Justia Intellectual Property Opinion Summaries

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The case revolves around a dispute between two competitors in the construction equipment market, I Dig Texas, LLC, and Kerry Creager, along with Creager Services, LLC. I Dig Texas used copyrighted photographs of Creager's products, which were made in China, in its advertisements to emphasize its own products' American-made status. This led to claims under the Copyright Act and the Lanham Act.Previously, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma granted summary judgment to I Dig Texas on Creager's federal claims and remanded all of the state-law claims to state court. Creager had claimed that the use of its photographs constituted copyright infringement and that the accompanying text misrepresented the origin of I Dig Texas's products.The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the lower court's decision. The court found that Creager failed to present evidence of any profit from the use of its photographs, which was necessary to establish a claim for copyright infringement. The court also found that I Dig Texas's advertisements were not literally false under the Lanham Act. The advertisements were ambiguous as to whether a product is considered American-made when it is assembled in the United States but uses some foreign components. The court concluded that such a claim is not literally false because the claim itself is ambiguous. The court also affirmed the lower court's decision to decline supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims and remand these claims to state court. View "I Dig Texas v. Creager" on Justia Law

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This case involves a dispute between two manufacturers of dining mats for toddlers, Luv n' Care, Ltd. and Nouri E. Hakim (collectively, “LNC”), and Lindsey Laurain and Eazy-PZ, LLC (collectively, “EZPZ”). LNC filed a lawsuit against EZPZ, seeking a declaratory judgment that EZPZ’s U.S. Patent No. 9,462,903 (the “’903 patent”) is invalid, unenforceable, and not infringed. EZPZ counterclaimed, alleging infringement of the ’903 patent, among other claims. After a bench trial, the district court found that LNC failed to prove that the ’903 patent is unenforceable due to inequitable conduct, but that EZPZ was barred from obtaining relief due to its “unclean hands.” The court also granted LNC’s motion for partial summary judgment that the claims of the ’903 patent are invalid as obvious. Both parties appealed.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment on the doctrine of unclean hands, meaning that EZPZ was barred from obtaining relief due to its misconduct during the litigation. However, the court vacated the district court’s judgment on inequitable conduct and invalidity, finding that there were genuine disputes of material fact that precluded summary judgment. The court also vacated the district court’s denial of LNC’s motion for attorney fees and costs, and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Luv n' Care, Ltd. v. Laurain" on Justia Law

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The case involves Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., Salix Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Bausch Health Ireland Ltd., and Alfasigma S.P.A. (collectively, “Salix”) and Norwich Pharmaceuticals Inc. (“Norwich”). Salix appealed from a final judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware holding certain claims of their patents invalid as obvious. Norwich cross-appealed from an order that issued after the district court concluded that Norwich infringed certain claims of Salix's patents and had failed to prove those claims were invalid.Salix's patents were related to the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy (“HE”) and irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (“IBS-D”) using a specific dosage of the drug rifaximin, and to a specific polymorphic form of rifaximin. The district court found that Norwich's Abbreviated New Drug Application (“ANDA”) for a generic version of rifaximin infringed Salix's patents, but also held certain claims of Salix's patents invalid as obvious.On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court's decision. The court found no clear error in the district court's conclusion that a skilled artisan would have had a reasonable expectation of success in administering the claimed dosage regimen for the treatment of IBS-D. The court also affirmed the district court's conclusion that the polymorph patent claims were invalid as obvious. The court further affirmed the district court's order setting the effective approval date of Norwich's ANDA to be no earlier than the date of expiration of the last to expire of the HE patents, and the district court's denial of the motion to modify the final judgment. View "Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. v. Norwich Pharmaceuticals Inc." on Justia Law

