Tag Archives: copyright

SCOTUS: Register Your Copyrights to Sue

 

Artists across the United States that wanted to sue to protect their mental expressions (copyrights) have had to figure out if a copyright registration was required to file a lawsuit, or if simply applying forregistration was enough.   In the Eleventh Circuit, which includes Florida, a plaintiff is required to secure a copyright registration from the U.S. Copyright Office before filing a copyright lawsuit.

On March 4, 2019, in a long-awaited decision, Justice Ginsberg delivered the unanimous opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC, et al, No. 17-571, 586 U.S. ____ (March 4, 2019).    The question before the Court was whether registration is secured under Title 17 of the Copyright code by simply filing the application, depositing the copies of the work, and required fee, or if registration occurs once the Copyright Office reviews and registers the copyright.  SCOTUS agreed with the Eleventh Circuit and affirmed that “registration occurs, and a copyright claimant may commence an infringement suit, when the Copyright Office registers a copyright.”  SCOTUS also held that a copyright owner can recover damages for infringement that occurred both before and after registration.

The Fourth Estate decision notes the increased time by the Copyright Office in progressing copyright applications.  Registration processing times have steadily increased from 1-2 weeks in 1956 to numerous months today.  Depending on the type of work, it may take a year.  While the delays are largely attributable to staffing and budgetary shortages that Congress could resolve, it is not within the purview of the courts to cure.

While the average pendency of a copyright application has increased significantly, there is an option to secure a copyright registration faster.  When filing a copyright application, the applicant can select to file the application on an expedited basis.  This often results in the Copyright Office, if appropriate, registering the copyright within 1-2 weeks.  One of the reasons to apply on an expedited basis is the representation that litigation is forthcoming.  However, the filing fees for applying on an expedited basis is over 10 times the normal filing fees, which can be quite costly.

Instead of dealing with expedited filing fees, it is in the interest of copyright holders to apply for protection as early as possible.  If the claimant applies for copyright protection within 90 days from publication, the claimant preserves their ability to seek statutory damages and attorneys’ fees in the event of infringement.  It is important that copyright holders routinely speak with an Intellectual Property attorney to review their portfolio and decide the best ways to protect their mental creations.

For any questions about copyrights, trademarks, or patents, contact Greg Popowitz.

Greg M. Popowitz, Esq.

Registered Patent Attorney

AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Intellectual Property Litigation

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

Email: GMP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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Copyright Law – Supreme Court to Address Recoverable Costs

The Supreme Court of the United States has granted a petition for certiorari in the case styled as Rimini Street, Inc. v. Oracle USA Inc. in order to address split between the circuits as to the types of “costs” that may be recovered under the Copyright Act. 

As framed by the briefs in the case, Question Presented by the petitioner is: Whether the Copyright Act’s allowance of “full costs,” 17 U.S.C. § 505, to a prevailing party, is limited to taxable costs under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1920 and 1821, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 8th and 11th Circuits, have held, or whether the Act also authorizes non-taxable costs, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held.

Currently, there are three (out of twelve) federal circuit courts of appeal which allow certain costs to be recovered.  Those circuits are the First, the Sixth, and the Ninth.  The federal circuit courts of appeal that do not allow recovery of these costs are the eighth and the eleventh (which controls all cases filed in Florida). 

The result of this decision may change the law in the Eleventh Circuit, as to what costs are recoverable under the Copyright Act.

 

ERIC N. ASSOULINE, ESQ.

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Happy World Intellectual Property Day!

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April 26 marks World Intellectual Property Day.  At Assouline & Berlowe, we have built a team of Intellectual Property (IP) attorneys that handle a wide range of IP issues that impact many aspects of business.  Most people (including attorneys) do not realize how often IP crosses into all areas of business, from employment law (trade secrets), business sales (IP due diligence), to bankruptcy (inventory and valuation).  IP creates valuable assets for businesses because the IP allows the IP owner to stop others from either using their protected IP without their consent.  IP is a powerful tool that could prevent copying, or monetize IP through licensing deals.  On the other hand, infringing someone else’s IP can be a significant liability for an unprepared business.

