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August 8, 2018 |
Media, Entertainment and Technology Group – 2018 Mid-Year Update

Click for PDF For our latest semi-annual update, Gibson Dunn’s Media, Entertainment and Technology practice group is taking stock of another active period of deals, regulatory developments, and litigation. The first half of 2018 has been marked by landmark M&A, esports growth, precedent-setting copyright cases, an end to the “Blurred Lines” saga, and some clarity from California and New York courts in anticipated right of publicity cases. And we have seen courts wrestling with twenty-first century legal issues raised by terms like geoblocking, top-level domains, Simpsonizing, and embedded Tweets. Here, then, is our latest round-up to bring you current on the deals and decisions that will hold lessons for the months and years to come. I.    Transaction Overview A.    M&A 1.    AT&T and Time Warner Prevail in Antitrust Suit and Complete Merger On June 12, 2018, in a 172-page decision following a six-week trial, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon denied the government’s request to enjoin the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner, and the companies completed the merger two days later, bringing together the content produced by Warner Bros., HBO and Turner with AT&T’s mobile, broadband, video and other communications services.[1] “Our merger brings together the elements to fulfill our vision for the future of media and entertainment,” AT&T said in a press release.[2] On July 12, the government filed a notice of appeal.[3] (Disclosure: Gibson Dunn represents AT&T and DirecTV in the case.) 2.    Comcast Ends Pursuit of 21st Century Fox, Clearing Path for Disney The back-and-forth bidding between The Walt Disney Company and Comcast for Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. appears to have ended, as on July 19, 2018, Comcast announced it would not pursue the acquisition any further, paving the way for Disney to close the deal.[4] Previously, on June 20, 2018, Disney and Fox announced that they had entered into an amended and restated merger agreement, providing for Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s film and television businesses for more than $71.3 billion in cash and stock, surpassing Disney’s original offer of $52.4 billion in Disney stock and made one week after Comcast’s unsolicited offer of approximately $65 billion in cash.[5] Under the amended and restated agreement, Fox’s shareholders can elect to receive their consideration in the form of cash or Disney stock, subject to 50/50 proration.[6] On June 27, 2018, Disney announced that the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice had entered into a consent decree with Disney and Fox, clearing the way for the pending acquisition to close.[7] The consent decree requires the sale of the Fox Sports Regional Networks within 90 days of closing the Fox acquisition, subject to possible extension by the DOJ, and is subject to court approval.[8] On July 27, 2018, Disney’s and Fox’s shareholders voted to approve the acquisition.[9] 3.    Suitors Continue to Vie for Sky In abandoning its bid for Disney, Comcast turned its focus to acquiring Sky PLC, but Disney has its sights set on the European broadcaster as well.[10] At the moment, Comcast has the higher offer, currently valued at $34 billion, 5% higher than the latest bid from Fox, which owns 39% of Sky (a stake that will be sold to Disney as part of the Fox acquisition). Disney may then decide to pursue the remainder of Sky by topping Comcast’s bid or may look to sell Fox’s stake.[11] These latest developments follow Fox’s year-long battle with U.K. regulators regarding its proposed acquisition of Sky. The U.K. culture secretary, Matt Hancock, announced that the most recent terms offered by Fox are likely sufficient to allay concerns over media plurality.[12] Fox’s proposed acquisition, which we previously reported has been the subject of British antitrust regulatory scrutiny, caused the U.K.’s Office of Communications to raise red flags, which led to the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority to oppose the transaction, noting the proposal would give Rupert Murdoch’s family too much control over U.K. media.[13] Mr. Hancock noted that a sale of Sky News, the news outlet controlled by Sky PLC, to a suitable third party such as Disney (in connection with Disney’s proposal to acquire Twenty-First Century Fox) could alleviate regulatory concerns associated with the deal. Comcast’s bid for Sky was also given the green light by U.K. regulators.[14] 4.    CBS Fights for Control in Midst of Viacom Merger Negotiations Following months during which Shari Redstone, the controlling shareholder of both CBS and Viacom, actively participated in discussions between the companies regarding a potential merger,[15] tension regarding control came to a head on May 14, 2018 when CBS’s board of directors, led by CBS Chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves, sued to dilute Redstone’s preferred shares and those of her holding company National Amusements to prevent her from replacing board members to complete the deal.[16] Redstone and National Amusements returned suit on May 29, 2018, alleging that CBS’s board was overstepping its authority by attempting to dilute her preferred shares.[17] Two days later, a group of CBS’s non-voting Class B shareholders also filed suit against Redstone and National Amusements, claiming Redstone had improperly amended the bylaws to require a 90% board approval for special dividends that would give Class B stockholders the right to vote on the potential merger.[18] 5.    The Weinstein Company’s Bankruptcy Sale In the wake of the sexual assault accusations against Harvey Weinstein, his eponymous production company, The Weinstein Company, filed for bankruptcy in March 2018, listing between $500 million and $1 billion in assets and the same amount in total liabilities. Lantern Capital purchased the production company in the bankruptcy sale for $289 million.[19] On July 16, 2018, The Yucaipa Companies brought suit against Lantern Capital (its former partner in a bid to buy The Weinstein Company), alleging that Lantern failed to reimburse Yucaipa for costs related to the sale and a related purchase fee.[20] B.    SVOD Update 1.    Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Each Ink High-Profile Creative Deals Netflix has continued to balance both its retention of creative talent and attraction of new talent. The company closed out December 2017 by entering into a four-year, seven-figure overall deal with Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy and his production company 21 Lapps Entertainment.[21] And on February 13, 2018, Netflix announced a five-year overall deal with Ryan Murphy, moving the showrunner and producer from his longtime home of Twentieth Century Fox TV.[22] Under the deal, valued between $250 million and $300 million, Murphy will produce new series and films exclusively for Netflix.[23] Less than a week after releasing the second season of its critically acclaimed original series The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu announced an overall deal with its showrunner Bruce Miller, on April 30, 2018.[24] Under the deal, made in conjunction with The Handmaid’s Tale producer MGM Television, Miller will create and develop new projects for both Hulu and MGM Television.[25] Amazon has also continued to pursue lucrative creative deals, and on June 5, 2018, it announced that it signed a first-look deal with Jordan Peele, writer and director of the film Get Out, and his production company Monkeypaw Productions.[26] 2.    WndrCo Raises $1 Billion for NewTV WndrCo announced on August 7, 2018, that it had closed a $1 billion funding round for a project with the working title “NewTV”, a mobile-first media platform, led by Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg.[27] The initial raise included investments by all of the major Hollywood studios, a number of independent television studios, and major technology companies. The round was led by Madrone Capital. Incubated at WndrCo, NewTV aims to build a user-friendly mobile platform to deliver short-form premium content, allowing users to make the most of every moment of their day. (Disclosure: Gibson Dunn represents WndrCo and NewTV.) 3.    Streaming Industry Expands Through Strategic Partnerships Through the first half of 2018, Netflix has continued to push for partnerships with U.S. cable companies, entering into a partnership with Altice USA, on January 31, 2018, under which Netflix is made available to Altice customers directly through Altice One,[28] and expanding its existing partnership with Comcast to provide Comcast the ability to include a Netflix subscription in new and existing Xfinity packages.[29] In early 2018, YouTube TV entered into strategic partnerships with several sports leagues in an effort to expand its reach, including with MLB and the NBA to become the presenting sponsor of the 2018 World Series and the 2018 NBA Finals, respectively.[30] Despite experiencing a service outage during a World Cup semifinal match,[31] YouTube TV stands to see further expansion in the sports league space throughout the remainder of 2018. On January 5, 2018, CBS became the first Amazon partner to offer a live stream of local broadcast TV by entering into a partnership that allows Amazon Prime U.S. members to access CBS All-Access as an add-on channel.[32] Amazon has increasingly stepped into the role of distributor and portal for companies with over-the-top streaming channels such as CBS, and Amazon’s Prime Video Channels program also has add-ons for programmers such as HBO, Showtime, and Starz.[33] 4.    Chinese Streaming Companies Go Public Often called the “Netflix of China,” iQiyi Inc. in mid-March 2018 launched an estimated $2.3 billion initial public offering.[34] iQiyi intends to use the IPO proceeds to extend its reach into China’s online entertainment industry and continue to provide “blockbuster original content” through its collaborations with Hollywood and Netflix.[35] Not long after, Bilibili Inc., a Chinese online platform used to primarily stream Japanese animation, launched its own IPO, priced at $438 million.[36] In its registration statement, Bilibili noted that it “believe[s] China will become the world’s largest online entertainment market in the future and [its] brand recognition and market leadership among the young generations in China position[s it] well to capture the significant opportunities.”[37] C.    China Partnerships 1.    Blumhouse and Tang Media Partners Partner to Bring Horror Films to China In June 2018, it was announced that Blumhouse Productions, known for its horror movies, partnered with Tang Media Partners, the Shanghai and Los Angeles-based entertainment company, to co-develop and co-finance a slate of Chinese language horror and thriller films.[38] Blumhouse Productions only recently had released its first movie in China in February with Happy Death Day.[39] One possible motivation for this partnership is the booming box office in China, which surpassed the U.S. in the first three months of this year.[40] In the first quarter of 2018, China’s box office took in $3.17 billion in revenues, compared to $2.85 billion in the United States.[41] As the Chinese box office continues to grow, it remains an attractive and unique opportunity for Hollywood and the U.S. entertainment industry. 2.    The Wanda Group Sees New Investments and Consolidation On January 29, 2018, Wanda revealed that Tencent Holdings entered into an agreement to purchase $5.4 billion worth of shares in Dalian Wanda Commercial Management, equaling a 14% interest in the company.[42] Days later on February 5, 2018, it was announced that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Beijing Cultural Investment Holdings, a Chinese government-backed company, agreed to purchase a $1.2 billion stake in Wanda Film Holding Co., The Wanda Group’s domestic film and movie division, which includes the group’s Chinese movie theater.[43] As of the transaction, Alibaba became the second biggest shareholder in Wanda Film Holding Co., with a 7.66% holding.[44] These investments by China’s largest and well-known tech companies came at a time when The Wanda Group was under scrutiny by the Chinese government for its overseas investments and was in the process of selling off its overseas real estate assets to reduce its debt.[45] Then, on June 25, 2018, Wanda Film Holding Co. unveiled plans to acquire a 96.8% stake in Wanda Media (the group’s content-production business), in order to strengthen and consolidate the business’s film and entertainment divisions beyond its cinema division (Wanda Film), with a price tag of $1.78 billion to be paid via cash and equity.[46] The proposed deal would increase content production and afford The Wanda Group the opportunity to produce, distribute and exhibit its content under one roof.[47] AMC Entertainment and Legendary Entertainment—U.S. companies acquired by Wanda in 2016—are not included in the proposed restructuring.[48] The deal is pending authorization by the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.[49] D.    Esports 1.    Fortnite Brings Esports to Center Stage Fortnite, developed and published by Epic Games, has quickly become a phenomenon, and in doing so has helped propel domestic esports—the fast-growing industry of competitive spectator video-gaming—into the mainstream quicker than any game in recent memory. A testament to the game’s widespread adoption, a Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am charity tournament was recently held at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles during the annual E3 Expo. The tournament played host to 50 celebrities and 50 professional gamers competing for a $3 million cash prize pool.[50] Aside from the Pro-Am tournament, celebrities such as Drake and Travis Scott have taken part in livestreamed gameplay with professional gamers, including the famous Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, with some streams attracting more than 500,000 simultaneous live viewers.[51] Like other game developers, including League of Legends developer Riot Games and Overwatch developer Activision Blizzard, Epic Games has announced its first venture into organized esports via the Fortnite World Cup, which will take place in 2019 with a $100 million total cash purse for winners.[52] However, unlike Riot’s and Activision Blizzard’s esports leagues, which require that teams buy into the league (which generally restricts admission to franchises), Epic has opted for strictly merit-based qualifiers with no spots reserved for organized teams or franchises.[53] Fortnite’s success and the potential for its esports league have also garnered the interest of investors. Tencent, which currently owns 40% of Epic Games, has doubled down on its investment by contributing an additional ¥100 million, half of which will be used to support game development and video content creators, and the other half being used to bring Fortnite to China and develop it as a Chinese esport.[54] 2.    ICM Inks Joint Venture with Esports Agency Evolved ICM Partners and esports talent agency Evolved have announced a joint venture that will give Evolved’s roster of professional gamers, live streamers and internet personalities access to ICM’s full-service offerings.[55] The joint venture will be supervised by ICM’s Bennett Sherman and Peter Trinh, reporting directly to Managing Director Chris Silbermann, who sees esports as a growth opportunity for ICM Partners.[56] 3.    High School Esports Is on Its Way Los Angeles-based startup PlayVS recently closed a $15 million Series A funding round led by New Enterprise Associates with participation from the San Francisco 49ers, Science, CrossCut Ventures, Coatue Management, Cross Culture Ventures, rapper Nas, Dollar Shave Club founder Michael Dubin, and Twitch Cofounder Kevin Lin, among others.[57] PlayVS has worked closely with the NFHS, the high school equivalent of the NCAA, to develop an infrastructure for esports competition at the high school level.[58] PlayVS will be launching its first season in October 2018, bringing esports play to 5,000 high schools.[59]   II.    Regulatory Updates A.    FCC Repeals “Net Neutrality” Rules, Congressional Efforts Stall, and Attention Turns to Litigation and Statehouses In June 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) formally repealed rules concerning the regulation of internet service providers (“ISPs”) (popularly known as “net neutrality”) and no longer considers broadband service a “utility” under Title II of the Communications Act.[60] The FCC erased rules mandating that ISPs treat all web traffic equally and overturned prohibitions on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. The agency also included language meant to prevent states from enacting their own consumer protection laws concerning ISPs. Weeks prior to this repeal, the Senate approved a resolution with a 52-47 vote to nullify the FCC’s rollback, but the effort stalled in the House of Representatives.[61] Months before the repeal was enacted, 21 states and the District of Columbia filed suit against the FCC, alleging violation of the Administrative Procedure Act in repealing the “net neutrality” rules.[62] These cases were assigned to the Ninth Circuit via a judicial lottery. In March 2018, the Ninth Circuit granted petitioners’ unopposed request to move the suits to the D.C. Circuit given the court’s experience in presiding over net neutrality cases.[63] The first briefs are due on August 20, 2018, and we anticipate that this litigation will be closely watched over the next year. In addition, a number of states have seen bills introduced (California) or enacted (Washington) to provide net neutrality-type protections.[64] Such bills are sure to be the subject of upcoming challenges and litigation. B.    The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation Goes into Effect The European Union (“EU”) enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) in 2016 to unify the patchwork of data privacy laws across all EU member countries into one regulation.[65] The GDPR strengthens the protection of personal data by making clear that location data and online identifiers, such as IP addresses, are considered personal data. European authorities already had taken a more stringent view than U.S. regulators as to what constitutes personally identifiable information subject to protection, including emails and contact information. The GDPR also prohibits the use of lengthy terms and conditions seeking consent; instead, any request for consent must be presented clearly and concisely, and without ambiguity of meaning. The GDPR further provides individuals with the right to, in certain circumstances, require that a business erase personal data about them, obtain a restriction on the processing of personal data, and receive a copy of the personal data provided to the business. It permits individuals to file a class-action style complaint for any breach of personal data. The regulation went into effect on May 25, 2018, and will be applicable to every citizen of the EU and any business entity that transacts with them, regardless of the location of business. Penalties for violating the GDPR are severe. Liable parties could be fined up to four percent of annual global turnover or 20 million Euros, whichever is greater. While many businesses who transact in the EU have updated their privacy policies in light of the GDPR, we strongly urge those who have not done so to review their policies and update them to reflect the new regulation. One immediate consequence of the GDPR has been that ICANN, the not-for-profit company that manages domain names, has already begun removing from its public “WhoIs” database the contact information for domain name registrants in the EU.[66] We are also watching to see whether privacy groups file lawsuits on behalf of groups of individuals seeking to enforce provisions of the GDPR. C.    Hollywood Dealmakers Can No Longer Inquire About Salary History Effective January 1, 2018, California joined a growing number of states, including New York, that restrict an employer’s inquiries into an applicant’s salary history. Under California Labor Code Section 432.3, employers in the state will be prohibited from asking about an applicant’s prior compensation and benefits. The law was enacted to help remedy the gender pay gap. The new law is likely to have a significant impact on how deals are made in the entertainment industry. Going forward, when studios negotiate salaries for talent with agents, they will not be allowed to ask agents for recent quotes unless the talent provides written consent.[67] If consent is provided, agents can volunteer salary history, but studio executives are prohibited from asking for it or using other methods, like calling business affairs executives at previous places of employment to verify it. Should an employer violate this statute, the penalties could be more severe than the $250,000 fine under comparable New York law. In California, applicants will be able to file a lawsuit alleging damages, and remedies may include California’s Private Attorney General Act.[68] III.    Recent Litigation Highlights A.    Antitrust Litigation 1.    Ozzy Osbourne Challenging AEG over Tying Arrangement Regarding Los Angeles and London Venues On March 21, 2018, entertainer Ozzy Osbourne filed a federal antitrust suit in Los Angeles against live entertainment promoter AEG and its subsidiaries and affiliates.[69] The putative class action alleges that AEG is violating the Sherman Act by enforcing an anticompetitive tying arrangement purportedly barring musicians from playing the O2 Arena—”London’s most essential large concert venue”—unless they agree to play Staples Center on the Los Angeles leg of their tour.[70] According to the complaint, AEG—which owns the O2 Arena and Staples Center—effectively forces artists playing the O2 to forego playing certain venues in Los Angeles, like the Forum.[71] Osbourne claims this “Staples Center Commitment” deprives artists like Osbourne from “enjoy[ing] the benefits of competition between Staples and the Forum,” which recently underwent a $100 million renovation.[72] Osbourne seeks an injunction to prohibit AEG from imposing the alleged “illegal tying practice” on him and other musicians.[73] In a recently filed motion to dismiss, AEG argues the lawsuit “is a poorly-disguised attempt by Ozzy’s promoter, Live Nation (represented by the same lawyers), to pressure Defendants to abandon their lawful efforts to compete for bookings in Los Angeles and counteract Live Nation’s tactics to steer business away from venues that AEG owns.”[74] According to AEG, the lawsuit is flawed because the agreement Osbourne seeks to strike down is between AEG and Live Nation, and does not prevent Osbourne from playing at the Forum.[75] Rather, it merely prevents Live Nation from promoting Osbourne’s Los Angeles shows.[76] On August 1, 2018, Judge Dale S. Fischer denied AEG’s motion to dismiss. 2.    Coachella Owner AEG Faces Antitrust Suit over Restrictions on Musicians’ Ability to Play Competing Events On April 9, 2018, Portland music festival promoter Soul’d Out Productions filed suit in federal court in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon against AEG, owner of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, accusing it of anticompetitive behavior by barring Coachella musicians from playing other events within 1,300 miles in the months surrounding the festival.[77] According to the complaint, AEG’s invocation of a “radius clause” in its contracts blocks competition in ways that violate federal antitrust laws as well as Oregon and California state laws.[78] Specifically, the suit alleges that AEG and its co-defendants use their “substantial market power” to “coerce artists into agreeing to these unlawful restrictions on trade.”[79] The plaintiff asserts that AEG’s purported “strong-arming and leveraging tactics” have had “an anticompetitive effect on the consumer, music venues and festivals on the West Coast, and promoters of such events.”[80] The suit accordingly seeks treble damages, a declaration that the “radius clause” is unenforceable, and injunctive relief.[81] AEG’s motion to dismiss the suit is currently pending. B.    Profit Participation Suits 1.    Disney to Face Trial in Turner & Hooch Royalty Fraud Claim Disney has been unable to chase off a lawsuit contending it concealed profits from the 1989 Tom Hanks comedy Turner & Hooch.[82] The suit, filed by Christine Wagner, whose late husband, Raymond Wagner, produced the film, alleges that Turner & Hooch, which grossed $71 million at the box office and more than $167 million in worldwide gross receipts, was profitable as early as 1991, but that “Disney reported that the film is not in profits” and sent no statement of accounting in the years since the film was made.[83] Wagner asserts she should be seeing more royalties.[84] In a decision in early May that sets the stage for a trial, a Los Angeles state court judge ruled that Wagner’s fraud claim can move forward.[85] The court found that Disney had presented no evidence on summary adjudication to counter Wagner’s assertion that it was Disney’s misrepresentations—in royalty statements indicating there were no profits to share—that kept the producer or his wife from discovering they had a claim.[86] Therefore, the court found that as it relates to the statute of limitations, Disney may not limit the royalties at issue to only the four years prior to the filing of the 2015 suit.[87] 2.    No, CBS Isn’t Paying Judge Judy Too Much In April 2018, a Los Angeles judge dismissed a claim that Judy Sheindlin’s (pka Judge Judy) compensation was purposely structured to wipe out profits on the hit television show.[88] Talent agency Rebel Entertainment Partners had filed a lawsuit in March 2016 against CBS and Big Ticket Television, alleging that it was entitled to a five percent share of net profits, but that the show had been running a deficit since February 2010 because Sheindlin’s massive salary was deducted as an expense.[89] CBS argued in response that the salary was a necessary expense to keep Judge Judy on the air.[90] In its ruling, the court accepted CBS’s determination that it was doing what it considered to be best for the show, and, moreover, that plaintiffs had not presented sufficient evidence that Sheindlin’s salary ran counter to industry custom.[91] Rather, the court found that “[h]er present salary was the result of arms-length negotiation and Sheindlin’s final ‘take-it-or-leave-it offer.'”[92] 3.    Columbo Producers File Claim Against TV Studio, 45 Years After Show Airs In February 2018, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge held that the creators of the 1970s show Columbo can proceed with their contract and fraud claims against Universal City Studios.[93] Producers William Link and the heirs of Richard Levinson claim that Universal never issued a profit participation statement to them.[94] They alleged that shortly after filing their complaint in November 2017, an accounting statement arrived with a check for $2.3 million.[95] Universal City Studios moved to dismiss the claim, arguing that plaintiffs “lacked specificity” on how they were allegedly underpaid, but the judge has allowed the case to proceed past demurrer.[96] C.    Copyright Litigation 1.    Embedding Tweets Violates the Exclusive Display Right In February 2018, U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest determined on summary judgment that embedding a photo on a social media platform constitutes a “display” of work under Section 106(5) of the Copyright Act of 1976.[97] The plaintiff snapped a candid photo of Tom Brady, the Patriots’ quarterback, and Danny Ainge, the Boston Celtics’ general manager, walking in the Hamptons that quickly went viral, “rapidly moving from Snapchat to Reddit to Twitter—and finally . . . onto the websites of the defendants, who embedded the Tweet alongside articles they wrote about Tom Brady actively helping the Boston Celtics recruit basketball player Kevin Durant.”[98] The court noted that copyright law has “developed in response to significant changes in technology,”[99] and that Congress “cast a very wide net” in considering the display right.[100] Congress did “not intend to freeze the scope of copyrightable subject matter at the present stage of communications technology” when it passed the Copyright Act, and that its drafters intended it to broadly encompass new, not yet developed, technologies.[101] After framing the case as requiring the “the Court [to] construe how images shown on one website but stored on another website’s server implicate an owner’s exclusive display right,”[102] the court rejected application of and criticized the “Server Test,” a test deployed by the Ninth Circuit in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 508 F.3d 1146 (2007), noting that it has not been widely used outside of the Ninth Circuit.[103] The Court noted that under the Server Test, direct liability for infringement turns “entirely on whether the image is hosted on the publisher’s own server, or is embedded or linked from a third-party server.”[104] Here, however, the court focused on the fact that the defendants “actively took steps to ‘display’ the image.”[105] The court found support in the Supreme Court’s decision in American Broadcasting Cos., Inc. v. Aereo Inc. for the proposition that “liability should not hinge on invisible, technical processes imperceptible to the viewer.”[106] But, the case isn’t over yet. The court explained: In this case, there are genuine questions about whether plaintiff effectively released his image into the public domain when he posted it to his Snapchat account. Indeed, in many cases there are likely to be factual questions as to licensing and authorization. There is also a very serious and strong fair use defense, a defense under the Digital Millennium and Copyright Act, and limitations on damages from innocent infringement.[107] Following its ruling, and recognizing that this is a “high-profile, high-impact copyright case” with possible precedential effects, Judge Forrest certified the ruling for interlocutory appeal to the Second Circuit.[108] However, on July 17, 2018, the Second Circuit denied defendants’ request to take up the ruling.[109] 2.    TVEyes Video Clip Search Engine Is Not Fair Use In February 2018, the Second Circuit held that TVEyes’s service could not be justified as fair use, reversing a summary judgment ruling.[110] As we wrote in our 2016 Mid-Year Update reporting on the summary judgment rulings, TVEyes provides a service that continuously records television programming and indexes it into a text-searchable database, “allowing its clients to search for and watch (up to) ten-minute video clips that mention terms of interest to the clients.”[111] The district court had issued two summary judgment rulings, deeming a fair use TVEyes’s “functions enabling clients of TVEyes to search for videos by term, to watch the resulting videos, and to archive the videos on the TVEyes servers” a fair use, but holding that functions “enabling TVEyes’s clients to download videos to their computers, to freely e-mail videos to others, or to watch videos after searching for them by date, time, and channel (rather than by keyword)” were not fair use.