Intellectual Property Law Decisions: Decided

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In the slide-to-unlock legal saga that started years ago between tech leaders Samsung and Apple, the Federal Appeals Court reversed the prior appellate decision, reinstating the $120 million verdict against Samsung. The two tech giants are gearing up for an even bigger battle this week before the Supreme Court on an unrelated patent infringement case dating back to 2011.

The slide-to-unlock case, originally decided in May 2014, had a federal jury award Apple $119.6 million for Samsung's infringement of their the slide-to-unlock, autocorrect, and quick-link feature patents. After the verdict, Samsung appealed, and the Appeals Court overturned the jury's verdict, however this year, the same Appeals Court reversed the prior ruling, reinstating the jury's verdict.

Judge Awards 5-hour Energy $20M in Damages

The manufacturer of 5-hour Energy, Innovation Ventures, just got a rush. A New York federal judge partially granted the company's motion for summary judgment and awarded it $20 million in statutory damages.

The three defendant companies, Advanced Nutraceutical Manufacturing LLC, Nutrition Private Label Inc., and Midwest Wholesale Distributors Inc. made and manufactured counterfeit bottles of the energy drink and were found to have violated Innovation Ventures' trademark. The court's opinion was 94 pages. You'll soon find out why.

Music streaming service Spotify will pay up to $25 million in royalties and a $5 million penalty to settle a long-standing licensing dispute with the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA). The issue concerned royalties for "unmatched" songs for which Spotify couldn't or didn't identify the original publisher.

So who gets paid what, and what does this mean for other streaming sites?

Court Finds Monkey Can't Own Selfie Copyright

Intellectual property law for now remains the domain of humans exclusively. A monkey cannot own the copyright to his selfie, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

An Indonesian macaque does not own the world-famous image he snapped of himself in 2011, District Judge William Orrick decided. In a tentative opinion issued Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco, he wrote that there is "no indication" that the Copyright Act extends to animals, according to National Public Radio.

Samsung Settles Apple iPhone Suit ... Sort Of

Last week, Samsung announced that it agreed to pay Apple almost $550 million by mid-month to partially settle an iPhone patent infringement lawsuit. The settlement was filed in a California federal court after years of legal jousting between the companies. But the war is not over.

Samsung has expressed disappointment over the damages Apple claimed and reserved the right to seek reimbursement, Top Tech News reports. Apple sued Samsung in 2011 and at one point there were reportedly more than 50 intellectual property cases between the two companies pending in courts internationally. Now, there are two cases left, but experts predict a long road ahead before final settlement in this case.

'Back to the Future' Car Lawsuit Settled

The DeLorean estate settled a lawsuit over use of its name just in time for Back to the Future Day, or October 21, 2015. The DeLorean car was made famous by Michael J. Fox playing Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movies.

The car creator's widow sued the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) -- not legally associated with the original vehicle -- for illegally using the DeLorean name to sell hats, pens, notebooks, key chains and other items of far less value than the famous winged car. The lawsuit also claimed that DMC illegally licensed the name and images to other companies including Nike, Urban Outfitters, and Apple.

For the past decade, Google has been scanning collections of books. And for the past decade, Google has faced legal opposition to its book-scanning project. But that opposition might finally be over.

A U.S. Appeals Court ruled that Google's book-scanning project provides a public service without violating intellectual property law. The case tested "the boundaries of fair use," and for now Google will be free to continue pushing those boundaries.

Sony Loses Santa Claus Song Rights, Better Not Cry

Sony better watch out and better not pout. I'm telling you why. Santa Claus may keep coming to town, figuratively speaking. But the company won't make money from people singing about it starting in 2016.

Last week, a Second US Circuit Court of Appeals panel of judges ruled that the rights to the song "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" will revert back to the owner's heirs under copyright law. The song was written in 1934 by John Frederick Coots.

Copyright Case Puts Freeze on Bikram Hot Yoga

Hot yoga guru Bikram Choudhury has to chill now, legally speaking. He is not entitled to copyright protection for his 26-position exercise sequence done in hundred-degree heat.

Bikram, a name now associated with hot yoga, has been fighting this legal battle since 2011. Two former students opened a studio in New York teaching the poses they learned from the master in 2009. The guru filed suit two years later, claiming he owned "graceful flow" yoga. He was wrong.

The Batmobile is one of the most recognizable cars in the world. The fins, the gadgets, the weaponry: all singular to the Caped Crusader, and all very inviting to copycats.

But those looking to steal the Batmobile's signature look better beware. The 9th Circuit has ruled that Batman's costar car is sufficiently distinctive to warrant copyright protections.