The Assouline & Berlowe IP team, including 3 registered patent attorneys, is well equipped to handle all aspects of IP prosecution and litigation.  Our IP team routinely files applications to secure patents, trademarks, and copyrights for clients.  Assouline & Berlowe handles IP in a wide range of industries, including alcoholic beverages, mattresses, transportation, cellular technology, security, and celebrities/influencers.  The IP team is highlighted below:

Peter Koziol co-chairs the firm’s IP litigation department.  Peter handles a wide range of IP, especially related to his background in computer science.  In 2017, Peter was lead counsel on approximately 15% of new patent litigation in the Southern District of Florida.  A majority of this patent litigation centered upon software based patent(s).  Peter is also well versed in drafting licensing agreements and co-existence agreements that relate to IP.  Peter is also equipped in handling IP prosecution, with an emphasis in software related IP.

Loren Pearson handles all aspects of domestic and international patent, trademark, and copyright applications.  His work includes evaluating new technologies for patentability, portfolio counseling, and intellectual property registration, prosecution, and litigation.  Loren has a background in chemical and material science, which aids in his ability to tackle complex inventions.  He is also knowledgeable with licensing agreements, opposition proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), infringement opinions, to name a few.

Greg Popowitz handles both IP prosecution and litigation.  His background in mechanical engineering and the automotive industry gives a unique perspective on mechanical based products and processes.  Greg handles the IP for an established adult beverage company, along with a wide range of small businesses and entrepreneurs.  Greg is able to assess the client’s needs and tailor fit a custom plan to properly protect and maintain the client’s IP.

Assouling & Berlowe’s IP team has a wide range of competencies to assist businesses with their IP needs.  Whether you need to secure IP protection for your intangible assets, monetize IP you already own, or purchase/license IP, the IP team at Assouline & Berlowe is well equipped to handle your IP needs.

Below is an inventory of the hundreds of patent and trademark applications and registrations handled by the IP Team at Assouline & Berlowe.  This does not include the hundreds of other marks and patents that have been addressed by Assouline & Berlowe attorneys, either from the standpoint of enforcement, counseling, and means of protection.  Over the years, some applications/registrations are abandoned for various business purposes.

PATENTS

pat1

pat2

pat4

pat3

TRADEMARKS

TM12

TM11

TM10

TM9

TM8

TM7

TM5

TM6

TM4

TM3

TM2

TM1

TM13

#worldipday

For any Intellectual Property questions, please contact our offices below.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

Miami: (305) 567-5576

Fort Lauderdale: (954) 929-1899

Boca Raton: (561) 361-6566

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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“My Other Bag” is a Louis?

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Isn’t the point of a parody to be funny? “Weird Al” Yanovich is well known for his music that makes fun of popular artists/music, such as  Amish Paradise, a parody of Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise, and Eat It, a parody of Michael Jackson’s Beat It.   Weird Al is so well known that his successful fair use defense of copyright litigation has become a leading case on musical parody.

Fast forward to Louis Vuitton (“LV”), the Paris based luxury hand bag brand company.  Consumers world wide know the LV brand and the status behind “Having a Louis”.  LV claimed copyright and trademark infringement by My Other Bag (“MOB”), a California based entity.  In a recent decision, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of MOB.

MOB created a series of handbags where one side of the bag had a similar pattern of famous handbag company brands and the other side said “My Other Bag”.  In this case, MOB imitated LV’s interlocking L and V letters with interlocking M, O, and B letters.  Needless to say LV did not appreciate the similarity of the style and design of its famous mark.

