Kristina Tsamis

  • In the court

    Intellectual Property

    California Court of Appeal Rules Models’ Right of Publicity Claims Assignable, Not Preempted by Copyright Act

    The California Court of Appeal held earlier this month that certain right of publicity claims are freely assignable, and that the Copyright Act does not preempt a right of publicity claim where the defendant has no legal right to publish the copyrighted work. The decision, Timed Out v. Youabian, 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 830 (Cal. App. Ct. Sept. 12, 2014), will encourage right of publicity lawsuits and increase the costs associated with rights clearances.

    / Sep 25, 2014 at 3:11 PM
  • Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

    Intellectual Property

    Federal Trade Secrets Protection Act Approved by House Judiciary Committee

    On September 17, 2014, the House Judiciary Committee approved the bi-partisan federal Trade Secrets Protection Act of 2014, H.R. 5233, which we previously wrote about when introduced in July, 2014 by North Carolina Representative George Holding. H.R. 5233 seeks to amend the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 to create a federal civil remedy for trade secret misappropriation. Regarding the importance of the Act, Rep. Holding and other supporters noted that “[a]s of 2009, the value of trade secrets owned by U.S. companies was estimated to be nearly $5 trillion. While current federal law protects other forms of intellectual property by providing access to federal courts for aggrieved parties to seek redress, there is no federal option to do so for trade secret theft.”

    / Sep 25, 2014 at 2:59 PM
  • Please go f@ck yourself and die, SCOTUSblog.

    Intellectual Property

    Is This The End of Patent Trolls?

    Following the Supreme Court’s recent guidance in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, several software patents have been invalidated by the Federal Circuit, and district courts. In Alice Corp., the court set out a two prong validity test. First, whether the subject matter is eligible for a patent; and second, if so, whether the recitation of generic computer components adds something that is not already present when the steps are considered separately? For software patent applicants, Alice Corp. now requires that the method or system 1) improve the functioning of the computer itself, and do more than instruct one to apply the abstract idea on an unspecified generic computer; or 2) effect an improvement in another technology or field.

    / Sep 25, 2014 at 2:53 PM
  • iStock_000003253995Small

    Technology

    New Fast Lane in Open Internet Proceeding

    FCC provides “bulk upload” option for adding even more comments to the million-plus already on file – now who’s going to read them all?

    0 Comments / / Sep 19, 2014 at 4:15 PM
  • Yelp-Reviews

    Federal Government, Technology

    California’s “Yelp” Bill Becomes Law

    In this age social media justice, sooner or later you’re going to have an encounter with a negative online review, whether your a business owner, or simply a consumer. It seems like it’s becoming an accepted aspect of our lives. Increasingly, however, consumer reviews posted on various Internet sites are becoming the subject of litigation.

    / Sep 19, 2014 at 3:22 PM
  • Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

    Technology

    A Wake-Up Call To Counsel Over ESI Discovery

    The recent case of Brown v. Tellermate Holdings Ltd. is noteworthy for its imposition of near-terminal evidentiary sanctions, and order directing counsel and defendant to jointly pay plaintiffs’ cost of bringing motions to compel. But its important lesson is that counsel must stay abreast of continuing changes in information technologies, and critically assess client information about electronically stored information if they are to meet their duties to courts and clients.

    / Sep 15, 2014 at 10:26 AM
  • Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

    Technology

    Discovery of Communications Between Insurers and Reinsurers

    In today’s complex work of insurance, many insurance risks are “reinsured” by a separate insurance carrier. In those instances, it is not unusual for insurers and reinsurers to have regular communications concerning the insured, and in particular, concerning matters about which they both have an interest. Most of the time, the insurer and reinsurer consider such communications to be confidential, and not subject to discovery. However, whether seemingly confidential communications between insurers and reinsurers is discoverable in litigation involving an underlying insured is not a clear cut question. Outside of Texas, there is a split of authority regarding the issue of discoverability of reinsurance communications. A recent order issued by the Northern District of Texas demonstrates that such communication can be discoverable if an insured can persuade the court that the sought after information is relevant to his or her underlying claims.

    / Aug 19, 2014 at 2:12 PM
  • Gavel with American Flag

    Federal Government

    Wearable Device Privacy – A Legislative Priority?

