U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

9th Circuit May 2017 News

'Google' Trademark Survives 'Genericide'

A federal appeals court ruled Google may keep its trademark for the name, despite claims that the word has come to mean "to search the internet."

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said trademarked names can lose their proprietary meaning as they become generic terms. However, the court rejected an argument that "Google" is synonymous with search engine.

In Elliott v. Google, the court said the plaintiff had presented admissible evidence that "google" is used as a verb. But that does not prove it no longer means "Google," the company.

Ex-Millionaire's Sentence for Fraud Upheld

Where to begin the story of Luke Brugnara, the former real estate mogul turned art con...

His criminal spiral downward began sometime in 2014. His sentence will not be over until about 2022. Perhaps the best place to start is in the middle of his case, when the judge granted him a furlough to meet with his attorneys at the courthouse.

Brugnara ran -- literally. He fled on foot and evaded capture for several days. During the course of the trial, the judge held him in contempt dozens of times. It was a trial of the justice system as much as a trial of the defendant.

Ninth Circuit Questions Trump's Travel Ban

As demonstrators rallied outside a Seattle courthouse broadcasting a live hearing inside, a panel of judges listened to arguments about whether they should consider President Trump's anti-Muslim statements in ruling on his latest travel ban.

Jeffery Wall, acting solicitor general for the United States, told the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals not to consider Trump's campaign statements but only his comments once he took office. Wall said the president's executive order does not ban Muslims, only people from certain countries.

Judge Richard Paez, who asked the most pointed questions during the hearing, compared Trump's order to the one that put Japanese immigrants and their families into American internment camps during World War II.

"There was no reference to Japanese in that executive order, and look what happened," Paez said.

Oakland Law Regulating Donation Bins Doesn't Violate 1st Amendment

A federal appeals court ruled that a city did not violate the First Amendment by regulating the placement of charitable donation bins.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the regulations did not target any messages the bins might have conveyed. Instead, the court said in Recycle for Change v. City of Oakland, the law applies equally to businesses and non-profits to reduce illegal dumping, graffiti and blight.

"The ordinance regulates the unattended collection of personal items for distribution, reuse, and recycling, without regard to the charitable or business purpose for doing so," Judge Ronald Gould wrote. "That conduct is neither expressive nor communicative."

Employers Can Pay Women Less Than Men Due to Salary History, 9th Cir. Rules

A woman can be paid less than a man for the same work based on salary histories, a federal appeals court said.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said that pay disparities between men and women are lawful if the difference is based on salary history and not gender. It is equally true whether a man or a woman is paid more than the other.

In Rizo v. Yovino, the appeals court turned back arguments by the plaintiff and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that unequal pay perpetuates gender discrimination. An employer may pay men and women differently without undermining the Equal Pay Act, the court said.