With respect to likelihood of confusion with LV’s brands, the court noted differences between LV and MOB’s design, lack of market proximity, and lack of actual confusion.  From a dilution standpoint, the court said MOB’s bags are a parody of LV’s bags, bringing them within the fair use exclusion of trademark dilution. The critical point was that MOB was not using LV’s brands solely to increase their own sales by confusing consumers that MOB’s bags are associated with LV’s bags.  To the contrary, MOB was using LV’s well known brand and images as a parody because it was clear MOB was not trying to pass off their bags as LV produced bags.  Consumers would know they were buying a MOB bag, not a LV bag.

While a trademark owner has obligations to police their brand, trademark owners should carefully weigh all factors before bringing suit.  In this case, the parody fair use defense was strong for MOB, along with other factors.  More importantly, LV helped market MOB’s products by instituting this action and bringing more attention to the alleged infringement.  Now, “My Other Bag”, with the help of LV, has gained notoriety in the hand bag industry.  But they have a far way to go to compete with Weird Al.

Greg M. Popowitz, Esq.

Registered Patent Attorney

AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Intellectual Property Litigation

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

Email: GMP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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Protect Your Tech: Florida Bar CLE Edition

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Earlier this month, I had the distinct pleasure to present at the Florida Bar Basic Technology CLE about how businesses, and their lawyers, can protect technology using Intellectual Property.  This was the first time a Florida Bar Basic CLE was focused on technology.  To keep the CLE interactive, the presentations included live tweeting using the #CLEHistory hashtag, interactive polls with the audience, and post presentation video outtakes.  The interactive nature of the CLE was perfect for a technology focused CLE.

My portion of the CLE focused on how technology is used protect intellectual property, with the focus on patents.  There are several options when determining how to use patent law to protect technology, from design patents to provisional and non-provisional utility patents.  There are key timetables and strategic considerations to assess when protecting your technology, both before and after the technology is finalized.

One of the interactive questions, pictured below,  I posted to the live audience was whether someone could put “patent pending” on a product as soon as a patent application was filed.  The question was posted during my presentation and the audience texted their results to get an immediate response to the question.  36% of the audience correctly chose the right answer of A – Yes.  Meaning you can put patent pending on a product as soon as you file a patent application.  However, the application must remain active, i.e. not abandoned, to continue marking the product as “patent pending.”  Notably, 44% of the audience thought patent pending depended on what type of patent application was filed.  This is not accurate as it does not matter if the patent application is design, provisional, or non-provisional.

assouline & belrlowe, interactive polling

There are many misconceptions about patent law and it is important to consult with a registered patent attorney to review your technology and plan to maximize your protection.  It was an honor to speak at the first Florida Bar Basic Technology CLE and I enjoyed the interactive nature of the CLE.  Check the Florida Bar CLE page as the Technology CLE will be available for download in the near future.

For questions about Intellectual Property matters involving Technology, contact  Greg Popowitz below.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, Corporate & Finance, Real Estate, International Law

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Strategic Considerations for the Bankruptcy Practitioner when Intellectual Property is Involved

20130904_093101-1Assouline & Berlowe Registered Patent Attorney Greg Popowitz will be speaking as part of a panel discussing the interplay between bankruptcy and intellectual property.  The Bankruptcy Section of the Broward Bar Association is hosting the discussion on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 12:00-1:30pm.  The lunch is being sponsored by the Bankruptcy Bar Association of the Southern District of Florida (BBA).

To register for the event, click here.  It will be an excellent discussion between bankruptcy attorney John Hutton, patent attorney Allen Bennett, and patent attorney Greg Popowitz.

1 CLE credit is pending.

Date: Tuesday, January 13, 2016

Time: 12:00 – 1:30pm

Location: BCBA Conference Center

Cost:   FREE BCBA Bankruptcy Section Members;

$15 BCBA Member(non-section member)

$25 Non-Member of BCBA

No Charge BCBA Judiciary; Includes Hot Lunch

For questions about Intellectual Property matters, contact  Greg Popowitz below.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, Corporate & Finance, Real Estate, International Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

 

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Supreme Court to Hear Online TV Rebroadcast Case

copyrightIn what is certain to be a landmark cyber law decision, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear argument in a copyright infringement case pitting traditional TV Broadcasters against on-line streaming video. (American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., et al., v. Aereo, Inc., Docket 13-461) The Court will decide whether a company “publicly performs” a copyrighted television program when it retransmits a broadcast of that program to thousands of paid subscribers over the Internet.