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Tracey Murray and the Estate of Robert Murray filed a lawsuit against Miracorp, Inc., NTTS, Inc., Lane Goebel, and Shane Goebel, alleging both legal and equitable claims based on conduct that took place before 2012. The Murrays claimed that they were shareholders in Miracorp and that the company and its officers had breached fiduciary duties, committed fraud, and unjustly enriched themselves at the Murrays' expense. The Murrays also alleged that Miracorp had converted their property and misappropriated trade secrets.The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Miracorp, ruling that the Murrays' claims were barred by the applicable statutes of limitations. The court found that the Murrays' injuries were reasonably ascertainable in 2011, and thus, the period for filing a lawsuit had expired. The Murrays appealed this decision.The Kansas Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's decision. The appellate court agreed that the Murrays' claims were time-barred because their injuries were reasonably ascertainable in 2011. The court held that the Murrays had waited too long to investigate and seek redress for their injuries.The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the lower courts. The court held that the Murrays had a duty to reasonably investigate their suspicions in 2011. The court found that the Murrays did nothing to investigate their suspicions until 2016, which was unreasonable. As a result, the court ruled that the Murrays' claims were barred by the statute of limitations. View "Murray v. Miracorp, Inc." on Justia Law

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AI Visualize, Inc. accused Nuance Communications, Inc. and Mach7 Technologies, Inc. of patent infringement in the District of Delaware. The patents in question concerned the visualization of medical scans, with an emphasis on three-dimensional views via a low-bandwidth web portal. Nuance and Mach7 sought dismissal of the case on the grounds that the patents were directed to patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The district court agreed, ruling that the patents were directed to an abstract idea and failed to provide an inventive step that transformed the abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter. Consequently, AI Visualize’s case was dismissed.Prior to this, the district court had granted Nuance and Mach7's motion to dismiss AI Visualize's complaint for failing to state a claim. AI Visualize then filed an amended complaint, which Nuance and Mach7 again moved to dismiss. The district court found that the patents attempted to address prior art problems with transporting large volume visualization datasets over a standard internet connection. However, the court ruled that the focus of the claimed advance over the prior art was abstract, and AI Visualize’s arguments that the claims were directed to improvements in computer functionality were rejected.On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. The appellate court agreed that the patents in question were directed to an abstract idea and did not offer an inventive step that transformed the idea into patent-eligible subject matter. Further, the court observed that AI Visualize's amended complaint failed to provide sufficient factual allegations to support that the claims involved unconventional technology or a concrete application of the abstract idea of virtual view "creation". Thus, the dismissal of AI Visualize’s case was affirmed. View "AI Visualize, Inc. v. Nuance Communications, Inc." on Justia Law

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This case pertains to an alleged copyright infringement involving software code used in an industrial control system. The plaintiffs, RJ Control Consultants, Inc. and its sole shareholder, Paul Rogers, appealed the district court’s exclusion of their proposed expert and the granting of summary judgment to the defendants, Multiject, LLC; its sole owner, Jack Elder; and RSW Technologies, LLC. The U.S Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the plaintiffs’ proposed expert or in granting summary judgment to the defendants. The plaintiffs had failed to properly disclose their expert as required and did not produce an expert report. Consequently, they could not offer expert evidence to rebut the defendants' evidence. Furthermore, they could not create a genuine dispute of fact about the protectability of the software code, a crucial factor in their copyright infringement claim. Therefore, the district court's judgment was affirmed. The court also vacated its prior decision in RJ Control Consultants, Inc. v. Multiject, LLC, 981 F.3d 446 (2020), due to lack of appellate jurisdiction at the time of that decision. View "R.J. Control Consultants, Inc. v. Multiject, LLC" on Justia Law

