The Interplay Between Section 230 Immunity and The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2018

The Ninth Circuit was recently called upon to decide a case of first impression for it involving the interplay between immunity granted to website providers under the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) and potential civil liability under The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2018 (“FOSTA”). In the case, Jane Does v. Reddit, Inc., decided October 24, 2022, the Court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ class action complaint against Reddit for allegedly hosting child pornography in its forums after analyzing the interplay between the CDA and FOSTA.

From Saving the World to Fighting Over IP: Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech

One of the most amazing accomplishments in the field of biotechnology has been the development and distribution of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID 19). The numbers tell the story.

The time from when the coronavirus’ RNA sequence, identified by China, was published on January 11, 2020 to the date that clinical trials in the U.S. began in March 2020 was 66 days. From the date the RNA sequence was published to the date that a vaccine was first administered to the public, on December 11, 2020, was 11 months. Within a year of the date the RNA sequence was published, both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech were providing thousands of doses of mRNA vaccines to people around the world. The mRNA vaccines were extremely effective – they provided about 94-95% protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. These vaccines are now available to anyone over the age of six months. In the world’s wealthiest countries, and in much of the rest of the world, vaccine availability is no longer a factor getting vaccinated.

District Court Finds Plaintiff Failed to Meet Pre-Filing Meet and Confer Requirements

In SSMiller IP LLC v. Sugar Beets LLC, 2-22-cv-02576 (CDCA Oct. 21, 2022)District Judge George H. Wu of the Central District of California found the parties did not sufficiently meet and confer as required by the Local Rules before Plaintiff filed its motion to dismiss Defendant’s noninfringement and invalidity counterclaims. The Court, in its discretion, still considered the motion to dismiss but ultimately summarily denied plaintiff’s motion.

NBA Star Luka Doncic Goes Hard in the Paint and Seeks to Cancel Mom’s Trademark

An interesting trademark dispute has arisen between Dallas Mavericks phenom Luka Doncic and his mother over the trademark LUKA DONCIC 7, which is currently owned by Doncic’s mother. I can’t imagine this is the first time there has been a familial dispute over trademark rights, but I can definitely say this is the first time that I personally have ever seen a mother and son feuding over such things. It’s odd to say the least.

Tattoo Artist Copyright Win Will Create Uncertainty Over Celebrities with Tattoos

A jury in the District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in the case of Alexander v. Take-Two Interactive Software found that the depiction of tattoos on wrestler Randy Orton in a video game published by Take Two Interactive infringed the tattoo artist’s copyright in the tattoos. In this author’s personal opinion, the District Court got it all wrong.

Area Man Defends the Rights of Satirists: The Onion’s Headline-Grabbing Amicus Brief Defends the Right to Deadpan Parody

The Onion recently filed a headline-grabbing amicus brief intended to defend the rights of Ohio amateur satirist Anthony Novak. Novak created the “City of Parma Police Department” Facebook account, admittedly to exercise his “fundamental American right” of “[m]ocking our government officials.” His posts to the account included mock advertisements for a “Pedophile Reform event” and a program intended to starve the homeless to encourage them to leave the area. Soon after, the police department obtained a search warrant, seized his phone and laptop, and arrested Novak for disrupting police functions.   

Tips for Avoiding Copyright Infringement

Copyright protection automatically attaches to a work when it is created. Specifically, copyright protection attaches to the original, creative work when it is fixed in a tangible medium, such as when it is written, drawn, recorded digitally, or typed electronically. Copyright law “protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.” It also protects images, photos, videos, and other written work, such as blog posts.  See here.

Connect 4: Trade Dress Infringement and Secondary Meaning

You are likely familiar with the children’s game, Connect 4, in which players drop red and black checker pieces into an upright rack trying to get four of their pieces in a row to win. Some of you may have even seen enlarged outdoor versions of the Connect 4 game at various venues. On August 24, 2022, the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in P and P Imports, LLC v. Johnson Enterprises, LLC, in which the parties were battling a trade dress infringement claim involving these large outdoor Connect 4-like games.

District Court Finds Mobile Payment Patents Not Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

In Mobile Equity Corp. v. Walmart Inc., 2-21-cv-00126 (EDTX Sep. 8, 2022) (Roy S. Payne), the Court found that the asserted claims were not directed towards an abstract idea and did not encompass unpatentable subject matter and therefore were not invalid under 35 U.S.C § 101.

Pursuant to 35 U.S.C § 101, “whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.” A claim falls outside of 35 U.S.C § 101 where (1) it is directed to a patent-ineligible concept, i.e., a law of nature, natural phenomenon, or abstract idea, and (2), if so, the particular elements of the claim, considered both individually and as an ordered combination, do not add enough to transform the nature of the claim into a patent-eligible application.