue the Supreme Court has agreed to decide involves how to separate the artistic elements of a product’s design from the useful or “utilitarian” elements. That distinction matters for copyright purposes, because to...more

US Supreme Court to Review Standard for Copyright Protection of Clothing

The decision in this case will clarify the conceptual separability test and could offer broader protection for useful articles. The US Supreme Court granted certiorari on May 2 in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity...more

Cheerleaders and Laches

Monday the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear cases on patent laches, SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag et al. v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC et al., and copyright protection for clothing, Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity...more

The Supreme Court - May 2016

The Supreme Court of the United States issued one decision on May 2, 2016: Ocasio v. United States, No. 14-361: Petitioner Samuel Ocasio, a former police officer, was tried and convicted under the Hobbs Act for...more

Supreme Court Continues Focus on IP

Here we go again: The United States Supreme Court today decided to review two more intellectual property cases. That makes three IP cases so far for next Term (which begins this October), already equaling the number of IP...more

Give me an S-C-O-T-U-S! Supreme Court To Decide Apparel Copyright Case

Straight off the heels of a 2-1 Sixth Circuit decision protecting copyright in design elements of cheerleading uniforms, the U.S. Supreme Court today decided to consider the issue of when a useful article is protectable under...more

Reason to Cheer – SCOTUS Suits Up to Hear Copyright Clash Over Cheerleading Uniforms

Hold onto your pom-poms, copyright fans. On May 2, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to address a question that has vexed lower courts across the land: What is the appropriate test to determine when a feature...more

Copyright’s “Double Spend” Problem: Digital First Sales

For those interested in the evolution of digital currencies, I highly recommend Steven Levy’s “E-Money (It’s What I Want)” article from Wired way back in December 1994. It’s a great read, and presages many current...more

Google Books Survives Legal Challenge - Supreme Court Declines to Address Book-Digitization Project

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant certiorari over a Second Circuit decision (Authors’ Guild v. Google Inc.) affirming that Google’s project of digitizing, and making available online for searching, tens of millions of...more

Intellectual Property Alert: U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Yesterday, April 25, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., No. 15-375. The Court’s ruling in this case ultimately may affect the circumstances in which attorney’s fees are...more

The Right of Publicity: How Much Control Do NFL Players Have Over Their Names?

How much control should athletes have over their names? Not an unlimited amount, according to one recent court ruling. Late last month, in Dryer v. National Football League, the Eighth Circuit denied an appeal by three...more

Central District of California Holds That the California Resale Royalty Act Is Preempted by Federal Copyright Law

As previously discussed on this blog, the validity of the California Resale Royalty Act (the “RRA,” Civil Code Section 986), a 1976 law that requires resellers of fine art to pay a royalty of 5 percent to the artists behind...more

Can Science be Copyrighted? You Might be Surprised…

Biotechnology. For many, the mere mention of the word stirs up a thought of people in white lab coats working in underground bunkers trying to create superhuman mutant weapons, with beakers of green goo bubbling in the...more

Context Is Everything: Evaluating Different Approaches Toward Attorneys’ Fees Awards Under Copyright Act in Light of Supreme Court...

The Supreme Court will soon hear oral arguments on standards for awarding attorneys’ fees to the winner of a copyright dispute. Currently there are at least three different test being applied by federal courts. Data analysis...more

NFL Players’ Right of Publicity Claims Denied - J. F. Dryer et al. v. The National Football League

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed a district court summary judgment in favor of defendants, denying plaintiffs’ publicity rights claims in footage and interviews made by the defendants and finding that...more

Weekly Web Wrap-Up

Welcome to Sheppard Mullin’s Weekly Web Wrap-Up, a quick list of the past week’s top news in the social media, gaming, and virtual goods and currencies industries curated by Social Media & Games Team. Here are some of the...more

7 Steps to Help Your Retail Business Avoid Copyright Infringement

When people think of copyrights, they usually think of paintings and other works of fine art, novels, and the like. While copyright protection certainly applies to these types of highly expressive works, it also applies to...more

Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. v. TD - Ameritrade Services Co. Inc. USDC, C.D. California, March 14, 2016

District court holds Lions Gate's trademark-related claims under Lanham Act and related state law are preempted by Copyright Act in suit over financial services ad campaign that used modified version of famous line "Nobody...more

In Copyright Dispute, New York Federal Court Decides: New York Was Not The Site Of Injury Just Because Allegedly Infringing Online...

On March 16, 2016, the Southern District of New York decided that, standing alone, the mere fact that allegedly infringing online content could be accessed via computers in New York did not make New York the “situs of injury”...more

Counts v. Meriwether - USDC, C.D., California, March 9, 2016

Following dismissal of two screenwriters’ copyright infringement claims against writers, producers, broadcasters and distributors of television series “New Girl,” district court grants defendants more than $760,000 in...more

In Recent Decisions, New York And California District Courts Agree That Prevailing Defendants In Copyright Infringement Lawsuits...

On March 9, 2016, both the Southern District of New York and the Central District of California awarded attorneys’ fees to defendants in two separate disputes after they successfully moved for summary judgment on the...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Winter 2016

European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation to Usher in Sweeping Changes Affecting Data Protection and Privacy Practices of European and U.S. Companies - In December 2015 the European Commission published a...more

Synopsys Win is a Win for Copyright

Static timing analysis (STA) is a simulation method of computing the expected timing of a digital circuit without requiring a simulation of the full circuit. This complicated area of measuring effective timing and power...more

Second Circuit Tosses Out Time-Barred Copyright Claims Against Jay Z

Last month, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a New York judge’s decision to dismiss federal copyright and state tort law claims alleged against the hip-hop icon, Jay Z, and his affiliated companies. Mahan v. ROC...more

Intellectual Property and Technology: Players’ Hail Mary Pass Incomplete: Copyright Trumps Right of Publicity in NFL Dispute...

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit stopped three former NFL players at the goal line when it rejected the players’ appeal in their likeness lawsuit against the NFL. The three former players,...more

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