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was asked to rule on a trademark infringement case brought by BBK Tobacco & Foods LLP against Central Coast Agriculture, Inc. BBK, a distributor and seller of smoking-related products with trademarked "RAW" branding, alleged that CCA infringed on its mark by selling cannabis products under the mark "Raw Garden." The district court granted summary judgment in favor of CCA on BBK’s trademark claims, but in favor of BBK on its counterclaims to invalidate several of CCA’s trademark applications and CCA’s counterclaim to cancel BBK’s trademark applications for unlawful use.The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of BBK on its claim to invalidate four of CCA’s trademark applications. The court held that, under 15 U.S.C. § 1119, when an action involves a claim of infringement on a registered trademark, a district court also has jurisdiction to consider challenges to the trademark applications of a party to the action. The court also held that lack of a bona fide intent to use a mark in commerce is a valid basis to challenge a trademark application.However, in a separately filed memorandum disposition, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s summary judgment on BBK’s trademark claims and affirmed the summary judgment on CCA’s counterclaim to cancel BBK’s trademark for unlawful use. View "BBK TOBACCO & FOODS LLP V. CENTRAL COAST AGRICULTURE, INC." on Justia Law

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This case revolves around a copyright dispute between Whyte Monkee Productions, LLC and Timothy Sepi (Plaintiffs) and Netflix, Inc. and Royal Goode Productions, LLC (Defendants). Plaintiffs sued Defendants for copyright infringement, alleging that Defendants had used clips from eight videos filmed by Mr. Sepi without permission in the documentary series "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness". The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants, concluding that seven of the videos were works made for hire and thus Mr. Sepi did not own the copyrights. The court also found that the use of the eighth video constituted fair use and did not infringe on Mr. Sepi’s copyright.On appeal, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Plaintiffs waived their argument regarding the first seven videos as they presented a new theory not raised in the lower court. Accordingly, the appellate court upheld the district court's judgment regarding these videos. However, regarding the eighth video, the appellate court ruled that the district court erred in determining that Defendants were entitled to summary judgment on their fair use defense. The court concluded that the first factor of the fair use analysis favored the Plaintiffs instead of the Defendants, and that the Defendants failed to provide any evidence demonstrating the absence of a market impact, which is necessary to apply the fourth fair use factor. Therefore, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s judgment as to the first seven videos, reversed the judgment as to the eighth video, and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Whyte Monkee Productions v. Netflix" on Justia Law

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard the appeal of Inline Plastics Corp. against Lacerta Group, LLC. Inline Plastics alleged that Lacerta infringed on several of its patents concerning tamper-resistant plastic containers and methods of making them. After a district court ruling in favor of Lacerta, Inline appealed on the grounds that the court erred in its judgment of invalidity and infringement. Lacerta cross-appealed, challenging the denial of attorney fees and the dismissal of certain patent claims Inline dropped near the end of trial.The Court of Appeals decided to affirm the district court's denial of Inline's motion for judgment as a matter of law of validity, but vacated the court's judgment of invalidity and remanded for a new trial on this issue. The court affirmed the district court's finding of non-infringement of various claims by Lacerta, but vacated the without-prejudice dismissal of Inline’s late-withdrawn claims. The court also vacated the district court's denial of Lacerta’s motion for attorney fees under § 285. Each party will bear their own costs. View "Inline Plastics Corp. v. Lacerta Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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This case concerns a patent dispute between Harris Brumfield, Trustee for Ascent Trust (Plaintiff-Appellant) and IBG LLC and Interactive Brokers LLC (Defendants-Appellees). The plaintiff alleged that the defendants infringed several patents owned by Trading Technologies International, Inc., the plaintiff's predecessor. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected the plaintiff’s challenges and affirmed the district court's rulings.The district court had invalidated the asserted claims of two of the plaintiff's patents under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The court also excluded one basis for recovering "foreign damages" proposed by the plaintiff's damages expert, and denied the plaintiff's post-verdict motion for a new trial on damages.On appeal, the Federal Circuit held that the district court correctly applied the law in determining that the asserted claims of the patents were ineligible for patenting under § 101. The court also affirmed the district court’s decision to exclude certain damages evidence, and it upheld the denial of the plaintiff's request for a new trial on damages. View "Brumfield v. IBG LLC" on Justia Law