Articles Posted in Intellectual Property

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Yellowfin filed suit against Barker Boatworks and Kevin Barker, alleging claims for trade dress infringement and false designation of origin under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, common law unfair competition, common law trade dress infringement, and violation of Florida's Uniform Trade Secret Act (FUTSA). The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants. The court, weighing the likelihood of confusion factors holistically, held that the district court did not err in holding that Yellowfin could not, as a matter of law, prove a likelihood of confusion between Barker Boatworks' trade dress and its own. Therefore, the court held that the district court properly rejected the rest of Yellowfin's claims related to trade dress and consumer confusion. The court rejected Yellowfin's claims under FUTSA and held that Yellowfin failed to show that Barker allegedly misappropriated Source Information and Customer Information trade secrets. View "Yellowfin Yachts, Inc. v. Barker Boatworks, LLC" on Justia Law

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This case arose from a dispute over the ownership of the mark "The Commodores." Defendant appealed an order granting judgment as a matter of law to CEC and converting a preliminary injunction into a permanent one against defendant and his corporation, Fifth Avenue. The Eleventh Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction to review the denial of the motion to dismiss and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding expert testimony from an attorney who proffered only legal conclusions; when defendant left the band, he left behind his common-law rights to the marks and those rights remained with CEC; the scope of the injunction was not impermissibly broad; defendant's arguments about the validity of the federal registration of the marks were irrelevant to this determination; and defendant did not establish any affirmative defenses. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Commodores Entertainment Corp. v. McClary" on Justia Law

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Appellants, artists in the hip hop industry, appealed the dismissal of their copyright infringement case, arguing that their copyright registrations for a song were improperly invalidated under 17 U.S.C. 411 without a showing of scienter and that they made a proper showing of copyright ownership. The Eleventh Circuit held that it need not reach a decision on the ownership issue because the district court misapplied the law by invalidating the copyright registrations. In this case, the district court erred by sua sponte raising the issue of registration validity. Furthermore, the good faith inaccuracies in the song registrations should not preclude the undisputed authors from copyright protection, and appellants have met their burden of production for establishing a prima facie case of ownership and copyright validity. Therefore, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Roberts v. Gordy" on Justia Law

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SCAD appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Sportswear in an action where SCAD asserted a number of claims against Sportswear, including service mark infringement under 15 U.S.C. 1114; unfair competition and false designation of origin under 15 U.S.C. 1125; and unfair competition under O.C.G.A. 10-1-372. The Eleventh Circuit reversed, holding that this case did not involve the alleged infringement of a common-law trademark, and as a result the date of SCAD's first use of its marks on goods was not determinative. Therefore, Boston Prof’l Hockey Ass’n, Inc. v. Dallas Cap & Emblem Mfg., Inc., 510 F.2d 1004 (5th Cir. 1975), controls, as it extends to protection for federally-registered service marks to goods. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc. v. Sportswear, Inc." on Justia Law

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Registration of a copyright has not been made in accordance with 17 U.S.C. 411(a), until the Register of Copyrights registers the claim. Filing an application does not amount to registration. Fourth Estate filed suit against defendants, alleging that Fourth Estate had filed an application to register its allegedly infringed copyrights, but that the Copyright Office had not registered its claims. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the action where Fourth Estate has not alleged infringement of any registered work, and this appeal did not involve the ongoing creation of original works, or potential future infringement of works not yet created. View "Fourth Estate Public Benefit v. Wall-Street.com, LLC" on Justia Law

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This reverse-confusion trademark dispute involves Wreal and Amazon over the mark "FyreTV." Wreal describes its own FyreTV service as the “Netflix of Porn.” Amazon Fire TV is a hardware device used for streaming “mainstream” “general interest” video via Amazon’s own streaming service, “Instant Video,” or third-party streaming services such as Netflix. In this interlocutory appeal, Wreal challenges the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that Wreal’s unexplained five month delay in seeking a preliminary injunction, by itself, fatally undermined any showing of irreparable injury. Because Wreal cannot establish reversible error with respect to the injury prong, the court need not consider whether the district court correctly analyzed the likelihood of success, the balance of harms, or the public interest. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Wreal, LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc." on Justia Law