[112] While the Second Circuit found that TVEyes’s service served a modest transformative purpose, isolating relevant television programing and allowing it to be accessed in a convenient manner, it further found that the fact that the service makes available, in its original form, almost all of Fox’s content undermines its transformative value.[113] The court also found that TVEyes’s service deprives Fox of licensing revenues and/or an ability to exploit the market itself.[114] On balance, therefore, the court concluded that “TVEyes’s service is not justifiable as a fair use” because “[a]t bottom, TVEyes is unlawfully profiting off the work of others by commercially re-distributing all of that work that a viewer wishes to use, without payment of license.”[115] On May 14, 2018, the Second Circuit denied TVEyes’s petition for rehearing en banc.[116] 3.    In Suit for Infringement Based on Foreign Broadcast, Geoblocking Thwarts Personal Jurisdiction In November, The Carsey-Werner Company filed a lawsuit in a California federal court against the British Broadcasting Company (“BBC”) and Sugar Films, alleging copyright infringement for the use and airing on the BBC of The Cosby Show clips in a documentary entitled Bill Cosby: Fall of an American Icon.[117] BBC moved for dismissal, arguing that no actionable infringement took place within a California federal court’s jurisdiction, as the documentary was only broadcast in the United Kingdom.[118] Afterward, it was available for 30 days on BBC’s iPlayer website, which, because of geoblocking, meant that the program was only available to those located in the United Kingdom.[119] However, unauthorized viewers could access the content by using virtual private networks (“VPNs”) and proxy servers.[120] Judge Percy Anderson held that “[u]nauthorized viewers outside of the United Kingdom do not provide a basis for personal jurisdiction; rather, Defendant’s relationship with California must arise out of contacts that they themselves created with the state.”[121] The court therefore held it lacked specific jurisdiction over BBC and Sugar Films.[122] 4.    Who Owns VFX Software Output? As we first wrote in our 2017 Year-End Update, in July 2017, Rearden LLC, a computer-generated imagery (CGI) software company, accused The Walt Disney Co., Marvel Studios, Paramount, and Fox of using without a license its intellectual property to animate characters in some of its highest-grossing productions of the last few years, as well as to advertise and promote the films.[123] Rearden alleged trademark, copyright, and patent infringement claims relating to Oscar-winning visual effects technology called MOVA Contour Reality Capture (“MOVA”). Rearden claims that Disney knowingly contracted with parties who stole and falsely claimed ownership of the MOVA system and related IP assets to create film productions such as Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy. Rearden separately pursued relief against the company providing these services, a Chinese company called Shenzhenshi Haitiecheng Science and Technology. In the lawsuits against Disney and the other studios, Rearden claims the studios knowingly used an unauthorized version of the MOVA software. With respect to the copyright claims, Rearden initially asserted a novel theory of copyright infringement, arguing that because its software program performs the “lion’s share” of the creativity involved in the computer art program, the end user fails to meet the minimum threshold for originality, and therefore Rearden, not the end user, should be deemed the legal author of the final product of the program.[124] The defendants moved to dismiss, pointing to film directors and other artists as indispensable creative elements to the artistic expression embodied in the files output by the program.[125] In February, the court sided with the defendants and rejected Rearden’s copyright claims, explaining that “[t]he Court does not find it plausible that the MOVA Contour output is created by the program without any substantial contribution by the actors or directors.”[126] The court thus dismissed the copyright claims without prejudice, and Rearden subsequently amended its complaint to allege copyright claims under a new contributory theory of infringement.[127] This time, Rearden argues that MOVA is an original literary work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression when stored on computer hard drives. When the program is run, Rearden claims that the temporary copies that are made in the random access memory of the end user’s computer violate its copyright. The defendants again moved to dismiss Rearden’s copyright claims.[128] On June 19, 2018, the court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, holding that Rearden plausibly alleged the defendants either induced or materially contributed to infringing conduct.[129] In light of this ruling, Rearden’s copyright claims will proceed against the studios. 5.    Disney and Redbox Tussle over Resale Rights On November 30, 2017, Disney, Lucasfilm, and Marvel filed suit in the District Court for the Central District of California, arguing that Redbox’s practice of reselling the digital download codes packaged with plaintiffs’ movie “Combo Packs” violates the user license terms and constitutes copyright infringement.[130] Disney moved for a preliminary injunction, which the court denied, finding that the license restriction constituted copyright misuse.[131] Specifically, licensing language on the website where Disney’s digital movie downloads are redeemed states that the downloader must be the owner of “the physical product that accompanied the digital code at the time of purchase.”[132] According to Judge Pregerson, this constitutes an “improper leveraging of Disney’s copyright” and “conflicts with public policy enshrined in the Copyright Act” because it forces users to “forego their statutorily-guaranteed right to distribute their physical copies of that same movie as they see fit.”[133] Disney subsequently updated the license terms, amended its complaint, and renewed its motion for a preliminary injunction.[134] Disney asserts that the new language, which instead requires the digital downloader to have received the code as part of the Combo Pack, rather than to be the current owner of the physical copies, satisfies the court’s concerns regarding copyright misuse.[135] Redbox counters that this change does not cure the misuse because it forces the preceding owner of the Combo pack to “forgo[] the first sale rights associated with the DVD and Blu-ray discs” or otherwise render the digital code “worthless.”[136] A hearing for the preliminary injunction motion was held on June 27, 2018, and Redbox filed a supplemental opposition brief on July 11, 2018, addressing additional changes to Disney’s licensing language.[137] 6.    Playboy’s Centerfold Copyright Suit Folds In February 2018, a District Judge in Los Angeles dismissed with leave to amend Playboy’s copyright infringement suit against the owner of the website BoingBoing.[138] Back in November 2017, Playboy had accused Happy Mutants, LLC—the owner of BoingBoing—of using the magazine’s centerfold photos without permission. The lawsuit pointed to a February 2016 post by BoingBoing that contained a link that directed viewers to a slideshow on a photo website that, at the time, contained the centerfold photos (it has since been taken down). BoingBoing responded that it did not create the offending content, and did not control the images or contribute to the infringement, and that if anything, its link constituted non-infringing fair use. Playboy responded that BoingBoing should not be permitted to knowingly link to copyright-infringing materials.[139] In his decision, the Judge Olguin stated that he was “skeptical” that Playboy had alleged facts to support its inducement or material contribution theories of copyright infringement, and cited the Ninth Circuit’s inducement theory as set forth in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Giganews, Inc.[140] The judge noted that BoingBoing’s fair use argument was premature at this early stage.[141] Rather than amend their complaint, in early March 2018, Playboy voluntarily dismissed its claim without prejudice.[142] D.    DMCA Developments 1.    Safe Harbor from Unfair Competition Claims In March 2018, the District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed most of Capital Records’ state-law unfair competition claims against video-hosting website Vimeo, claims based on users’ posts to Vimeo’s site that are alleged to infringe pre-1972 copyrighted works. Previously, in June 2016, on an interlocutory appeal from a summary judgment order in the Southern District of New York, the Second Circuit held that the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA protect internet service providers from claims of infringement when users post works protected by state copyright law.[143] After the Supreme Court denied plaintiffs’ petition for a writ of certiorari in March 2017,[144] the district court considered Vimeo’s motion to dismiss and found that Capital Records’ unfair competition claims, which are based on Vimeo’s alleged infringement, were also foreclosed by the safe harbor of the DMCA.[145] The court reasoned that “[a]pplying the DMCA safe harbor to unfair-competition claims founded on copyright infringement ensures that service providers are aware of the infringing activity that forms the basis for the claims brought against them.”[146] The court denied the motion to dismiss as to the instances in which Capital Records alleges that Vimeo had “red-flag knowledge” of the underlying infringement that would negate the protections of the DMCA safe harbor.[147] Motions for summary judgement are still pending. 2.    DMCA May Protect ISPs Without a Written Takedown Policy In March 2018, a Ninth Circuit panel ruled that a website hosting user-uploaded pornography was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s safe harbor provisions, even though it lacked a written policy to terminate users who repeatedly infringed copyrights.[148] Back in 2011, pornography producer Ventura Content sued Motherless, alleging claims of direct, vicarious and contributory copyright infringement and of unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices in violation of California Business and Professions Code for allowing its users to upload clips of movies that Ventura Content had created and had not licensed to Motherless.[149] In response, Motherless claimed that it qualified for protection under the DMCA’s § 512 safe harbor provision, even though it did not have a written policy to terminate users who repeatedly infringed copyrights.[150] Motherless is owned and operated by a single person who reviewed videos individually for infringement, and described his policy as a “gut decision.”[151] The divided panel found that Motherless did adhere to a policy, even if it was unwritten, to get rid of users who repeatedly uploaded infringing copyright of porn producers, and therefore qualified for the safe harbor provision of the DMCA.[152] Ventura has sought rehearing en banc.[153] E.    First Amendment 1.    Right of Publicity a.    Court of Appeals Resolves Legal Feud in FX’s Favor On March 26, 2018, a California appeals court ruled that Olivia de Havilland’s suit against FX Network and co-defendants is barred by the First Amendment.[154] In March 2017, FX aired a docudrama, Feud: Bette and Joan, in which Catherine Zeta-Jones portrays de Havilland.[155] De Havilland sued FX in June 2017, alleging misappropriation, violation of her right of publicity, false light invasion of privacy, and “unjust enrichment.”[156] In September 2017, the trial court denied FX’s anti-SLAPP motion, and FX (supported by a number of media organizations) appealed. Now, the appeal court has reversed the lower court’s order on the motion to strike.[157] Applying the anti-SLAPP law’s two-step test, the Court of Appeal reversed, finding that the now-102-year-old de Havilland failed to present evidence to establish that she is likely to prevail on her claims at trial.[158] The court explained that the First Amendment protects expressive works, regardless of whether they are fact, fiction, or a combination thereof.[159] The court concluded that Feud‘s portrayal of de Havilland was transformative because its “‘marketability and economic value’ does not ‘derive primarily from [de Havilland’s] fame’ but rather ‘comes principally from . . . the creativity, skill, and reputation’ of Feud‘s creators and actors.”[160] The court also rejected de Havilland’s false light and unjust enrichment claims.[161] On July 11, 2018, the California Supreme Court denied de Havilland’s petition for review; the docket entry noted that Justice Cuéllar would have granted the petition. b.    Lohan v. Take-Two Interactive Software In March 2018, the Court of Appeals of New York affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Lindsay Lohan, claiming that Take-Two violated her right of privacy by featuring a “look-a-like” character in Grand Theft Auto without her permission.[162] The court concluded that while an avatar may be a “portrait” for purposes of New York’s right of publicity statute, the avatar featured in Grand Theft Auto was not recognizable as Lohan.[163] In doing so, the court sidestepped larger First Amendment issues, including whether or not individuals featured in video games are subject to the state’s right of publicity law, which “makes it a misdemeanor to use a living person’s name, portrait or picture for advertising or trade purposes . . .”[164] The intermediate appellate court had confronted that issue, in 2016, finding that works of fiction or satire (like the video game) are not of “advertising” or “trade,” in the language of the statute.[165] But the state’s high court specifically declined to address the issue, ruling for Take-Two on the narrower ground that the woman in the video game was simply not recognizable as Lohan. c.    “Simpsonized” Character Is Not Actionable In February 2018, a California appeals court affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Frank Sivero against Twentieth Century Fox for misappropriation of his name and likeness in The Simpsons.[166] On October 21, 2014, Sivero filed the complaint, alleging common law infringement of right of publicity, misappropriation of name and likeness, misappropriation of ideas, interference with prospective economic advantage, and unjust enrichment.[167] Fox moved to strike the complaint under California’s anti-SLAPP statute.[168] The appeals court found that the cause of action arose from protected activity within the meaning of the anti-SLAPP statute, and that Sivero then failed to carry his burden to prove the merits of his claim.[169] Here, the court found that Sivero’s character had been “Simpsonized,” and thus contained “significant transformative content,” insulating it against a right of publicity claim[170] The court explained: Louie, the alleged look-a-like, “is a cartoon character with yellow skin, a large overbite, no chin, and no eyebrows. Louie has a distinctive high-pitched voice which, as the trial court pointed out, has ‘no points of resemblance to [Sivero].'”[171] The court concluded that this was not a “trivial variation,” but rather, the creators had created something “recognizably [their] own.”[172] Like in Lohan’s case, the California court gave weight to the difference between the depicted character and the plaintiff alleging misappropriation. 2.    Defamation a.    HBO & John Oliver Prevail over Coal CEO In June 2017, coal CEO Robert Murray brought suit against John Oliver, Partially Important Productions, HBO, and Time Warner claiming that on Oliver’s show “Last Week Tonight,” the comedian defamed the coal magnate by depicting a “villainous” portrait of him.[173] The segment at issue was critical of the coal industry, referring to Murray as a “geriatric Dr. Evil.”[174] Oliver’s segment stated that a mining accident that killed nine people was at least partially the result of improper mining practices rather than an earthquake, as Murray’s company had claimed.[175] Murray filed the suit for defamation, false light invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Following remand, and in a single-page order, West Virginia state judge Jeffrey Cramer dismissed the action, agreeing entirely with HBO’s argument that Murray failed to state a claim for defamation.[176] The critical portions of Oliver’s segment that alleged facts were based on judicial opinions and government reports. Oliver’s more “personal” jabs at Murray—including the Austin Powers-inspired name-calling—qualified as satire protected under the First Amendment.[177] b.    Did Cosby’s Lawyer’s Statements Defame Accuser? Even after his criminal trial ended in a conviction in April 2018, Bill Cosby’s reckoning with the #metoo movement continues in the courts. The actor is defending a defamation action arising from his alleged sexual misconduct with the former supermodel Janice Dickinson, one of several women who has accused Cosby of drugging and raping her in the 1980s. Dickinson alleges that a 2014 press statement by Cosby’s former attorney calling her story “fabricated” and “an outrageous lie,” constitutes defamation.[178] In November 2017, a California appeals court allowed Dickinson’s suit to move forward, rejecting Cosby’s contention that his attorney’s statement was non-actionable opinion.[179] The court held that based on the totality of the circumstances, “a reasonable fact finder could conclude that the demand letter states or implies a provably false assertion of fact—specifically, that Cosby did not rape Dickinson, and she is lying when she said that he did.”[180] However, several courts examined nearly the same factual claims in other actions to reach different results. The First[181] and Third Circuits[182] dismissed actions brought by two other Cosby accusers on the grounds that Cosby’s lawyer’s statements constituted non-actionable opinions protected by the First Amendment. On July 12, 2018, in considering Cosby’s and Singer’s anti-SLAPP motions to strike following remand, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Randolf Hammock dismissed the defamation claims against Singer, holding that actual malice could not be established regarding Singer’s statements without invading the attorney-client privilege.[183] That same day, Cosby filed his petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the high court to determine whether Singer’s statement qualifies as an opinion under the Supreme Court’s 1990 holding in Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., 497 U.S. 1 (1990).[184] 3.    Public Fora in the 21st Century a.    @RealDonaldTrump Ruled a Public Forum President Trump’s use of Twitter as his favored communication platform is well known, and his tweets invariably lead to strong and diverse responses from other Twitter users. In a May 2018 ruling in Knight First Amendment Institute v. Trump, U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald examined whether Trump’s and several of Trump’s close aides’ use of Twitter’s “blocking” feature—which prevents blocked users from viewing or replying to the blocker’s Tweets—violated the First Amendment rights of the seven plaintiffs, all of whom had been blocked by the President’s @realDonaldTrump’s account. The court ruled in plaintiffs’ favor, finding that the President’s account is a “designated” public forum operated by the government.[185] Thus, the President is prohibited from blocking other users because of their viewpoints—namely, in this case, for their criticisms of him. The decision does not hold, contrary to the criticisms leveled against it, that Twitter is public property or that a user violates the First Amendment every time he or she blocks a “troll” on the platform. Rather, commentators observed that “Twitter is how the president speaks to the people; replies on Twitter are how the people speak to each other, in a ‘place’ the government uses for expression and has opened to the public for expression as well,”[186] adapting First Amendment precedent to the political and technological realities of 2018. The 75-page ruling rejected the Justice Department’s argument that Trump was largely acting in a personal capacity and thus as a private individual, much like, as the DOJ argued, “giving a toast at a wedding or giving a speech at a fundraiser.”[187] In contrast, Judge Buchwald reasoned, through his Twitter “bio” and his use of the medium to comment on public policy, Trump portrays his account as presidential “and, more importantly, uses the account to take actions that can be taken only by the President as President,” referring to his use of the platform to propagate executive-order like decrees.[188] Furthermore, Buchwald said, the space below Trump’s tweets that show the public’s replies is a public forum, because it is “generally accessible to the public” and anyone with a Twitter account is able to view those responses, assuming that the user has not been blocked.[189] b.    Conservative Institution’s Lawsuit Against YouTube Fails In March 2018, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh dismissed a censorship claim against YouTube and its parent company, Google, ruling that the online video-sharing platform is not a public forum subject to the First Amendment.[190] Plaintiff Prager University, a conservative media company owned by Dennis Prager, claimed that YouTube’s restricted mode, which filters out inappropriate content to protect young or sensitive viewers, was restricting access to Prager University videos about topics such as gun control and Islam while permitting access to left-leaning videos by liberal commentators like Bill Maher on the same topics.[191] Amongst other claims, PragerU’s complaint alleged that Google and YouTube’s practice of selectively restricting PragerU’s videos—and thus the group’s speech—violates the U.S. and California constitutions. In response, Google claimed its own First Amendment protection, arguing that because YouTube is a private company, it is not subject to laws prohibiting governmental restrictions on free speech. In dismissing the case, Judge Koh ruled that YouTube is not a “state actor” required to provide free speech protection merely because the company operates its private property as a forum for expression of diverse perspectives. Rather, “[Google and YouTube] are private entities who created their own video-sharing social media website and make decisions about whether and how to regulate content that has been uploaded on that website.”[192] Additionally, Plaintiff failed to show “that defendants have engaged in one of the very few public functions that were traditionally exclusively reserved to the state.”[193] 4.    California’s IMDB-Targeted Age Discrimination Law Declared Unconstitutional In February 2017, Judge Chhabria of the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction enjoining California from enforcing AB 1687—a law enacted to address age discrimination in Hollywood that would have prevented in certain instances the popular industry website IMDB.com from posting actors’ ages—writing that “it’s difficult to imagine how AB 1687 could not violate the First Amendment.”[194] In February 2018, Judge Chhabria made the injunction permanent.[195] The court held that the law “singles out specific, non-commercial—age-related information—for differential treatment.”[196] Applying strict scrutiny, the court held that California did not prove that the measure was “actually necessary” to combat age discrimination.[197] Judge Chhabria noted that “the record provides no evidence that California explored less-speech-restrictive alternatives,” such as better enforcement of preexisting anti-discrimination laws.[198] He also explained that the law was both under- and over-inclusive, and therefore not narrowly tailored.[199] The law only bans one speaker from sharing age-related information and only requires IMDb to remove some age-related information.[200] Moreover, the law is not restricted to age-related information of those individuals protected by age discrimination laws.[201] F.    Trademark Litigation 1.    No TRO Against Movie Trailer for The Happytime Murders Sesame Workshop, the makers of Sesame Street, brought suit in the Southern District of New York against STX Entertainment over its upcoming film The Happytime Murders. The film, a raunchy comedy starring Melissa McCarthy, follows two detectives—McCarthy and her partner, a puppet named Phil Phillips—as they work to solve the murders of the former cast of a classic puppet television show. Sesame Workshop sued the film’s backers, seeking a restraining order to block the production companies from using the phrase “No Sesame, All Street” in trailers and promotions for the film, alleging that the tagline seeded “confusion in the mind of the public as to the association between the movie, Sesame Street, and its beloved Muppets.”[202] STX Entertainment responded that the phrase “No Sesame, All Street” actually distinguished its film from Sesame Street. The court sided with STX Entertainment, denying Sesame Workshop’s bid for a restraining order on May 31, 2018.[203] Sesame Workshop dismissed the suit shortly thereafter. 2.     Generic TDLs Receive Protection After All? In August 2017, a federal district court in Virginia reversed a decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) that “Booking.com” could not be registered as a trademark, ruling that the addition of “.com” to a generic term makes it potentially protectable under the Lanham Act.[204] The ruling specifically split from precedents in the Federal Circuit that have found the addition of a top-level domain to a generic word does not render it protectable, including the domain names Mattress.com and Hotels.com, finding that precedent unpersuasive.[205] Even though it was successful in that TTAB appeal, the court ordered Booking.com to pay the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office $76,000 in attorneys’ fees under the PTO’s new legal interpretation that the agency must be reimbursed such fees after certain types of patent and trademark appeals, regardless of the outcome. On April 11, 2018, Booking.com asked the Fourth Circuit to strike down that new policy, arguing that it violates the First Amendment right to “petition the government for redress of grievances.”[206] A separate case challenging the same PTO policy is currently pending en banc before the Federal Circuit. As of the date of this writing, neither the Fourth Circuit nor the Federal Circuit has ruled on this issue. 3.    Suit Over Seussian Trekkie Book Dismissed ComicMix LLC created a book entitled Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go! that combines creative elements from the Star Trek science fiction franchise with the underlying Dr. Seuss classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (“OTPYG“). Dr. Seuss Enterprises brought a trademark, copyright infringement, and unfair competition action against ComicMix for the unauthorized exploitation of Dr. Seuss’s works. Dr. Seuss Enterprises alleges that the new book misappropriates key protected elements of OTPYG, including its trademarks. On December 7, 2017, the district court denied ComicMix’s motion to dismiss the amended complaint on the basis that the book is protected by fair use and nominative fair use doctrines. But on May 21, 2018, the court granted ComicMix’s motion for judgment on the pleadings with respect to the trademark claims.[207] ComicMix had argued that its work merited First Amendment protection under Rogers v. Grimaldi, which tasks judges with determining whether the use of a mark has artistic relevance, and if so, whether the work is explicitly misleading.[208] Previously, the court had held that a potential exception to the First Amendment protection provided in Rogers for misleading titles that are confusingly similar to other titles perhaps applied to ComicMix’s work. But in light of the Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in the Empire case, which treated the Rogers test similarly to the likelihood-of-confusion test, the court held that this exception from Rogers did not apply, dismissing Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ trademark claims.[209] G.    Music 1.    “Blurred Lines” and a Narrow Ruling at 9th Circuit In March 2018, in a hotly awaited decision, the Ninth Circuit upheld on narrow grounds a 2015 jury’s finding that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’s song “Blurred Lines” infringed the copyright of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.”[210] In the appeals court’s 2-1 decision, the majority focused largely on questions of procedure and trial strategy in declining to review a summary judgment motion, noting a full jury trial had taken place and Thicke and Williams’ lawyers had not preserved the issue by filing a motion.[211] The majority explained that after a jury trial, a court must measure the verdict against the weight of the evidence and such verdict may only be overturned in “an absolute absence of evidence supporting the jury’s verdict.”[212] With this, the majority upheld the damages award of $5.3 million. In dissent, Judge Jacqueline Nguyen sharply criticized the majority and did not hesitate to engage with the substantive legal issues and industry concerns that the trial court result created, writing that, “[t]he majority allows the Gayes to accomplish what no one else has before: copyright a musical style.”[213] In doing so, she wrote, “[t]he majority establishes a dangerous precedent that strikes a devastating blow to future musicians and composers everywhere.”[214] Judge Nguyen concluded that the two songs differ in melody, harmony, and rhythm, and Gaye’s expert witness “. . . identified four similar elements, none of which is protectable: (a) each phrase begins with repeated notes; (b) the phrases have three identical pitches in a row in the first measure and two in the second measure; (c) each phrase begins with the same rhythm; and (d) each phrase ends on a melisma (one word sung over multiple pitches).”[215] She would have concluded that such evidence is not appropriate to support an infringement verdict.[216] Nguyen seemed to encourage courts to appoint their own experts when the parties’ experts seem to have “starkly different” assessments of the works’ similarity.[217] The majority, in rebutting Nguyen’s dissent, stated that “[t]he dissent’s position violates every controlling procedural rule involved in this case” and “improperly tries, after a full jury trial has concluded, to act as judge, jury and executioner.”[218] On July 11, the Ninth Circuit declined to rehear the case en banc and issued an amended opinion.[219] 2.    Wolfgang’s Vault Found Liable for Streaming Recordings of Live Performances In April 2018, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos found that Wolfgang’s Vault, a collection of thousands of live concert performances, and its owners had committed a large-scale copyright infringement by streaming its collection to the public, but stopped short of issuing an injunction, finding that the availability of the recordings is in the public interest, while suggesting a licensing deal could remedy the injury to plaintiffs.[220] In 2015, plaintiffs (music publishers and other rights holders) alleged that Wolfgang’s Vault lacked the requisite mechanical licenses to stream a collection of works.[221] Judge Ramos held that Defendants had failed to properly license 206 concert videos, pursuant to Section 115 of the U.S. Copyright Act.[222] Judge Ramos rejected the Defendants’ argument that certain contracts entered into with three major record labels were proof of the necessary consent needed.