Russell Road Food & Beverage, LLC v. Spencer

Trademark assignments and trademark co-existence agreements are generally enforceable; here the assignee of a co-existence agreement had prior rights over the assignee under a later assignment of the trademark.  Both assignments and trademark co-existence agreements are generally enforceable.  Here, the original owner of the “Crazy Horse” trademark entered into a co-existence agreement with Russell Road’s…

JL Beverage Co., LLC v. Jim Beam Brands Co.

In this trademark infringement case, plaintiff raised trial issues of fact sufficient to overcome summary judgment by showing the defendant sold its competing vodka under labels that a reasonable consumer might find confusingly similar to plaintiff’s labels, both featuring puckered lips, colored to match the vodka’s flavoring. The district court erred in applying the preliminary…

Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee

The ordinary presumption favoring judicial review of administrative actions is trumped by clear statutory language providing that a Patent Office determination to institute inter partes review of an already issued patent is not reviewable in court.  Under the clear, express language of 35 USC 314(d), a Patent Office determination to institute inter partes review of…

Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc.

The Supreme Court rejects the Federal Circuit’s Seagate Technology test for when to award treble damages in patent infringement suits under 35 USC 284, as too rigid and incompatible with the statute, adopting instead a “all circumstances considered” standard reviewed on appeal only for abuse of discretion.  The Federal Circuit’s Seagate test for the award…

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

In exercising its discretion under 17 USC 505 to award fees to the prevailing party in a copyright infringement suit, a district court should give significant, but not necessarily controlling, weight to whether the losing party advanced a reasonable claim or defense.  Under 17 USC 505, a federal district court may, in its discretion, award…

VMG Salsoul, LLC v. Ciccone

Madonna’s song Vogue, in which she used a 0.23 second horn segment from an earlier copyrighted song, did not infringe on the earlier song’s copyright; any copying—even if deliberate—was de minimis and an average audience would not recognize the appropriation.  Even deliberate copying of a copyrighted work does not constitute actionable infringement if the copying…

Millenium Labs., Inc. v. Ameritox, Ltd.

Questions of fact prevented summary judgment on defense that plaintiff’s graphical method of presenting medical test results was functional and so not a protectable trade dress.  The district court erred in granting defendant summary judgment in this trade dress infringement case between companies that performed urine tests for doctors.  Plaintiff claimed it presented its test…

Lenz v. Universal Music Publishing, Inc.

A notifier who sends a take-down notice to a website owner can be held liable to the poster of the taken-down content, if the notifier sends a take-down notice without first making a good faith determination that the content’s use of copyrighted material is not protected by the fair use doctrine.  Under the Digital Millenium…