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FN filed a trademark infringement action against Clyde Armory over the use of the marks "SCAR" and "SCAR-Stock" in the firearms industry. On appeal, Clyde Armory challenges the district court's partial grant of summary judgment for FN, its grant of FN's motion to strike Clyde Armory’s jury demand, its denial of Clyde Armory’s motion to amend the proposed pretrial order, and its entry of judgment against Clyde Armory following a bench trial. The court rejected Clyde Armory's contention that the district court erred by: (1) finding that FN used SCAR as a mark in commerce before Clyde Armory began using SCAR-Stock; (2) finding that FN’s SCAR mark acquired distinctiveness through secondary meaning before Clyde Armory began using SCAR-Stock; and (3) finding that Clyde Armory used the SCAR-Stock mark in bad faith to take advantage of the popularity of FN’s SCAR mark, thus divesting it of any rights in the mark that it otherwise might have obtained. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court on all issues raised on appeal. View "FN Herstal SA v. Clyde Armory Inc." on Justia Law

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FIU filed suit against FNU for infringement of FIU’s trademarks, asserting six claims for relief: (1) federal trademark infringement under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1114; (2) federal unfair competition, also under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a); (3) Florida trademark dilution and injury to business reputation, Fla. Stat. 495.151; (4) Florida trademark infringement, Fla. Stat. 495.131; (5) Florida common law trademark infringement and unfair competition; and (6) cancellation of State of Florida trademark registration, Fla. Stat. 495.101. The district court entered final judgment in favor of FNU and FIU timely appealed. The court concluded that it was more accurate and better to view the district court’s decision in this case as the entry of judgment after conducting a bench trial. The court affirmed the district court's denial of FIU’s federal trademark claim where the district court reasonably concluded that FNU’s adoption of its new name and acronym did not and would not likely cause consumer confusion; FIU's federal unfair competition claim and false association theory of liability fail; the court affirmed the district court’s denial of its dilution claim for the same reasons as the likelihood of confusion claim; and the court affirmed the district court's denial of the Florida trademark infringement, common law infringement, and unfair competition claim as well. View "FIU v. FNU" on Justia Law

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Flo & Eddie, a California corporation, filed suit against Sirius, a satellite and internet radio provider, claiming that Sirius violated Flo & Eddie’s rights as owner of sound recordings of musical performances that were fixed before February 15, 1972. Because the issues in this case have not been addressed by the Supreme Court of Florida, the court certified the following questions to that state court: 1. Whether Florida recognizes common law copyright in sound recordings and, if so, whether that copyright includes the exclusive right of reproduction and/or the exclusive right of public performance? 2. To the extent that Florida recognizes common law copyright in sound recordings, whether the sale and distribution of phonorecords to the public or the public performance thereof constitutes a “publication” for the purpose of divesting the common law copyright protections in sound recordings embedded in the phonorecord and, if so whether the divestment terminates either or both of the exclusive right of public performance and the exclusive right of reproduction? 3. To the extent that Florida recognizes a common law copyright including a right of exclusive reproduction in sound recordings, whether Sirius’s back-up or buffer copies infringe Flo & Eddie’s common law copyright exclusive right of reproduction? 4. To the extent that Florida does not recognize a common law copyright in sound recordings, or to the extent that such a copyright was terminated by publication, whether Flo & Eddie nevertheless has a cause of action for common law unfair competition/misappropriation, common law conversion, or statutory civil theft under FLA. STAT. 772.11 and FLA. STAT. 812.014? View "Flo & Eddie v. Sirius SM Radio" on Justia Law

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Home Design filed suit against Turner for copyright infringement on Home Design’s architectural floor plan HDS-2089. A jury returned a verdict in favor of Home Design, awarding $127,760 in damages. Turner moved for judgment notwithstanding the jury’s verdict under Rule 50(b) and the district court granted the motion. The court held that architectural floor plans are not protected by copyright to the extent that they portray ideas, rather than expressions of ideas. The Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 10, restricts which elements of architectural floor plans are protectable through its definition of a copyrightable “architectural work.” The court concluded that Intervest Construction, Inc. v. Canterbury Estate Homes, Inc. and Zalewski v. Cicero Builder Dev., Inc. control this case. In light of the constraints imposed by a four–three split style home, the court concluded that the differences between HDS-2089 and the Turner plans demonstrate the absence of copyright infringement. The differences between HDS-2089 and the Turner plans are differences in dimensions, wall placement, and the presence, arrangement, and function of particular features around the house. Because the same sorts of differences indicated no infringement in Intervest, that result follows in this case as well. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Home Design Serv., Inc. v. Turner Heritage Homes Inc." on Justia Law