U.S. Fifth Circuit - The FindLaw 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

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Dispute Over Krusty Krab Restaurant Lands in Fifth Circuit

Kids know that SpongeBob SquarePants would protect The Krusty Krab's secret recipe.

Some seasoned judges don't know that, however, even in a lawsuit over "The Krusty Krab." Viacom, which created the cartoon crab shack on Nickelodeon, wants to keep a businessman from using the name for his planned restaurants.

The big problem is, Viacom didn't trademark the name. But another problem is, the judges don't know SpongeBob.

Apple Ordered to Pay $440 Million to Patent Troll

Sometimes, it's all about timing.

And for Apple and VirnetX, time is also relative. That's because a federal judge has ordered Apple to pay VirnetX nearly $440 million in a patent case. Meanwhile, however, the patent office and/or appeals board says the patents are invalid.

Never mind Einstein's theory of special relativity, this case is complicated.

A ten-year long battle over sno-balls, those frozen cones of shaved ice and sugary syrup, made its way into the Fifth Circuit recently, and it wasn't for the first time. The legal battle over sno-ball syrup flavors and trademarks has brought a pair of Louisiana sno-ball purveyors, SnoWizard and Southern Snow, through just about every court imaginable: Louisiana state court, federal district court, the Patent and Trademark Office, the Federal Circuit, and the Fifth Circuit, multiple times.

In the Fifth's most recent ruling in the long-running dispute, the circuit found that Southern Snow's claims that its competitors were involved in a criminal racket and violating unfair trade practices laws were barred by res judicata.

New Orleans' Camellia Grill Keeps Its Name in 5th Cir. Ruling

New Orleans-based restaurant Camellia Grill might have survived Hurricane Katrina, but it went on to face another storm: litigation. A recent 5th Circuit ruling brings good news for the restaurant, allowing Camellia Grill to keep its name -- and also its famous white columns.

WWE Can Get Court Order to Bust Counterfeiters Near Superdome

Can you get a court order against nobody in particular? Apparently so, if this Fifth Circuit ruling is any indication.

World Wrestling Entertainment, like all entertainment entities, battles bootleggers. Bootleggers sell merchandise on tables in the street near WWE events. Determining the identities of these pop-up bootleg shopkeepers is nearly impossible in advance, so the WWE sought a blanket order that would basically cover anyone within "broad geographic and temporal limits," the district court noted.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the lower court wasn't convinced, but the Fifth Circuit, noting that nobody except the WWE itself has the right to peddle its merchandise, reversed and sent the case back to the court to settle other pressing issues, like whether Stone Cold Steve Austin can body slam bootleggers through their tables.

Will Venue Decision Make Texas Less Appealing to Patent Trolls?

Texas. It's the land of steak, pick-up trucks, football, and for far too long, patent holding companies and trolls.

The Eastern District of Texas's high success rate for patent holders (57.5 percent, per a recent study [PDF] by PricewaterhouseCoopers) and decently high rankings for median damages and time to trial, are just some of the reasons why non-practicing entities (NPEs, or patent trolls) love incorporating in Texas and bringing suit in that district. Other reasons include judges' frequent deferral to juries on patent issues (meaning trials happen often, rather than summary judgment) and reticence to grant venue transfers.

That last habit may change, however, after the Federal Circuit applied the Fifth Circuit's venue transfer rule, one that is far, far more friendly to defendants than the standard initially applied by the trial court in the Eastern District of Texas.

Louisiana Sues MoveOn.org Over Billboard, Branding

MoveOn.org is being hauled into federal court for allegedly using Louisiana's motto on a billboard criticizing Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne filed a federal suit against MoveOn.org in his official capacity as both lieutenant governor and commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism claiming that the advocacy group used the state's service mark and motto without permission, reports The Times-Picayune.

Can a political billboard crib a state's motto like that?

Laches? Unclean Hands? It's All Greek to the Fifth Circuit

If you were ever in a fraternity or a sorority, you probably received a paddle. It’s part of the Big Bro/Little Bro, Big Sis/Little Sis tradition. The “Little” makes or buys a paddle for the “Big.”

If you purchased a paddle after 1961, you may have bought it from today’s Fifth Circuit litigant: Thomas Abraham.

Yes, folks; we have officially located the most frat-tastic opinion ever published by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. (Phi Chi Chi Alpha, if you will.)

Evan Stone Gets 'EFF'-ed Up in Porn Copyright Trolling Sanctions

Copyright trolling seems to be a decent business model, until a court starts imposing sanctions. And woe is the attorney on the receiving end of those sanctions, according to a recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion.

Attorney Evan Stone represents Mick Haig, a company which produces pornographic films. Their copyright infringement lawsuit — which lead to attorney sanctions against Stone — is at the root of this appeal.

Honey Badger Does Care About a Cease and Desist Notice

They're common refrains heard 'round Tigerland thanks to a star cornerback and a hit YouTube video.

"Honey Badger takes what he wants."

"Honey Badger don't care."

But according to the Louisiana State University (LSU) Compliance Office, Honey Badger does care.