[223] To this same point, Judge Ramos underscored the fact that Defendants could not produce a single performance agreement.[224] A pending trial will explore whether the copyright infringement was willful, meaning that Plaintiffs could be entitled to statutory damages of up to $150,000 per work.[225] 3.    No Moral Rights for Foreign “Big Pimpin” Sample Holder On May 31, 2018, after years of legal action regarding Jay-Z’s 1999 hit, “Big Pimpin,” the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a win for Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and other defendants by refusing to allow the Egyptian plaintiff the ability to enforce moral rights over a sample used in the song.[226] Judge Bea wrote that “[s]ince our federal law does not accord protection of moral rights to American copyright holders as to non-visual art, neither does it recognize [Plaintiff’s] claim to moral rights,” and “[t]hat [Plaintiff] retains moral rights in Egypt does him no good here.”[227] The case involved the hook of “Big Pimpin,” which came from a song titled “Khosara Khosara,” composed by Baligh Hamday for a 1960 Egyptian film.[228] Shortly after Jay-Z’s song came out in 1999, its producer, Timbaland paid EMI for a license to use the song.[229] Plaintiff, an heir of the composer Hamday, sought to enforce moral rights by alleging his uncle’s song had been “mutilated” (a term of art that moral rights, common in foreign countries, may protect against). The District Court first found the suit barred due to delay, but the case was revived following the Supreme Court’s Petrella decision and went to trial in 2015—with the main issue being whether Hamday’s heirs retained an inalienable moral right under Egyptian law—although District Judge Christina Snyder cut the suit short, granting Jay-Z’s motion for a judgment as a matter of law.[230] Judge Snyder held that Plaintiff lacked standing to pursue the copyright infringement claim. The Ninth Circuit upheld that ruling and further held that the foreign plaintiff’s moral rights are not enforceable in the United States.       [1]        United States v. AT&T Inc., No. CV 17-2511 (RJL), 2018 WL 2930849 (D.D.C. June 12, 2018); Press Release, AT&T Inc., AT&T Completes Acquisition of Time Warner Inc. (June 14, 2018), http://about.att.com/story/att_completes_acquisition_of_time_warner_inc.html.       [2]        Press Release, AT&T Inc., AT&T Debuts “WatchTV” With 2 New Unlimited Wireless Plans (June 21, 2018), http://about.att.com/newsroom/watchtv_app_with_unlimited_wireless.html.       [3]        Brent Kendall & Drew FitzGerald, Justice Department Appeals Ruling Allowing AT&T-Time Warner Merger, The Wall Street Journal (July 12, 2018), https://www.wsj.com/articles/justice-department-to-appeal-court-ruling-allowing-at-t-time-warner-merger-1531427031.       [4]        Liz Moyer, Comcast drops pursuit of 21st Century Fox assets, ending bidding war with Disney, CNBC (July 19, 2018), https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/18/comcast-drops-pursuit-of-its-bid-for-21st-century-fox-assets.html.       [5]        Keach Hagey and Erich Schwartzel, 21st Century Fox Agrees to Higher Offer from Disney, The Wall Street Journal (June 20, 2018), https://www.wsj.com/articles/fox-disney-announce-new-deal-1529496937.       [6]        Id.       [7]        Press Release, The Walt Disney Company, U.S. Department of Justice Clears Disney Acquisition of 21st Century Fox (June 27, 2018), https://www.wsj.com/articles/PR-CO-20180627-911016.       [8]        Id.       [9]        Edmund Lee and Brooks Barnes, Disney and Fox Shareholders Approve Deal, Ending Corporate Duel, N.Y. Times (July 27, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/27/business/media/disney-fox-merger-vote.html.      [10]        Shalini Ramachandran, Comcast Drops Bid for Fox Assets, Will Focus on Pursuit of Sky, The Wall Street Journal (July 19, 2018), https://www.wsj.com/articles/comcast-drops-bid-for-fox-assets-will-pursue-sky-1532004447/.      [11]        Id.      [12]        Andria Calatayud, Fox’s Sky News Plan Meets Criteria: U.K. Official, Marketwatch (June 19, 2018), https://www.marketwatch.com/story/foxs-sky-news-plan-meets-criteria-uk-official-2018-06-19.      [13]        Adam Rhodes, Sky Brushes Off Fox As $41B Comcast Offer Rolls In, Law360 (Apr. 25, 2018), https://www.law360.com/media/articles/1037029/sky-brushes-off-fox-as-41b-comcast-offer-rolls-in.      [14]        Calatayud, supra note 12.      [15]        Jessica Toonkel, Viacom, CBS CEOs discuss potential merger – sources, Reuters (Jan. 25, 2018), https://ca.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idCAKBN1FE2XT-OCABS; Cynthia Littleton, CBS and Viacom Merger Discussions Set to Accelerate, but Valuation Remains a Big Hurdle, Variety (Mar. 23 2018), Variety (May 14, 2018), https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/cbs-viacom-merger-talks-deal-1202735168/.      [16]        Cynthia Littleton, CBS Sues Share Redstone and National Amusements in Bid to Block Viacom Merger, Variety (May 14, 2018), https://variety.com/2018/biz/news/cbs-sues-shari-redstone-national-amusements-in-bid-to-block-viacom-merger-1202809526/.      [17]        Meg James, Shari Redstone sues CBS, taking aim at Leslie Moonves, L.A. Times (May 29, 2018), http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-nai-redstone-sues-cbs-20180529-story.html.      [18]        Meg James, CBS shareholders sue Shari Redstone, National Amusements, L.A. Times (May 31, 2018), http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-redstone-shareholder-lawsuit-20180531-story.html.      [19]        Gene Maddaus, Ron Burkle Sues Lantern Capital Over Weinstein Co. Costs, Variety (July 16, 2018), https://variety.com/2018/biz/news/ron-burkle-lantern-suit-1202874814/.      [20]        Id.      [21]        Elise Sandberg, ‘Stranger Things’ Producer Inks Massive Overall Deal With Netflix, Hollywood Reporter (Dec. 6, 2017), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/netflix-inks-deal-shawn-levys-21-laps-1064839.      [22]        Debra Birnbaum and Cynthia Littleton, Ryan Murphy Inks Mammoth Overall deal with Netflix, Variety (Feb. 13, 2018), https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/ryan-murphy-netflix-overall-deal-fox-1202698305/.      [23]        Id.      [24]        Natalie Jarvey and Lesley Goldberg, ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Showrunner Bruce Miller Inks Overall Deal at Hulu, The Hollywood Rep. (Apr. 30, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/handmaids-tale-showrunner-bruce-miller-inks-deal-at-hulu-1106790.      [25]        Id.      [26]        John Koblin, Jordan Peele Signs TV Deal With Amazon, N.Y. Times (June 5, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/05/business/media/amazon-jordan-peele.html.      [27]        Press Release, WndrCo, WndrCo Announces Initial Capital Raise of $1 Billion for New Media Platform (Aug. 7, 2018), https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180807005288/en/WndrCo-Announces-Initial-Capital-Raise-1-Billion.      [28]        Kevin Tran, Netflix furthers US cable partnership push, Business Insider (Jan. 31, 2018), http://www.businessinsider.com/netflix-furthers-us-cable-partnership-push-2018-1.      [29]        Bruce Haring, Comcast, Netflix Expand Partnership In Xfinity Packages, Deadline (Apr.13, 2018), https://deadline.com/2018/04/comcast-netflix-expand-partnership-in-xfinity-packages-1202363637/.      [30]        Sarah Perez, YouTube TV becomes first-ever presenting partner for the NBA Finals, following similar deal with MLB, TechCrunch (Mar. 26, 2018), https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/26/youtube-tv-becomes-first-ever-presenting-partner-for-the-nba-finals-following-similar-deal-with-mlb/.      [31]        Todd Spangler, YouTube TV Offers One-Week Credit After World Cup Outage, Variety (July 12, 2018), https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/youtube-tv-outage-one-week-credit-world-cup-1202872304/.      [32]        Todd Spangler, CBS All Access Available to Amazon Prime Members in U.S. as Add-On Channel, Variety (Jan. 5, 2018), https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/cbs-all-access-amazon-prime-channel-1202654346/.      [33]        Sahil Patel, Amazon has become an important distributor for over-the-top networks, Digiday (June 4, 2018), https://digiday.com/media/amazon-has-become-an-important-middle-man-for-over-the-top-networks/.      [34]        Tom Zanki, ‘China’s Netflix’ Leads 6 IPO Launches Exceeding $3B Total, LAW360 (March 19, 2018), https://www.law360.com/articles/1023526.      [35]        Id.      [36]        Tom Zanki, Chinese Streaming Co Leads 4 IPOs Netting $828M, LAW360 (March 28, 2018), https://www.law360.com/articles/1027175/chinese-streaming-co-leads-4-ipos-netting-828m.      [37]        Id.      [38]        Patrick Brzeski, Blumhouse Teams with Tang Media Partners to Make Horror Movies in China, The Hollywood Reporter (June 18, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/blumhouse-teams-tang-media-partners-make-horror-movies-china-1120827.      [39]        Nancy Tartaglione, Blumhouse Partners With Tang Media On Chinese Horror/Thriller Pics, Deadline (June 18, 2018), https://deadline.com/2018/06/blumhouse-tang-media-chinese-horror-thriller-movies-deal-american-nightmare-1202412372/.      [40]        Cheang Ming, China’s Box Office Recently Beat The US, And Is Now On The Cusp Of A ‘New Growth Cycle,’ CNBC (May 24, 2018), https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/24/china-beats-us-box-office-in-q1-and-is-entering-new-growth-cycle-hsbc.html.      [41]        Id.      [42]        J. DeMorel, Alibaba Buys State in Wanda Film in 41.2 Billion Share Sale, Bloomberg (February 5, 2018), https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-05/alibaba-takes-stake-in-wanda-film-as-part-of-1-2-billion-sale.      [43]        Id.      [44]        Id.      [45]        Jason Raish, Can China’s Tech Giants Restore Confidence in Wanda?, The Hollywood Reporter (February 16, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/can-chinas-tech-giants-restore-confidence-wanda-1084151.      [46]        Patrick Brzeski, China’s Wanda Plans $1.78B Consolidation of Film Assets, The Hollywood Reporter (June 25, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/chinas-wanda-plans-178b-consolidation-film-assets-1123282.      [47]        Vivienne Chow, Wanda Unveils $1.77 Billion Plan to Consolidate Film Units, Variety (June 26, 2018), https://variety.com/2018/film/news/dalian-wanda-consolidate-film-units-china-1202857977/.      [48]        Brzeski, supra note 46.      [49]        Id.      [50]        Press Release, Epic Games, Fortnite Pro Am 2018, https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/en-US/pro-am2018.      [51]        Justin Kirkland, 10 Celebrities Who Play Fortnite, Ranked, Esquire (May 11, 2018), https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/g20139550/celebrities-playing-fortnite/; Paul Tassi, Twitch Comments on the Record-Breaking Drake-Ninja ‘Fortnite’ Stream, Forbes (Mar. 15, 2018), https://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2018/03/15/twitch-comments-on-the-record-breaking-drake-ninja-fortnite-stream/#4a4bbb5f46c6.      [52]        Max Miceli, Epic Games Unveils Esports Plans With Fortnite World Cup Coming in 2019, The Esports Observer (June 25, 2018), https://esportsobserver.com/epic-games-fortnite-world-cup/.      [53]        Id.      [54]        Blake Hester, Tencent Invests $15 Million to Bring ‘Fortnite’ to China, Variety (Apr. 24, 2018), https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/fortnite-tencent-china-1202785279/.      [55]        Patrick Hipes, ICM Partners Inks Partnership With Esports Talent Agency Evolved, Deadline Hollywood (June 14, 2018), https://deadline.com/2018/06/icm-partners-esports-evolved-joint-venture-1202410240/.      [56]        Id.      [57]        Jordan Crook, PlayVS, Bringing Esports Infrastructure to High Schools, Picks Up $15 Million, Techcrunch (June 4, 2018), https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/04/playvs-bringing-esports-infrastructure-to-high-schools-picks-up-15-million/.      [58]        Id.      [59]        Id.      [60]        Keith Collins, Net Neutrality Has Officially Been Repealed. Here’s How That Could Affect You., N.Y. TIMES (June 11, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/technology/net-neutrality-repeal.html.      [61]        Cecilia Kang, Senate Democrats Win Vote on Net Neutrality, a Centerpiece of 2018 Strategy, N.Y. TIMES (May 16, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/technology/net-neutrality-senate.html.      [62]        Cecilia Kang, Flurry of Lawsuits Filed to Fight Repeal of Net Neutrality, N.Y. Times (Jan. 16, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/16/technology/net-neutrality-lawsuit-attorneys-general.html.      [63]        Kelcee Griffis, 9th Cir. Hands Net Neutrality Litigation to DC Circ., Law360 (Mar. 28, 2018), https://www.law360.com/media/articles/1027383.      [64]        Klint Finley, New California Bill Restores Strong Net Neutrality Protection, Wired (July 5, 2018), https://www.wired.com/story/new-california-bill-restores-strong-net-neutrality-protections/; Klint Finley, Washington State Enacts Net Neutrality Law, In Clash With FCC, Wired (Mar. 5, 2018), https://www.wired.com/story/washington-state-enacts-net-neutrality-law-in-clash-with-fcc/.      [65]        Adam Satariano, What the G.D.P.R., Europe’s Tough New Data Law, Means For You, N.Y. Times (May 6, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/06/technology/gdpr-european-privacy-law.html.      [66]        Kieren McCarthy, US government weighs in on GDPR-Whois debacle, orders ICANN to go probe GoDaddy, The Register (Apr. 17, 2018),  https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/04/17/us_government_whois_debacle/.      [67]        Mike Fleming Jr., It Will Soon Be Illegal For Studios To Verify Salary Quotes: Hollywood Dealmakers Brace For California Labor Code 432.3, Deadline (Dec. 13, 2017), https://deadline.com/2017/12/hollywood-dealmaking-california-labor-code-432-3-salary-quotes-1202225985/.      [68]        Philip Bonoli, Studios And Agencies Prepare For The Labor Code 432.3 Earthquake, Forbes (Dec. 13, 2017), https://www.forbes.com/sites/legalentertainment/2017/12/13/studios-and-agencies-prepare-for-the-labor-code-432-3-earthquake/#221350426509.      [69]        Eriq Gardner, Ozzy Osbourne Brings Antitrust Lawsuit Against AEG for Tying London and L.A. Venues, The Hollywood Rep. (Mar. 21, 2018), http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/ozzy-osbourne-brings-antitrust-lawsuit-aeg-tying-london-la-venues-1096448.      [70]        Id.      [71]        Id.      [72]        Id.      [73]        Id.      [74]        Eriq Gardner, AEG Says Ozzy Osbourne Lawsuit Isn’t What It Pretends to Be, The Hollywood Rep. (Jun. 4, 2018), http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/aeg-says-ozzy-osbourne-lawsuit-isnt-what-it-pretends-be-1116729.      [75]        Id.      [76]        Id.      [77]        Bonnie Eslinger, Coachella Owner Faces Antitrust Suit Over Artist Controls, Law360 (Apr. 9, 2018), http://www.law360.com/articles/1031313/coachella-owner-faces-antitrust-suit-over-artist-controls.      [78]        Eriq Gardner, AEG Faces Antitrust Lawsuit over Territorial Restrictions for Coachella Artists, The Hollywood Rep. (Apr. 10, 2018), http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/aeg-faces-antitrust-lawsuit-territorial-restrictions-coachella-artists-1101313.      [79]        Id.      [80]        Id.      [81]        Id.      [82]        Eriq Gardner, Disney Headed to Trial Over ‘Turner & Hooch’ Profits, The Hollywood Rep. (May 7, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/disney-headed-trial-turner-hooch-profits-1109326.      [83]        Daniel Siegal, Disney Must Face ‘Turner & Hooch’ Royalty Fraud Claim, Law360 (May 4, 2018), https://www.law360.com/articles/1040685/disney-must-face-turner-hooch-royalty-fraud-claim.      [84]        Id.      [85]        Id.; Gardner, supra note 82.      [86]        Id.      [87]        Id.     [88]       Eriq Gardner, Judge Judy’s $47 Million Salary Isn’t Too Much, Rules Real Judge, The Hollywood Rep. (April 5, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/judge-judys-47-million-salary-isnt-rules-real-judge-1100081.      [89]        Id.      [90]        Id.      [91]        Id.      [92]        Id.      [93]        Eriq Gardner, Judge Allows ‘Columbo’ Fraud Lawsuit Against Universal, The Hollywood Rep. (Feb. 9, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/judge-allows-columbo-fraud-lawsuit-universal-1083344.      [94]        Id.      [95]        Id.      [96]        Id.      [97]        Goldman v. Breitbart News Network, LLC, No. 17-CV-3144, 2018 WL 911340, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 15, 2018).      [98]        Id. at *2.      [99]        Id. at *3 (quoting Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 430 (1984)).    [100]        Id. at *4.    [101]        Id. at *3 (quoting H.R. Rep. 94–1476, 47, 51 (1976)).    [102]        Id. at *1.    [103]        Id. at *5.    [104]        Id.    [105]        Id. at *8.    [106]        Id. at *9.    [107]        Id. at *10.    [108]        Bill Donahue, Embedded Tweet Copyright Case Sent To 2nd Circ., Law360 (Mar. 20, 2018), https://www.law360.com/articles/1024012.    [109]        Heavy, Inc. v. Goldman, Case No. 18-910, Dkt. 35 (2d Cir. July 17, 2018).    [110]        Fox News Network, LLC v. TVEyes, Inc., 883 F.3d 169, 174 (2d Cir. 2018). See also Bill Donahue, Siding With Fox 2nd Circ. Says TVEyes Is Not Fair Use, Law360 (Feb. 27, 2108), https://www.law360.com/media/articles/1016495.    [111]        TVEyes, 883 F.3d at 173–74.    [112]        Id. at 174    [113]        Id. at 174, 176–79.    [114]        Id. at 174, 180.    [115]        Id. at 180, 181.    [116]        Bill Donahue, 2nd Circ. Won’t Rehear TVEyes Fair Use Case, Law360 (May 15, 2018), https://www.law360.com/articles/1043784/2nd-circ-won-t-rehear-tveyes-fair-use-case.    [117]        Eriq Gardner, ‘Cosby Show’ Producer Sues BBC for Using Clips in Bill Cosby Doc, The Hollywood Rep. (Nov. 6, 2017), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/cosby-show-producer-sues-bbc-using-clips-bill-cosby-doc-1055167.    [118]        Eriq Gardner, BBC Points to Geoblocking in Bid To Defeat Lawsuit Over Use of ‘Cosby Show’ Clips, The Hollywood Rep. (Jan. 12, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/bbc-points-geoblocking-bid-defeat-lawsuit-use-cosby-show-clips-1074282; The Carsey-Werner Co., LLC v. British Broad. Corp., No. CV 17-8041 PA (ASX), 2018 WL 1083550, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 23, 2018).    [119]        Id.; see also Eriq Gardner, BBC Points to Geoblocking in Bid To Defeat Lawsuit Over Use of ‘Cosby Show’ Clips, The Hollywood Rep. (Jan. 12, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/bbc-points-geoblocking-bid-defeat-lawsuit-use-cosby-show-clips-1074282.    [120]        Carsey-Werner Co., 2018 WL 1083550, at *1.    [121]        Id. at *6.    [122]        Id. at *7.    [123]        See Complaint, Rearden LLC, et al. v. The Walt Disney Co., et al., No. 17-cv-04006, 2017 WL 3015899 (N.D. Cal. July 17, 2017).    [124]        See id.    [125]        See Reply in Support of Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, Rearden LLC, et al. v. The Walt Disney Co., et al., No. 17-cv-04006, 2017 WL 7716172 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 9, 2017).    [126]        Rearden LLC v. Walt Disney Co., 293 F. Supp. 3d 963, 970 (N.D. Cal. 2018).    [127]        See First Amended Complaint, Rearden LLC, et al. v. The Walt Disney Co., et al., No. 17-cv-04006, 2018 WL 2948187 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 6, 2018).    [128]        See Notice of Motions and Motions for Partial Dismissal of First Amended Complaints, Rearden LLC, et al. v. The Walt Disney Co., et al., No. 17-cv-04006, 2018 WL 29498109 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 5, 2018).    [129]        See Bill Donahue, Hollywood Giants Must Face Copyright Claims Over Digital FX, Law360 (June 19, 2018), https://www.law360.com/articles/1054886/hollywood-giants-must-face-copyright-claims-over-digital-fx.    [130]        Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, No. 2:17-cv-08655, Dkt. 1 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 30, 2017).    [131]        Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, No. 2:17-cv-08655, Dkt. 74 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 20, 2018).    [132]        Id. at 17.    [133]        Id. at 18.    [134]        Dave Simpson, Term Changes Don’t Fix Disney’s Copyright Misuse: Redbox¸ Law360 (May 10, 2018), https://www.law360.com/articles/1042340/term-changes-don-t-fix-disney-s-copyright-misuse-redbox.    [135]        Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, No. 2:17-cv-08655, Dkt. 86 at 2 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 9, 2018).    [136]        Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, No. 2:17-cv-08655, Dkt. 94 at 12 (C.D. Cal. May 7, 2018).    [137]        Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, No. 2:17-cv-08655, Dkt. 113 (C.D. Cal. Jul. 11, 2018).    [138]        Kat Greene, Playboy May Amend Centerfold Copyright Suit, Judge Rules, Law360 (February 15, 2018), https://www.law360.com/articles/1012972.    [139]        Id.    [140]        Playboy Entm’t Grp. Inc. v. Happy Mutants, LLC, No. CV-178140, 2018 WL 2315936, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 14, 2018).    [141]        Id. at *1, n.1.    [142]        See Response to Order to Show Cause, Playboy Entertainment Group, Inc. v. Happy Mutants, LLC, Case No. 2:17-cv-08140-FMO-PLA (March 12, 2018).    [143]        Capitol Records, LLC v. Vimeo, LLC, 826 F.3d 78 (2d Cir. 2016).    [144]        Capitol Records, LLC v. Vimeo, LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1374 (2017).    [145]        Capitol Records, LLC v. Vimeo, LLC, No. 09-CV-10101, 2018 WL 1634123, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2018).    [146]        Id. at *4.    [147]        Id. at *6.    [148]        Dave Simpson, Split 9th Circ. Tosses Porn Co. Copyright Suit, Law360 (March 14, 2018), https://www.law360.com/media/articles/1022316.    [149]        Id.    [150]        Id.    [151]        Id.    [152]        Id.    [153]        Id.    [154]        de Havilland v. FX Networks, LLC, 21 Cal. App. 5th 845 (2018), review filed (May 4, 2018).    [155]        Id. at 851.    [156]        Id.    [157]        de Havilland, 21 Cal. App. 5th at 845.    [158]        Id. at 856, 870–71.    [159]        Id. at 849.    [160]        Id. at 864.    [161]        Id. at 864–67.    [162]        Lohan v. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., 97 N.E.3d 389, 392–93 (2018).    [163]        Id. at 122.    [164]        Id. at 119 (internal quotations omitted).    [165]        Bill Donahue, NY Top Court Says ‘Game Over’ For Lohan’s ‘GTA V’ Suit, Law360 (Mar. 29, 2018), https://www.law360.com/media/articles/1027785/ny-top-court-says-game-over-for-lohan-s-gta-v-suit.    [166]        Sivero v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., No. B266469, 2018 WL 833696 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 13, 2018), reh’g denied (Mar. 2, 2018), review denied (May 23, 2018); see also Eriq Gardner, Appeals Court Won’t Let ‘Goodfellas’ Actor Have Another Shot at ‘Simpsons’ Mob Character, The Hollywood Rep. (Feb. 13, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/appeals-court-wont-let-goodfellas-actor-have-shot-at-simpsons-mob-character-1084379.    [167]        Sivero, 2018 WL 833696, at *1.    [168]        Id. at 2.    [169]        Id.    [170]        Id. at 10.    [171]        Id.    [172]        Id.    [173]        Ashley Cullins, John Oliver, HBO Beat Coal Executive’s Defamation Lawsuit, The Hollywood Rep. (Feb. 24, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/john-oliver-hbo-beat-coal-executives-defamation-lawsuit-1088133.    [174]        See id.    [175]        See id.    [176]        See Marshall Cty. Coal Co. v. Oliver, No. 17-C-124, 2018 WL 1082525, at *1 (W. Va. Cir. Ct. 2018).    [177]        See Amy B. Wang, A coal exec sued John Oliver for calling him a ‘geriatric Dr. Evil.’ A judge tossed the case, The Washington Post (Feb. 26, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2018/02/26/a-coal-exec-sued-john-oliver-for-calling-him-a-geriatric-dr-evil-a-judge-tossed-the-case/.    [178]        See Eriq Gardner, Bill Cosby Asking Supreme Court to Review Janice Dickinson Defamation Lawsuit, The Hollywood Rep. (June 4, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/bill-cosby-asking-supreme-court-review-janice-dickinson-defamation-lawsuit-1116912.    [179]        See Dickinson v. Cosby, 17 Cal. App. 5th 655, 660-61 (2017).    [180]        See id. at 687.    [181]        See McKee v. Cosby, 874 F.3d 54, 62 (1st Cir. 2017).    [182]        See Hill v. Cosby, 665 F. App’x 169, 177 (3d Cir. 2016).    [183]        Eriq Gardner, Bill Cosby’s Ex-Lawyer Marty Singer Escapes Janice Dickinson Lawsuit, The Hollywood Rep. (July 16, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/bill-cosbys-lawyer-marty-singer-escapes-janice-dickinson-lawsuit-1127509.    [184]        Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Cosby v. Dickinson, No. 18-70.    [185]        Knight First Amendment Inst. at Columbia Univ. v. Trump, 302 F. Supp. 3d 541, 574-75 (S.D.N.Y. 2018).    [186]        Garrett Epps, What the @RealDonaldTrump Ruling Actually Means, The Atlantic (May 24, 2018), https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/05/what-the-realdonaldtrump-ruling-actually-means/561146/.    [187]        Bryan Fung and Hamza Shaban, Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules, The Washington Post (May 23, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/05/23/trump-cannot-block-twitter-users-for-their-political-views-court-rules/.    [188]        Knight First Amendment Inst., 302 F. Supp. 3d at 567.    [189]        Id. at 574.    [190]        See Prager Univ. v. Google LLC, No. 17-CV-06064-LHK, 2018 WL 1471939, at *8 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 26, 2018).    [191]        Eriq Gardner, Why Won’t Google Comment on a Lawsuit Accusing YouTube of Censoring Conservatives?, The Hollywood Rep. (Oct. 27, 2017), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/why-wont-google-discuss-a-lawsuit-accusing-youtube-censoring-conservatives-1052497.    [192]        Prager Univ., 2018 WL 1471939, at *8.    [193]        Id. [194] IMDb.com, Inc. v. Becerra, No. 16-CV-06535-VC, 2017 WL 772346, at *1–2 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 22, 2017). [195] IMDb.com, Inc. v. Becerra, No. 16-CV-06535-VC, 2018 WL 979031, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 20, 2018). See also Eriq Gardner, California’s IMDb Age Censorship Law Declared Unconstitutional, The Hollywood Rep. (Feb. 20, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/californias-imdb-age-censorship-law-declared-unconstitutional-1086540.    [196]        IMDb.com, 2018 WL 979031, at *2.    [197]        Id.    [198]        Id.    [199]        Id. at *3.    [200]        Id.    [201]        Id.    [202]        See RJ Vogt, Sesame Street Can’t Block Raunchy Movie Tagline In TM Row, Law360 (May 31, 2018), https://www.law360.com/articles/1048982/sesame-street-can-t-block-raunchy-movie-tagline-in-tm-row.    [203]        See id.    [204]        See Bill Donahue, Overturning TTAB, Judge Rules ‘Booking.com’ Not Generic, Law360 (Aug. 10, 2017), https://www.law360.com/articles/952925/overturning-ttab-judge-rules-booking-com-not-generic.    [205]        Id.    [206]        See Bill Donahue, Booking.com Asks Full 4th Cir. To Nix USPTO Atty Fee Rule, Law360 (Apr. 12, 2018), https://www.law360.com/articles/1032794/booking-com-asks-full-4th-circ-to-nix-uspto-atty-fee-rule.    [207]        See Eriq Gardner, ‘Star Trek’/Dr. Suess Mashup Creator Beats Trademark Claims, The Hollywood Rep. (May 22, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/star-trek-dr-seuss-mashup-creator-beats-trademark-claims-1113911.    [208]        See id.; Rogers v. Grimaldi, 875 F.2d 994 (2d Cir. 1989).    [209]        See Gardner, supra note 207.    [210]        Ben Sisario, “Blurred Lines” Verdict Upheld by Appeals Court, The New York Times (Mar. 21, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/21/business/media/blurred-lines-marvin-gaye-copyright.html.    [211]        Bill Donahue, “Blurred Lines” Ruling Leaves Big Questions Unanswered, Law360 (Mar. 21, 2018), https://www.law360.com/articles/1024899/.    [212]        Williams et al. v. Gaye et al., No. 15-56880, 2018 WL 3382875, at *21 (9th Cir. Mar. 21, 2018) (Amend. Op.).    [213]        Williams, 2018 WL 3382875, at *23.    [214]        Id.    [215]        Id. at *27.    [216]        Id. at *31-32.    [217]        Id. at *33, n.14.    [218]        Id. at *19.    [219]        Eriq Gardner, Appeals Court Won’t Rehear “Blurred Lines” Case, The Hollywood Rep., July 11, 2018, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/appeals-court-wont-rehear-blurred-lines-case-1126253.    [220]        Eriq Gardner, Music Publishers Win Major Copyright Fight Over Streaming of Legendary Rock Concerts, The Hollywood Rep. (Apr. 10, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/music-publishers-win-major-copyright-fight-streaming-legendary-rock-concerts-1101359.    [221]        Id.    [222]        Abkco Music, Inc., et al. v. William Sagan, et al., 2018 WL 1746564, at *12 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 9, 2018).    [223]        Id. at *12-15; see also Gardner, supra note 220.    [224]        Gardner, supra note 220.    [225]        Id.    [226]        Eriq Gardner, Jay-Z Triumphs in “Big Pimpin” Appeal as Egyptians Can’t Enforce Moral Rights, The Hollywood Rep. (May 31, 2018), https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/jay-z-triumphs-big-pimpin-appeal-as-egyptians-cant-enforce-moral-rights-1116131.    [227]        Fahmy v. Jay-Z, 891 F.3d 823, 823, 831 (9th Cir. 2018).    [228]        Id. at 826.    [229]        Id.    [230]        Id. at 829. The following Gibson Dunn lawyers assisted in the preparation of this client update: Scott Edelman, Howard Hogan, Ben Ross, Nathaniel Bach, Corey Singer, Jonathan Soleimani, Sara Ciccolari-Micaldi, Michael Policastro, Aaron Frumkin, Andrew Blythe, Rachil Davids, Lauryn Togioka, Harrison Korn, Brittany Schmeltz, Sarah Graham, and Sean O’Neill. Gibson Dunn lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding these developments.  Please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work, the authors, or the following leaders and members of the firm’s Media, Entertainment & Technology Practice Group: Scott A. Edelman – Co-Chair, Los Angeles (+1 310-557-8061, sedelman@gibsondunn.com) Kevin Masuda – Co-Chair, Los Angeles (+1 213-229-7872, kmasuda@gibsondunn.com) Orin Snyder– Co-Chair, New York (+1 212-351-2400, osnyder@gibsondunn.com) Ruth E. Fisher – Los Angeles (+1 310-557-8057, rfisher@gibsondunn.com) Howard S. Hogan – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3640, hhogan@gibsondunn.com) Ari Lanin – Los Angeles (+1 310-552-8581, alanin@gibsondunn.com) Benyamin S. Ross – Los Angeles (+1 213-229-7048, bross@gibsondunn.com) Helgi C. Walker – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3599, hwalker@gibsondunn.com) Nathaniel L. Bach – Los Angeles (+1 213-229-7241,nbach@gibsondunn.com) © 2018 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

