Archives: Intellectual Property

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EU Regulation on cross-border portability of online content services in force

After publication in the Official Journal of the European Union, Regulation (EU) 2017/1128 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 on cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market (‘Regulation’) enters into force 20 July 2017, and will become enforceable 20 March 2018. The Regulation focusses on seamless access … Continue Reading

CJEU: Operation of peer-to-peer sharing platform may qualify as copyright infringement

In a preliminary judgment of 14 June 2017, Case C-610/15, the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) held that the making available and management of a peer-to-peer sharing platform may constitute a copyright infringement. Facts of the case In the underlying main proceedings before the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, Stichting Brein, a Dutch … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Clarifies Descriptiveness Standard in Overturning ‘Dotblog’ Trademark Refusal

It’s not uncommon for internet-based services to utilize names referencing their online presence, much like it is not uncommon for the monikers of app-based services to refer to their mobile format. But at what point does a suggestive term become merely descriptive to the point that it can be denied trademark registration? The United States … Continue Reading

Weak Social Media Presence Sinks Trademark Claims, Says Sixth Circuit

A DJ asserting trademark infringement and dilution claims against a similarly named rapper failed partly due to a lack of apparent popularity on social media, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled on December 13. In Kibler v. Hall, et al., No. 15-2516 (6th Cir. Dec. 13, 2016), the appellate court affirmed … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rules that CFAA Imposes Criminal Penalties when Terminated Users Try To Access Systems With Borrowed Passwords

It can be a violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) to “access[] a protected computer without authorization.” The CFAA clearly applies when criminals with no connection to a company try to force their way into information systems.  But in a recent decision a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit found the CFAA … Continue Reading

Trade Secrets Directive Adopted by the European Council

Almost three years after its initial proposal, the Trade Secrets Directive has been formally adopted by the European Council and published in the Official Journal on 15 June (2016/943/EU). Member states will have until 9 June 2018 to implement the Directive’s provisions. As we reported last year, the Directive aims to harmonize the divergent body … Continue Reading

Wisconsin Federal Court Finds Spokeo Spells the End for Consumer Privacy Class Action

In a sign of the continuing significance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Spokeo v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (May 24, 2016), another federal court has cited that ruling in dismissing claims for lack of Article III standing. In Gubula v. Time Warner Cable, Inc., No. 15-cv-1078 (E.D. Wis. June 17, 2016), … Continue Reading

German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) releases operators of Wi-Fi networks from liability for copyright infringements committed by the Wi-Fi network users (so-called Störerhaftung)

On 2 June, the German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) passed a bill (2. Gesetz zur Änderung des Telemediengesetzes – 2nd Amending Law to the Federal Telemedia Act; “New Law”). The New Law limits the scope of potential liability for transmitting information for all professional and non-professional operators of Wi-Fi networks. In particular, operators of Wi-Fi networks … Continue Reading

German Federal Constitutional Court: Use of short “samples” in music titles does not qualify as infringement of exploitation rights of phonogram producers

On 31 May 2016, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht – “BVerfG”) issued a judgment in favor of a Hip-Hop artist (“Artist”) who had used a 2-second-sample of Kraftwerk’s song “Metall auf Metall” (the “Judgment”). The BVerfG held that the use of samples for artistic purposes is protected by the artistic freedom and, at the … Continue Reading

First Round of Defend Trade Secrets Act Complaints Alleging Misappropriation Activity Both Before and After DTSA’s Enactment: Will They Stick?

Following President Obama’s signing of the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA” or the “Act”) into law last week, parties are beginning to file lawsuits asserting claims under the DTSA. As widely reported, before the DTSA’s enactment, civil trade secret legislation was solely a creature of state law.  Consequently, absent another basis for federal jurisdiction, parties … Continue Reading

German Federal Supreme Court confirms its previous positions on liability for copyright infringements within file sharing networks | At the same time, the German Federal Government announces to release professional Wi-Fi network operators from liability

On 12 May 2016, the German Federal Supreme Court (“FSC”; Bundesgerichtshof – BGH) made several judgments, confirming and developing its settled case law on the liability of a subscriber of an internet connection (“Subscriber”) for copyright infringements made by third persons (see the FSC’s press release of 12 May 2016). The full judgments are not yet … Continue Reading

EU Trade Mark Regulation (EU) 2015/2424 in force

On 23 March 2016, European Union Trade Mark Regulation (EU) 2015/2424 came into force. The new Regulation amends Community Trade Mark Regulation 207/2009/EC, and makes a number of procedural and substantive changes to EU trade mark law. Most of the new Regulation’s provisions are effective immediately, with the remainder scheduled to come into force in … Continue Reading

Update: Federal Circuit Declines to Reconsider ITC Jurisdiction over Electronic Transmissions of Digital Data

The scope of the United States International Trade Commission’s ability to prevent infringement from abroad may have just been significantly reduced. On March 31, 2016, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order denying petitions by the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) and Align Technology, Inc. seeking a rehearing en banc of the Federal Circuit’s … Continue Reading

Don’t Forget About Your Affiliates and Customers as Technology License End Users

Your business may license many different types of software and technology in the ordinary course. These licenses range from software installed on your internal network to use-rights in software-as-a-services (SaaS) models, where the programs reside on the vendor’s host systems and are accessed via the Internet (or in some other manner). In each case, you are … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Rejects Disparaging Trademarks’ Ban on First Amendment Grounds

A December ruling by the Federal Circuit emphasized the value of commercial speech through trademark registration, and the case may have implications for the Washington Redskins. The NFL team’s Super Bowl dreams may be over, but the intellectual property battle over their name is still alive. In a move that is likely to affect the … Continue Reading

Full steam ahead for the EU’s new Trade Mark Directive

On 15 January 2016, Europe’s new Trade Mark Directive (2015/2436) will come into force, with the aim of harmonising trade mark laws across the EU. The news follows the publication of the new Directive in the Official Journal 23 December 2015. The new Directive replaces the previous Directive (2008/95/EC), with effect from January 2019. Member States … Continue Reading

Consumer Review Freedom Act of 2015 Wins Support of Every Senator

There isn’t much that all members of the U.S. Senate can agree on these days, but protecting the ability of consumers to write reviews of businesses has emerged as a uniting issue. The Senate voted unanimously December 14 to approve the Consumer Review Freedom Act, which outlaws contract provisions that prohibit or restrict individuals’ ability … Continue Reading

In a First, E.D. Tex. Finds Plaintiff’s Massive Litigation Campaign Asserting Patent Invalid Under Alice ‘Exceptional,’ and Awards Defendants Attorneys’ Fees

On December 17, 2015, Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas awarded attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. section 285 to defendants in a set of consolidated patent lawsuits initiated by eDekka LLC. 12/17 Order at 1. A prolific patent assertion entity, eDekka filed more than 200 lawsuits in 2014 and 2015 in the Eastern … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit’s ClearCorrect ruling impacts ITC ability to police 3D printing and other disputes involving digital data transmission

The ITC does not have jurisdiction over digital data transmitted into the United States from abroad, according to a recent Federal Circuit ruling related to 3D printing. On November 10, 2015, in a decision that could have a significant impact on the 3D printing and other industries, the Federal Circuit held in ClearCorrect Operating LLC … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds That the Google Digital Books Project Is Protected Under the Fair Use Doctrine

On October 16, the Second Circuit ruled that Google’s scanning of millions of books without the copyright holders’ permission, for use in its “Google Books” database, is permissible under the fair use doctrine. Google Books enables members of the public to search for terms within these books and view snippets of machine-readable text containing their search … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds Fair Use Must Be Considered Prior to Issuing Takedown

In the so-called “dancing baby” case, the Ninth Circuit ruled recently that copyright owners must consider the fair use doctrine before sending Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) takedown notifications to online service providers, such as YouTube.  If copyright owners fail to do so, they risk incurring penalties under DMCA section 512(f). In 2007, Universal Music … Continue Reading

Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015 May Open Door to Employers Wishing to Pursue Trade Secret Claims in Federal Court

For years, employers have sought access to federal courts for trade secret misappropriation claims against departing employees who have taken the employer’s proprietary information to use in a new venture or for a new employer. Absent diversity, employers’ options to secure federal jurisdiction were limited, however. In the 2000s, employers began including claims under the … Continue Reading
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