Adobe Sys., Inc. v. Christenson 809 F.3d 1071 (9th Cir. 2015)
By Amiee Shin
In 2009, Adobe filed suit against Christenson, alleging copyright infringement under the Copyright Act and trademark infringement under the Lanham Act. In its complaint, Adobe claimed that
Christenson distributed copies of its software purchased from third party distributers, on his website, without its authorization. Christenson asserted the first-sale doctrine as a defense against the
copyright infringement claim. He also filed counterclaims and a third party claim against Adobe and the Software Publishers Association (“SIIA”), alleging defamation based on a press release issued by SIIA, accusing Christenson of deceiving consumers by selling infringing copies and counterfeit versions of the software.
Dryer v. Nat’l Football League 814 F.3d 938 (8th Cir. 2016)
By Jeffrey T. Hughes
Initially, appellants were part of a class action of twenty-three former NFL players. The class asserted that the game footage used in the NFL films violated various states’ common law and statutory right of publicity and sought injunctive relief and damages. The class also asserted that the NFL’s use of images of the appellants playing football violated section 43 of the Lanham Act.
Cuozzo Speed Techs., LLC v. Lee 136 S. Ct. 2131 (2016)
By Daniel Gaitan
In 2012 Garmin International, Inc., and Garmin USA, Inc., (“Garmin”) filed a petition seeking inter partes review of Cuozzo’spatents. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act allows a third party to request the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to reexamine patent claims that have already been granted, and cancel those deemed not patentable in light of prior art.’ Garmin wanted interpartes review for all 20 patents held by Cuozzo, and specifically stated that “claim 17 was obvious in light of three prior patents, the Aumayer, Evans and Wendt patents. ”
Halo Elecs., Inc. v. Pulse Elecs., Inc. 136 S. Ct. 1923 (2016)
By Lena Ghamrawi
The Supreme Court issued a combined decision in this ruling, consolidating two patent infringement actions. In the first action, petitioner is Halo Electronics, Inc. (“Halo”), the patent holder for the improved design of electronic surface-mount packages. Respondent is Pulse Electronics, Inc. (“Pulse”), a competitor in the same field. Halo’s electronic packages contain “transformers designed to be mounted to the surface of circuit boards.”‘ In 2002, Halo sent Pulse two letters that offered licenses to Halo’s patents. Pulse declined Halo’s offer after a Pulse engineer determined that the patents were invalid. Pulse continued to sell its products, even after Halo raised concerns regarding patent infringement. Halo sued Pulse for patent infringement of its electronic surface-mount packages.
Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 136 S. Ct. 1979 (2016)
By Michael Martinez
Petitioner, Supap Kirtsaeng, is a citizen of Thailand, who came to the United States twenty years ago to earn his undergraduate degree in mathematics at Cornell University. Respondent, John Wiley & Sons (“Wiley”), is a global academic publishing company that markets its products to students, instructors, and other interested consumers. Kirtsaeng realized that Wiley sold identical textbooks in English in Thailand at a lower price point. Recognizing the profit that he could make, Kirtsaeng requested that his family and friends purchase these textbooks in Thailand and ship them, so that he could resell them to American students. Kirtsaeng’s business generated profits, giving rise to Wiley’s initial infringement suit and subsequent appeals.
Microsoft Corp. v. United States of America 829 F.3d 197 (2d Cir. 2016)
By Arlette Noujaim
The Stored Communications Act (SCA) provides privacy protection for users of electronic communication services, such as email communication and cell phones, as well as remote computing services, such as computer storage or processing services. The SCA imposes obligations of non-disclosure on service providers such as Microsoft. Section 2703 of the SCA facilitates the process by which the government can obtain other non-content records by a court order issued only upon a statement of “specific and articulable facts showing reasonable grounds to believe that the contents or records are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation”. To obtain other user content that is less than one hundred eighty (180) days old, a warrant is required; for older content, a warrant is also required unless the government is willing to provide notice to the customer.
Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016)
By Lindsay Hill
The district court held that Robins did not properly plead injury in fact as required by Article III of the Constitution and ultimately dismissed Robins’ complaint against Spokeo with prejudice for lack of standing in federal court. However, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling, finding that Robins did properly allege injury-infact by claiming that (1) Spokeo violated his personal statutory rights and that (2) he had an individualized interest in his credit information as opposed to collective interest. Although the Ninth Circuit recognized the constitutional limitations of Congress’ power to confer standing, it relied on case precedent, stating a statutory right violation usually confers standing. Spokeo petitioned for writ of certiorari, which was granted.
Trader Joe’s Co. v. Hallatt 835 F.3d 960 (9th Cir. 2016)
By Ryan J. Blackney
On May 1, 2013, Trader Joe’s commenced a federal lawsuit in the Western District of Washington that named Hallatt, Pirate Joe’s, and its former iteration, Transilvania Trading, as Defendants. The suit alleged violations of the Lanham Act, including claims for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, false endorsement, and false designation of origin.’ Trader Joe’s also asserted further violations based on the Washington Consumer Protection Act and Washington’s anti-dilution laws. Trader Joe’s requested permanent injunctive relief and damages stemming from Hallatt’s activities.