Appeals court affirms $100,000 infringement award against nightclub

From Westlaw Journal Intellectual Property: A nightclub that earned a profit of more than $15,000 on concert ticket sales where five copyrighted songs were played was properly ordered to pay $102,000 in default damages and fees to the copyright owner, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Broadcast Music Inc. was entitled to elect an award of statutory damages of up to $30,000 per infringement against the Crocodile Rock Café and its owners, rather than an award reflecting its actual damages, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.

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Infringement suit over Disney’s ‘Frozen’ iced

From Westlaw Journal Intellectual Property: An author’s suit alleging that Walt Disney Co.’s hit animated movie “Frozen” infringed her copyrights in two books was properly dismissed, a 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel has ruled.

The panel agreed with a February decision by the U.S. District Judge William J. Martini of the District of New Jersey that the books were not substantially similar to the Disney movie. Tanikumi v. Walt Disney Co., No. 14–5877, 2015 WL 716429 (D.N.J. Feb. 19, 2015).

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University of Minnesota women coaches allege gender discrimination

From Westlaw Journal Entertainment Industry: Olympic medal-winning hockey coach Shannon Miller and other female coaches at the University of Minnesota-Duluth say they are paid less than their male counterparts and subjected to a hostile work environment because of their sexual orientation and national origin.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Miller, Jen Banford and Annette Wiles dispute the university’s statement that their contracts were not renewed for “strictly financial” reasons.

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Founder loses copyright fight with bank he created

From Westlaw Journal Intellectual Property: The founder of a bank now merged with TD Bank did not have the right to use verbatim language from a manuscript he co-wrote while at the bank for a book he wrote after he left, a federal judge in New Jersey has ruled.

Vernon W. Hill II’s use of the language from the manuscript, including its title, constituted copyright infringement and was not protected under any of the defenses to the bank’s allegations, U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler of the District of New Jersey said.

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Justice Department sues to stop merger of Electrolux, GE appliance division

From Westlaw Journal Antitrust:  The U.S. Justice Department has filed suit to prevent Swedish appliance maker Electrolux from acquiring General Electric Co.’s appliance division because the merger allegedly would reduce competition for major cooking appliances.

According to the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the $3.3 billion acquisition would reduce the “big three” cooking appliance manufacturers in the United States to two — Electrolux and Whirlpool — and would increase prices for ranges, cooktops and wall ovens.

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Boxing promoters fighting over alleged antitrust violations

From Westlaw Journal Entertainment Industry: In a lawsuit seeking $100 million in damages, boxing promoter Top Rank Inc. is accusing another promoter, Alan Haymon, of unlawfully acting as both manager and promoter for boxing matches.

Haymon’s efforts to monopolize professional boxing violate federal antitrust law, Top Rank alleges in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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Laminate flooring design is copyrightable, 11th Circuit says

From Westlaw Journal Intellectual Property:The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a federal judge’s decision that a company’s copyright was invalid because its design for laminate wood flooring was a functional part of the product.

The appeals panel said the “Glazed Maple” design created by Mannington Mills Inc. was creative enough to be entitled to copyright protection.  The panel reversing a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

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‘Oh, yeah’: Britney Spears, hip-hop group Travis Porter infringe sound effects, suit says

From Westlaw Journal Intellectual Property:

The owner of sounds and sound effects used by numerous recording artists alleges in a Los Angeles federal court lawsuit that albums by Britney Spears and hip-hop group Travis Porter infringe his copyrights.

Kirk Rothrum is suing Sony Music Entertainment, RCA Records Inc. and Zomba Recording LLC, the three record companies that produce the allegedly infringing tracks, for unspecified actual or statutory damages.

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No love for Courtney in ghostwriter’s breach-of-contract suit

From Westlaw Journal Entertainment Industry: An author who claims that rock singer Courtney Love hired him to ghostwrite her memoir alleges in a breach-of-contract lawsuit in Manhattan federal court that she has not paid the full amount she owes him.

Anthony Bozza says Love owes him more than $200,000 in fees, expenses and other payments as set forth in their collaboration agreement.

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International law, patent law converge in oil drilling infringement suit

From Westlaw Journal Intellectual Property: In a patent dispute between two manufacturers of oil drilling equipment, a Minnesota federal judge has ruled that U.S. patent law applies to patented technology used on U.S.-flagged ships in international waters.

U.S. District Judge Ann D. Montgomery of the District of Minnesota said that based on legislative history and case law, the 1952 Patent Act’s protection of plaintiff M-I Drilling Fluids UK Ltd.’s drilling systems extends to the oil rigs that use them.  The rigs are considered ships under maritime law.

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