A pending action in the Eastern District of Wisconsin serves as a reminder of the need for clarity and specificity in any IP-related deal, and in this case, in a matter involving copyright. Wayne W. Peterson is a freelance commercial artist who produced various commissioned works for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle company from the mid-1970s through the mid-2000s. Two of Peterson’s works, the “Live to Ride” logo, created in 1985 and the “Harley-Davidson University” logo, created in 1991, are the subject of Peterson’s Complaint.
We previously reported on developments in various United States Courts of Appeal decisions concerning reverse payments in Hatch-Waxman litigation settlements – that is, payments made by branded pharmaceutical patent holders to generic challengers to postpone market entry of the generic product. Most recently, as we reported here, the Third Circuit in In re K-Dur Antitrust Litig. bucked prior holdings of the Eleventh, Second, and Federal Circuits, ruling that a reverse payment is prima facie evidence of an antitrust violation and, therefore, serves as evidence of unreasonable restraints of trade. In light of the Third Circuit’s divergent decision from other circuit precedent, many predicted a subsequent Petition for Certiorari.
We previously reported on the new 35 U.S.C. § 299 of the America Invents Act. This statute aims, inter alia, to reduce the ability of a patent owner to join multiple, unrelated defendants in a single action, which is a tactic often employed by non-practicing entities (“NPEs”), sometimes referred to as “patent trolls,” who press defendants for nuisance value settlements.
As we previously reported, the Smith-Leahy America Invents Act (“AIA”) prohibits plaintiff patent owners from joining multiple, unrelated defendants in a single action. An unintended, yet significant, consequence of this is that patent holders must bring serial litigations when more than one unrelated infringer is implicated. And, with the added possibility of declaratory judgment actions commenced in different venues, there is a real potential to have multiple cases — involving the same patent(s) — scattered across different judicial districts. Beyond the obvious resource concerns, this scenario may increase the risk of conflicting rulings.
In Merial Ltd. v. Cipla Ltd., the Federal Circuit recently reviewed an appeal from the Middle District of Georgia that found defendant Cipla (an Indian company) in contempt for violating an earlier injunction and finding co-defendant Velcera in contempt for acting in concert with Cipla to violate that injunction. The case arose from Cipla’s alleged infringement of Merial’s patents directed to flea and tick protection compositions, and Cipla’s underlying challenges to the District Court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over it.
We previously reported on the Intellectual Property Exchange International (“IPXI”), the “world’s first financial exchange focused on IP rights,” as well as its recent developments and sponsorships. The IPXI seems on course to commence operations this summer, or early fall. The article, published last week in IP Law360, provides an in depth look at this new market for monetizing IP assets, as well as some considerations for those contemplating the IPXI for their IP portfolios.
On Monday, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in the well-publicized Assn. For Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, et al. case (“Myriad”) for the purpose of vacating the underlying Federal Circuit decision — finding isolated DNA sequences from human genes as patentable subject matter — and remanding the case for reconsideration in view of its recent ruling in Mayo Collaborative Services, et al. v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. (“Mayo”).
Pinterest, a play on words of “pin” and “interest,” is a virtual, online “pin board,” where user’s can organize and share things they find on the web. While Pinterest is attracting a loyal community of social media users, the site is also the source of some concern for those same users and owners of intellectual property. The stated Mission of Pinterest is “to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting . . . a favorite book, toy, or recipe [which] can reveal a common link between two people.
The New York Knicks’ rising superstar point guard, Jeremy Lin, continues to wow fans around the world. Lin’s NBA ascent also has prompted a rush to the Trademark Office. Over 20 applications for word marks that bear the letters L-I-N already have been filed. These include LIN-SATIONAL; ALL LIN; LINSPIRATION; I’M A LINNER; LINSOMNIA: LINCREDIBLE; and other derivations using the star’s last name. The frenzy began with applications for the seemingly ubiquitous LINSANITY catch phrase, which were filed on February 7 and February 9, as the star’s career took off. Most of the applications to date have been filed on an intent to use basis, that is, the applicant has expressed a bona fide intent to use the mark in interstate commerce.
We previously reviewed a copyright case involving Marvel and a comic book author’s relinquishment of any copyrights in the iconic characters Hulk, Spiderman, the X-Men and others because the works were determined to be “for hire.” Marvel Worldwide v. Kirby. In an unrelated action, Judge Forrest of the Southern District of New York recently found in favor of Marvel, in Gary Friedrich Enters., LLC v. Marvel Enters., Inc. The court ruled that the plaintiff writer, Gary Friedrich, although he indisputably conceived of the character, “Ghost Rider,” and wrote the initial comic book, had ceded all rights in the character to Marvel.