WASHINGTON, D.C. - In divided decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on March 22 ruled that a feature incorporated into the design of a useful article is eligible for copyright protection when the feature can be perceived as a two- or three-dimensional work of art separate from the useful article and would qualify on its own or in some other tangible medium as a protectable pictorial, graphic or sculptural work (Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., et al., No. 15-866, U.S. Sup.).
MARSHALL, Texas - Although a urologist's testimony on the inefficacy of natural and herbal remedies was barred in a patent infringement case over a drug's marketing, a Texas federal judge on March 17 allowed the urologist to testify as to the drug's marketing (Erfindergemeinschaft UroPep GbR v. Eli Lilly and Co., No. 15-1202, E.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38512).
NEW ORLEANS - An award of royalty damages on behalf of a trademark infringement plaintiff was vacated March 16 by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Streamline Production Systems Inc. v. Streamline Manufacturing Inc., No. 16-20046, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4708).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Delaware federal judge did not abuse her discretion in determining that a failed patent case by Bayer Cropscience AG was exceptional, thereby triggering an award of attorney fees, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded March 17 (Bayer Cropscience AG v. Dow Agrosciences LLC, No. 15-1854, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4723).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a 7-1 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on March 21 rejected findings by a divided en banc Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the equitable defense of laches remains available even when a claim for damages is brought within the six-year limitations period set forth in Section 286 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 1 et seq. (SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag and SCA Personal Care, Inc. v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, et al., No. 15-927, U.S. Sup.).
MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin federal judge on March 16 found several state officials not liable for violation of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) in the seizure of an organization's electronic records as part of an investigation, finding the relevant warrants to have been issued in compliance with the statute and deeming the officials entitled to immunity under the act (The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy Inc. v. Francis Schmitz, et al., No. 3:16-cv-00539, W.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36796).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Acting on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 17 found that a patent dispute requires a new trial on damages in light of Samsung Electronics Co. v. Apple Inc., 137 S. Ct. 429 (2016) (Nordock Inc. v. Systems Inc., Nos. 14-1762, -1795, Fed. Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4732).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A North Carolina federal judge's determination that all claims of a hair growth patent are invalid was reversed March 17 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Allergan Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., et al., Nos. 16-1085, -1160, Fed. Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4733).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In a March 13 ruling the Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted inter partes review of eight claims of a patent covering, among other things, a transceiver with sleep mode for reduced power consumption (DISH Network LLC v. TQ Delta LLC, No. IPR2016-01760, PTAB).
SAN FRANCISCO - Competing motions for summary judgment on whether licensing agreements asserted in a third amended complaint (TAC) establish that disputed software is subject to the first-sale defense to allegations of copyright infringement were denied March 14 by a California federal judge (Microsoft Corp. v. A&S Electronics Inc., No. 15-3570, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36477).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Efforts by Ford Motor Co. to invalidate a patented system and method for consolidating multiple product configuration models pursuant to the covered business method (CBM) review mechanism were unsuccessful on March 15, when the Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied Ford's petition (Ford Motor Co. v. Versata Development Group Inc., No. CBM2016-00101, PTAB).
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.).
SAN FRANCISCO - OpenTV Inc. on March 13 won dismissal of 10 counts of a 13-count declaratory judgment complaint when a California federal judge agreed that plaintiff Comcast Cable Communications LLC failed "to allege facts sufficient to support inferences of non-infringement" (Comcast Cable Communications LLC v. OpenTV Inc., No. 16-6180, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35740).
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.).
LAS VEGAS - Match.com LLC did not have a duty to warn a user of its dating website about another user who violently attacked her, a Nevada federal judge ruled March 10, dismissing the plaintiff's negligence claim for failure to allege the existence of a special relationship with the site operator that created such a duty (Mary Kay Beckman v. Match.com LLC, No. 2:13-cv-00097, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35562).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A company asserting that an ex-employee revealed confidential information in anonymous postings on an employer review website failed to establish the proprietary nature of the information, a California appeals panel ruled March 10, vacating a trial court's ordering the site to identify the employee (Glassdoor Inc. v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County and Machine Zone Inc., No. H042824, Calif. App. 6th Dist., 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 213).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - An inventor's request to overturn an examiner's rejection on obviousness grounds of various claims of a patented apparatus for treating a mixed hydrocarbon feed stream were rejected March 14 by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Ex parte Frederick Jan Van Dijk, No. 2015-004023, PTAB).
MARSHALL, Texas - In a March 10 verdict, jurors empaneled before U.S. Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas sided squarely with Whirlpool Corp. in a patent infringement dispute over a water treatment component (Whirlpool Corp. v. TST Water LLC, No. 15-1528, E.D. Texas).
PASADENA, Calif. - Affirming a trial court's judgment, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 9 found no coverage under a crime insurance policy for funds lost by an accounting firm's wire transfers pursuant to fraudulently sent emails, concluding that provisions for forgery, computer fraud and funds transfer fraud did not apply (Taylor & Lieberman v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 15-56102, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4205).
SAN FRANCISCO - A plaintiff failed to establish that an inventor's contribution to a patented angioplasty balloon catheter known as "AngioSculpt" warrants a correction of inventorship, a California federal magistrate judge ruled March 9 (TriReme Medical LLC v. AngioScore Inc., No. 14-2496, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33999).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Preliminary approval of a $22.5 million settlement of a class action over Google Inc.'s AdWords program under California's unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising law (FAL) was granted March 9, with a California federal judge approving a proposed settlement class and settlement fund and setting dates for class notification and a fairness hearing (In Re Google AdWords Litigation, No. 5:08-cv-03369, N.D. Calif.).
NEW ORLEANS - In a ruling issued March 10, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that the inapplicability of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq., to extraterritorial conduct bars a contributory infringement claim when it is based upon the domestic authorization of entirely extraterritorial conduct (Geophysical Services Incorporated v. TGS-Nopec Geophysical Services, No. 15-20706, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4286).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on March 8 granted a petition for inter partes review (IPR) of a patent claiming a system for programming mobile communication devices based on a "high-level code comprising operative language" (Google Inc. v. IXI Mobile R&D Ltd., No. IPR2016-01669, PTAB).
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).
CLEVELAND - A copyright infringement plaintiff's request that evidence of expenses, deductions or allocations be excluded from the calculation of damages in connection with a defendant's alleged discovery abuses was denied March 7 by an Ohio federal magistrate judge (Design Basics LLC v. Petros Homes Inc., et al., No. 14-1966, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32066).