• Notifying Co-Authors About a Lawsuit

    by  • June 17, 2019 • 0 Comments

    The Copyright Act of 1976 made a fundamental change to copyright law by making copyright divisible. Authors can give someone else exclusive rights in a portion of their copyright, for example the exclusive right of first publication, retaining no right of first publication for themselves. The drafters of the Copyright Act also contemplated that...

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    Obligations versus Benefits

    by  • May 28, 2019 • 0 Comments

    Apparently someone is still interested in the Amiga operating system. In 2009, non-party Amiga, Inc. and defendant Hyperion Entertainment C.V.B.A. entered into a settlement agreement that resolved a number of lawsuits between them. The plaintiff, Cloanto Corp., was a licensee of Amiga at the time of the settlement agreement and mentioned in the agreement...

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    A Rare Section 117 Win

    by  • May 13, 2019 • 0 Comments

    We have a rare win under Copyright Act § 117(a), a section of the Copyright Act that allows someone to copy or adapt a computer program under very narrow circumstances. Invocation of the section has been largely unsuccessful because it only applies where one is the owner of a copy of the program. However,...

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    Patent Infringement Versus Breach of Contract

    by  • April 29, 2019 • 1 Comment

    Something that license drafters need to think through is how a license grant works, as a permission, not a prohibition. If there is conduct that a licensor wants to prohibit, then it has to ensure that it addresses that need in the agreement. The licensor also needs to think through what remedies will be...

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    Were the Assignments Valid?

    by  • March 18, 2019 • 2 Comments

    Sometimes a case sends you back to the basics. This was one of those cases for me. Copyright infringement claims against Dollar General appear to be the driving force behind a sequence of assignments of the copyrights for some toys. The relevant chain of title for the copyrights was Acquawood => Focus Brand Limited...

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    Today’s “Who Owns the Trademark” Quiz

    by  • March 11, 2019 • 0 Comments

    The opening sentence: “This case proves once again that people will fight for a catchy name.” My kind of case. Plaintiff Thomas Sköld coined the name “Restoraderm” for a proprietary skin care formulation. (When the court uses the word “coined,” you know it has grasped the difference between a word and a trademark.)  In...

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    The First Amendment and Collective Marks

    by  • March 4, 2019 • 1 Comment

    The government has been trying to seize the MONGOLS trademark for over ten years. You can read my previous posts about it here, here, here and here.  The Mongol Nation, an unincorporated association, owned or owns several registrations for a trademark, service marks and collective membership marks for the word mark MONGOLS, the riding...

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    Who Is Not a Beneficial Owner of Copyright

    by  • February 25, 2019 • 0 Comments

    Six years into the case, we’re on to the third decision on ownership in the case of Roberts v. Gordy and have yet to reach the question of infringement. In the first opinion, the district court held that, although there were three registrations for the infringed work, none was effective and so the court...

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    The Things You Don’t Think Of

    by  • February 18, 2019 • 0 Comments

    We have a story of three firearm and ammunition companies. The parties in the case are DoubleTap Defense, LLC (DTD), a company that had an application to register the trademark DOUBLETAP for pistols, and Hornady Manufacturing Co., owner of several TAP-formative registrations for ammunition. The third company, not a party, is Double Tap Ammunition...

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    The Sexy World of Trademarks in Bankruptcy

    by  • February 11, 2019 • 0 Comments

    I know there are few legal topics sexier than bankruptcy, but we’ve now reached the pinnacle of sexiness – bankruptcy AND trademark. I mean, how much more fulfilled will my life get?! Pending before the Supreme Court and set for hearing on February 20 is Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC. I wrote...

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    Unauthorized Registration As Material Breach

    by  • January 14, 2019 • 0 Comments

    I just ran across this older opinion upon seeing a more recent opinion in the case on attorneys’ fees. The situation was interesting enough to make me go back and find the earlier decision. Defendant Otkrytoe Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo “Spartak” is a Belarusian company specializing in the production of chocolate. Spartak entered into a non-exclusive...

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