Articles Posted in U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

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Intercollegiate Broadcasting, Inc. appealed a final determination of the Copyright Royalty Judges (CRJs) setting the default royalty rates and terms applicable to internet-based webcasting of digitally recorded music. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the positions of the CRJs, as currently constituted, violates the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. To remedy that violation, the Court followed the Supreme Court's approach in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Bd. by invalidating and severing the restrictions on the Librarian of Congress's ability to remove CRJs. The Court concluded that with such removal power in the Librarian's hands, the CRJs are "inferior" rather than "principal" officers, and no constitutional problem remained. Because of the Appointments Clause violation at the time of the decision, the Court vacated and remanded the determination challenged here. View "Intercollegiate Broad. v. Copyright Royalty Bd." on Justia Law

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Two businesses with nearly identical names, John C. Flood, Inc. ("1996 Flood") and John C. Flood of Virginia, Inc. ("Virginia Flood"), brought suit against each other over which company had the right to use two trademarks: JOHN C. FLOOD and its abridged form FLOOD. At issue was whether the district court erred in concluding that 1996 Flood was the proper owner of the two trademarks and that Virginia Flood, as the licensee of the marks, was estopped from challenging 1996 Flood's ownership. The court affirmed the district court's order granting 1996 Flood's motion for partial summary judgment and held that 1996 Flood was the proper successor-in-interest to John C. Flood, Inc. ("1984 Flood"), and that Virginia Flood was barred by the doctrine of licensee estoppel from challenging 1996 Flood's ownership of those marks. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment but remanded the case back to the district court for clarification regarding whether Virginia Flood's use of the mark JOHN C. FLOOD OF VIRGINIA was prohibited by the court's decision. View "John C. Flood of Virginia, Inc., et al. v. John C. Flood, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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Petitioners sought review of a Postal Regulatory Commission ("Commission") order classifying the United States Postal Services's ("Service") licensing of its intellectual property for use on third-party mailing and shipping supplies as "nonpostal" under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, Pub. L. No. 109-435, 120 Stat. 4, 3198, and requiring the Service to discontinue that activity. Petitioners contended that the Commission improperly departed from a previous order without explanation and failed to support its findings with sufficient evidence. The court held that the Commission's order was rife with anomalies, any of which was sufficient to justify a remand, and all of which, when considered together, demonstrated the Commission was proceeding in a slapdash manner. The court also agreed with petitioner's first argument and therefore, granted petitions for review, vacated the Commission's order, and remanded for further proceedings.