    Ed note: This post originally appeared on Global Regulatory Enforcement Law Blog. Seemingly every day, new types of wearable devices are popping up on the market. Google Glass, Samsung’s Gear, Fitbit (a fitness and activity tracker), Pulse (a fitness tracker that measures heart rate and blood oxygen), and Narrative (a wearable, automatic camera) are just […]

    / Aug 18, 2014 at 12:23 PM
  • Apple logo LF 2

    Technology

    Court Grants Search Warrant to Entire Apple eMail Account for [REDACTED]@mac.com

    Ed note: This post originally appeared on Peter S. Vogel’s Internet, Information Technology & e-Discovery Blog. A Judge ruled it was unreasonable to ask Apple “to execute a search warrant” which “could pose problems, as non-government employees, untrained in the details of criminal investigation, likely lack the requisite skills and expertise to determine whether a […]

    / Aug 18, 2014 at 10:49 AM
  • Global Communications

    JD Supra

    Insurers Be Warned, Your Communications Are Discoverable

    Insurers and reinsurers regularly communicate regarding matters they view as confidential. These communications often relate to claims, both routine and litigated, by the underlying insureds. Insureds, in turn, seek discovery of these communications when claims become contentious and litigated. Recent federal court decisions in Minnesota and Texas demonstrate the willingness of courts to permit discovery of communications between insurance companies and their reinsurers. Conversely, a federal court in Indiana recently rejected requests for reinsurance communications. These cases illustrate the difficultly faced by insurers and reinsurers in understanding the discoverability of their communications prior to litigation. Although insurers and reinsurers may view their communications as confidential, they must be mindful of the potential discoverability of these communications, particularly when litigated claims are involved.

    / Aug 13, 2014 at 9:35 AM
  • cell phone

    JD Supra

    The 21st Century Water Cooler: Discovery and Text Messages

    Text messages, once the exclusive domain of teenagers and college students, are increasingly used in business communications. These communications are, unsurprisingly, also discoverable in a wide variety of litigation contexts, from employment lawsuits to products liability actions. Most importantly, courts, such as the Eastern District of Louisiana in U.S. v. Mix (United States v. Mix, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146848)and the District of Colorado in Christou v. Beatport, LLC (Christou v. Beatport, LLC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9034), have issued sanctions against litigants who have failed to preserve text messages.

    / Aug 11, 2014 at 2:35 PM
  • scale RF

    Advertising, Federal Government, FTC

    The FTC Has Announced a Weight Loss Settlement … But Wait, Keep Reading

    Ed note: This post originally appeared on Ad Law Access. That the FTC has announced another weight loss settlement is no news at all. The FTC averages about six new weight loss orders per year. The new settlement, nevertheless, is notable as a reminder of the following points. The FTC has the power to impose […]

    / Aug 11, 2014 at 11:30 AM
  • iPhone

    Federal Government, FTC

    Mobile Apps: FTC Says Vague Privacy Policies and Lack of Terms a Problem

    Ed note: This post originally appeared on InfoLawGroup. Last week, the FTC released a study it conducted in connection with price-comparison apps, deal apps and apps that allow people to pay for purchases using their mobile device while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. The newly released study is the latest commentary from the FTC in a […]

    0 Comments / / Aug 11, 2014 at 11:28 AM
  • cellphones

    SCOTUS

    What’s in Your Wallet? Who Cares—What’s in Your Cell Phone Is More Important!

    The United States Supreme Court has tackled the issue of cell phone privacy and ruled that data is different from other forms of technology. In late June, the Supreme Court issued an opinion: those of David Riley, a California man whose smartphone police officers searched, and Brima Wurie, a Massachusetts man who was carrying an older “flip phone” when he was arrested.2 The Riley and Wurie cases presented a straightforward, common question: “whether the police may, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested.”3 In Riley, police stopped the defendant for driving with an expired registration and discovered that his license had been suspended.4 After arresting Riley and impounding his vehicle at the police station, loaded firearms were discovered during a routine inventory search of Riley’s car. The police used this discovery as motivation to rummage through the defendant’s cell phone data, where they found photos and videos potentially linking him to gang activity, including a shooting for which he was later charged. In Wurie, the defendant was arrested on suspicion of selling drugs. At the police station, two cell phones were seized from Wurie. One of the phones, an antiquated “flip phone,” received repeated calls from a number identified as “my house.” After accessing the call history and phone directory, the police were able to identify the caller’s phone number and address. The address did, in fact, turn out to be Wurie’s house, from which they seized illegal drugs, a firearm, and cash attributed to the defendant. In neither case did police obtain a warrant before searching the phones.

