WASHINGTON, D.C. - Findings by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that the use of desugared, sugar beet molasses (DSBM) to deice road surfaces would have been obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art were reversed Aug. 31 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (In re: Natural Alternatives LLC, No. 15-1911, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16278).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge properly granted three defendants summary judgment on allegations that they infringed a copyrighted two-measure vocal melody in their hit song "Domino" because the plaintiff failed to present any admissible evidence that established access to the allegedly infringed work, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 2 (Will Loomis v. Jessie J., et al., No. 13-57093, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16261).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The trial for a trademark infringement dispute between a Native American tribe and several retailers should be delayed until the new year so the parties have time to work on a settlement, according to a joint motion filed Aug. 30 in New Mexico federal court, a day after a magistrate judge scheduled a settlement conference for the parties (The Navajo Nation, et al. v. Urban Outfitters, Inc., et al., No. 12-195, D. N.M.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63599).
SAN FRANCISCO - Partly reversing a lower court's summary judgment ruling in favor of Match.com LLC (Match), a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 1 held that a woman's claim that the dating website failed to warn her about another member, who brutally attacked her, is not precluded by the Communications Decency Act (CDA) (Mary Kay Beckman v. Match.com LLC, No. 13-16324, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16218).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Two weeks after a California federal judge dismissed their suit against Twitter Inc. under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), the family members of two terror attack victims on Aug. 30 filed an amended complaint focusing on Twitter's purported "provision of material support" to ISIS and its supporters via its social network services (Tamara Fields, et al. v. Twitter Inc., No. 4:16-cv-00213, N.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES - Following his June ruling that deemed a patent plaintiff's conduct "exceptional," a California federal judge on Aug. 31 ordered the plaintiff to pay several defendants $1.55 million in attorney fees (Kinglite Holdings Inc. v. Micro-Star International Co. Ltd., et al., No. 14-3009, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Aug. 26 stayed a trademark infringement case filed in relation to a mark for apparel, pending the outcome of a motion to dismiss a related case filed in New York (Therapy Stores Inc. v. JGV Apparel Group LLC, et al., No. 4:16-cv-02588-YGR, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115012).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A seven-count declaratory judgment counterclaim was rejected in its entirety by a Florida federal judge on Aug. 30 as a shotgun pleading without prejudice to refile, with the exception of two counts seeking cancellation of a plaintiff's copyright and an award of attorney fees, which were dismissed with prejudice (PK Studios Inc. v. R.L.R. Investments LLC, et al., No. 15-389, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116057).
DENVER - A claimed trade dress for retail metalworking parts and accessories of packaging in a red, yellow, black and white color combination is neither inherently distinctive, nor has it acquired secondary meaning, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 29 (Forney Industries Inc. v. Daco of Missouri Inc., No. 15-1226, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15922).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 26 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that an insurer has no duty to defend its insured against an underlying trademark dispute, concluding that the underlying claims 'looked, walked, and quacked only like typical trademark infringement claims-not unpled disparagement or trade dress claims' (S. Bertram, Inc. v. Citizens Insurance Company of America, No. 15-2552, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15886).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A defendant has failed to show "where, how and why" a plaintiff's planned fiberglass utility body (FUB) would infringe any protectable trade dress belonging to the defendant, thereby entitling the plaintiff to a declaration of noninfringement, a Texas federal judge ruled Aug. 29 (Industrial Models Inc. v. SNF Inc., et al., No. 15-689, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115644).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A copyright infringement plaintiff on Aug. 25 won partial summary judgment when an Illinois federal judge found that the "undisputed facts" demonstrate that three defendants copied the "particularized expression" of an idea for a clothespin featuring a silhouetted bird design (Design Ideas Ltd. v. Meijer Inc., et al., No. 15-3093, C.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113704).
SAN FRANCISCO - In an Aug. 29 ruling, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that AT&T Mobility LLC qualifies as a common carrier under the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) and, as such, is exempt from the Federal Trade Commission's claims of alleged "data throttling" brought under the act (Federal Trade Commission v. AT&T Mobility LLC, No. 15-16585, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15913).
MINNEAPOLIS - A dispute over allegations that three defendants misappropriated trade secrets by emailing themselves certain documents before leaving the employ of a plaintiff will proceed without a temporary restraining order (TRO) in place, in light of an Aug. 24 ruling by a Minnesota federal judge (Berkley Risk Administrators Company v. Accident Fund Holdings Group, et al., No. 16-2671, D. Minn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113421).