August 1, 2018 |
Who’s Who Legal Recognizes Nine Gibson Dunn Partners

Nine Gibson Dunn partners were recognized by Who’s Who Legal in their respective fields. In Who’s Who Legal Corporate Tax 2018, three partners were recognized: Sandy Bhogal (London), Hatef Behnia (Los Angeles) and Eric Sloan (New York). In the 2018 Who’s Who Legal Project Finance guide, two partners were recognized: Michael Darden (Houston) and Tomer Pinkusiewicz (New York). In the Who’s Who Legal Labour, Employment & Benefits 2018 guide, two partners were recognized: William Kilberg (Washington, D.C.) and Eugene Scalia (Washington, D.C.). Two partners were recognized by Who’s Who Legal Patents 2018: Josh Krevitt (New York) and William Rooklidge (Orange County). These guides were published in July and August of 2018.

July 31, 2018 |
Federal Circuit Update – Intellectual Property and Appellate Practice Groups

Click for PDF This July 2018 edition of Gibson Dunn’s Federal Circuit Update discusses the recent Federal Circuit Bar Association Bench and Bar Conference, provides a summary of the pending Helsinn Healthcare case before the Supreme Court regarding the on-sale bar, and briefly summarizes the joint appendix procedure at the Federal Circuit.  This Update also provides a summary of the recent en banc case involving attorneys’ fees for litigation involving the PTO.  Also included are summaries of recent decisions regarding means-plus-function terms, the entire market value rule, the interplay between software patents and section 101, and tribal sovereign immunity before the Patent Trial & Appeal Board. Federal Circuit News The annual Federal Circuit Bench and Bar Conference was held this year in Coronado, CA, from June 20 to June 23, 2018.  Nicole Saharsky, co-chair of Gibson Dunn’s Appellate and Constitutional Law practice, presented on the Supreme Court Term in Review panel, and Kate Dominguez, a partner in the firm’s New York office, participated in the conference’s first-ever moot oral argument. Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court decided three cases from the Federal Circuit in the recently concluded OT2017 Term (Oil States v. Greene’s Energy; SAS v. Iancu; WesternGeco v. ION Geophysical).  The Court also granted certiorari recently in a new case to be heard next Term: Case Status Issue Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharm. USA Inc., No. 17-1229 Petition granted on June 25, 2018 Whether the sale of a patented invention by the inventor to a third party that is obligated to keep the invention confidential constitutes prior art for determining patentability Recent En Banc Federal Circuit Cases NantKwest, Inc. v. Matal, No. 16-1794 (Fed. Cir.) (July 27, 2018) (en banc):  The PTO cannot recover attorneys’ fees in litigation pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 145. After the PTAB affirmed the rejection of NantKwest’s patent application, NantKwest appealed to the district court under Section 145.  The PTO prevailed and moved to recover both its attorneys’ fees and expert fees pursuant to section 145, which states that “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings shall be paid by the applicant.”  Applying this statutory provision, the district court granted the expert fees, but rejected the request for attorneys’ fees.  On appeal, a Federal Circuit panel (Prost, CJ) reversed the award of attorneys’ fees, holding that the “[a]ll expenses” provision of section 145 authorizes attorneys’ fees.  Judge Stoll dissented.  The Federal Circuit sua sponte ordered that the panel decision be vacated and that the case be reheard en banc. The en banc majority (Stoll, J.) noted that the American Rule—where each litigant pays its own attorneys’ fees—is a “bedrock principle” of U.S. jurisprudence and prohibits courts from shifting attorneys’ fees from one party to the other absent a “specific and explicit directive from Congress.”  The en banc majority held that the phrase “all the expenses of the proceedings” falls short of this “stringent standard,” and thus affirmed the district court’s denial of the request for attorneys’ fees.  Chief Judge Prost dissented, joined by Judges Dyk, Reyna, and Hughes. Federal Circuit Practice Update This month, we are highlighting the difference between the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Federal Circuit Rules of Practice as relating to the content of the appendix to the briefs.  As the Federal Circuit explains in its practice notes, an appendix prepared without careful attention to Federal Circuit Rule 30 may be rejected and could result in dismissal. Contents:  In addition to the documents required by FRAP 30(a)(1)(A)-(C), Federal Circuit Rule 30(a)(2) requires that each appendix include: (1) the entire docket sheet from the proceedings below; (2) the judge’s charge to the jury, the jury’s verdict, and the jury’s responses to questions; (3) the patent-in-suit in its entirety; and (4) any nonprecedential opinion or order cited in the briefs.  Rule 30(a)(2) further explains that parties should not include other parts of the record unless they are “actually referenced in the briefs,” and the briefs should not contain “indiscriminate referencing” to blocks of pages.  To the extent the parties wish to include briefs and memoranda from the trial court in the appendix, the parties must obtain leave of the court to file the briefs or memoranda in their entirety; otherwise, the parties should include only excerpts of the documents cited in the briefs. Determination of Contents:  The Federal Circuit Rules do not follow FRAP 30(b)’s instructions for determining the contents of the appendix, but the Rules lay out a similar process.  In the absence of an agreement on the contents of the appendix, the appellant must serve on the appellee a designation of materials for the appendix within 14 days after docketing of the appeal from a court or the service of the certified list or index in an appeal from an agency.  The appellee then has 14 days to provide the appellant with a counter-designation that identifies additional parts to include.  The appellant then has 14 days to serve on all parties a table that designates the page numbers for the appendix.  The parties can agree to an extension of these time limits without leave of the court as long as it does not require an extension of the time required for filing the appellant’s brief. Format of the Appendix:  FRAP 30(d) governs the arrangement of the appendix except that the appellant must place the judgment or order from which it appeals, plus any opinion, memorandum, or findings and conclusions supporting it, as the first documents. Timing:  The Federal Circuit Rules disregard many of the FRAP 30(c) provisions relating to deferred appendices.  The Rules explain that the appellant must serve and file an appendix within seven days of the filing of the last reply brief.  If the appellant does not file a reply brief, the appellant must file the appendix within the time period for filing the reply brief. Key Case Summaries (June – July 2018) ZeroClick, LLC v. Apple Inc., No. 17-1267 (Fed. Cir. June 1, 2018):  Claim limitations without the word “means” require intrinsic or extrinsic evidence to support a finding that they are governed by § 112, ¶ 6. ZeroClick asserted patent infringement claims for patents related to modifications to a graphical user interface that allow the interface to be controlled using a pre-defined pointer or touch movements instead of a mouse.  The district court found that two claim limitations recite means-plus-function limitations:  (1) “program that can operate the movement of the pointer” and (2) “user interface code being configured to detect one or more locations touched by a movement of the user’s finger on the screen without requiring the exertion of pressure and determine therefrom a selected operation.”  After determining that these limitations were subject to § 112, ¶ 6, the district court found that the claims were invalid because the specifications do not disclose sufficient structure. The Federal Circuit (Hughes, J.) vacated the district court’s findings, explaining that, because the two limitations did not include the word “means,” the presumption is that § 112, ¶ 6 does not apply and the presumption had not been rebutted.  The court explained that the determination as to whether § 112, ¶ 6 applies must be made under the traditional claim construction principles, on an element-by-element basis, and in light of the intrinsic and extrinsic evidence.  The Federal Circuit reasoned that the district court improperly treated “program” and “user interface code” as nonce words that could substitute for “means” and presumptively bring the limitations within the ambit of § 112, ¶ 6.  The court therefore vacated the court’s invalidity finding and remanded for further proceedings. Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor Int’l, Inc., Nos. 2016-2691, -1875 (Fed. Cir. July 3, 2018):  The entire market value rule for damages calculations is a narrow exception that a patentee can invoke only if it shows that the patented feature alone motivated consumers to buy the accused products. Power Integrations sued Fairchild for infringement of two patents.  In two separate trials, the first jury found that Fairchild infringed various claims of the asserted patents, and a second jury awarded damages of $140 million based on expert testimony from Power Integrations that relied solely on applying the entire market value rule.  The district court denied Fairchild’s post-trial motions, and Fairchild appealed. The Federal Circuit (Dyk, J.) affirmed the jury’s infringement finding but vacated and remanded the damages award.  The court reiterated that a patentee damages calculations must include apportionment so that royalties cover only the value that the infringing features contribute to the value of the accused product.  The court explained that the entire market value rule is “a demanding alternative to our general rule of apportionment,” and that it is appropriate “only when the patented feature is the sole driver of customer demand or substantially creates the value of the component parts.”  When the accused product “contains multiple valuable features, it is not enough to merely show that the patented feature is viewed as essential, that a product would not be commercially viable without the patented feature, or that consumers would not purchase the product without the patented feature.”  Instead, “the patentee must prove that those other features did not influence purchasing decisions.”  Because the patentee had failed to meet its burden showing that the patented feature “alone motivated consumers to buy the accused products,” the patentee could not invoke the entire market value rule.  The court accordingly vacated the damages award and remanded for a new damages trial. Interval Licensing LLC v. AOL, Inc., Nos. 2016-2502, -2505, -2506, -2507 (Fed. Cir. July 20, 2018):  Application of section 101 to software patents. After remand from an initial appeal to the Federal Circuit addressing claim construction issues, defendants moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the claims were ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  The district court concluded that the claims were directed to the abstract idea and contained no inventive concept because the elements of the claims were “purely conventional” and did nothing more than apply the abstract idea in the environment of networked computers without any explanation as to how the claim elements solved technical issues. The Federal Circuit (Chen, J.) affirmed.  The majority explained that computer software inventions, due to their “intangible nature,” “can be particularly difficult to assess under the abstract idea exception.”  Although the court has found some software-based claims eligible for patentability, other claims “failed to pass section 101 muster” because they did not recite any “inventive technology for improving computers as tools” or “because the elements of the asserted invention were so result-based that they amounted to patenting the patent-ineligible concept itself.”  The majority concluded that the claims in this case were abstract because they were directed to “broad, result-oriented” terms that simply demanded “the production of a desired result” without “a solution for producing that result”; i.e., the claims never addressed how to reach the claimed result. Judge Plager concurred with the court’s opinion based on the “current state of the law” but wrote separately to “highlight the number of unsettled matters as well as the fundamental problems that inhere in this formulation of ‘abstract ideas.'”  In addressing the “almost universal criticism” of the application of “abstract idea” jurisprudence, he joined with Judge Lourie’s concurrence from Berkheimer v. HP Inc. in encouraging Congress to clarify § 101 law, and he also encouraged district courts to consider withholding judgment on § 101 motions until after addressing §§ 102, 103, and 112 defenses. Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharm. Inc., Nos. 2018-1638, -1639, -1640, -1641, -1642, -1643 (Fed. Cir. July 20, 2018):  Tribal immunity does not apply in IPR proceedings. Mylan petitioned the Board to institute IPR proceedings on various patents owned by Allergan, Inc.  While the IPR was pending, Allergan transferred title of the patents to Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, which in turn asserted sovereign immunity.  The Board denied the Tribe’s motion to terminate on the basis of sovereign immunity and Allergan’s related motion to withdraw from the proceedings.  The Tribe and Allergan appealed. The Federal Circuit (Moore, J.) held that tribal immunity does not apply in IPR proceedings.  The court explained that Indian tribes possess “inherent sovereign immunity” but that this immunity does not extend to actions brought by the federal government, including where the federal government, acting through an agency, engaged in an investigative action or pursued adjudicatory agency action.  The court concluded that IPR proceedings are hybrid proceedings, with elements of both judicial proceedings and specialized agency proceedings, but that they are more akin to specialized agency proceedings because the Director has full discretion whether to institute review of a petition, the Board can choose to continue review even if the petitioner chooses not to participate, and PTO procedures do not mirror the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  Because the court concluded that IPR proceedings are more akin to specialized agency proceedings, tribal sovereign immunity does not apply. Upcoming Oral Argument Calendar For a list of upcoming arguments at the Federal Circuit, please click here. Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the Federal Circuit.  Please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work or the authors of this alert: Blaine H. Evanson – Orange County (+1 949-451-3805, bevanson@gibsondunn.com) Blair A. Silver – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-955-8690, bsilver@gibsondunn.com) Please also feel free to contact any of the following practice group co-chairs or any member of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law or Intellectual Property practice groups: Appellate and Constitutional Law Group: Mark A. Perry – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3667, mperry@gibsondunn.com) Caitlin J. Halligan – New York (+1 212-351-4000, challigan@gibsondunn.com) Nicole A. Saharsky – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3669, nsaharsky@gibsondunn.com) Intellectual Property Group: Josh Krevitt – New York (+1 212-351-4000, jkrevitt@gibsondunn.com) Wayne Barsky – Los Angeles (+1 310-552-8500, wbarsky@gibsondunn.com)Mark Reiter – Dallas (+1 214-698-3100, mreiter@gibsondunn.com) © 2018 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

