New England IP Blog

Covering intellectual property developments in New England, and other developments that impact New England companies.

Category Archives: Copyright

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Summary Judgment Stalemate in Copyright Spat Between Former Collaborators

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (“IEEE”) is the well-known engineering standards organization often cited in patent litigations to inform issues ranging from claim construction to the state of the art. A recent decision from the District of New Hampshire gives an inside look at how the IEEE’s standards are made, and perhaps … Continue Reading

Plaintiff Torpedoed with Attorneys’ Fees for “Objectively Unreasonable” Copyright Claim

In a recent decision from the District of Connecticut, Judge Meyer awarded attorneys’ fees against a plaintiff who the court found brought an “objectively unreasonable” copyright infringement claim based on an unpublished work of non-fiction. Plaintiff Joseph Leary’s 2013 action alleged that a book written by defendants Roy Manstan (“Manstan”) and Frederic Frese (“Frese”), and … Continue Reading

Judge Saris Opines on Copyright Infringement in 3-D Greeting Card Case

On February 22, Chief Judge Saris in the District of Massachusetts issued an opinion on a motion to dismiss implicating several complex copyright infringement issues.  The Chief Judge’s ruling analyzed whether several allegedly infringing works could be considered “substantially similar” to the copyrighted works, as required to support a claim of copyright infringement.  The “substantial similarity” analysis produced different results … Continue Reading

Cheerleader Uniform Designs Protectable Under Copyright Act

The Supreme Court recently held in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., that the designs on certain cheerleader uniforms may be protected copyrights. The 6-2 decision clarified the test to be applied when determining whether a feature incorporated into the design of a useful article would be eligible for copyright protection.… Continue Reading

Copyright Plaintiff Allowed to Subpoena ISP to Discover Defendant’s Name

A recent decision from the District of Connecticut is part of a series of copyright cases where a plaintiff, unable to identify the accused infringer except by the Internet Protocol (or “IP) address used at the time of the alleged infringement, has sought and received pre-service leave to serve a subpoena upon the Internet Service Provider (or … Continue Reading

Relating a Software Copyright Infringement Claim Back to its Source

In a recent order, Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the District of Massachusetts untangled a complicated timeline to decide motions for summary judgment regarding several copyright infringement and related claims on a statute of limitations basis. The analysis is instructive to prospective plaintiffs as to when a complaint should be filed, which potential defendants it … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Court Takes the Temperature of Defendant’s Inequitable Conduct Claim on Summary Judgment

In a recent decision out of the District of Massachusetts, Judge Stearns assessed Kaz’s inequitable conduct defense on summary judgment – and found it to come up short by a degree. The opinion is an important reminder that to make out an inequitable conduct defense, a litigant must make a strong showing as to both … Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Ruling Not a Pretty Picture for Massachusetts Copyright Plaintiff

A recent decision from the District of Massachusetts demonstrates the difficulties that can arise when attempting to protect copyrighted works displayed on the internet.  The July 29, 2015 order issued by the Honorable Patti B. Saris, granted defendants Orgill, Inc. (“Orgill”) and Farm & City Supply, LLC (“FSC”) a split ruling on their summary judgment … Continue Reading

Connecticut Court Sinks Claim That History Of American Submarine Infringes Copyright

A recent decision from Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in the District of Connecticut may make waves in the world of nonfiction copyright. The decision throws out a copyright case that, among other things, emphasized two similarities between the copyrighted work and the accused work: both engaged in the use of “flash-back” and “flash-forward” storytelling techniques, and … Continue Reading

Cisco Takes Foreign Corporations to School in Ex Parte Applications for Restraining Orders

Two recent orders from the District of Connecticut demonstrate that the element of surprise continues to be an effective, and sometimes necessary, factor in copyright litigation. The June 26, 2015 orders issued by the Honorable Vanessa L. Bryant, granted plaintiff Cisco Technology, Inc.’s ex parte applications for temporary restraining orders and enjoined the defendants – … Continue Reading

Connecticut Court Possesses Personal Jurisdiction Over “Demonologist” Publisher

In the District of Connecticut, an out of state publisher with no alleged direct contacts with Connecticut recently lost its bid to have a case against it dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. Gerald Brittle sued Lorraine Warren, Tony Spera, and Graymalkin Media, LLC for copyright infringement and tortious interference with a contract or business … Continue Reading

Browsewrap Agreement Wraps up Copyright Infringement Case for Defendant

Those rarely-read “Terms and Conditions” on websites can have real teeth. In a case suggesting that posters beware, a District of Massachusetts court recently concluded that a website’s Terms and Conditions caused ownership of the copyrights in a user’s posts to transfer to the website’s operator, despite no evidence that the user actually read and … Continue Reading

A Trademark Licensor Is Not Its Licensee’s Keeper

It appears Oban’s case against Nautilus now has no pulse.  In a recent opinion in Oban US, LLC v. Nautilus, Inc. and Sports Beat, Inc., Judge Arterton granted Nautilus’ motion to dismiss Oban’s claims against Nautilus for contributory trademark infringement, vicarious copyright infringement, trade dress infringement, and unfair competition under the Lanham Act and “unspecified” state … Continue Reading

LEGO to Cra-Z-Art: “You’re not our Friends.”

On March 20, 2014, LEGO A/S filed a complaint in the District of Connecticut against competitor LaRose Industries LLC d/b/a Cra-Z-Art, alleging copyright and patent infringement and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The case is before Judge Robert N. Chatigny in New Haven, CT. In its Complaint, the Danish toymaker alleges that … Continue Reading
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