SAN FRANCISCO - Allegations by Trader Joe's Co. that a Canadian grocer committed trademark infringement should not have been dismissed, for the plaintiff alleged a sufficient nexus between the grocer's conduct and American commerce to warrant extraterritorial application of the Lanham Act, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 26 (Trader Joe's Co. v. Michael Hallatt, No. 14-35035, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15792).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A claimed method of sending to a verified user a warning that a potentially fraudulent event has occurred and then requiring the user to acknowledge the event is invalid under 35 U.S. Code Section 101, according to an Aug. 24 petition for covered business method (CBM) review filed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Twilio Inc. v. Telesign Corporation, No. CBM2016-00099, PTAB).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A loan referral firm's sending of more than 1,000 solicitation emails to recipients it knew were in Minnesota constituted sufficient contacts to establish jurisdiction over it in the state, the en banc Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Aug. 24, affirming two lower court rulings in a consumer protection class action (Scott Rilley, et al. v. MoneyMutual LLC, No. A14-1307, Minn. Sup.; 2016 Minn. LEXIS 526).
CHICAGO - A Wisconsin federal judge abused his discretion and clearly erred when he "entertained" and accepted post-trial arguments by a plaintiff that a defendant failed to prove continuous use of the "Bug Off" trademark after 2012 when the parties' dispute was clearly centered on pre-2012 use, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 25 (S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. v. Nutraceutical Corporation, No. 15-3337, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15709).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Aug. 23 transmitted to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals an Aug. 19 notice of appeal by Cox Communications Inc. and CoxCom (Cox, collectively) of a December 2015 jury verdict that the Internet service providers (ISPs) committed contributory copyright infringement (BMG Rights Management [US] LLC v. Cox Communications Inc., et al., No. 14-1611, E.D. Va.).
NEW ORLEANS - Although a Louisiana federal judge on Aug. 24 ultimately granted in part a motion to dismiss a declaratory judgment action, the plaintiff in the case was granted leave to amend while the defendant was criticized for arguing that no actual controversy exists between the parties, despite sending the plaintiff a cease-and-desist letter that alleged trademark infringement (Great Northern & Southern Navigation Co. LLC v. American Cruise Lines Inc., No. 16-3278, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112122).
PHILADELPHIA - A Delaware federal judge did not err in upholding a jury verdict of direct and contributory copyright infringement in a dispute over stem cell photographs, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 24 (Andrew Paul Leonard, et al. v. Stemtech International Inc., Nos. 15-9138, -3247, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15565).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Assertions that an Aventis Pharma S.A. patent is invalid as obvious under 35 U.S. Code Section 103 were rejected Aug. 23 by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, which turned away a petition for inter partes review by Mylan Inc. (Mylan Inc. v. Aventis Pharma S.A., No. IPR2016-00627, PTAB).
SAN FRANCISCO - Efforts by Oracle Corp. to recoup attorney fees it incurred defending patent infringement allegations - and to have those fees assessed against counsel for the plaintiff under the vexatious litigation statute - were unsuccessful on Aug. 22, when a California federal judge disagreed that the case qualifies as "exceptional" under 35 U.S. Code Section 285 (Thought Inc. v. Oracle Corporation, No. 12-5601, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111661).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A declaratory judgment plaintiff's request for summary judgment that it did not infringe the "Audobon" trademark when it adopted a nearly identical name was denied Aug. 22 by a Louisiana federal judge, who cited the existence of genuine issues of material fact that are yet to be resolved (Audubon Real Estate Associates LLC v. Audobon Realty LLC, No. 15-115, M.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111437).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board on Aug. 18 enforced, with some modifications, a decision by an administrative law judge (ALJ) finding that the social media code of Chipotle Services LLC (doing business as Chipotle Mexican Grill) violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that the fast food chain committed further violations by directing an employee to delete certain tweets, prohibiting the employee from circulating a petition challenging the chain's break policy and terminating the employee for his actions (Chipotle Services LLC d/b/a Chipotle Mexican Grill and Pennsylvania Workers Organizing Committee, a project of the Fast Food Workers Committee, Nos. 04-CA-147314 and 04-CA-149551, NLRB).