BOISE, Idaho - A cease-and-desist letter stemming from a radar detector patent dispute enjoys immunity from suit under Idaho law as a communication made in the course of litigation, an Idaho federal judge said May 23, and the letter also cannot serve as the basis for a Lanham Act claim (Escort Inc., et al. v. Hoyt A. Fleming, et al., No. 1:12-cv-0064-BLW, D. Idaho; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72193).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on May 21 dismissed with prejudice an antitrust action brought by indirect purchasers challenging an alleged patent-licensing arrangement to control the availability and pricing of secure digital memory card (SD card) technologies as an unlawful restraint of trade (Dr. Dan Oliver, et al. V. SD-3C, LLC, et al., No. C 11-01260, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70615).
NEW YORK - Direct and indirect purchasers on May 21 filed for preliminary approval of a $10.5 million settlement with Aland (Jiangsu) Nutraceutical Co. Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer of Vitamin C, on claims that the manufacturer participated in an illegal cartel with other Chinese corporations to fix prices and limit supply for exports of Vitamin C, including those to the United States (In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation (All Cases), No. 06-MC-1738, E.D. N.Y.). Subscribers may view the joint motion for preliminary approval available within the full update.
NEW YORK - United Air Lines must defend allegations that it participated in a conspiracy to fix the price of air cargo shipments in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, a federal judge in New York ruled May 18, finding that the lawsuit was not time-barred, that a plausible claim was asserted and that the claim was not necessarily discharged in United's bankruptcy (DPWN Holdings (USA), Inc. v. United Air Lines, Inc., et al., No. 11-CV-564, E.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70026).
NEW YORK - A common law claim of unfair competition against a company that feeds live television broadcasts to customers online has been dismissed by a federal judge, who said in an opinion released May 21 that the claim is preempted by the Copyright Act 17 U.S.C.S. §§ 101-810, (WNET, et al. v. Aereo, Inc., No. 1:12-cv-01543-AJN, S.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70749).
SAN FRANCISCO - A putative class of former college athletes who are accusing video game manufacturer Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) of conspiring with the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC) to use the former athletes names and likenesses in products without compensation in violation of the Sherman Act sufficiently allege a "meeting of the minds," the federal judge in California overseeing the multidistrict litigation ruled May 16 in denying EA's motion for judgment on the pleadings (In re NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation, No. C 09-1967, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68712).
SAN FRANCISCO - An executive officer's direct role in marketing the hair-regrowth product Avacor and the financial rewards he reaped from the company permit a judge's order that the officer pay $40 million in restitution under the California unfair competition law (UCL), a state appeals court held April 25. The court denied a petition for publication May 18, according to the docket (James Thomas v. Anthony Imbriolo, No. A130517, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 5). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
NEW YORK - Electronic book purchasers may continue their class action lawsuit against Apple Inc. and several e-book publishers alleging that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to fix prices of digital books in violation of federal and state antitrust laws, the federal judge in New York overseeing the multidistrict litigation ruled May 15 in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss (In re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, Nos. 11 MD 2293, 11 Civ. 5576, 11 Civ. 5609, 11 Civ. 5621, 11 Civ. 5707, 11 Civ. 5750, 11 Civ. 5896, 11 Civ. 5898, 11 Civ. 5976, 11 Civ. 6019, 11 Civ. 6079, 11 Civ. 7507, 11 Civ. 7534, 11 Civ. 7323, 11 Civ. 8329, 11 Civ. 8608, 11 Civ. 9016, 11 Civ. 9014, 11 Civ. 9559, 11 Civ. 9560, 11 Civ. 9561, 11 Civ. 9562, 11 Civ. 9563, 11 Civ. 9564, 11 Civ. 9565, 11 Civ. 9566, 11 Civ. 9567, 12 Civ. 0476, S.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68058).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge erred in concluding that a pomegranate juice maker must demonstrate injury sufficient for restitution under the California unfair competition law (UCL) in order to pursue injunctive relief, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held May 17 (Pom Wonderful LLC, v. The Coca-Cola Co., No. 10-55861, 9th Cir.).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Bayer Corp. LLC has agreed to settle a consumer fraud lawsuit involving its Bayer Aspirin with Heart Advantage and Bayer Women's Low Dose Aspirin + Calcium for $15 million, according to a May 16 preliminary approval motion filed in a New York federal multidistrict court (In Re: Bayer Combination Aspirin Products Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, No. 09-md-2023, E.D. N.Y.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a patent case related to mobile device technology, a federal judge in California on May14 denied Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s motion to dismiss several of Apple Inc.'s amended counterclaims, including a claim alleging that Samsung made misrepresentations to standards-setting organizations (SSOs) in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, but the judge granted Samsung's motion to dismiss Apple's counterclaim for promissory estoppel, breach of contract and declaratory judgment (Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et al., No. 11-1846, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67102).
LOS ANGELES - A paper products company and the judge that sustained its demurrer improperly cited an unpublished case in concluding that the statute of limitations barred a public unfair competition law (UCL) action, a California appellate court held in reversing the ruling May 14 (The People v. E*Poly Star Inc., et al., No. B233008, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 7). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full update.
