Articles Posted in Intellectual Property

On Thursday, July 2, 2020, Grammy award-winning composer and musician Maria Schneider filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, against YouTube, LLC, Google, LLC, and Alphabet, Inc. The lawsuit concerns copyright piracy on YouTube and alleges that YouTube's copyright management tool, Content ID, "actually insulates the vast majority of known and repeated copyright infringers from YouTube's repeat infringer policy" and leaves plaintiffs in the class with "no meaningful ability to police the extensive infringement of their copyrighted work." The complaint requests, among other things, equitable relief in the form of providing Content ID to all copyright owners and monetary relief in the form of defendants' profits derived from copyright infringement on YouTube.


The Court determined that internet companies can trademark the combination of a generic word and ".com" if the combination has acquired a secondary meaning.


The dispute between the tech giant and the smart speaker maker raises issues involving antitrust and anti-competition in addition to intellectual property.


The U.S. Congress plans to update the Digital Millennium Copyright Act later this year. A lengthy report produced by the U.S. Copyright Office suggests that this update may enhance protections for rights holders.


Ubisoft argues that the American tech giants should have removed a mobile game from their digital marketplaces that infringed on the popular Rainbow Six Siege game.


A lawsuit between competing tobacco companies involves the tobacco heating technology used in their devices, which are alternatives to traditional cigarettes.


On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, Judge John Padova, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ruled mostly in favor of Epic Games, Inc. in a lawsuit involving the Fortnite dance emote "Phone It In." Judge Padova granted Epic Games, Inc.'s motion to dismiss concerning plaintiff Leo Pellegrino's causes of action concerning the following claims: (1) unauthorized use of name or likeness; (2) misappropriation of publicity; (3) invasion of privacy by misappropriation of identity; (4) unjust enrichment; (5) unfair competition; (6) trademark infringement under Pennsylvania common law; and (7) trademark dilution under the Lanham Act. However, Judge Padova ruled that plaintiff's claim for trademark infringement under the Lanham Act could proceed.


On Thursday, March 26, 2020, Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of defendants, 2K Games, Inc. and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., in a lawsuit concerning five tattoos appearing in three basketball simulation video games. Plaintiff Solid Oak Sketches, LLC claimed copyright infringement of tattoos depicted on NBA players Eric Bledsoe, LeBron James, and Kenyon Martin in NBA 2K14, NBA 2K15, and NBA 2K16. The tattoos in question were included in the basketball simulation video games "[t]o further the goal of simulating an actual NBA game."


On Monday, March 16, 2020, New York design firm Uber, Inc. filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, against the ride-sharing company Uber Technologies, Inc., alleging "willful, wanton, and intentional infringement, deceptive trade practices, and unfairly competitive use" of the design firm's trademark. The design firm requested relief in the form of damages, an injunction, and for the ride-sharing company to implement corrective advertising in the form of a campaign.


In a patent infringement lawsuit filed in Delaware federal court, IBM claims that Airbnb has unlawfully been using multiple IBM patents in running its online short-term rental platform business. IBM alleges that it has been attempting to negotiate a licensing agreement with Airbnb since 2014, but that these efforts have been unsuccessful.