LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's IP/Tech - Indiana Federal Judge Dismisses Franchise Fraud Claims Against Publisher

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on May 16 granted third-party defendants' motion to dismiss franchise fraud claims against them in a trademark infringement case, saying counterclaimants failed to plead their claim with sufficient particularity (Britt Interactive LLC, et al. v. A3 Media LLC, et al., No. 1:16-cv-02884, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73945).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 4th Circuit Panel Reverses ERISA Claim Dismissal, Says Factual Development Needed

RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 11 reversed and remanded a Virginia federal judge's ruling that a benefits director's Employee Retirement Income Security Act claim failed to allege that he testified or gave information in any "inquiry or proceeding," saying that the prudent course of action is to allow for greater factual development before delving into critical questions of statutory interpretation (Roberto Trujillo v. Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC, et al., No. 16-1264, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8361).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Police Officers Want Relief From Newspaper's Discovery Requests In DPPA Suit

CHICAGO - A group of Chicago police officers who sued a newspaper for violating the Drivers Privacy and Protection Act (DPPA) by publishing their personal information moved for a protective order in Illinois federal court on April 28, contending that the newspaper continues to seek improper and irrelevant information in discovery requests despite a previous order precluding it from doing so (Scott Dahlstrom, et al. v. Sun-Times Media LLC, No. 1:12-cv-00658, N.D. Ill.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 9th Circuit Reverses Safe-Harbor Holding In Web Copyright Case

SAN FRANCISCO - Findings by a California federal judge that a copyright infringement defendant social media platform is entitled to safe-harbor immunity under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 512(c), were reversed and remanded April 7 by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Mavrix Photographs LLC v. LiveJournal Inc., No. 14-56956, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6028).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 9th Circuit Affirms: Publicity Rights Claim Preempted By Copyright

SAN FRANCISCO - An order that granted a special motion to strike a common-law right of publicity claim pursuant to California's anti-SLAPP statute was not erroneous because the claims are preempted by Section 301 of the federal Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq., the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 5 (Patrick Maloney, et al. v. T3Media Inc., No. 15-55630, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5894).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 5th Circuit: Volitional Conduct Needed For Direct Copyright Infringement

NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal judge did not err in granting a defendant summary judgment on the question of direct copyright infringement because the judge properly found an absence of volitional conduct, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 27 (BWP Media USA, et al. v. T&S Software Associates, No. 16-10510, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5340).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Buzzfeed Seeks Dismissal Of Defamation Suit Over Russian Hacking Article

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - In a March 14 motion in Florida federal court, New York media firm Buzzfeed Inc. seeks dismissal of a defamation lawsuit over its January online publication of an article over purported Russian attempts to hack the Democratic National Committee (DNC), asserting a lack of jurisdiction because the dispute "has nothing to do with Florida" (Aleksej Gubarev, et al. v. Buzzfeed Inc., et al., No. 0:17-cv-60426, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Accused File-Sharer Calls Declaratory Judgment Counterclaim Useful

CINCINNATI - Even though a copyright holder dismissed its infringement claim against him, a man accused of downloading adult movies tells the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a March 10 reply brief that his declaratory judgment counterclaim should proceed because a continued threat of liability exists (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Patent Board Grants Netflix Petition For Inter Partes Review

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A request for inter partes review of a patented invention covering systems and methods for navigating hypermedia was granted March 6 by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Netflix Inc. v. Convergent Media Solutions LLC, No. IPR2016-01811, PTAB).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Chicago Moves To Quash Some Discovery In DPPA Suit Against Newspaper

CHICAGO - The city of Chicago on Feb. 28 asked an Illinois federal court to quash some of the discovery requests served on it by a newspaper alleged to have violated the Drivers Privacy and Protection Act (DPPA), arguing that some of the documents are protected by an earlier court order and the attorney-client privilege (Scott Dahlstrom, et al. v. Sun-Times Media LLC, No. 1:12-cv-00658, N.D. Ill.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - High Court Hears Case On Constitutionality Of Sex Offender Law's Social Media Ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 27, lawyers for a convicted sex offender and North Carolina debated whether that state's sex offender registry law runs afoul of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by imposing an across-the-board ban on anyone on the registry from accessing social networks or other websites that minors are known to use (Lester Gerard Packingham v. State of North Carolina, No. 15-1194, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Bars Testimony On Education Lead-Generation Industry's Customs, Practices

TAMPA, Fla. - A lawyer is not qualified to opine on the educational lead-generation industry's customs and practices because the lawyer failed to explain why her experience is a sufficient basis for her opinion and how her experience is reliably applied to the facts of a trade secrets and breach of contract case, a Florida federal judge ruled Feb. 13, excluding the testimony (Connectus LLC v. Ampush Media Inc., et al., No. 15-2778, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19829).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Plaintiffs In Philadelphia Building Collapse Agree To $227 Million Settlement