RICHMOND, Va. - Purchasers of real estate brokerage services in South Carolina who brought two putative class actions against licensed real estate brokerages that served as board members of the local multiple listing services (MLSs) stated plausible claims that the defendants conspired to unfairly restrain market competition in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 14 in affirming the denial of the defendants' motions to dismiss ( Albert Robertson, et al. v. Sea Pines Real Estate Companies, Incorporated, et al., Nos. 11-1538, 11-1540, 4th Cir.; Thomas Boland v. Consolidated Multiple Listings Service, Incorporated, et al., Nos. 11-1539, 11-1541, 4th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9694).
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on May 11 granted summary judgment to the producers and distributors of Wellbutrin XL on direct and indirect purchasers' claims that the defendants illegally conspired to prevent generic versions of the drug from entering the American market by filing sham patent infringement lawsuits and a citizen petition (In re: Wellbutrin XL Antitrust Litigation, Nos. 08-2431 (direct), Nos. 08- 08-2431 (indirect), E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66312).
NEW YORK - Four baseball fans filed a putative class action in federal court in New York on May 9 against Major League Baseball Enterprises Inc. (MLB), several MLB member clubs and several cable and Internet providers, alleging that live-game video offerings violate antitrust laws (Fernanda Garber, et al. v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, et al., No. 12-cv-3704, S.D. N.Y.). A free copy of the complaint is attached below. Subscribers may view the class action complaint and allegations of Sherman Act violations available within the full update.
NEW YORK - New York state law does not prohibit as a matter of law resale price maintenance (RPM) agreements, a state appeals court ruled May 8 in affirming the dismissal of an action brought by the New York State Office of the Attorney General (OAG) against Tempur-Pedic International Inc. (People of the State of New York, etc. v. Tempur-Pedic International, Inc., No. 7572, 400837/10, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.; 2012 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3528).
SAN DIEGO - 7-Eleven Inc. provides payroll services to its franchisees and cannot be liable under the California unfair competition law (UCL), a state appeals court held May 8 in affirming judgment on a woman's claim involving conversion of partial hours worked into hundredths of an hour (Kimberly Aleksick v. 7-Eleven Inc., No. D059236, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 539).
CONCORD, N.H. - Tort claims based on misappropriation of technical and customer information related to an emergency breathing apparatus are preempted under the New Hampshire Uniform Trade Secrets Act (NHUTSA), a New Hampshire federal judge said May 7, while claims stemming from commercial disparagement are not (Wilcox Industries Corp. v. Mark Hansen, Advanced Life Support Technologies Inc., Case No. 11-cv-551-PB, D. N.H.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63668).
BOSTON - A consumer's allegations that U-Haul International Inc. violated Massachusetts baby Federal Trade Commission Act by inviting its competitors to match prices and by increasing its prices incident to those invitations made the claim plausible, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 4 in vacating the trial court's dismissal for failure to state a claim (Marcia Mei-Lee Liu v. Amerco, et al., No. 11-2053, 1st Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9172).
RICHMOND, Va. - A jury award for infringement of trade dress in the marketing of cookware, including treble damages of $1.2 million, was affirmed May 8 by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals based on the losing party's failure to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence post-verdict under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b) (Belk Incorporated v. Meyer Corporation, No. 10-1664, 4th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9319).
SAN FRANCISCO - A man's claim that he was enrolled in a privacy protection plan without his consent and that the resulting fees caused him to overdraft from his bank account give him standing to pursue his Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), California Civil Code Section 1750, et seq., and California unfair competition law (UCL) claims, a federal judge held May 4 (Steven M. Chavez v. Bank of America Corp., et al., No. 10-0653, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62935).
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A plaintiff asserting trademark infringement stemming from the cancellation of a restaurant franchise agreement has asserted no claims that justify federal jurisdiction, a magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico said May 3 in remanding the claims (Franquicias Nativas Inc. et. al. v. Cleridel Corporation, No. 11-1934 (MEL); 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62287).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on April 30 granted final approval to a $49.5 million class action settlement with American Express on claims that American Express violated antitrust laws by conspiring with credit-card-issuing banks to fix foreign currency conversion fees; however, claims that it conspired to impose arbitration clauses in cardholder agreements continue (In re Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation (Robert Ross, et al. v. American Express Company, et al.), MDL No. 1409, 04 Civ. 5723, S.D. N.Y.). Subscribers may view the order available within the full update.
NEW YORK - The federal judge in New York overseeing the electronic books antitrust multidistrict litigation on May 1stayed the actions against Hachette Book Group Inc. and Hachette Digital Inc. (collectively, Hachette) and HarperCollins Publishers, following the publishers' tentative settlement with 15 states and Puerto Rico (In re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation $(All Actions$), No. 11-md-02293, S.D. N.Y.; United States of America v. Apple Inc., et al., No. 12-md-02826, S.D. N.Y.; State of Texas et al. v. Penguin Group $(USA$) Inc., et al., No. 1:12-cv-03394, S.D. N.Y.) Subscribers may view the stay order available within the full update.
SAN FRANCISCO - Nothing in California's Tort Claims Act (CTCA) required a man seeking injunctive relief under the unfair competition law (UCL) claims for alleged discrimination to first present his claims to the defendants, a federal judge held April 30 (Walter Jefferson v. City of Fremont, et al., No. 12-0926, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60141).