9th Circuit Intellectual Property Law News - U.S. Ninth Circuit
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9th Circuit Revisits Dancing Baby, Edits out Robo-Screening

The issue of baby Holden and his viral "dancing baby" is still kicking and making waves in the world of the fair-use debate. The ruling last year was technically a win for free-use proponents, but it could hardly have been called a knock out of the park.

The Ninth Circuit recently revisited its ruling for the EFF and clarified the otherwise confusing victory for the free-Internet advocacy group.

Adobe Loses Copyright Infringement Case to Software Surplus

If you buy a software program and sell that software program to a third person, is that a copyright violation? According to Adobe it is.

But not according to the Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit. The circuit court held that Adobe did not meet the shifted burden it held to prove that Joshua Christensen and his company Software Surplus had violated alleged copyright and trademark rights held by the Adobe.

Amazon's Competitor Brand Displays Don't Violate Trademarks

The 9th Circuit granted Amazon's motion for summary judgment in a suit brought by Multi-Time Machine, Inc. (aka "MTM"). And unless this issues makes its way to SCOTUS, it looks like time-out for the watch manufacturer.

The case was an interesting "just kidding" step taken by the Appellate Court, which surprised all parties who fully expected the case to be moved beyond Amazon's summary judgment.

Bikram Can't Copyright Yoga Poses or Breathing, 9th Rules

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals applied well worn copyright principals and ruled that yoga poses and breathing exercises are not entitled to copyright protection. More specifically, the court found that breathing and poses don't even fall into the realm of things that are copyrightable.

The issues in this case revolve around what practitioners have called the "Idea/Expression Dichotomy" -- that is, an idea as opposed to the expression or manifestation of that idea. Copyright protection, the 9th Circuit affirmed, extends only to the expressions of ideas and not to "processes."

Soon after Stephanie Lenz uploaded a YouTube video of her toddler dancing, she received a notice from Universal Music Group: take down the 29 second clip or risk being sued. Lenz's son had been baby-dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" ... and Universal said that use of the fuzzy background track violated copyright law.

The Pennsylvania mother didn't take down her video, however. Instead, she got pro bono representation from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and won big in the Ninth Circuit on Monday as the court announced that companies must consider fair use before sending take down notices. The ruling breaks new ground in IP law, protecting consumers from meritless copyright infringement threats.

The Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, reversed an earlier injunction preventing Google and YouTube from hosting the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" film. That short, offensive and highly controversial film lead to violence and rioting in Egypt and elsewhere. It was briefly blamed for the attack on a U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

Cindy Garcia, one of the actresses whose performance was manipulated in the film, had originally convinced the Ninth Circuit that she had a copyright interest in her scene, resulting in the take down order. That widely criticized decision was reversed today, with the court ruling that the prior decision got not just copyright law, but the First Amendment wrong.

Prenda Law Comes to 9th Cir., Predictably Dodges Questions

Tired of Prenda Law news? Yeah, we didn't think so. We're not either.

The disgraced, oft-sanctioned "law firm" that appeared to exist for the sole purpose of suing people for illegally downloading pornographic films, then extracting settlements from them, had its day before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week -- and things didn't go well.

Prenda Law is appealing a hilarious, Star Trek-themed order written by District Judge Otis Wright requiring Prenda Law's principals to pay sanctions and attorneys fees for their vexatious and evasive conduct.

Bob Marley's Heirs Win Trademark Dispute at 9th Cir.

Another day, another iconic 1960s musician's image going to federal court over trademark disputes. In August, the Ninth Circuit said that Jimi Hendrix's post-mortem publicity rights survived in Washington state, thanks to a state statute allowing it (otherwise, publicity rights don't normally survive death).

Last week, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a jury verdict finding several companies violated the Lanham Act by using Bob Marley's image on T-shirts and other merchandise.

POM Wonderful Wins Suit Against Rival Pomegranate Juice Maker

Hot on the heels (at least in terms of court timelines) of winning a deceptive trade practices suit at the U.S. Supreme Court, POM Wonderful, fabled maker of pomegranate juice, won another suit at the Ninth Circuit. This time, POM Wonderful claimed that a rival company was improperly using its trademark, which might cause confusion.

On balance, said the court, a reasonable consumer could mistake a competitor's product for POM Wonderful's.

9 From the 9th: Trademark Tacking, Federal Tort Tolling, Church Signs

FindLaw's "SCOTUS Week" is coming to a close -- but wait, what's that? Overtime? Extra innings?

Exactly, and you have the Ninth Circuit to thank for the bonus coverage. Why? Because the Ninth Circuit has nine cases on the Supreme Court's docket so far -- one of which, Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, has already been argued and blogged about on our In House blog.

What about the other eight? Here's Part 1 of our Ninth Circuit SCOTUS preview: