2nd Circuit Intellectual Property Law News - U.S. Second Circuit
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You may have never heard of Jack Kirby, but you've heard of X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and The Incredible Hulk? Kirby created, or co-created, all of them -- and more -- between 1958 and 1963, when he was an independent contractor for Marvel Comics.

Last Friday, a surprise announcement sent a shockwave through the legal-comics community. The estate of Jack Kirby and Marvel Entertainment had reached a settlement, meaning the Kirby v. Marvel cert petition would likely be withdrawn from the Supreme Court's consideration.

Earlier this month, the Second Circuit "tackled the tricky question of how to define originality in architecture," reports Architect Magazine. Though standard copyright theory applies, determining originality in architecture can be difficult for courts.

In finding its own path, the Second Circuit rejected the analysis of the Eleventh Circuit, and decided to go its own way.

Let's call this the copyright lawsuit that just won't go away. What Disney thought was finality in a lawsuit involving the creation of 'Pirates of the Caribbean' now has new life.

In its fourth iteration, this lawsuit may now actually move forward. Let the drama begin.

The past month was a busy one for fashion brands as two lawsuits made headlines (but thankfully had no effect on hemlines).

In the first suit, designer Rachel Roy is suing Jones Apparel Group ("Jones"), where she is trying to stop Jones from selling her brand for $14.6 million to Bluestar Alliance, allegedly in violation of several agreements between Roy and Jones, reports WWD. (subscription only)

In the next, Aeropostale is suing H&M for trademark infringement over the use of the phrase "Live Love Dream," says WWD. (subscription only)

Here's a breakdown of each case.

There are a slew of copyright-related cases making their way through the Second Circuit, some even making it to the Supreme Court.

The Author's Guild filed an appeal with the Second Circuit on Friday, challenging the district court's ruling in favor of Google. The Second Circuit also agreed to hear arguments in a case brought by record companies against Vimeo. And next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Aereo case. Here's a breakdown of the latest news.

In 2000, photographer Patrick Cariou published "Yes, Rasta," a collection of portraits he shot, in Jamaica, of Rastafarians living in isolated communities. Eight years later, Richard Prince showed "Canal Zone" a series of collages and paintings altering many of Cariou's photographs. This week, the parties settled their dispute out of court putting an end to years of litigation.

Alleged Copyright Infringement

Cariou sued Richard Prince, and the gallery showing the works, for copyright infringement, and Prince countered with a fair use defense, reports The Hollywood Reporter. District court Judge Batts found for Cariou holding that the fair use defense failed because the works were not transformative, that is "the new work in some way [must] comment on, relate to the historical context of, or critically refer back to the original works."

As always, there's lots to catch up on in the Second Circuit. So, let's cut the small talk and get to it.

Ecuadorian Judgment Against Chevron Fraudulent

Earlier this month, a district judge for the Southern District of New York penned a 497-page ruling finding that Steven Donziger violated a laundry list of laws to obtain an Ecuadorian court's judgment against Chevron, said the company in a press release. Donziger has voiced his intentions to appeal, and called the district court's ruling "an appalling decision resulting from a deeply flawed proceeding that overturns a unanimous ruling by Ecuador's Supreme Court," reports The Wall Street Journal.

It's never a dull day in the Second Circuit, and cases at varying stages of litigation are progressing through the courts. Today we look at an atheist group's challenge to the inclusion of a steel cross in a 9/11 museum, the ACLU's appeal of a phone data ruling and the Department of Justice weighs in on the Aereo case that the Supreme Court will hear in April.

Atheists Challenge 9/11 Steel Cross

An activist group of atheists, American Atheists, continues to challenge the inclusion of a steel cross in a 9/11 museum. The steel cross was formed by the debris of the World Trade Center and is being included as one of the many artifacts left from the destruction. For some, the cross was seen as a symbol of hope, but some atheists have allegedly been suffering from "physical and emotional pain" because of the crosses inclusion in the museum, reports The Blaze.

Where do we begin? There is so much legal news brewing in the Second Circuit that we couldn't just pick one story to highlight. Here's a quick roundup of litigation that's making headlines in the Second Circuit.

When Is Incest, Incest?

Um, one would think the answer to that question is -- always. But, in a recent Board of Immigration Appeals decision regarding whether a marriage between a woman and her husband by "half-blood" is void for incest under New York law, the Second Circuit certified the question to the New York Court of Appeals. Though the effect of the precedent may not be very wide-reaching, we're all curious to see how the court decides this one.

Swatch Group and Bloomberg have been fighting for three years in New York federal courts regarding the publication of a conference call between Swatch and financial analysts. Closely watched by news outlets, a line has now been drawn in the sand by the Second Circuit.

The Conference Call and Publication

On February 8, 2011, Swatch publicized its 2010 earnings report, and as customary, later that day had a conference call with Swatch executives and 132 financial analysts. Though Bloomberg was not invited, and did not attend, shortly after the call, Bloomberg received an audio copy and transcript of the call. The call did not contain any information that was not already revealed in the published earnings report. That day, Bloomberg made the transcript and recording available on its online financial research service website Bloomberg Professional.