4th Circuit: 'Liking' A Political Facebook Page Is Protected Speech

    RICHMOND, Va. - "Liking" a campaign page on Facebook, a social networking website, is akin to placing a political sign in one's front yard and falls under the protection of free speech, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 18 in a lawsuit filed by former employees of the Hampton, Va., Sheriff's Office who claim that they were denied reappointment after supporting the sheriff's electoral opponent (Bobby Bland, et al. v. B.J. Roberts, individually and in his capacity as Sheriff of the City of Hampton, Virginia, No. 12-1671, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19268).

    Surveillance Court Judge: PATRIOT Act Permits FBI's Collection Of Telephone Data

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Sept. 17 order accompanying redacted versions of two previously issued rulings, a U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judge held that under the U.S. PATRIOT Act, certain requests for business records of telephone service providers by the Federal Bureau of Investigation are "lawful and required" and do not violate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (In Re: Application of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things, No. BR 13-109, FISC).

    Google Wins Dismissal Of Induced Patent Infringement Claims

    WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on Sept. 16 found that an amended complaint "does not contain sufficient facts to support an inference" that Google Inc. "specifically intended or encouraged others to directly infringe" numerous cloud computing patents (Clouding IP LLC v. Google Inc., No. 12-639, D. Del.).

    Texas Judge Won't Dismiss Indirect, Willful Patent Claims

    HOUSTON - Efforts by a defendant to obtain dismissal of indirect and willful patent infringement allegations were denied Sept. 16 by a Texas federal judge (eWatch Inc. v. Avigilon Corp., No. 13-347, S.D. Texas).

    Golf Product Manufacturers Granted Restraining Order Over Alleged Counterfeiters

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Sept. 13 granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) to six manufacturers of golf balls, bags, putters and related supplies against the operators of a list of accused counterfeiter websites, ordering temporary shutdown of the sites (Acushnet Co., et al. v. Onlinegolfsale.us, et al., No. 0:13-cv-61895, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131133).

    Model's Privacy Claim Against Website Dismissed Under Newsworthiness Exception

    CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Sept. 16 dismissed a model's right-to-privacy claim against a website that published her lingerie photos without her permission, finding that the publication fell under a newsworthiness exception within New York privacy statutes (Shana Edme v. Internet Brands Inc., et al., No. 2:12-cv-03306, E.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132008).

    Wisconsin Federal Judge Won't Reconsider Dismissal Of Patent, Trademark Claims

    MILWAUKEE - Claims that a Wisconsin federal judge erroneously determined the date of invention for a duct cover were rejected Sept. 13, when the same judge instead stood by his February 2013 grant of summary judgment on behalf of a defendant (Ductcap Products Inc. v. J&S Fabrication Inc. et al., No. 10-110, E.D. Wis.).

    California Federal Magistrate Denies Discovery Request In Copyright, Trademark Case

    SAN DIEGO - A request for authorization to conduct forensic examinations of the computers of two individuals allegedly responsible for creating an infringing jewelry line was denied Sept. 13 by a California federal magistrate judge (Sophia & Chloe Inc. v. Brighton Collectibles, No. 12-2472, S.D. Calif.).

    Web-Hosting Dispute Remanded For Not Meeting Amount-In-Controversy Threshold

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A Toronto-based Web-hosting firm failed to satisfy its burden to show that the damages in a dispute with a West Virginia company would exceed the $75,000 minimum threshold necessary to establish federal jurisdiction, a West Virginia federal judge ruled Sept. 13, granting the plaintiff's motion to remand the case to state court (A2C2 Partnership LLC v. Constellation Software Inc., No. 2:13-cv-01449, S.D. W.Va.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131113).

    6th Circuit: Trade Dress Claim Should Not Have Gone To Jury

    CINCINNATI - A divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 12 reversed an Ohio federal judge's denial of judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) in favor of a defendant accused of trade dress infringement (Groeneveld Transport Efficiency Inc. v. Lubecore International Inc., No. 12-3545, 6th Cir.).

    3rd Circuit Reverses Attorney Fees Award In Copyright Case

    PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 12 ordered a "re-do" of a Pennsylvania federal judge's award of attorney fees to a prevailing copyright infringement plaintiff (American Board of Internal Medicine v. Sarah Von Muller M.D., Nos. 12-3135 and 3781, 3rd Cir.).

    Blogger Sufficiently Alleged Misrepresentation In Copyright Dispute, Judge Finds

    BOSTON - A plaintiff in a copyright infringement case brought under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has adequately pleaded "a knowing and intentional misrepresentation" of the act's takedown procedures by a purported copyright owner, a Massachusetts federal judge found Sept. 10, denying a motion to dismiss (Amy Tuteur, M.D. v. Gina Crosley-Corcoran, No. 1:13-cv-10159, D. Mass.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128924).

    Federal Circuit Won't Review Damages Holding In Patent Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 11 that a patent owner is unable to appeal a summary judgment that it may not seek lost profits as a theory of damages (Fujitsu Limited v. Tellabs Inc. et al., Misc. Docket No. 154, Fed. Cir.).

    District Of Columbia Federal Judge Won't Stay Relief In Copyright Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - An injunction barring a streaming service from violating the public performance rights of several television broadcasters and programmers will remain in place, a District of Columbia federal judge ruled Sept. 12 (Fox Television Stations Inc. et al. v. FilmOn X LLC, No. 13-758, D. D.C.).

    Federal Circuit Reverses Infringement Judgment

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 12 reversed a Delaware federal judge's final judgment that a generic drug infringes two valid patents (Pronova BioPharma Norge AS v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. et al., Nos. 12-1498, 1499, Fed. Cir.).

    Ohio Judge Won't Transfer Patent Case To Massachusetts

    AKRON, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 10 rejected efforts by a patent infringement defendant to obtain dismissal or, in the alternative, transfer the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (OurPet's Company v. PetEdge Inc., No. 13-1018, N.D. Ohio).

    Summary Judgment Partly Granted By New York Federal Judge In Copyright Dispute

    NEW YORK - Allegations of copyright infringement levied against the members of the hip-hop group the Beastie Boys will proceed, in part, a New York federal judge ruled Sept. 10 (TufAmerica Inc. v. Michael Diamond et al., No. 12-3529, S.D. N.Y.).

    Federal Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment Of Patent Invalidity

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - A New York federal judge erred in deeming a design patent invalid and in dismissing a related trade dress infringement claim, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 11 (High Point Design LLC v. Meijer Inc., Sears Holdings Corporation and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., No. 12-1455, Fed. Cir.).

    5th Circuit: Disability Insurer Properly Terminated Benefits

    NEW ORLEANS - A disability insurer did not act arbitrarily and capriciously by relying on emails furnished by a plan participant's acquaintance in determining that the participant was no longer disabled, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 6, saying that the insurer did not have an affirmative duty to investigate the accuracy of the emails under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Terri Truitt v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 12-50142, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 18639).

    Illinois Federal Judge Grants Summary Judgment On Lanham Act Claims

    CHICAGO - A claim for reverse passing off under the Lanham Act was rejected on summary judgment Sept. 10 by an Illinois federal judge who agreed with a defendant that there is no evidence that the plaintiff's unregistered "A 5-D" trademark has acquired secondary meaning (NanoChem Solutions Inc. v. Global Green Products LLC, No. 10-5686, N.D. Ill.).

    Federal Circuit Transfers Case, Says Claims Not Preempted By Patent Law

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 9 rejected claims by patent counterclaimant H.J. Heinz Co. that it possesses appellate jurisdiction to hear the dispute under the pre-America Invents Act (AIA) version of 28 U.S. Code Section 1295 (David Wawrzynski v. H.J. Heinz Company et al., No. 12-1624, Fed. Cir.).

    9th Circuit: Google's Data Captures Were Not Exempt Under Wiretap Act

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal court did not err when it denied a motion to dismiss a class complaint against Google Inc. alleging violations of the Wiretap Act when, while capturing Street View photos, it collected data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 10 (Benjamin Joffe, et al. v. Google, Inc., No. 11-17483, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 18781).

    Apple Facing Class Suit Over 'Breaking Bad' Season Passes

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - An Ohio man filed a class complaint on Sept. 6 in California federal court accusing Apple Inc. of failing to provide the full season of "Breaking Bad" to consumers who purchased a "season pass" (Noam Lazebnick, M.D., et al. v. Apple, Inc., No. 13-4145, N.D. Calif.).

    Plaintiff Wins Partial Summary Judgment In N.J. Trademark Case

    TRENTON, N.J. - Despite winning summary judgment that it is the owner of the "Blue Ridge Farms" trade name and a related logo, a plaintiff failed to secure summary judgment of infringement by a defendant competitor on Sept. 9 (Fresh Prepared Foods Inc. v. Farm Ridge Foods LLC et al., No. 10-6310, D. N.J.).

    Facebook, Google Seek To Publish Extent Of Surveillance Court Disclosure Orders

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In parallel motions filed Sept. 9 with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. seek declaratory judgment permitting them to disclose statistics and aggregate data regarding orders that both companies had received from the court without violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), under which the orders were issued (In re Amended Motion for Declaratory Judgment of Google Inc.'s First Amendment Right to Publish Information about FISA Orders, No. 13-03, FISC; and In re Motion for Declaratory Judgment to Disclose Aggregate Data Regarding FISA Orders and Directives, No. 13-06, FISC).