July 12, 2018 |
California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018

Click for PDF On June 28, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”), which has been described as a landmark privacy bill that aims to give California consumers increased transparency and control over how companies use and share their personal information.  The law will be enacted as several new sections of the California Civil Code (sections 1798.100 to 1798.198).  While lawmakers and others are already discussing amending the law prior to its January 1, 2020 effective date, as passed the law would require businesses collecting information about California consumers to: disclose what personal information is collected about a consumer and the purposes for which that personal information is used; delete a consumer’s personal information if requested to do so, unless it is necessary for the business to maintain that information for certain purposes; disclose what personal information is sold or shared for a business purpose, and to whom; stop selling a consumer’s information if requested to do so (the “right to opt out”), unless the consumer is under 16 years of age, in which case the business is required to obtain affirmative authorization to sell the consumer’s data (the “right to opt in”); and not discriminate against a consumer for exercising any of the aforementioned rights, including by denying goods or services, charging different prices, or providing a different level or quality of goods or services, subject to certain exceptions. The CCPA also empowers the California Attorney General to adopt regulations to further the statute’s purposes, and to solicit “broad public participation” before the law goes into effect.[1]  In addition, the law permits businesses to seek the opinion of the Attorney General for guidance on how to comply with its provisions. The CCPA does not appear to create any private rights of action, with one notable exception:  the CCPA expands California’s data security laws by providing, in certain cases, a private right of action to consumers “whose nonencrypted or nonredacted personal information” is subject to a breach “as a result of the business’ violation of the duty to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures,” which permits consumers to seek statutory damages of $100 to $750 per incident.[2]  The other rights embodied in the CCPA may be enforced only by the Attorney General—who may seek civil penalties up to $7,500 per violation. In the eighteen months ahead, businesses that collect personal information about California consumers will need to carefully assess their data privacy and disclosure practices and procedures to ensure they are in compliance when the law goes into effect on January 1, 2020.  Businesses may also want to consider whether to submit information to the Attorney General regarding the development of implementing regulations prior to the effective date. I.     Background and Context The CCPA was passed quickly in order to block a similar privacy initiative from appearing on election ballots in November.  The ballot initiative had obtained enough signatures to be presented to voters, but its backers agreed to abandon it if lawmakers passed a comparable bill.  The ballot initiative, if enacted, could not easily be amended by the legislature,[3] so legislators quickly drafted and unanimously passed AB 375 before the June 28 deadline to withdraw items from the ballot.  While not as strict as the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the CCPA is more stringent than most existing privacy laws in the United States. II.     Who Must Comply With The CCPA? The CCPA applies to any “business,” including any for-profit entity that collects consumers’ personal information, which does business in California, and which satisfies one or more of the following thresholds: has annual gross revenues in excess of twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000); possesses the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or earns more than half of its annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information.[4] The CCPA also applies to any entity that controls or is controlled by such a business and shares common branding with the business.[5] The definition of “Personal Information” under the CCPA is extremely broad and includes things not considered “Personal Information” under other U.S. privacy laws, like location data, purchasing or consuming histories, browsing history, and inferences drawn from any of the consumer information.[6]  As a result of the breadth of these definitions, the CCPA likely will apply to hundreds of thousands of companies, both inside and outside of California. III.     CCPA’s Key Rights And Provisions The stated goal of the CCPA is to ensure the following rights of Californians: (1) to know what personal information is being collected about them; (2) to know whether their personal information is sold or disclosed and to whom; (3) to say no to the sale of personal information; (4) to access their personal information; and (5) to equal service and price, even if they exercise their privacy rights.[7]  The CCPA purports to enforce these rights by imposing several obligations on covered businesses, as discussed in more detail below.            A.     Transparency In The Collection Of Personal Information The CCPA requires disclosure of information about how a business collects and uses personal information, and also gives consumers the right to request certain additional information about what data is collected about them.[8]  Specifically, a consumer has the right to request that a business disclose: the categories of personal information it has collected about that consumer; the categories of sources from which the personal information is collected; the business or commercial purpose for collecting or selling personal information; the categories of third parties with whom the business shares personal information; and the specific pieces of personal information it has collected about that consumer.[9] While categories (1)-(4) are fairly general, category (5) requires very detailed information about a consumer, and businesses will need to develop a mechanism for providing this type of information. Under the CCPA, businesses also must affirmatively disclose certain information “at or before the point of collection,” and cannot collect additional categories of personal information or use personal information collected for additional purposes without providing the consumer with notice.[10]  Specifically, businesses must disclose in their online privacy policies and in any California-specific description of a consumer’s rights a list of the categories of personal information they have collected about consumers in the preceding 12 months by reference to the enumerated categories (1)-(5), above.[11] Businesses must provide consumers with at least two methods for submitting requests for information, including, at a minimum, a toll-free telephone number, and if the business maintains an Internet Web site, a Web site address.[12]            B.     Deletion Of Personal Information The CCPA also gives consumers a right to request that businesses delete personal information about them.  Upon receipt of a “verifiable request” from a consumer, a business must delete the consumer’s personal information and direct any service providers to do the same.  There are exceptions to this deletion rule when “it is necessary for the business or service provider to maintain the consumer’s personal information” for one of nine enumerated reasons: Complete the transaction for which the personal information was collected, provide a good or service requested by the consumer, or reasonably anticipated within the context of a business’s ongoing business relationship with the consumer, or otherwise perform a contract between the business and the consumer. Detect security incidents, protect against malicious, deceptive, fraudulent, or illegal activity; or prosecute those responsible for that activity. Debug to identify and repair errors that impair existing intended functionality. Exercise free speech, ensure the right of another consumer to exercise his or her right of free speech, or exercise another right provided for by law. Comply with the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act pursuant to Chapter 3.6 (commencing with Section 1546) of Title 12 of Part 2 of the Penal Code. Engage in public or peer-reviewed scientific, historical, or statistical research in the public interest that adheres to all other applicable ethics and privacy laws, when the businesses’ deletion of the information is likely to render impossible or seriously impair the achievement of such research, if the consumer has provided informed consent. To enable solely internal uses that are reasonably aligned with the expectations of the consumer based on the consumer’s relationship with the business. Comply with a legal obligation. Otherwise use the consumer’s personal information, internally, in a lawful manner that is compatible with the context in which the consumer provided the information.[13] Because these exceptions are so broad, especially given the catch-all provision in category (9), it is unclear whether the CCPA’s right to deletion will substantially alter a business’s obligations as a practical matter.            C.     Disclosure Of Personal Information Sold Or Shared For A Business Purpose The CCPA also requires businesses to disclose what personal information is sold or disclosed for a business purpose, and to whom.[14]  The disclosure of certain information is only required upon receipt of a “verifiable consumer request.”[15]  Specifically, a consumer has the right to request that a business disclose: The categories of personal information that the business collected about the consumer; The categories of personal information that the business sold about the consumer and the categories of third parties to whom the personal information was sold, by category or categories of personal information for each third party to whom the personal information was sold; and The categories of personal information that the business disclosed about the consumer for a business purpose.[16] A business must also affirmatively disclose (including in its online privacy policy and in any California-specific description of consumer’s rights): The category or categories of consumers’ personal information it has sold, or if the business has not sold consumers’ personal information, it shall disclose that fact; and The category or categories of consumers’ personal information it has disclosed for a business purpose, or if the business has not disclosed the consumers’ personal information for a business purpose, it shall disclose that fact.[17] This information must be disclosed in two separate lists, each listing the categories of personal information it has sold about consumers in the preceding 12 months that fall into categories (1) and (2), above.[18]            D.     Right To Opt-Out Of Sale Of Personal Information The CCPA also requires businesses to stop selling a consumer’s personal information if requested to do so by the consumer (“opt-out”).  In addition, consumers under the age of 16 must affirmatively opt-in to allow selling of personal information, and parental consent is required for consumers under the age of 13.[19]  Businesses must provide notice to consumers that their information may be sold and that consumers have the right to opt out of the sale.  In order to comply with the notice requirement, businesses must include a link titled “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” on their homepage and in their privacy policy.[20]            E.     Prohibition Against Discrimination For Exercising Rights The CCPA prohibits a business from discriminating against a consumer for exercising any of their rights in the CCPA, including by denying goods or services, charging different prices, or providing a different level or quality of goods or services.  There are exceptions, however, if the difference in price or level or quality of goods or services “is reasonably related to the value provided to the consumer by the consumer’s data.”  For example, while the language of the statute is not entirely clear, a business may be allowed to charge those users who do not allow the sale of their data while providing the service for free to users who do allow the sale of their data—as long as the amount charged is reasonably related to the value to the business of that consumer’s data.  A business may also offer financial incentives for the collection of personal information, as long as the incentives are not “unjust, unreasonable, coercive, or usurious” and the business notifies the consumer of the incentives and the consumer gives prior opt-in consent.            F.     Data Breach Provisions The CCPA provides a private right of action to consumers “whose nonencrypted or nonredacted personal information” is subject to a breach “as a result of the business’ violation of the duty to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures.”[21]  Under the CCPA, a consumer may seek statutory damages of $100 to $750 per incident or actual damages, whichever is greater.[22]  Notably, the meaning of “personal information” under this provision is the same as it is in California’s existing data breach law, rather than the broad definition used in the remainder of the CCPA.[23]  Consumers bringing a private action under this section must first provide written notice to the business of the alleged violations (and allow the business an opportunity to cure the violations), and must notify the Attorney General and give the Attorney General an opportunity to prosecute.[24]  Notice is not required for an “action solely for actual pecuniary damages suffered as a result of the alleged violations.”[25] IV.     Potential Liability Section 1798.150, regarding liability for data breaches, is the only provision in the CCPA expressly allowing a private right of action.  The damages available for such a civil suit are limited to the greater of (1) between $100 and $750 per consumer per incident, or (2) actual damages.  Individual consumers’ claims also can potentially be aggregated in a class action. The other rights embodied in the CCPA may be enforced only by the Attorney General—who may seek civil penalties not to exceed $2,500 for each violation, unless the violation was intentional, in which case the Attorney General can seek up to $7,500 per violation.[26] [1]   To be codified at Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.185(a) [2]      Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.150. [3]      By its own terms, the ballot initiative could be amended upon a statute passed by 70% of each house of the Legislature if the amendment furthered the purposes of the act, or by a majority for certain provisions to impose additional privacy restrictions.  See The Consumer Right to Privacy Act of 2018 No. 17-0039, Section 5. Otherwise, approved ballot initiatives in California can only be amended with voter approval. California Constitution, Article II, Section 10. [4]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.140(c)(1). [5]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.140(c)(2). [6]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.140(o). The definition of “personal information” does not include publicly available information, and the CCPA also does not generally restrict a business’s ability to collect or use deidentified aggregate consumer information. Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.145(a)(5). [7]   Assemb. Bill 375, 2017-2018 Reg. Sess., Ch. 55, Sec. 2 (Cal. 2018) [8]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.100 and 1798.110. [9]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.110(a). [10]     Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1798.100(b); 1798.110(c). [11]     Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1798.110(c); 1798.130(a)(5)(B). [12]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.130(a)(1). [13]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.105(d). [14]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.115. [15]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.115(a)-(b). [16]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.115(a). [17]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.115(c). [18]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.130(a)(5)(C). [19]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.120(d). [20]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.135. [21]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.150. [22]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.150. [23]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.81.5(d)(1)(A) [24]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.150(b). [25]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.150 (b)(1). [26]   Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.155. The following Gibson Dunn lawyers assisted in the preparation of this client alert: Joshua A. Jessen, Benjamin B. Wagner, Christina Chandler Kogan, Abbey A. Barrera, and Alison Watkins. Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist with any questions you may have regarding these issues.  For further information, please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work or the following leaders and members of the firm’s Privacy, Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection practice group: United States Alexander H. Southwell – Co-Chair, New York (+1 212-351-3981, asouthwell@gibsondunn.com) M. Sean Royall – Dallas (+1 214-698-3256, sroyall@gibsondunn.com) Debra Wong Yang – Los Angeles (+1 213-229-7472, dwongyang@gibsondunn.com) Christopher Chorba – Los Angeles (+1 213-229-7396, cchorba@gibsondunn.com) Richard H. Cunningham – Denver (+1 303-298-5752, rhcunningham@gibsondunn.com) Howard S. Hogan – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3640, hhogan@gibsondunn.com) Joshua A. Jessen – Orange County/Palo Alto (+1 949-451-4114/+1 650-849-5375, jjessen@gibsondunn.com) Kristin A. Linsley – San Francisco (+1 415-393-8395, klinsley@gibsondunn.com) H. Mark Lyon – Palo Alto (+1 650-849-5307, mlyon@gibsondunn.com) Shaalu Mehra – Palo Alto (+1 650-849-5282, smehra@gibsondunn.com) Karl G. Nelson – Dallas (+1 214-698-3203, knelson@gibsondunn.com) Eric D. Vandevelde – Los Angeles (+1 213-229-7186, evandevelde@gibsondunn.com) Benjamin B. Wagner – Palo Alto (+1 650-849-5395, bwagner@gibsondunn.com) Michael Li-Ming Wong – San Francisco/Palo Alto (+1 415-393-8333/+1 650-849-5393, mwong@gibsondunn.com) Ryan T. Bergsieker – Denver (+1 303-298-5774, rbergsieker@gibsondunn.com) Europe Ahmed Baladi – Co-Chair, Paris (+33 (0)1 56 43 13 00, abaladi@gibsondunn.com) James A. Cox – London (+44 (0)207071 4250, jacox@gibsondunn.com) Patrick Doris – London (+44 (0)20 7071 4276, pdoris@gibsondunn.com) Bernard Grinspan – Paris (+33 (0)1 56 43 13 00, bgrinspan@gibsondunn.com) Penny Madden – London (+44 (0)20 7071 4226, pmadden@gibsondunn.com) Jean-Philippe Robé – Paris (+33 (0)1 56 43 13 00, jrobe@gibsondunn.com) Michael Walther – Munich (+49 89 189 33-180, mwalther@gibsondunn.com) Nicolas Autet – Paris (+33 (0)1 56 43 13 00, nautet@gibsondunn.com) Kai Gesing – Munich (+49 89 189 33-180, kgesing@gibsondunn.com) Sarah Wazen – London (+44 (0)20 7071 4203, swazen@gibsondunn.com) Alejandro Guerrero Perez – Brussels (+32 2 554 7218, aguerreroperez@gibsondunn.com) Asia Kelly Austin – Hong Kong (+852 2214 3788, kaustin@gibsondunn.com) Jai S. Pathak – Singapore (+65 6507 3683, jpathak@gibsondunn.com) © 2018 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, 333 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90071 Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

July 2, 2018 |
Gibson Dunn Recognized in 2018 Managing IP Handbook

The 2018 edition of Managing IP Handbook recognized Gibson Dunn among the top International Trade Commission (ITC) Litigation and Patent Contentious firms in the United States, and additionally recognized the firm’s California and New York practices for their Patent Contentious work. Based on recommendations from peers and clients, the guide also named nine partners to its 2018 IP Stars list: Dallas partner Mark Reiter; Los Angeles partners Wayne Barsky and Debra Wong Yang; New York partners Josh Krevitt, Jane Love and Daniel Thomasch; Palo Alto partner Shaalu Mehra; and Washington DC partners Brian Buroker and Howard Hogan. Jane Love was also named to the Top 250 Women in IP 2018 list.

June 22, 2018 |
Supreme Court Says That Patent Holders May Recover Lost Foreign Profits Resulting From Patent Infringement In The United States

Click for PDF WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., No. 16-1011  Decided June 22, 2018 Today, the Supreme Court held 7-2 that federal law permits a patent holder to recover damages for overseas losses from a defendant that infringes its patent by shipping components of a patented invention from the United States to be assembled abroad. Background: 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)(2) imposes liability for patent infringement when a company ships components of a patented invention overseas to be assembled in a way that would constitute patent infringement in the United States.  35 U.S.C. § 284 permits patent owners who prove infringement under § 271(f)(2) to recover damages, but the statute is silent on whether damages are available for losses incurred outside of the United States as a result of the infringement.  WesternGeco, which owns patents related to ocean-floor surveying technology, proved patent infringement under § 271(f)(2) and was awarded damages pursuant to § 284 for lost profits incurred abroad. Issue: Whether awarding damages for lost foreign profits to a patent owner who proves patent infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)(2) comports with the presumption that federal statutes apply only within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. Court’s Holding: Yes.  Awarding damages for lost foreign profits to a patent owner who proves patent infringement under § 271(f)(2) does not violate the presumption against extraterritoriality. “[T]he focus . . . , in a case involving infringement under [35 U.S.C.] § 271(f)(2), is on the act of exporting components from the United States.” Justice Thomas, writing for the 7-2 majority What It Means: The Court’s holding means that a patent holder who proves infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)(2) can recover damages for lost foreign profits.  The Court expressly declined to decide whether a patent holder can recover lost foreign profits for infringement under other provisions of the Patent Act. The Court did not reach the question of whether the damages provision of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. § 284, applies extraterritorially.  Instead, the Court concluded that WesternGeco’s claim for lost foreign profits involved a domestic application of § 284 because it sought a remedy for conduct that occurred in the United States—the export by domestic entities of component parts from the United States. Whether the decision will have broader implications in other areas of U.S. law remains to be seen, since the language of the decision strongly suggests that its holding will be cabined to the context of patent infringement. Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the Supreme Court.  Please feel free to contact the following practice leaders: Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Caitlin J. Halligan +1 212.351.3909 challigan@gibsondunn.com Mark A. Perry +1 202.887.3667 mperry@gibsondunn.com Nicole A. Saharsky +1 202.887.3669 nsaharsky@gibsondunn.com   Related Practice: Intellectual Property Wayne Barsky +1 310.552.8500 wbarsky@gibsondunn.com Josh Krevitt +1 212.351.4000 jkrevitt@gibsondunn.com Mark Reiter +1 214.698.3100 mreiter@gibsondunn.com   © 2018 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice

June 7, 2018 |
Jane Love Recognized by LMG Americas Women in Business

New York partner Jane Love was recognized as Best in Patent at the seventh annual Euromoney Legal Media Group Women in Business Law Awards. The awards recognize “the individuals, team and firms setting a new standard in progressive work practices and leading the way in their field.” The awards were held on June 7, 2018.  