    / Aug 5, 2014 at 11:14 AM
  • Intellectual Property, Uncategorized

    Trademark Review (July 2014)

    Past Disparagement Results in Present Cancellation: REDSKINS Marks Cancelled by TTAB

    The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) cancelled six registrations for marks consisting in whole or in part of the term REDSKINS for use in connection with a professional football team, because the marks were found to be disparaging to Native Americans at the time they were registered (between 1967 and 1990).

    The Board found that when used in connection with football services, REDSKINS retains the meaning of “Native American.” Videos of football games, newspapers, and press guides created between 1967 and 1990 established that the respondent “made continuous efforts to associate its football services with Native American imagery.”

    / Jul 31, 2014 at 4:17 PM
  • Intellectual Property

    Federal Circuit Review – Nautilus, Limelight, and Alice (July 2014)

    Supreme Court Sets New Indefiniteness Standard

    In Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., Appeal No. 13-169, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded Federal Circuit’s reversal of summary judgment because the Federal Circuit’s definiteness standard was too lenient.

    Biosig filed a patent infringement suit claiming Nautilus’ exercise machines infringed its patent. Biosig’s patent claims a heart rate monitor that includes a “live” electrode and “common” electrode “mounted . . . in spaced relationship with each other.” The district court granted Nautilus’ motion for summary judgment on the basis the claim term “in spaced relationship with each other” failed the definiteness requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112, second paragraph. The Federal Circuit reversed and remanded, finding a patent claim meets the definiteness threshold so long as the claim is “amenable to construction” and the claim is not “insolubly ambiguous.”

    The Supreme Court held the Federal Circuit’s test does not satisfy the statute’s definiteness requirement and can leave courts without a reliable compass. The Court held a patent is invalid for indefiniteness if its claims, read in light of the specification and the prosecution history, fail to inform, with reasonable certainty, those skilled in the art about the scope of the invention. The Court emphasized this standard not only takes into account the inherent limitations of language, but also requires a patent must be precise enough to afford clear notice of what is claimed. The Court vacated and remanded to the Federal Circuit for reconsideration under the proper standard.

    / Jul 31, 2014 at 4:00 PM
  • Screen shot 2014-08-04 at 1.27.43 PM

    Intellectual Property

    A Window into the Future for Apple’s Trade Dress?

    A few weeks back, Steve discussed Apple’s recent applications to register a trio of non-verbal trademarks.

    Spoiler alert:

    This post contains the USPTO’s ultimate decision regarding the registrability of the design and layout of various application icons as part of a computer operating system, using rectangular geometric figures in rows. However, it isn’t a spoiler for Apple’s applications referenced above (those applications have yet to be assigned to an examining attorney).

    No, instead, I’m referring to a since-abandoned application that provides some interesting contrast with Apple’s applications. In 2012, Microsoft filed an intent-to-use application for the mark shown below:

    / Jul 31, 2014 at 3:55 PM
  • two businessman puts puzzle

    JD Supra, Uncategorized

    In ESI Discovery: Are keywords, concepts and other searches simply antiques?

    The discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) is loaded with potential pitfalls and failure unless the parties add two components to the mix: cooperation and collaboration. Lacking those components, ESI discovery, at least sometimes, can be one of the more painful experiences for the average trial lawyer.

    The problem to overcome is largely that trial lawyers, by their nature, are competitive souls and tend toward competition rather than cooperation. Add to this personality that of the client who expects her lawyer to win everything, every time and we are off to the races.

    In a recent case, the Honorable Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen seems to deal with overly competitive parties and lawyers not inclined toward collaboration; in the recent decision in Progressive Casualty Insurance v. Delaney, 2014 WL 2112927 (D. Nev. May 20, 2014).

    / Jul 31, 2014 at 3:10 PM

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