PHILADELPHIA - The defendants found responsible for the 2013 collapse of a Salvation Army building in Philadelphia on Feb. 8 agreed to pay a total of $227 million to the 19 plaintiffs, those who were injured and the families of those killed in the collapse, according to a press release and media reports (Angelo Harmon, et al. v. The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia, et al., No. 130700720, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - $500M Verdict Returned In Trade Secrets Trial Involving Virtual Reality Software

DALLAS - A Texas federal jury on Feb. 1 ordered four defendants - including Facebook Inc. - to pay a combined $500 million in actual damages to two virtual reality (VR) technology companies for copyright and trademark infringement, conversion, violations of a nondisclosure agreement and false designation (ZeniMax Media Inc., et al. v. Oculus VR Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-1849, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Porn Firm Tells 6th Circuit Downloader Failed To Show Prejudice In Dismissal

CINCINNATI - In a Jan. 13 appellee brief filed in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, an adult entertainment company says that its abandoned infringement claim against an accused file sharer was properly dismissed with prejudice because of the defendant's dilatory discovery conduct and to serve judicial economy (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Inter Partes Review Request Filed By Facebook, Instagram

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Just three months after seeking inter partes review (IPR) by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of a media delivery patent, Facebook Inc. and Instagram LLC on Jan. 15 filed a second petition for IPR of the same patent (Facebook Inc., et al. v. Skky LLC, No. IPR2017-00688, PTAB).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Porn Firm Tells 6th Circuit Downloader Failed To Show Prejudice In Dismissal

CINCINNATI - In a Jan. 13 appellee brief filed in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, an adult entertainment company says that its abandoned infringement claim against an accused file sharer was properly dismissed with prejudice because of the defendant's dilatory discovery conduct and to serve judicial economy (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 9th Circuit: Dismissal Of Karaoke Company's Trademark Case Was Proper

SAN FRANCISCO - Allegations by a karaoke music producer that a defendant's practice of "media-shifting" karaoke tracks from physical compact discs to digital files violates the Lanham Act were correctly dismissed by an Arizona federal judge, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 18 (Slep-Tone Entertainment Corporation v. Wired for Sound Karaoke and DJ Services LLC, No. 14-17229, 9th Cir.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Finds California Law Provision In Facebook Terms Is Enforceable

SAN FRANCISCO - After finding that a California choice-of-law clause in Facebook Inc.'s terms of service is enforceable, a California federal judge on Jan. 9 granted the social media's company's motion to dismiss claims for violation of the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty, and Notice Act (TCCWNA) (Jose Palomino, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 16-cv-04230, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2971).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Accused Downloader Appeals Dismissal Of Claims Against Him Without Prejudice

CINCINNATI - A federal magistrate judge erred in granting voluntary dismissal of an adult movie studio's copyright infringement claims without prejudice, an Ohio man argues in a Dec. 21 brief in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, contending that the disposition deprived him of the ability to seek a fees award as prevailing party for the studio's baseless lawsuit (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 9th Circuit Won't Rehear Computer Fraud Suit Against Social Media Aggregator

SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 9 declined a social media aggregator's petition to rehear an appeal in which the panel found that the aggregator violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by sending solicitation messages to users of Facebook Inc. after being told to cease and desist such actions (Facebook Inc. v. Power Ventures Inc., et al., No. 13-17154, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21944).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Lawyer In File-Sharing Case Again Sanctioned For Discovery Violations

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - After an appeals panel partly dismissed sanctions against an attorney as not properly reflecting the harm incurred by a copyright defendant due to the attorney's discovery misconduct and misrepresentations, an Illinois federal judge on Nov. 23 deemed the attorney's actions to be civil contempt and sanctioned him in amount equivalent to the defendant's remaining costs related to the misconduct (Lightspeed Media Corp. v. Anthony Smith, et al., No. 3:12-cv-00889, S.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162981).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Lawyer In File-Sharing Case Again Sanctioned For Discovery Violations

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - After an appeals panel partly dismissed sanctions against an attorney as not properly reflecting the harm incurred by a copyright defendant due to the attorney's discovery misconduct and misrepresentations, an Illinois federal judge on Nov. 23 deemed the attorney's actions to be civil contempt and sanctioned him in amount equivalent to the defendant's remaining costs related to the misconduct (Lightspeed Media Corp. v. Anthony Smith, et al., No. 3:12-cv-00889, S.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162981).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Supreme Court To Hear Challenge To Sex Offender Social Media Ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Oct. 28 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to a registered sex offender who asserts that a North Carolina sex offender registry law's prohibition on access to social networking websites constitutes a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Lester Gerard Packingham v. State of North Carolina, No. 15-1194, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Sacramento Settles For $15 Million After Death Of Girl Allergic To Peanuts

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The City of Sacramento and an organization that operates a camp associated with it on Oct. 5 settled for $15 million a wrongful death case filed in California state court by the parents of a girl with a peanut allergy who died after eating a crisped rice treat that had peanut butter in it, according to media reports (Joanne M. Giorgi, et al. v. City of Sacramento, et al., No. 34-2014-00162222, Calif. Super., Sacramento Co.).