Articles Posted in Intellectual Property

by
Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary (collectively, Amphastar) and Sandoz Inc. were competitors in the U.S. market for generic enoxaparin, an anticoagulant. Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc. served as Sandoz’s contract laboratory. Amphastar filed a complaint alleging antitrust violations by Sandoz and Momenta based on Defendants’ alleged misrepresentations to the United States Pharmacopeial Convention, a private standard-setting organization charged with ensuring the quality of drugs. Defendants brought an infringement suit against Amphastar, resulting in a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction prohibiting Amphastar from selling enoxaparin. The preliminary injunction was later vacated, but it did prevent Amphastar from selling its generic enoxaparin for approximately three months. Amphastar then filed this suit under the Sherman Act seeking damages for lost profits during the pendency of the TRO and injunction. The district court dismissed the complaint under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, which immunizes good-faith petition of government entities from antitrust liability. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the district court erred in applying Noerr-Pennington. Remanded for the district court to consider Defendants’ other arguments in the first instance. View "Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc v. Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff entered an original song and music video to a variety of companies affiliated with Sony Music Entertainment (Sony) as part of a songwriting contest sponsored by Sony. Plaintiff later sued Sony alleging contract and intellectual property claims. The district court entered an order compelling arbitration and dismissed Plaintiff’s case with prejudice, concluding that the claims were subject to mandatory arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act and that Plaintiff failed to make a cognizable claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the district court erred in ruling that he failed to allege sufficient facts to support his claims. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that because the district court’s rulings that Plaintiff’s claims were subject to mandatory arbitration provided an independent basis for dismissing his claims, the Court did not need to address Plaintiff’s challenge to the district court’s decision to dismiss his complaint on factual sufficiency grounds. View "Cortes-Ramos v. Sony Corp. of America" on Justia Law

by
Norbero Colon Lorenzana (Colon) was working for South American Restaurant Corporation (SARCO), a franchisee and operator of Church’s Chicken locations in Puerto Rico, when he suggested to his superiors the concept for a new chicken sandwich that could be included on Church’s menu. Church’s subsequently began selling the item, which it called the “Pechu Sandwich.” SARCO subsequently received a certificate of registration from the Puerto Rico Department of State trademarking the name “Pechu Sandwich” and also received a federal trademark registration for the name “Pechusandwich.” Colon brought suit alleging violations of the Lanham Act and Copyright Act. SARCO filed a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), which the district court granted. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court properly determined that neither the name “Pechu Sandwich” nor the recipe are eligible for copyright protection; and (2) that Colon failed to sufficiently plead that SARCO committed fraud in the procurement of a federal trademark for the Pechu Sandwich. View "Colon-Lorenzana v. South American Restaurants Corp." on Justia Law

by
Biolitec, Inc. (BI), a U.S.-based subsidiary of Biolitec AG (BAG), sold medical equipment to Plaintiff AngioDynamics, Inc. (ADI) and agreed to indemnify ADI or any patent infringement claims. Patent infringement claims were subsequently brought against ADI, and ADI settled the claims. In a separate lawsuit, ADI obtained a $23 million judgment against BI under the indemnification clause. Attempting to secure payment on that judgment, ADI sued BAG, BI, and other related entities (collectively, Defendants) on claims including corporate veil-piercing and violation of the Massachusetts Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act MUFTA), alleging that BAG looted more than $18 million from BI to move BI's assets beyond reach. The district court granted ADI a preliminary injunction barring Defendants from carrying out the proposed downstream merger of BAG with its Austrian subsidiary and from transferring any ownership interest the held in any other defendant. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) as a matter of law, preliminary injunctive relief was not barred in this case; and (2) the district court did not err in finding that ADI had demonstrated likelihood of success on the merits and irreparable harm. View "AngioDynamics, Inc. v. Biolitec AG" on Justia Law

by
Defendant, Building #19, Inc., was an off-price retail store that acquired products and resold them at discounted prices in stores in New England. Defendant advertised in newspapers around New England, and the ads often featured descriptions of the advertised goods. Plaintiff, Swarovski Aktiengesellschaft and Swarovski North American Limited (collectively, Swarovski), was a manufacturer and distributor of crystal and jewelry. It held several registered trademarks for the mark "Swarovski." After Defendant obtained several Swarovski crystal figurines it hoped to resell, Defendant designed a newspaper advertisement printed in a large font with the name "Swarovski." Plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction barring Defendant from using the Swarovski name or mark in its advertising. The district court granted the injunction in part by limiting Defendant's use of the Swarovski name to a smaller font size. Defendant appealed. The First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the district court erred by failing to include necessary findings on whether (1) Swarovski was likely to succeed in its infringement claim against Defendant by establishing that the proposed advertisement was likely to confuse customers, and (2) Swarovski would suffer irreparable harm as a result of the ad. Remanded. View "Swarovski Aktiengesellschaft v. Building #19, Inc." on Justia Law