As noted in the case, founded in 2010, Aereo Inc. provides over-the-air television to paid subscribers through Internet connected smart phones, tablets, and laptops. Its technology is currently supported on iPad, iPhone, AppleTV, and other similar platforms.

Aereo rents to subscribers a tiny TV antenna located in a data center near the subscribers. The antenna is connected to a remote DVR in the same data center. The subscriber controls both the antenna and DVR from an Internet-connected device. When the subscriber tunes to a channel, the device instructs the antenna to tune to that channel and start recording the programming to the DVR. This lets the subscriber pause and rewind the program while watching. A program may be saved for future viewing and a subscriber may schedule future recording of programs.

Barry Diller, an Aereo Board member, has called Aereo’s “the first potentially transformative technology that has the chance to give people access to broadcast television delivered over the Internet to any device, large or small, they desire.”

In March 2012, a consortium of Broadcasters (including ABC, CBS, Fox Television, Univision, and others) sued Aereo. In their view, an Aereo retransmission is a “public performance” of an otherwise copyrighted work protected under Sections 101 and 106 of the Copyright Act of 1976.  The Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that argument, and the providers have now appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Broadcasters say, in their Petition for Writ of Certiorari, that the case “presents questions of copyright law that profoundly affect, and potentially endanger, over-the-air broadcast television…(And that,) the broadcast television industry has invested billions of dollars producing and assembling high quality and creative entertainment and news programming in reliance on (copyright law), which prevents retransmission services from free-riding on broadcasters’ investments and provides broadcasters with incentive for further investment and innovation.”

In its January 10, 2014 press release, Aereo’s Founder and CEO Chaitanya Kanojia, says that “(t)his case is critically important not only to Aereo, but to the entire cloud computing and cloud storage industry.” He also says that “(t)he challenges outlined in the broadcasters’ filing make clear that they are using Aereo as a proxy to attack Cablevision itself and thus, undermine a critical foundation of the cloud computing and storage industry.

In examining the Aereo model in connection with the Broadcaster’s initial motion for a preliminary injunction, the District Court examined the Copyright Statute in light of Cartoon Network LP, LLLP v. CSC Holdings, Inc., 536 F.3d 121 (2d Cir. 2008). In that earlier Second Circuit case, broadcasters challenged Cablevision’s “Remote Storage” Digital Video Recorder system (“RS-DVR”), using a technology akin to both traditional, set-top digital video recorders, like TiVo (“DVRs”), and the video-on-demand (“VOD”) services provided by many cable companies. The Second Circuit reversed and vacated the judgment of the district court because each RS-DVR playback transmission was made to a single subscriber using a single unique copy produced by that subscriber, which did not constitute performances “to the public.”

In its Amicus Curiae Brief supporting the Broadcasters Petition, the Washington Legal Foundation argues that the Second Circuit’s reasoning is faulty. The holding it says “threatens to eviscerate the public-performance right by holding that the relevant inquiry “is the potential audience of a particular transmission, not the potential audience for the underlying work or the particular performance of that work being transmitted…In other words, because every Aereo subscriber receives an individual transmission from a unique subscriber-associated digital copy of the same” performance, no violation occurs.”

Oral argument will be heard later this Spring.  What should prove as one of the more interesting decisions to be rendered this Term will follow shortly thereafter. Assouline & Berlowe is following this case closely.

Stay tuned!

For more information, contact:

Partner Carl H. Perdue, Esq.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main:  (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466

Email: CHP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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