May 30, 2018 |
Federal Circuit Update (May 2018)

Click for PDF This May 2018 edition of Gibson Dunn’s Federal Circuit Update discusses the proposed elimination of the broadest reasonable interpretation standard during post-issuance proceedings before the PTAB, provides a summary of the pending WesternGeco case before the Supreme Court regarding extraterritorial damages, and briefly summarizes the differences between precedential and non-precedential opinions. This Update also provides a summary of the pending en banc case involving the PTO’s ability to recover attorneys’ fees.  Also included are summaries of recent decisions regarding the burden in venue disputes, the pleading standard for patent infringement following the abrogation of Form 18, and whether equitable estoppel applies after substantial claim amendments. Federal Circuit News On May 8, 2018, the PTO announced proposed rulemaking that would change its prior policy of using the broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI) standard for construing unexpired and proposed amended patent claims in post-issuance proceedings before the PTAB.  Instead, the PTAB would use the Phillips standard applied in district courts and ITC proceedings.  The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking states:  “The Office’s goal is to implement a fair and balanced approach, providing greater predictability and certainty in the patent system.” Judges Prost, Moore, O’Malley and Reyna, who dissented from the denial of the petition for rehearing en banc in In re Cuozzo Speed Technologies, and Judge Newman, who dissented in the panel opinion and from the denial of the petition for rehearing en banc, have historically supported the use of the Phillips standard in post-issuance proceedings.  The notice of proposed rulemaking is available here. On April 26, 2018, the PTO also released guidance on the impact of SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu, where the Supreme Court mandated that “the Board [] address every claim the petition has challenged.  138 S. Ct. 1348, 1354, 1358 (2018).  In light of this decision, the PTO announced that the Board will now “institute as to all claims or none” and, in addition, if the Board institutes, it “will institute on all challenges raised in the petition.”  Furthermore, “[t]he final written decision will address, to the extent claims are still pending at the time of decision, all patent claims challenged by the petitioner and all new claims added through the amendment process.”  For pending trials that had only been partially instituted, the panels may “issue an order supplementing the institution decision to institute on all challenges raised in the petition” and “may take further action to manage the trial proceeding, including, for example, permitting additional time, briefing, discovery, and/or oral argument, depending on various circumstances and the stage of the proceeding” and even, in some cases, extend the statutory 12-month deadline.  The PTO’s guidance is available here. Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court has decided two cases from the Federal Circuit this Term (Oil States v. Greene’s Energy and SAS v. Iancu); we are awaiting the Court’s decision on a third case: Case Status Issue WesternGeco LLC (Schlumberger) v. ION Geophysical Corp., No. 16-1011 Argued on Apr. 16, 2018 Recoverability of lost profits for foreign use in cases where patent infringement is proven under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f) Upcoming En Banc Federal Circuit Cases NantKwest, Inc. v. Matal, No. 16-1794 (Fed. Cir.):  Whether the PTO can recover attorneys’ fees in litigation under 35 U.S.C. § 145. After the PTAB affirmed the examiner’s rejection of NantKwest’s patent application, NantKwest appealed to the district court.  The PTO prevailed on the merits of the appeal and moved to recover both attorneys’ fees and expert fees.  Section 145 provides that “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings shall be paid by the applicant.”  Applying this provision, the district court granted the PTO’s request for expert fees, but rejected the PTO’s request for attorneys’ fees.  A panel of the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s holding as to attorneys’ fees, holding that the “[a]ll expenses of the proceedings” provision under § 145 authorizes an award of attorneys’ fees.  (Decision available here.) The Federal Circuit sua sponte ordered that the panel decision be vacated and that the case be reheard en banc.  Seven amicus briefs were filed, five in support of NantKwest (the International Trademark Association, the Intellectual Property Owners Association, the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago, the Association of Amicus Counsel, and the American Bar Association) and two in support of neither party (Federal Circuit Bar Association and American Intellectual Property Law Association).  Oral argument was held on March 8, 2018.  (Audio recording is available here.) Question presented: Did the panel in NantKwest, Inc. v. Matal, 860 F.3d 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2017) correctly determine that 35 U.S.C. § 145’s “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings” provision authorizes an award of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s attorneys’ fees? Federal Circuit Practice Update Precedential vs. Non-Precedential Opinions. Internal Operating Procedure (“IOP”) No. 10 governs the use of precedential opinions vs. non-precedential opinions and Rule 36 affirmances.  IOP No. 10 provides that “the purpose of a precedential disposition is to inform the bar and interested persons other than the parties.”  IOP No. 10 at ¶ 2.  Precedential opinions should not be used merely to explain the reasons for the disposition to the parties; that can be conveyed through the use of a non-precedential opinion.  Id. The IOP identifies fourteen situations in which a precedential opinion is appropriate.  See id. at ¶ 4.  Reasons include:  resolution of an issue of first impression; the criticism, clarification, alteration, or modification of an existing rule of law; an actual or apparent conflict in or with past holdings of the court or other courts that is created, resolved or continued; the correction of procedural errors; or the case has been returned by the Supreme Court for disposition, requiring more than mere ministerial obedience to directions of the Supreme Court.  Id. The decision to make an opinion non-precedential is generally governed by a majority vote of the panel.  But, if the decision includes a dissenting opinion, the judge authoring the dissenting opinion may elect to have the entire opinion issue as precedential, regardless of the preferences of the majority judges.  Id. at ¶ 6.  All three judges must agree to use a Rule 36 judgment in order to do so.  Id. Key Case Summaries (April – May 2018) In re ZTE (USA) Inc., No. 18-113 (Fed. Cir. May 14, 2018) (Motion Panel Order):  Burden of persuasion for venue for foreign defendants. American GNC filed a complaint against ZTE in the Eastern District of Texas, and ZTE moved to dismiss for improper venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1406.  While that motion was pending, ZTE moved to transfer to the Northern District of Texas or the Northern District of California under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).  The first magistrate judge denied ZTE’s motion to transfer.  A second magistrate judge denied ZTE’s motion to dismiss for improper venue after finding that ZTE failed to show it did not have a regular and established place of business in the Eastern District of Texas.  The magistrate judge noted the lack of uniformity among courts in who bears the burden of proof with respect to venue but determined that, under Fifth Circuit law, the burden lies with the objecting defendant.  Over ZTE’s objections regarding the burden of proof, the district court denied ZTE’s motion to dismiss. ZTE petitioned for a writ of mandamus, which the Federal Circuit granted.  The Court first determined that Federal Circuit—not regional circuit—law governs the placement of the burden of persuasion on the propriety of venue under § 1400(b).  It then held as a matter of Federal Circuit law that, upon motion by the Defendant challenging venue in a patent case, the Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing proper venue and that this holding  “best aligns with the weight of historical authority among the circuits and best furthers public policy.”  The Court remanded to the district court to consider whether venue was proper in light of its holding that the plaintiff, American GNC, bears the burden. Disc Disease Solutions Inc. v. VGH Solutions, Inc., No. 2017-1483 (Fed. Cir. May 1, 2018):  Pleading standard for patent infringement following the abrogation of Form 18. In December 2015, certain amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure took effect.  Among them was the abrogation of Rule 84 (stating that the “Forms in the Appendix suffice under these rules”) and Form 18 (a form adequate to plead a direct patent infringement claim).  Absent Form 18, complaints now must meet the Iqbal/Twombly standard for pleading to survive a 12(b)(6) motion. Disc Disease filed its complaint the day before the 2015 amendments became effective.  The district court determined that Iqbal/Twombly—not Form 18—applied to Disc Disease’s complaint and dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim.  The district court later denied reconsideration because it did not view the 2015 amendments to be an intervening change in the law. The Federal Circuit reversed.  The Federal Circuit did not address whether Form 18 or Iqbal/Twombly governed because, it held, the district court erred in dismissing Disc Disease’s complaint even under Iqbal/Twombly‘s pleading standard.  The Court noted that the case “involves simple technology” with only four independent claims in the asserted patents.  Disc Disease’s complaint “specifically identified the three accused products—by name and by attaching photos of the product packaging as exhibits—and alleged that the accused products meet each and every element of at least one claim” of the asserted patents.  This was sufficient to state a claim for patent infringement in these circumstances. John Bean Technologies Corp. v. Morris & Associates, Inc., No. 17-1502 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 19, 2018):  Equitable estoppel when claims are substantively amended or added following ex parte reexamination. John Bean (and its predecessor) and Morris are competitors in the poultry chiller market.  After the patent-in-suit issued to John Bean, Morris sent John Bean’s counsel a demand letter on June 27, 2002, informing him that John Bean had been contacting Morris’s customers and asserting that Morris’s equipment infringes the recently issued patent.  The letter demanded that John Bean stop telling Morris’s customers that Morris’s products infringe John Bean’s patent and advised John Bean that the patent was invalid over a specific prior art reference.  John Bean did not respond, and Morris continued to develop and sell its product. Eleven years later, on December 18, 2013, John Bean filed a request for ex parte reexamination of the patent-in-suit.  During reexamination, John Bean amended the two original claims and added six additional claims in response to a rejection by the PTO.  Shortly after the reexamination certificate issued, John Bean filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas against Morris for patent infringement.  The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Morris that John Bean’s infringement action was barred by equitable estoppel given John Bean’s silence after the demand letter. The Federal Circuit (Reyna, J.) reversed, holding that the district court abused its discretion in applying equitable estoppel to bar John Bean’s infringement action without considering how the ex parte reexamination affected the patent claims.  The Court explained that the amendments made during reexamination in this case were both substantial and substantive, including by adding new limitations.  As a result, the asserted claims did not exist at the time of Morris’s demand letter.  But the Court recognized that there may be other cases where the asserted claims may be considered identical for the purposes of infringement and also for applying equitable estoppel.  The Court also acknowledged that Morris may have recourse under the affirmative defenses of absolute and intervening rights. Upcoming Oral Argument Calendar For a list of upcoming arguments at the Federal Circuit, please click here. Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the Federal Circuit.  Please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work or the authors of this alert: Blaine H. Evanson – Orange County (+1 949-451-3805, bevanson@gibsondunn.com) Blair A. Silver – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-955-8690, bsilver@gibsondunn.com) Please also feel free to contact any of the following practice group co-chairs or any member of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law or Intellectual Property practice groups: Appellate and Constitutional Law Group: Mark A. Perry – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3667, mperry@gibsondunn.com) Caitlin J. Halligan – New York (+1 212-351-4000, challigan@gibsondunn.com) Nicole A. Saharsky – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3669, nsaharsky@gibsondunn.com) Intellectual Property Group: Josh Krevitt – New York (+1 212-351-4000, jkrevitt@gibsondunn.com) Wayne Barsky – Los Angeles (+1 310-552-8500, wbarsky@gibsondunn.com)Mark Reiter – Dallas (+1 214-698-3100, mreiter@gibsondunn.com) © 2018 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

May 25, 2018 |
Gibson Dunn Receives Chambers USA Excellence Award

At its annual USA Excellence Awards, Chambers and Partners named Gibson Dunn the winner in the Corporate Crime & Government Investigations category. The awards “reflect notable achievements over the past 12 months, including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth and excellence in client service.” This year the firm was also shortlisted in nine other categories: Antitrust, Energy/Projects: Oil & Gas, Energy/Projects: Power (including Renewables), Intellectual Property (including Patent, Copyright & Trademark), Labor & Employment, Real Estate, Securities and Financial Services Regulation and Tax team categories. Debra Wong Yang was also shortlisted in the individual category of Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations. The awards were presented on May 24, 2018.  

April 24, 2018 |
Supreme Court Clarifies That Inter Partes Review Must Decide All Challenged Claims

Click for PDF SAS Institute, Inc. v. Iancu, No. 16-969 Decided April 24, 2018 Today, the Supreme Court held 5-4 that if the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) exercises its discretion to institute inter partes review, it must issue an opinion on all challenged claims. Background: Inter partes review is an administrative process in which the PTAB revisits the patentability of claims in existing patents. The PTAB may institute that review if the petitioner shows a “reasonable likelihood” of success on at least one claim. 35 U.S.C. § 314(a). If the PTAB institutes inter partes review, it “shall issue” a written decision as to the patentability of “any patent claim challenged by the petitioner.” 35 U.S.C. § 318(a). In this case, SAS Institute petitioned the PTAB for inter partes review of a certain patent. The PTAB reviewed only some of the claims, as U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) regulations permit. SAS Institute argues that the PTAB was required to issue a final decision on all of the claims. Issue: Whether the PTAB must issue a final written decision as to every claim challenged by the petitioner when it institutes an inter partes review. Court’s Holding: Yes, if the PTAB institutes inter partes review, it must rule on all challenged claims. “Even under Chevron, we owe an agency’s interpretation of the law no deference unless, after ‘employing traditional tools of statutory construction,’ we find ourselves unable to discern Congress’s. meaning.” Justice Gorsuch, writing for the majority What It Means: The Court determined that the statute’s plain text does not permit the PTAB to decide which claims to review when it grants inter partes review. Instead, if the PTAB decides that the petitioner is reasonably likely to succeed on at least one claim, the statute requires the PTAB to review all of the claims in the petition. The Court rejected SAS Institute’s invitation to overrule Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. National Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984), under which courts defer to reasonable agency interpretations of an ambiguous statute. Here, the Court held that the PTO is not entitled to deference because the statute is not ambiguous. The majority left open the possibility that the PTAB could deny a petition while noting that one or more claims merit reexamination and permitting the petitioners to file a new petition limited to those claims. The America Invents Act’s estoppel provisions prevent a petitioner from arguing that a claim is invalid, in a district court or before the International Trade Commission, on any ground raised or that reasonably could have been raised on inter partes review if the PTAB issues a final written decision on the claim. As a result of today’s decision, if the PTAB institutes review, every claim raised must be addressed—and so likely will trigger the estoppel provisions. The Supreme Court’s ruling may lead the PTAB to grant fewer petitions—meaning more patent litigation in the district courts. Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the Supreme Court. Please feel free to contact the following practice leaders: Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Caitlin J. Halligan +1 212.351.3909 challigan@gibsondunn.com Mark A. Perry +1 202.887.3667 mperry@gibsondunn.com Nicole A. Saharsky +1 202.887.3669 nsaharsky@gibsondunn.com Related Practice: Intellectual Property Wayne Barsky +1 310.552.8500 wbarsky@gibsondunn.com Josh Krevitt +1 212.351.4000 jkrevitt@gibsondunn.com Mark Reiter +1 214.698.3100 mreiter@gibsondunn.com   © 2018 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising: The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

April 24, 2018 |
Supreme Court Upholds PTO Inter Partes Review of Patent Validity

Click for PDF Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, No. 16-712 Decided April 24, 2018 The Supreme Court held 7-2 that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s inter partes review process does not violate the Constitution. Background: In 2011, Congress passed the America Invents Act, which created a new adversarial process within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), known as inter partes review. This process allows anyone to challenge the validity of an existing patent on the grounds that the patent was anticipated by is or obvious in light of the prior art. Under that process, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) – rather than a federal court – decides whether to cancel or confirm a challenged patent, subject to deferential review by the Federal Circuit. Issue: Whether inter partes review violates Article III’s grant of judicial power to the federal courts and the Seventh Amendment’s right to a jury trial. Court’s Holding: No, patents are public rights, and not purely private rights, so Congress may allow non-Article III tribunals (like the PTAB) to adjudicate those rights. “[T]he decision to grant a patent is a matter involving public rights—specifically, the grant of a public franchise. Inter partes review is simply a reconsideration of that grant, and Congress has permissibly reserved the PTO’s authority to conduct that reconsideration.” Justice Thomas, writing for the majority Gibson Dunn filed an amicus brief defending inter partes review for Dell, Facebook, Hewlett Packard, Twitter and others. What It Means: The Court held that patents are public rights that may be granted, abridged, or withdrawn without adjudication by an Article III court or factfinding by a jury. The Court explained that a patent owner’s property rights in an issued patent are subject to PTO’s authority to reexamine or cancel the patent. Although inter partes review resembles adversarial litigation, it determines a party’s patent right against the government – not liability between private parties. The Court rejected the argument that, historically, the validity of a patent could only be challenged in court. Instead, drawing on the argument that Gibson Dunn made in its amicus brief, the Court concluded that inter partes review is consistent with historical practice under the English patent system. The Court emphasized that its holding is narrow and that it did not decide whether infringement actions or other patent matters could be heard outside of an Article III court or whether the retroactive application of inter partes review is constitutional. Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the Supreme Court. Please feel free to contact the following practice leaders: Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Caitlin J. Halligan +1 212.351.3909 challigan@gibsondunn.com Mark A. Perry +1 202.887.3667 mperry@gibsondunn.com Nicole A. Saharsky +1 202.887.3669 nsaharsky@gibsondunn.com   Related Practice: Intellectual Property Wayne Barsky +1 310.552.8500 wbarsky@gibsondunn.com Josh Krevitt +1 212.351.4000 jkrevitt@gibsondunn.com Mark Reiter +1 214.698.3100 mreiter@gibsondunn.com   © 2018 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

March 29, 2018 |
Federal Circuit Update (March 2018)