by
in this trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract case, defendant Chance Mold Steel Co. (Chance) appealed from a permanent injunction and from a jury award of damages. The injunction, based on a finding of contract breach, prohibited Chance from selling, displaying, manufacturing, or assisting others in manufacturing a number of ergonomic computer mouse products. The injunction barred sale of specific products that were materially identical to products Chance had previously manufactured for Contour Design, Inc. (Contour) and a new product known as the ErgoRoller. Chance challenged the scope of the injunction and contended that the jury improperly awarded lost profits damages. The First Circuit Court of Appeals (1) reversed the injunction as applied to the ErgoRoller, holding that the record did not support the finding that Chance breached the contract in producing the ErgoRoller; (2) affirmed the scope of the injunction as applied to the other enjoined products; and (3) affirmed the damages award. View "Contour Design, Inc. v. Chance Mold Steel Co., Ltd." on Justia Law

by
The Eastern Orthodox monastic order began a spiritual affiliation with the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR)in 1965. Although the Monastery concedes it commemorated the bishops of ROCOR until 1986, it considers itself an independent entity. The Monastery's 35 monks worked on translating religious texts from their original Greek into English. The works were in demand amongst parishes, but the Monastery obliged requests on a limited basis. One of the monks went to Colorado where he formed Dormition Skete, dedicated to painting traditional Orthodox icons. A Skete member, the Archbishop, created a website devoted to the Orthodox faith. Based on postings on that site, the Monastery sued the Archbishop, in state court, for copyright infringement. The parties settled with the Archbishop acknowledging the Monastery’s ownership of the works. The website continued to include its translations; the Monastery filed a federal suit, 17 U.S.C. 101. The district ruled in favor of the Monastery, rejecting claims or public domain, that ROCOR was the true owner of the copyrights, and of fair use. The First Circuit affirmed. The Archbishop offered identical or near-identical versions of the works on his website for the precise purpose for which the Monastery originally created them, harming their potential market value. View "Soc'y of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Inc. v. Archbishop Gregory of Denver" on Justia Law

by
In 2001 BPPR sought a declaratory judgment under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 after several music publishing companies contacted BPPR claiming that they owned and were owed royalties on music compositions that BPPR had produced and distributed in a series of Christmas concerts. BPPR deposited royalties due on the compositions with the district court and asked the court to declare to whom the royalties were due and distribute them accordingly. LAMCO and others countersued for copyright infringement. The district court denied motions for summary judgment. Several co-defendants settled their claims among themselves and with BPPR. The jury found BPPR liable for infringement of two compositions owned by LAMCO and ACEMLA, and awarded $42,941.00 in compensatory damages. The court found ACEMLA liable for violating a GVLI copyright and ordered $43,405.35 in damages. The First Circuit affirmed, rejecting challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence. The district court properly found that the settlement agreement did not preclude future litigation of 12 undisputed LAMCO songs. View "Banco Popular de Puerto Rico v. Asociacion de Compositores" on Justia Law

by
The owner consulted with two architectural firms, T-Peg and VTW. T-Peg drew up a preliminary design then worked with the owner to refine the design. In 2001, T-Peg registered its design with the Copyright Office. Meanwhile, in 2000, the owner showed T-Peg's unregistered preliminary design to VTW, which began working on its own design. VTW completed its plan in 2002 with significant, minutely detailed input from the owner. Completed construction apparently reflected T-Peg's registered design. In a suit for copyright infringement, the court granted summary judgment for VTW and the owner, concluding that no reasonable jury could find that T-Peg's and VTW's designs were substantially similar. The First Circuit reversed and, following trial, the jury found in VTW's favor and rejected T-Peg's infringement claims. VTW sought fees of more than $200,000 under 17 U.S.C. 505. The district court granted VTW a fee award of $35,000. The First Circuit affirmed, finding that the district court adequately elaborated its reasoning.

by
In 1995, plaintiff, a popular psychic and astrologer, and defendant entered into a contract for production and distribution of materials featuring plaintiff's psychic and astrological services. Plaintiff granted defendant the right to use his trademark, name, and likeness. After a 2006 dispute led to litigation; a jury rejected plaintiff's claim that he had validly terminated the agreement, found that he had violated the agreement, and found that defendant owed him no compensation. In 2009, both parties sought injunctive relief to prevent the other party from using the trademark. The district court entered a preliminary injunction in favor of defendant, finding that plaintiff had assigned the trademark in perpetuity. The First Circuit affirmed. The district court did not abuse its discretion in issuing a preliminary injunction, based on its interpretation of the agreement and application of collateral estoppel, based on the prior litigation.