Articles Posted in Intellectual Property

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Plaintiffs, three publishing houses, alleged that members of the Board of Regents at GSU infringed their copyrights by maintaining a policy which allows GSU professors to make digital copies of excerpts of plaintiffs' books available to students without paying plaintiffs. At issue on appeal was whether the district court misinterpreted the Eleventh Circuit's mandate in an earlier appeal and misapplied the defense of fair use. The court held that the district court erred when it made its new findings of fair use, but the district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to reopen the record. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's order denying the publishers' request to reopen the record, but vacated the judgment entered on remand. Finally, the court vacated the district court's award of attorney's fees and costs and the underlying determination that the University was the prevailing party. View "Cambridge University Press v. Albert" on Justia Law

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The annotations contained in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA), authored by the Georgia General Assembly and made an inextricable part of the official codification of Georgia's laws, may not be copyrighted by the State of Georgia. The Eleventh Circuit held that the annotations in the OCGA are sufficiently law-like so as to be properly regarded as sovereign work; the People are the ultimate authors of the annotations; and as a work of the People, the annotations are inherently public domain material and uncopyrightable. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment of the district court and directed the judgment be entered for PRO, vacated the district court's order granting Georgia injunctive relief, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Code Revision Commissioner v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc." on Justia Law

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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