Click for PDF This March 2018 edition of Gibson Dunn’s Federal Circuit Update discusses the three pending Federal Circuit cases before the Supreme Court that consider issues regarding inter partes review proceedings and extraterritorial damages, and a brief summary of the process for seeking an interlocutory appeal.  This Update also provides a summary of the pending en banc case involving attorneys’ fees for litigation involving the PTO.  Also included are summaries of recent decisions regarding the fair use defense to copyright infringement, factual issues underlying patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit over Walker Process antitrust claims. Federal Circuit News On Friday, March 16, 2018, the Judicial Conference of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was held in Washington, D.C.  At the Conference, Judge Pauline Newman was recognized with the 2018 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award.  Judge Newman has served on the Federal Circuit in active status for the past 34 years. Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court has heard oral argument on two cases from the Federal Circuit this term, and recently granted certiorari on a third case: Case Status Issue WesternGeco LLC (Schlumberger) v. ION Geophysical Corp., No. 16-1011 Certiorari granted Jan. 12, 2018; Argument Apr. 16, 2018 Recoverability of lost profits for foreign use in cases where patent infringement is proven under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f) Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, No. 16-712 Argued on Nov. 27, 2017 Constitutionality of inter partes review under Article III and the Seventh Amendment SAS Institute Inc. v. Matal, No. 16-969 Argued on Nov. 27, 2017 The number of claims that must be addressed by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in a final written decision during inter partes review Upcoming En Banc Federal Circuit Cases NantKwest, Inc. v. Matal, No. 16-1794 (Fed. Cir.):  Whether the PTO can recover attorneys’ fees in litigation under 35 U.S.C. § 145. After the PTAB affirmed the examiner’s rejection of NantKwest’s patent application, NantKwest appealed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia under 35 U.S.C. § 145.  The PTO prevailed on the merits of the appeal and moved to recover both attorneys’ fees and expert fees.  Section 145 provides that “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings shall be paid by the applicant.”  Applying this provision, the district court granted the PTO’s request for expert fees, but rejected the PTO’s request for attorneys’ fees.  A panel of the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s holding as to attorneys’ fees, holding that the “[a]ll expenses of the proceedings” provision under § 145 authorizes an award of attorneys’ fees.  (Decision available here.) The Federal Circuit sua sponte ordered that the panel decision be vacated and that the case be reheard en banc.  Seven amicus briefs were filed, five in support of NantKwest (the International Trademark Association, the Intellectual Property Owners Association, the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago, the Association of Amicus Counsel, and the American Bar Association) and two in support of neither party (Federal Circuit Bar Association and American Intellectual Property Law Association).  Oral argument was held on March 8, 2018.  (Audio recording is available here.) Question presented: Did the panel in NantKwest, Inc. v. Matal, 860 F.3d 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2017) correctly determine that 35 U.S.C. § 145’s “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings” provision authorizes an award of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s attorneys’ fees? Federal Circuit Practice Update How to Appeal from an Interlocutory Decision.  The Federal Circuit has exclusive jurisdiction over interlocutory orders in patent law cases.  See 28 U.S.C. § 1292(c)(1).  Interlocutory orders are appealable as of right if they relate to an injunction, receivers, or certain admiralty cases.  See § 1292(a)(1)–(3).  All other interlocutory appeals are discretionary and require that both the district court and the appeals court agree to hear the issue on appeal. The district court judge must first certify that the issue “involves a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.”  28 U.S.C. § 1292(b).  There is no deadline after the substantive order to move for certification under section 1292(b), but the prospective appellant should move promptly.  If the district court declines to issue such a certification order, that is the end of the road (absent mandamus or other extraordinary relief). If the district court certifies an issue for interlocutory appeal, the appeals court has discretion to permit the appeal.  See § 1292(b); see also Regents of U. of Cal. v. Dako N. Am., Inc., 477 F.3d 1335, 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (“Ultimately, this court must exercise its own discretion in deciding whether it will grant permission to appeal an interlocutory order certified by a trial court.”).  A party has ten days after the district court’s certification order to petition the court of appeals.  See § 1292(b); see also Fed. R. App. P. 5(a)(3).  The petition must contain a summary of relevant facts, the question presented, the relief sought, a statement of the reasons why the appeal should be allowed, and copies of the relevant district court orders.  Fed. R. App. P. 5(b)(1)(A)–(E).  A party then has ten days to file an answer in opposition to the petition.  Fed. R. App. P. 5(b)(2).  The petition is decided without the benefit of oral argument, unless the court of appeals orders otherwise.  Fed. R. App. P. 5(b)(3). Key Case Summaries (February – March 2018) Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google LLC, Nos. 17-1118, 17-1202 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 27, 2018):  Direct copying of a copyrighted work for use in a competing platform using the material for the same purpose and function did not, on the facts of the case, amount to fair use. After a jury had determined that Google’s use of Oracle’s copyright in Java API packages was a fair use, the district court denied Oracle’s post-trial motions for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial.  Applying the four factors for fair use from 17 U.S.C. § 107, the district court held that a reasonable jury could have concluded that the use was fair because:  (1) the purpose and character of Google’s use was transformational; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work was not “highly creative”; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used was only as much of the work as was necessary for its transformative use; and (4) Google’s use of the code did not cause harm to the potential market for the copyrighted work. The Federal Circuit (O’Malley, J.) reversed.  At the outset, the Federal Circuit discussed the standard of review and found that fair use is “primarily a legal exercise” and thus, under the Supreme Court’s recent decision in U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n ex rel. CWCapital Asset Mgmt. LLC, No. 15-1509 (U.S. Mar. 5, 2018), the inferences to be drawn from the fair use factors are legal in nature and subject to de novo review. In analyzing the first factor, the court found that Google’s use of the Java APIs to create its Android platform was commercial under Ninth Circuit law even though Google gave a free open source license to Android because direct economic benefit is not required, and Google profited indirectly from the platform.  The court also found that Google’s use was not transformative because Google (1) used the API packages for the same purpose as they were used in the Java platform, (2) made no alterations to the expressive content of the copyrighted material, and (3) did not adapt the material for a “new context” when it provided Android for smartphones.  As to the second factor, the court found that the evidence presented at trial would allow reasonable jurors to conclude that functional considerations were substantial and important.  Addressing the third factor, the court noted that Google directly copied 37 API packages and 11,500 lines of code, even though only 170 lines of code were necessary to write in the Java language.  Although the amount of code was a small percentage of the roughly 2.86 million lines of code in Java libraries, the court found the copying qualitatively substantial because it copied 37 APIs in their entirety—even though Google admitted they could have written their own APIs—in order to make the Android platform familiar and attractive to Java programmers.  Turning to the fourth factor, the court noted that Android competed directly with Oracle’s Java platform and that the free nature of Android caused significant market harm to Oracle’s efforts to license Java. Based on those findings, the court noted that the second factor favored a finding of fair use, whereas the first and fourth factors weighed “heavily against” a finding of fair use.  The court considered the third factor to be neutral “at best.”  In balancing these factors, the court concluded that the factors weighed against a finding of fair use, and the court explained that “[t]here is nothing fair about taking a copyrighted work verbatim and using it for the same purpose and function as the original in a competing platform.”  The court added the caveat that it was “not conclud[ing] that a fair use defense could never be sustained in an action involving the copying of computer code.” Berkheimer v. HP Inc., No. 2017-1437 (Fed Cir. Feb. 8, 2018):  Patent eligibility under section 101 presents issues of fact and, under the facts of that case, summary judgment was not appropriate. The Federal Circuit held that the second prong of the Alice ineligibility inquiry under 35 U.S.C. § 101—whether the claim elements “transform the nature of the claim” into patent-eligible subject matter if they “involve more than performance of well-understood, routine, [and] conventional activities previously known to the industry”—is “a factual determination” that may not be suitable for summary judgment if facts are disputed. The district court ruled on summary judgment that eight claims from U.S. Patent No. 7,447,713 were directed to abstract ideas and thus ineligible for patenting under section 101.  The ‘713 Patent describes a means of digitally processing and archiving files by “parsing” the files into multiple parts, comparing those parts, and eliminating redundant material to allegedly improve storage efficiency and reduce storage costs. The Federal Circuit (Moore, J.) reversed.  Berkheimer alleged that the claims at issue covered linking data so as to facilitate “one-to-many” editing (i.e., allowing a single edit to populate to multiple points that use the same data).  The patentee asserted that this “inventive feature” operated in an “unconventional manner” versus mere “copy-and-paste” functionality in the prior art.  Although the panel agreed that all the challenged claims were directed to the abstract ideas of parsing and comparing data—the first prong of the Supreme Court’s Alice test—the panel reversed the district court’s ruling on the second Alice prong for four claims on the basis that the second prong “is a question of fact.”  Specifically, the Federal Circuit panel held that whether the “one-to-many” editing feature was “well-understood, routine, and conventional” was a disputed factual question that could not be decided on summary judgment.  In light of this, the Federal Circuit panel held that whether this added feature was “well-understood, routine, and conventional” was a disputed factual question that could not be decided on summary judgment. On March 12, HP petitioned for rehearing en banc, supported by several amici curiae.  On March 15, the Federal Circuit invited a response to HP’s petition. Aatrix Software, Inc. v. Green Shades Software, Inc., No. 2017-1452 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 14, 2018):  Patent eligibility presents issues of fact not amenable to a Rule 12 motion to dismiss. Following Berkheimer, the Federal Circuit (Moore, J.) issued a parallel ruling concerning the appropriateness of deciding patent eligibility at the Rule 12 stage.  Judge Reyna wrote separately in partial dissent. Aatrix Software asserted two patents directed to systems and methods for importing data onto a computer to allow that data to be processed and viewed.  The district court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss, holding that the claims were not directed to patentable subject matter. On appeal, the Federal Circuit reversed, holding that the complaint set forth a question of fact as to patentability because the complaint alleged that “the claimed software uses less memory, and results in faster processing speed” and thus is patent eligible because “the claimed invention is directed to an improvement in the computer technology itself.” Judge Reyna dissented, challenging the practical implications of the ruling and arguing that Federal Circuit precedent “is clear that the § 101 inquiry is a legal question” and a question “that can be appropriately decided on a motion to dismiss.” Xitronix Corp. v. KLA-Tencor Corp., No. 2016-2746 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 9, 2018):  Jurisdiction over Walker Process-antitrust claims is in the regional circuits, not the Federal Circuit. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(1), the Federal Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over actions arising under “any Act of Congress relating to patents.”  Walker Process claims involve allegations that enforcing a patent procured by fraud on the PTO constitutes an antitrust violation under the Sherman Act.  The Federal Circuit has historically treated such claims as presenting “a substantial question of patent law” and thus accepted jurisdiction over them. In Gunn v. Minton, the Supreme Court held that a state law claim alleging legal malpractice in handling a patent case—which likewise implicates U.S. Patent law—did not itself “arise under” or depend on a question of patent law sufficient to convey jurisdiction to federal courts.  568 U.S. 251, 258 (2013). In Xitronix, both sides asserted that the Federal Circuit had appellate jurisdiction over the Walker Process claim under appeal in that case.  No other patent-related claim was asserted on which to base Federal Circuit jurisdiction.  The Federal Circuit, however, raised the question of jurisdiction sua sponte, ruling that, given the Supreme Court’s analogous view in Gunn, jurisdiction for Walker Process claims rested with the regional circuits.  Accordingly, the Federal Circuit overruled its prior contrary precedent and transferred the appeal to the Fifth Circuit. Upcoming Oral Argument Calendar For a list of upcoming arguments at the Federal Circuit, please click here. Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the Federal Circuit.  Please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work or the authors of this alert: Blaine H. Evanson – Orange County (+1 949-451-3805, bevanson@gibsondunn.com) Blair A. Silver – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-955-8690, bsilver@gibsondunn.com) Please also feel free to contact any of the following practice group co-chairs or any member of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law or Intellectual Property practice groups: Appellate and Constitutional Law Group: Mark A. Perry – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3667, mperry@gibsondunn.com) Caitlin J. Halligan – New York (+1 212-351-4000, challigan@gibsondunn.com) Nicole A. Saharsky – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3669, nsaharsky@gibsondunn.com) Intellectual Property Group: Josh Krevitt – New York (+1 212-351-4000, jkrevitt@gibsondunn.com) Wayne Barsky – Los Angeles (+1 310-552-8500, wbarsky@gibsondunn.com)Mark Reiter – Dallas (+1 214-698-3100, mreiter@gibsondunn.com) © 2018 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

March 9, 2018 |
D.C. Circuit Applies U.S. Copyright Law to Video Content Streamed from Abroad

Click for PDF On March 2, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided an important case addressing two separate, still unsettled questions about the scope of copyright infringement liability.  See Spanski Enterprises v. Telewizja Polska, S.A., No. 17-7051 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 2, 2018).  In brief, the court held that the defendant infringed the plaintiff’s exclusive public performance right when, without authorization, it made copyright-protected television programming available to stream inside the United States, even though the stream was hosted outside the United States.  This was the first time a federal court of appeals considered whether streaming content originating extraterritorially is subject to U.S. copyright liability.  Separately, though the defendant insisted that it could not face liability unless it “volitionally” selected the content delivered to each user, the court held that operating a video-on-demand system which allowed members of the public to receive a copyright-protected performance constituted copyright infringement. Spanski Enterprises involved a longstanding licensing agreement between Telewizja Polska (TVP), the national broadcasting company of Poland, and Spanski Enterprises, a Canadian corporation in the business of distributing Polish-language programming.  A 2009 settlement agreement between the parties established that Spanski alone could distribute the programming at issue in North and South America, whether over the Internet or otherwise.  TVP continued to distribute its programming everywhere else in the world, including by offering episodes for streaming on its website, but used geoblocking technology to ensure that no IP address associated with North or South America could access any programming to which Spanski held the license.  However, in 2011 attorneys for Spanski discovered that users in North and South America could still access programming that should have been geoblocked.  Spanski sued TVP for infringement and, after a five-day bench trial, Judge Tanya Chutkan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia found TVP liable. On appeal, TVP raised two main challenges to the district court’s ruling.  First, it argued that it could not commit copyright infringement because none of its conduct took place within the United States, and the Copyright Act does not apply extraterritorially.  Second, it argued that a defendant only faces copyright liability if its “conduct was volitional.”  Because TVP merely operated an “automatic content delivery system” from which the user “selects the content it will view” without TVP’s involvement in processing that request, TVP insisted it had not violated the law.  The United States filed an amicus brief on behalf of Spanski, urging the court to reject both TVP’s arguments. In an opinion written by Judge Tatel and joined by Judges Griffith and Wilkins, the court of appeals affirmed, holding TVP liable for infringing Spanski’s exclusive rights.  Applying the Copyright Act to TVP’s conduct is not an impermissible extraterritorial application, the Court explained, because “the infringing performances—and consequent violation of Spanski’s copyrights—occurred on the computer screens in the United States on which the episode’s images were shown.”  TVP argued that when a performance originates internationally but is shown to the public within the country, only the domestic viewer was liable for copyright infringement.  The court disagreed, holding that a broadcaster remains liable for “the infringing display of copyrighted images on the viewer’s screen” whenever such a performance occurs “in the United States,” no matter where the broadcaster is located. The court also held that an unauthorized performance via a video-on-demand system like TVP’s infringed Spanski’s exclusive rights, even without proof that TVP took a “volitional” act, because TVP made it possible for end users to select copyright-protected content.  The text of the Copyright Act, the court explained, imposes liability whenever a defendant makes it possible for “members of the public” to “receive[] the performance” of copyrighted content.  The court found it unnecessary to decide whether a “volitional conduct” requirement exists at all or how far it extends, holding that TVP’s conduct constitutes infringement “whatever the scope of any such requirement might otherwise be.” In rejecting TVP’s “volitional conduct” argument, the court of appeals relied heavily on the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2498 (2014).  In Aereo, the Supreme Court held that an intermediary service that automatically captured and retransmitted broadcast television signals infringed the public performance right, even where the end user and not the service selected which content to capture.  The D.C. Circuit concluded that Aereo “forecloses [TVP’s] argument that the automated nature of its video-on-demand system or the end user’s role in selecting which content to access insulates it from Copyright Act liability.”  The court noted that TVP’s video-on-demand service involved TVP itself even more directly in the infringing performances than did the system in Aereo: unlike in Aereo, TVP itself selected and uploaded the content its system made available. Both holdings are important developments.  No other federal court of appeals has yet squarely held that U.S. copyright law applies to performances originating internationally that can be viewed inside the United States—though, as Professor Nimmer puts it in his copyright treatise, it requires only “a straightforward application of the statute” to hold that such performances are actionable.   5 Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright § 17.02 (rev. ed. 2017).  This holding will prevent would-be infringers from evading liability simply by relocating across a border. Separately, though the court refused to decide whether a “volitional conduct” requirement exists, its application of Aereo to TVP’s on-demand system adds fuel to the ongoing debate over the Copyright Act’s scope.  Several courts of appeals, both before and since the Supreme Court’s Aereo decision, have held that the Copyright Act only applies to “volitional conduct.”  BWP Media USA, Inc. v. T & S Software Associates, Inc., 852 F.3d 436 (5th Cir. 2017); Perfect 10, Inc. v. Giganews, Inc., 847 F.3d 657 (9th Cir. 2017); CoStar Group, Inc. v. LoopNet, Inc., 373 F.3d 544 (4th Cir. 2004); Parker v. Google, Inc., 242 F. App’x 833 (3d Cir. 2007).  In its amicus brief, however, the Government argued that Aereo “rejected” a volitional-conduct argument.  Thus, it will be up to future courts to decide the ultimate fate of the defense. Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding these developments.  Please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work, or the authors: Howard S. Hogan – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3640, hhogan@gibsondunn.com) Connor S. Sullivan* – New York (+1 212-351-2459, cssullivan@gibsondunn.com) *Prior to joining the firm, Connor Sullivan contributed to an amicus curiae brief filed in this appeal in support of Spanski Enterprises. Please also feel free to contact the following practice group leaders: Intellectual Property Group: Wayne Barsky – Los Angeles (+1 310-552-8500, wbarsky@gibsondunn.com) Josh Krevitt – New York (+1 212-351-4000, jkrevitt@gibsondunn.com) Mark Reiter – Dallas (+1 214-698-3100, mreiter@gibsondunn.com) Media, Entertainment and Technology Group: Scott A. Edelman – Los Angeles (+1 310-557-8061, sedelman@gibsondunn.com) Ruth E. Fisher – Los Angeles (+1 310-557-8057, rfisher@gibsondunn.com) Orin Snyder– New York (+1 212-351-2400, osnyder@gibsondunn.com) Appellate and Constitutional Law Group: Mark A. Perry – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3667, mperry@gibsondunn.com) Caitlin J. Halligan – New York (+1 212-351-4000, challigan@gibsondunn.com) Nicole A. Saharsky – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3669, nsaharsky@gibsondunn.com) Technology Transactions Group: David H. Kennedy – Palo Alto (+1 650-849-5304, dkennedy@gibsondunn.com) Daniel Angel – New York (+1 212-351-2329, dangel@gibsondunn.com) Shaalu Mehra – Palo Alto (+1 650-849-5282, smehra@gibsondunn.com) © 2018 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

February 2, 2018 |
Exmark v. Briggs: Role of Claim Language in Damages Apportionment

New York partner Paul Torchia is the author of “Exmark v. Briggs: Role of Claim Language in Damages Apportionment” published by Bloomberg BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal on February 2, 2018.

January 31, 2018 |
Alert – Federal Circuit Update (January 2018)

Click for PDF This January 2018 edition of Gibson Dunn’s Federal Circuit Update discusses the upcoming switch to NextGen CM/ECF at the Federal Circuit, the three pending Federal Circuit cases before the Supreme Court that consider issues regarding inter partes review proceedings and extraterritorial damages, and the Federal Circuit’s motion procedures.  This Update also provides a summary of the pending en banc case involving attorneys’ fees for litigation involving the PTO.  Also included is a summary of the recent en banc decision regarding judicial review of timeliness determinations in inter partes review proceedings and summaries of recent decisions regarding burdens of proof in marking cases and exceptional fees in light of changes in law. Federal Circuit News NextGen CM/ECF.  On March 19, 2018, NextGen CM/ECF will go live for the Federal Circuit.  The new system will streamline logins and simplify access to the website by eliminating, for example, the need for Java plug-ins.  Users may upgrade their PACER accounts by following instructions found here. Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court has heard oral argument on two cases from the Federal Circuit this term, and recently granted certiorari on a third case: Case Status Issue WesternGeco LLC (Schlumberger) v. ION Geophysical Corp., No. 16-1011 Certiorari granted Jan. 12, 2018 Recoverability of lost profits for foreign use in cases where patent infringement is proven under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f) Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, No. 16-712 Argued on Nov. 27, 2017 Constitutionality of inter partes review under Article III and the Seventh Amendment SAS Institute Inc. v. Matal, No. 16-969 Argued on Nov. 27, 2017 The number of claims that must be addressed by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in a final written decision during inter partes review Upcoming En Banc Federal Circuit Cases NantKwest, Inc. v. Matal, No. 16-1794 (Fed. Cir.):  Whether the PTO can recover attorneys’ fees in litigation under 35 U.S.C. § 145. After the PTAB affirmed the examiner’s rejection of NantKwest’s patent application, NantKwest appealed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia under 35 U.S.C. § 145.  The PTO prevailed on the merits of the appeal and moved to recover both attorneys’ fees and expert fees.  Section 145 provides that “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings shall be paid by the applicant.”  Applying this provision, the district court granted the PTO’s request for expert fees, but rejected the PTO’s request for attorneys’ fees.  A panel of the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s holding as to attorneys’ fees, holding that “[a]ll expenses of the proceedings,” under § 145, authorizes an award of attorneys’ fees.  (Decision available here.) The Federal Circuit sua sponte ordered that the panel decision be vacated and that the case be reheard en banc.  Four amicus briefs have been filed, two in support of NantKwest (the International Trademark Association and the Intellectual Property Owners Association) and two in support of neither party (Federal Circuit Bar Association and American Intellectual Property Law Association).  Oral argument is scheduled to be heard on March 8, 2018. Question presented: Did the panel in NantKwest, Inc. v. Matal, 860 F.3d 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2017) correctly determine that 35 U.S.C. § 145’s “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings” provision authorizes an award of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s attorneys’ fees? Federal Circuit Practice Update Motion Practice before the Federal Circuit.  Motions before the Federal Circuit are governed by Fed. R. App. P. 27 and Fed. Cir. R. 27, as well as IOP #2.  Below is a brief summary of the rules regarding motion practice. Timing.  A motion may generally be filed at any time.  The opposing party must file its response, if any, within 10 days after service of the motion.  Fed. R. App. P. 27(a)(3)(A).  Any reply to a response must be filed within seven days after the response is served.  Fed. R. App. P. 27(a)(4).  However, certain motions must be filed within a certain period of time.  For example, a motion to dismiss generally must be filed before the opening appellate brief is filed—if the party fails to file the motion in a timely manner, that argument must instead be included in the party’s response to the opening appellate brief.  Fed. Cir. R. 27(f) (joint or unopposed motions to dismiss or remand, however, may be made at any time).  As another example, absent “extraordinary circumstances,” motions for extension of time must be filed at least seven days before the brief is due.  Fed. Cir. R. 26(b)(1). Length.  The motion or response must not exceed 5,200 words; the reply must not exceed 2,600 words.  Fed. R. App. P. 27(d)(2)(A), (C).  Certificates of interest, affidavits, and proofs of service do not count in regards to this word count.  Fed. Cir. R. 27(d).  Motions generally cannot not be incorporated into briefs, except as provided in Fed. Cir. R. 27(e)–(f).  See Fed. Cir. R. 27(g). Content.  A motion must contain a statement for the grounds and relief sought.  Fed. R. App. P. 27(a)(2).  The content of a motion filed before the Federal Circuit preferably includes the material outlined in Fed. Cir. R. 27(a), including: (1) the name of this court; (2) the caption; (3) the title of the motion; (4) the grounds for the motion, the relief sought, and the legal argument to support the motion; (5) the movant’s statement of consent or opposition to the motion; (6) counsel’s or pro se party’s signature; (7) the certificate of interest (see Fed. Cir. R. 47.4); (8) supporting affidavit; and (9) the proof of service (see Fed. R. App. P. 25(d)).  A subset of these preferred contents is provided for the opposition and reply filings in Fed. Cir. R. 27(b) and (c). Motions Panel.  Every month, the Chief Judge appoints a motions panel, consisting of three judges with a designated lead judge.  IOP #2(1).  Whether motions are heard by the motions panel or the merits panel depends in large part on the timing of when the motion is filed.  IOP #2(4).  Non-procedural, opposed motions filed before briefs have been delivered to the merits panel are generally heard by the motions panel (procedural or unopposed motions may be decided by the Clerk).  IOP #2(4), (6).  The motions panel may defer the motion to the merits panel.  IOP #2(4).  If the motion is filed after the briefs have been delivered to the merits panel, the merits panel generally will decide the motion.  IOP #2(6), (7).  Motions are generally decided without oral argument.  Fed. R. App. P. 27(e); IOP #2(5). Key Case Summaries (December 2017 – January 2018) Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp., No. 2015-1944, -1945, -1946 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 8, 2018) (en banc): IPR time bar determinations by the PTAB are appealable. Broadcom filed a petition for IPR.  Wi-Fi One asserted that Broadcom’s petition was time barred under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) due to Broadcom being in alleged privity with litigants whose cases predated the one-year time limit.  The PTAB disagreed and instituted the IPR.  On appeal from the Board’s subsequent determination of unpatentability, Wi-Fi One again asserted that the Board had no authority to review the claims given the § 315(b) bar.  The Federal Circuit panel rejected this, following Achates that, per § 314(d), such determinations are unreviewable because they are “final and nonappealable.” The en banc Federal Circuit majority (Reyna, J., joined by Prost, C.J., and Newman, Moore, O’Malley, Wallach, Taranto, Chen, and Stoll, JJ.) recognized “the strong presumption in favor of judicial review of agency actions.”  The majority stated that, to overcome this presumption, “Congress must clearly and convincingly indicate its intent to prohibit judicial review,” which it found lacking here. In concurrence, Judge O’Malley would have relied on a more fundamental rationale—namely that, if the PTO “exceeds its statutory authority by instituting an IPR proceeding under circumstances contrary to the language of § 315(b), [the Federal Circuit] … should review those determinations.”  Judges Hughes, Lourie, Bryson, and Dyk dissented, reading § 314(d) as conveying “Congress’s intent to prohibit judicial review of the Board’s IPR institution decision” as a whole. Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreational Prods. Inc., No. 17-1475 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 7, 2017): Defining the burdens of each party when the court considers a marking challenge. Arctic Cat sued Bombardier alleging infringement of two patents relating to a steering system for personal watercraft.  After the district court denied Bombardier’s motions for summary judgment on various issues, including the failure of Arctic Cat’s sole licensee to mark its products with the patent, the case went to trial.  The jury found that Bombardier failed to prove invalidity of the two asserted patents and that it willfully infringed the two patents.  The jury awarded Arctic Cat damages and a royalty, and the district court trebled damages in a subsequent order.  The district court also denied Bombardier’s motion for judgment as a matter of law as to all issues, including invalidity, marking, damages, and willfulness. The Federal Circuit (Moore, J.) affirmed-in-part and vacated-in-part the district court’s rulings.  The court found substantial evidence supporting the jury’s finding regarding validity and further affirmed the royalty and willfulness holdings, but it vacated the district court’s holding relating to marking. The court acknowledged that the allocation of burdens on marking was a question of first impression that had split district courts.  The court held that an alleged infringer who challenges a patentee’s compliance with § 287 bears only “an initial burden of production to articulate the products it believes are unmarked ‘patented articles’ subject to § 287.”  The court explained: “To be clear, this is a low bar.  The alleged infringer need only put the patentee on notice that he or his authorized licensees sold specific unmarked products which the alleged infringer believes practice the patent.” Once the alleged infringer meets its burden, the patentee has the burden to prove that the identified products do not practice the patented invention. Inventor Holdings, LLC v. Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc., No. 16-2442 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 8, 2017): A plaintiff must reevaluate its case after changes in the law to avoid facing an exceptional case fee award for its continued litigation. Inventor Holdings sued Bed Bath & Beyond (“BBB”) for infringement of a patent in April 2014, which was about two months before the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014).  BBB moved for judgment on the pleadings, the district court granted the motion, and the Federal Circuit in an earlier appeal affirmed the district court under Rule 36.  BBB then moved for attorneys’ fees, arguing that, once Alice issued, Inventor Holdings should have reevaluated its case and dismissed the action because its claims were objectively without merit.  The district court awarded BBB its attorneys’ fees beginning from the date of the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice, and Inventor Holdings appealed. The Federal Circuit (Chen, J.) affirmed.  It determined that the district court acted within its discretion in finding the case exceptional because of the weakness of Inventor Holdings’ § 101 arguments after the issuance of Alice and the need “to deter similarly weak arguments in the future.”  The court held that Alice was “a significant change in the law as applied to the facts of this particular case” and that “there is no uncertainty or difficulty in applying the principles set out in Alice to reach the conclusion” that the claims of the patent at issue were ineligible.  The court further explained that it was Inventor Holdings’ “responsibility to reassess its case in view of new controlling law,” so the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding fees based on Inventor Holdings’ failure to reassess its case after Alice issued. Upcoming Oral Argument Calendar For a list of upcoming arguments at the Federal Circuit, please click here. Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the Federal Circuit.  Please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work or the authors of this alert: Blaine H. Evanson – Los Angeles (+1 213-229-7228, bevanson@gibsondunn.com) Blair A. Silver – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-955-8690, bsilver@gibsondunn.com) Please also feel free to contact any of the following practice group co-chairs or any member of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law or Intellectual Property practice groups: Appellate and Constitutional Law Group: Mark A. Perry – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3667, mperry@gibsondunn.com) Caitlin J. Halligan – New York (+1 212-351-4000, challigan@gibsondunn.com) Nicole A. Saharsky – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3669, nsaharsky@gibsondunn.com) Intellectual Property Group: Josh Krevitt – New York (+1 212-351-4000, jkrevitt@gibsondunn.com) Wayne Barsky – Los Angeles (+1 310-552-8500, wbarsky@gibsondunn.com)Mark Reiter – Dallas (+1 214-698-3100, mreiter@gibsondunn.com) © 2018 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

January 30, 2018 |
TC Heartland and Hatch-Waxman: Square Peg in a Round Hole

New York partners Jane Love, Robert Trenchard and Paul Torchia are the authors of “TC Heartland and Hatch-Waxman: Square Peg in a Round Hole,” published in Law360 on January 30, 2018.

January 19, 2018 |
2017 Trade Secrets Litigation Round-Up

2017 saw a number of interesting developments in trade secrets law, including the emergence of several trends under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, as courts grappled with the federal civil trade secrets statute enacted just over a year and a half ago.  On the criminal side, we saw the Trump administration aggressively prosecute individuals for trade secret theft and cyberespionage, including an engineer who allegedly sold military trade secrets to an undercover FBI agent whom he believed to be a Russian spy.  We also saw the U.S. Supreme Court deny certiorari in two closely watched trade secrets cases under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Jason Schwartz, Greta Williams, Mia Donnelly and Brittany Raia discuss these and other significant 2017 developments in trade secrets law in their article “2017 Trade Secrets Litigation Round-Up” published in BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal in January 2018. Reprinted with permission from BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal, January 19, 2018.  © 2018, The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.  Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding the issues discussed in this update.  Please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work or the authors in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office: Jason C. Schwartz (+1 202-955-8242, jschwartz@gibsondunn.com) Greta B. Williams (+1 202-887-3745, gbwilliams@gibsondunn.com) Mia C. Donnelly (+1 202-887-3617, mdonnelly@gibsondunn.com) Brittany A. Raia (+1 202-887-3773, braia@gibsondunn.com) Please also feel free to contact any of the following practice group leaders and members: Labor and Employment Group: Catherine A. Conway – Los Angeles (+1 213-229-7822, cconway@gibsondunn.com) Jason C. Schwartz – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-955-8242, jschwartz@gibsondunn.com) Intellectual Property Group: Josh Krevitt – New York (+1 212-351-2490, jkrevitt@gibsondunn.com) Wayne Barsky – Los Angeles (+1 310-557-8183, wbarsky@gibsondunn.com) Mark Reiter – Dallas (+1 214-698-3360, mreiter@gibsondunn.com) Michael Sitzman – San Francisco (+1 415-393-8200, msitzman@gibsondunn.com) Privacy, Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection Group: Alexander H. Southwell – New York (+1 212-351-3981, asouthwell@gibsondunn.com) Benjamin B. Wagner – Palo Alto (+1 650-849-5395, bwagner@gibsondunn.com) © 2018 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

December 8, 2017 |
In re Cray Inc.: The Federal Circuit’s Antidote to Patent-Venue Forum Shopping

​Washington, D.C. partner Matthew McGill and San Francisco associate Alex Harris are the authors of “In re Cray Inc.: The Federal Circuit’s Antidote to Patent-Venue Forum Shopping,” [PDF] published in the Washington Legal Foundation’s Legal Opinion Letters on December 8, 2017.

November 30, 2017 |
Federal Circuit Update (November 2017)

This November 2017 edition of Gibson Dunn’s Federal Circuit Update discusses the recent Friedman Lecture on Appellate Advocacy by Judge Alan Lourie, the two pending Federal Circuit cases before the Supreme Court that consider issues regarding inter partes review proceedings, and the Federal Circuit’s en banc procedures.  This Update also provides summaries of the two pending en banc cases involving judicial review of timeliness determinations in inter partes review proceedings and attorneys’ fees for litigation involving the PTO.  Also included is a summary of the recent en banc decision regarding motions to amend in inter partes review proceedings and a pair of decisions relating to patent venue and patent eligibility. Federal Circuit News On November 17, 2017, Judge Alan Lourie spoke at the Friedman Memorial Lecture on Excellence in Appellate Advocacy put on by the Federal Circuit Bar Association.  In his remarks, Judge Lourie chiefly addressed the Supreme Court’s recent reversal of a number of Federal Circuit decisions, such as TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC.  Judge Lourie stated that the Federal Circuit “should not be affronted” by these reversals, as they have not necessarily occurred because the appellate court was “wrong.”  Instead, these reversals may be attributed to factors such as changes in technology and the Supreme Court’s apparent desire “to limit the continued existence of long-established rules specific to patent law, that set it apart from general law.”  Finally, Judge Lourie stated that he believes the Federal Circuit has been and continues to serve its purpose of providing uniformity in patent law. Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court has heard oral argument on two cases from the Federal Circuit this term: Case Status Issue Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, No. 16-712 Argued on Nov. 27, 2017 Constitutionality of inter partes review under Article III and the Seventh Amendment SAS Institute Inc. v. Matal, No. 16-969 Argued on Nov. 27, 2017 The number of claims that must be addressed by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in a final written decision during inter partes review Upcoming En Banc Federal Circuit Cases Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp., No. 15-1944 (Fed. Cir.):  The Federal Circuit’s jurisdiction to review the PTAB’s determination that a petitioner is not time-barred under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b). The PTAB instituted an inter partes review proceeding against Wi-Fi One’s patent.  Wi-Fi One argued that Broadcom was time-barred under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) from seeking review because Broadcom was in privity with time-barred district court litigants.  The PTAB disagreed, determining that Wi-Fi One did not establish that Broadcom had sufficient control over district court litigation to support a privity finding.  On appeal, the Federal Circuit held that it does not have jurisdiction to review the PTAB’s determination that Broadcom was not time-barred, holding that the Supreme Court’s decision in Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee, 136 S. Ct. 2131 (2016), did not implicitly overrule prior Federal Circuit precedent on the issue (decision available here).  To date, two amicus briefs have been filed in support of Wi-Fi One (WesternGeco LLC and 3DS Innovations, LLC), eight amicus briefs have been filed in support of neither party (Jeremy Cooper Doerre, New York Intellectual Property Law Association, Federal Circuit Bar Association, Intellectual Property Owners Association, Boston Patent Law Association, Professors of Patent and Administrative Law, American Intellectual Property Law Association, and Biotechnology Innovation Organization), and three amicus briefs have been filed in support of Broadcom (Oracle, Intel, and Apple).  Oral argument was heard on May 4, 2017. Question presented: Should this court overrule Achates Reference Publishing, Inc. v. Apple Inc., 803 F.3d 652 (Fed. Cir. 2015) and hold that judicial review is available for a patent owner to challenge the PTO’s determination that the petitioner satisfied the timeliness requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) governing the filing of petitions for inter partes review? Nantkwest, Inc. v. Matal, No. 16-1794 (Fed. Cir.):  Whether the PTO can recover attorneys’ fees in litigation under 35 U.S.C. § 145. After the PTAB affirmed the examiner’s rejection of Nantkwest’s patent application, Nantkwest appealed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia under 35 U.S.C. § 145.  The PTO prevailed on the merits of the appeal and moved to recover both attorneys’ fees and expert fees.  Section 145 provides that “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings shall be paid by the applicant.”  Applying this provision, the district court granted the PTO’s request for expert fees, but rejected the PTO’s request for attorneys’ fees.  A panel of the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s holding as to attorneys’ fees, holding that “[a]ll expenses of the proceedings,” under § 145, authorizes an award of attorneys’ fees.  (Decision available here.)  Following the entry of judgment, however, the Federal Circuit sua sponte ordered that the panel decision be vacated and that the case be reheard en banc.  To date, no amicus briefs have been filed, and oral argument has not yet been scheduled. Question presented: Did the panel in NantKwest, Inc. v. Matal, 860 F.3d 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2017) correctly determine that 35 U.S.C. § 145’s “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings” provision authorizes an award of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s attorneys’ fees? Federal Circuit Practice Update The Federal Circuit’s Internal Operating Procedure No. 14 governs which judges may vote on whether to take a case en banc, and which judges may participate in the en banc.  Consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 46(c), the composition of the en banc court generally consists of all active judges who are not recused and not disqualified, as well as any senior judge who participated in the panel decision that is now being reviewed by the en banc court.  IOP #14.7.  The decision of whether to rehear a case en banc is made by the active judges and panel judges.  IOP #14.2.  As such, judges sitting by designation on a panel may vote on whether to take a case en banc, but may not participate in the en banc itself.  Decisions for hearings en banc are only made by active judges.  IOP #14.1.  Therefore, it is possible that a highly contentious issue in an en banc case might turn on the composition of the original panel. By way of illustration, the en banc court issued its decision in Aqua Products, Inc. v. Matal (PTO), 2015-1177, on October 4, 2017 (summary of the decisions below).  The decision consisted of five written opinions (Judge Stoll did not participate): An opinion by Judge O’Malley, in which Judges Newman, Lourie, Moore, and Wallach joined, and Judges Dyk and Reyna concurred in the result; An opinion by Judge Moore, in which Judges Newman and O’Malley joined; An opinion by Judge Reyna, in which Judge Dyk joined, and Chief Judge Prost and Judges Taranto, Chen, and Hughes joined in part; An opinion by Judge Taranto, in which Chief Judge Prost and Judges Chen and Hughes joined, and Judges Dyk and Reyna joined in certain respects; and An opinion by Judge Hughes, in which Judge Chen joined. The original panel consisted of Chief Judge Prost, Judge Reyna, and Chief District Judge Stark, sitting by designation.  Judge Stark did not participate in the en banc proceedings because he was sitting by designation.  But if a senior judge had been on the panel instead of Judge Stark, he or she would have been permitted to participate in the en banc proceedings.  And if that judge had joined only Judge O’Malley’s opinion, then no part of Judge Reyna’s opinion or Judge Taranto’s opinion would have commanded a majority of the court’s vote. Key Case Summaries (October – November 2017) In re Aqua Prods., Inc., No. 15-1177 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 4, 2017) (en banc):  Allocation of the burdens of persuasion and production when a patent owner moves to amend in an inter partes review proceeding.  The PTAB instituted an inter partes review proceeding against Aqua’s patent, which relates to automated swimming pool cleaners.  Aqua moved to amend the challenged claims to distinguish the cited prior art.  The PTAB, however, denied Aqua’s motion, determining that Aqua failed to carry its burden of showing patentability of the proposed substitute claims over the prior art of record.  On appeal, the PTO intervened to defend the PTAB’s decision.  A panel of the Federal Circuit affirmed, but the court subsequently granted Aqua’s petition for rehearing en banc. Sitting en banc, the Federal Circuit issued five separate opinions: a lead opinion written by Judge O’Malley, concurring opinions by Judges Moore and Reyna, and dissenting opinions by Judges Taranto and Hughes.  A majority of the Federal Circuit held that the PTO has not set forth an interpretation of 35 U.S.C. § 316(e)—titled “Evidentiary Standards”—that is entitled to deference under Chevron.  The court further held that § 316(e) is ambiguous as to the allocation of the burden of persuasion of establishing the unpatentability of substitute claims, but that the most reasonable interpretation is that the petitioner bears the burden of persuasion.  A majority also held that 35 U.S.C. § 316(d) and 37 C.F.R. § 42.121 place a default burden of production on the patentee.  As to whether the PTAB can sua sponte raise patentability challenges to a substitute claim, a majority concluded that the record before the court did not present the “precise question,” and thus opted not to answer it.  The Federal Circuit thus vacated the PTAB’s denial of Aqua’s motion to amend and remanded for the PTAB to reconsider the motion without placing the burden of persuasion on the patent owner. Two-Way Media Ltd. v. Comcast Cable Commc’ns, LLC, Nos. 16-2531, 16-2532 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 1, 2017): Importance of claim scope in 101 eligibility determinations. Two-Way Media sued Comcast alleging infringement of four patents.  The patents all involved IP multicasting, which provided a way to transmit a packet of information to multiple recipients.  Comcast moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the claims were ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  Two-Way Media argued that the motion was premature because claim construction was necessary to evaluate the claims, but Two-Way Media also provided proposed claim constructions for certain terms.  Two-Way Media also asked the district court to take judicial notice of expert reports and testimony from other cases addressing the novelty and nonobviousness of the claimed inventions.  The district court adopted Two-Way Media’s proposed claim constructions for its analysis of the motion but denied Two-Way Media’s request to take judicial notice of the expert materials because the evidence was irrelevant to an eligibility analysis under § 101.  The district court then found the claims patent ineligible under § 101, and Two-Way Media appealed. The Federal Circuit (Reyna, J.) affirmed.  The court separated its analysis of the four patents into two groups.  In analyzing step 1 for the first set, the court explained that the representative claim required the functional results of converting, routing, controlling, monitoring, and accumulating records, but the claim did not describe how to achieve those results “in a non-abstract way.”  The court concluded that the claim constructions proposed by Two-Way Media did not change the analysis because the constructions “recite only conventional components” and were not directed to a scalable network architecture—as argued by Two-Way Media—that improved the functioning of the system. Turning to step two, the court held that the claimed elements did not provide an inventive concept to render the claims patent eligible.  The court concluded that, although the specification described the system architecture as a technological innovation, the representative claim failed to recite the purportedly innovative system architecture.  The court explained: “[t]he main problem that Two-Way Media cannot overcome is that the claim—as opposed to something purportedly described in the specification—is missing an inventive concept.”  The court therefore found the representative claim ineligible, even though the specification purportedly described an innovative system architecture, because the claim did not cover the same scope as described in the specification.  The court also rejected Two-Way Media’s argument regarding its evidence of novelty and nonobviousness because such evidence was not material to the eligibility analysis. The court similarly found the second set of patents ineligible under § 101.  According to the court, the district court did not err in citing to the preamble of the patents to determine the “focus” of the claims.  The court noted that the claims were broader than the claims in the first set of patents and were similarly directed to abstract ideas.  The claims also suffered from the same problem as the representative claim of the first set of patents: the claims did not cover an inventive concept, such as the purportedly innovative system architecture, despite the specification’s discussion of that architecture. In re Micron Techs., Inc., No. 2017-138 (Fed. Cir. Nov 15, 2017): The venue defense in TC Heartland was not previously “available” to defendants and thus not waived under Rule 12. In 2016, the President and Fellows of Harvard College filed a patent infringement case in the District of Massachusetts against Micron Technologies, which is incorporated in Delaware.  Under the then-prevailing view of venue articulated in V.E. Holding Corp. v. Johnson Gas Appliance Co., 917 F.2d 1574, 1575 (Fed. Cir. 1990), venue would have been proper.  As such, Micron, like many defendants, did not object to venue with a motion under Rule 12(b)(3). After the Supreme Court’s TC Heartland decision earlier this year, venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) on the basis of where Micron resides became improper, as the Court determined that “a domestic corporation ‘resides’ only in its State of incorporation for purposes of the patent venue statue” (here, Delaware, not Massachusetts).  The Supreme Court, however, stated that this determination was not a “change” of law, but rather an articulation of what the law always had been (notwithstanding the Federal Circuit’s view in V.E. Holding). Accordingly, when Micron brought a post-TC Heartland motion objecting to venue, the district court held that Micron had waived its venue objection by not raising it in its initial Rule 12 motion, there being no change of law to make waiver inapplicable.  See Rule 12(g)(2), (h)(1)(A).  Other district courts, however, have reached different conclusions, holding that the venue defense stated in TC Heartland was not previously available, and thus waiver does not apply. In Micron, the Federal Circuit resolved the split, holding that, as a matter of “common sense” the venue objection was not “available” until after TC Heartland.  Writing for the panel, Judge Taranto explained:  “[B]efore then, it would have been improper, given controlling precedent, for the district court to dismiss or to transfer for lack of venue.”  Given that the Federal Circuit’s controlling V.E Holding decision precluded district courts from adopting a venue defense or objection of this type, “the defense or objection was not ‘available’ to the movant.” Nevertheless, the panel held that waiver by operation of Rule 12 “is not the sole basis” on which a district court might rule that a defendant had forfeited an otherwise valid venue defense.  Citing a district court’s inherent authority, the panel noted that a court could find forfeiture of a venue objection if not timely raised, barring defendants from taking a “tactical wait-and-see” approach and foregoing earlier opportunities to raise the defense. Upcoming Oral Argument Calendar For a list of upcoming arguments at the Federal Circuit, please click here. Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the Federal Circuit.  Please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work or the authors of this alert: Blaine H. Evanson – Los Angeles (213-229-7228, bevanson@gibsondunn.com) Blair A. Silver – Washington, D.C. (202-955-8690, bsilver@gibsondunn.com) Please also feel free to contact any of the following practice group co-chairs or any member of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law or Intellectual Property practice groups: Appellate and Constitutional Law Group: Mark A. Perry – Washington, D.C. (202-887-3667, mperry@gibsondunn.com) James C. Ho – Dallas (214-698-3264, jho@gibsondunn.com) Caitlin J. Halligan – New York (212-351-4000, challigan@gibsondunn.com) Nicole A. Saharsky – Washington, D.C. (202-887-3669, nsaharsky@gibsondunn.com) Intellectual Property Group: Josh Krevitt – New York (212-351-4000, jkrevitt@gibsondunn.com) Wayne Barsky – Los Angeles (310-552-8500, wbarsky@gibsondunn.com)Mark Reiter – Dallas (214-698-3100, mreiter@gibsondunn.com) © 2017 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

November 2, 2017 |
2016/2017 Federal Circuit Year in Review

We are pleased to present Gibson Dunn’s fifth “Federal Circuit Year In Review,” providing a statistical overview and substantive summaries of the 124 precedential patent opinions issued by the Federal Circuit over the 2016-2017 year. This term was marked by one en banc decision, a case of first impression regarding the post-AIA on-sale bar (Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharm. USA, Inc., 855 F.3d 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2017)), and significant decisions in patent law jurisprudence with regard to subject matter eligibility (McRO, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games America Inc., 837 F.3d 1299 (Fed. Cir. 2016) and Elec. Power Grp. v. Alstom S.A., 830 F.3d 1350 (Fed. Cir. 2017)), the scope of covered business method review (Secure Axcess, LLC v. PNC Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 848 F.3d 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2017) and Unwired Planet, LLC v. Google Inc., 841 F.3d 1376 (Fed. Cir. 2016)), and the Federal Circuit’s jurisdiction to review findings related to the PTAB’s decision to institute IPR (Husky Injection Molding Sys., Ltd. v. Athena Automation Ltd., 838 F.3d 1236 (Fed. Cir. 2016)).  The issues most frequently addressed in precedential decisions by the Court over the last year were: claim construction (39 opinions); obviousness (36 opinions); infringement (26 opinions); anticipation (18 opinions); and written description, enablement, or definiteness (18 opinions). The Year In Review provides a concise, substantive analysis of the Court’s precedential patent decisions. The easy-to-use Table of Contents is organized by issue, so that the reader can easily identify all of the relevant cases bearing on the issue of choice. Use the Federal Circuit Year In Review to find out: Which issues have a better chance on appeal based on the Federal Circuit’s history of affirming or reversing that issue in the past, including the real rate of affirmance on claim construction. The average length of time from issuance of a final decision in the district court and docketing at the Federal Circuit to issuance of a Federal Circuit opinion on appeal. What the likelihood of success is at the Federal Circuit if you are a patentee or the opponent based on the issue being appealed. The Federal Circuit’s history of affirming or reversing cases from a specific district court. How likely a particular panel will be to render a unanimous opinion or a fractured decision with a majority, concurrence, or dissent. The Federal Circuit’s affirmance/reversal rate in cases from the district court, ITC, and the PTO. The Year In Review provides a statistical analysis of how the Federal Circuit has been deciding precedential patent cases, such as affirmance and reversal rates (overall, by issue, and by District Court), average time from lower tribunal decision to key milestones (oral argument, decision), win rate for patentee versus opponent (overall, by issue, and by District Court), decision rate by Judge (number of unanimous, majority, plurality, concurring, or dissenting opinions), and other helpful statistics. The Year In Review is an ideal resource for practitioners seeking an objective report on the Court’s decisions. Please click here to view the FEDERAL CIRCUIT YEAR IN REVIEW Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the Federal Circuit.  Please contact the Gibson Dunn lawyer with whom you usually work or the authors of this alert: Mark A. Perry – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3667, mperry@gibsondunn.com) Michael Sitzman – San Francisco (+1 415-393-8200, msitzman@gibsondunn.com) Blair A. Silver – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-955-8500, bsilver@gibsondunn.com) Please also feel free to contact any of the following practice group co-chairs or any member of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law or Intellectual Property practice groups:  Appellate and Constitutional Law Group:Mark A. Perry – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3667, mperry@gibsondunn.com) James C. Ho – Dallas (+1 214-698-3264, jho@gibsondunn.com) Caitlin J. Halligan – New York (+1 212-351-4000, challigan@gibsondunn.com) Nicole A. Saharsky – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3669, nsaharsky@gibsondunn.com) Intellectual Property Group: Josh Krevitt – New York (+1 212-351-4000, jkrevitt@gibsondunn.com) Wayne Barsky – Los Angeles (+1 310-552-8500, wbarsky@gibsondunn.com)Mark Reiter – Dallas (+1 214-698-3100, mreiter@gibsondunn.com) © 2017 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.