Articles Posted in Intellectual Property Law

The Supreme Court of the United States has affirmed the Federal Circuits’ Decision for the Helsinn Healthcare v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA case regarding “secret sales” as prior art under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”). In their Opinion, the Court held that given the pre-AIA precedent that even “secret sales” could invalidate a patent, the same “on sale” language in the AIA provisions should be given the same presumption. Further, the addition of the phrase “or otherwise available to the public” does not allow the Court to conclude that Congress intended to alter the meaning of “on sale,” but instead, means that 35 U.S.C. § 102 could be applied to other non-delineated situations.

us-supreme-court-building-2-300x200Helsinn Healthcare (“Helsinn”) produces a treatment utilizing the chemical palonestron to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. During the development of this product, Helsinn entered into two separate and confidential agreements with MGI Pharma, Inc. (“MGI”) giving MGI the right to distribute, promote, sell, and market a 0.25 g dose of palonosetron in the United States. While the dosage was kept confidential, the agreements were reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission. About two years later, in January 2003, Helsinn filed their provisional patent application covering a 0.25 mg dose of palonestron. Helsinn went on to file four patent applications claiming priority to the January 2003 provisional application, with its fourth patent application being filed in 2013 and being subject to the AIA. This fourth patent application led to the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 8,598,219 (the “‘219 patent”).

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. (collectively “Teva”) sought approval to market a generic 0.25 mg palonosetron product. Helsinn, in turn, filed suit against Teva for infringement of the ‘219 patent. Teva claimed that the ‘219 patent was invalid under the AIA because the invention was “in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.” 35 U.S.C. § 102(a)(1).

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Gabriella Bass of Brooklyn, New York, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, COTR, LLC of Indianapolis, Indiana,  infringed her rights in United States Copyright Registration No. VA 2-055-082. Plaintiff is seeking damages, statutory damages, costs, expenses, attorneys’ fees, pre-judgment interest, and other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

The copyright at issue in this case is that for photographs of the fearless girl statue in New York City with the addition of a urinating dog. Bass licensed the photographs that she took to the New York Post. They subsequently ran an article featuring the photoblogphoto-288x300graphs on May 29, 2017 with Bass listed as the photographer. Following the release of the New York Post article, COTR ran an article on their website featuring Bass’ photographs. COTR, however, failed to license the photographs from Bass or obtain her permission or consent to publish the photographs in their article.

Bass is suing for copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. §§ 106 and 501 for COTR’s unauthorized use of her photographs. She is seeking damages and statutory damages for this violation for up to $150,000 per work infringed under 17 U.S.C. §504. Bass also alleges that COTR violated 17 U.S.C. § 1202(b) by removing copyright management information identifying Bass as the photographer. Statutory damages under this violation fall under 17 U.S.C. § 1203(c)(3) and amount to at least $2,500 up to $25,000 per violation.

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While finding the owner of a domain name has traditionally been an easy process, as of May 25, 2018, access for WHOIS information has WhoIS-BlogPhoto-300x245changed. In light of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) adopted by the European Union (“EU”) in April 2016, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) has had to attempt to form new policies to protect registrant information. The Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data (“Temporary Specification”) is ICANN’s attempt to comply with the GDPR while maintaining the WHOIS system by restricting most personal data. While the personal data will not be publicly available without some effort, those with a legitimate interest in the contact information will be able to request such information through their domain registrar. They may also be able to contact the registrant through anonymized email or web forms.

These changes are really hitting home for trademark owners who may not able to file a complaint directly against the domain name registrant due to the information being restricted. While not all WHOIS information is unavailable, complainants in most cases will have extra steps that they must take in order to file a complaint. If the information is not available on WHOIS, the complainant will have to verify that the information is not publicly available in the complaint. After the complaint has been filed, FORUM will contact the registrar to obtain the restricted contact information. For Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (“UDRP”) cases, the complainant will have to amend the complaint with the newly received registrant contact information. For Uniform Rapid Suspension Systems (“URS”) cases, complaints may not be amended to include additional registrant information under the URS Procedure and Rules, however, the Temporary Specification allows FORUM to add registrant information after the complaint is filed.

The Expedited Policy Development Process (“EPDP”) initiated by ICANN will consider the adoption of the temporary specification and will likely include a discussion of a standardized access model for the restricted registration information. For any questions, you can contact the Director of Arbitration for FORUM, Renee Fossen by mail at 6465 Wayzata Blvd., Suite 480, Minneapolis, MN 55405, by phone at 952-516-6456, or email at rfossen@adrforum.com.

Indianapolis, Indiana – Plaintiff and Attorney, Richard N. Bell of McCordsville, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Joan Mattox, infringed his rights to the “Indianapolis Photo” registered on August 4, 2011 with the U.S. Copyright Office, Registration No. VA0001785115.  Plaintiff is seeking actual and statutory damages, costs, reasonable attorney’s fees and other relief deemed just and proper.

Bell has filed many copyright infringement cases on his own behalf based on his copyrights. See:

In this case, Bell claims that Mattox created a website to promote her business in the Indianapolis area with the domain name of http://www.readymadestaffing.com/. The Defendant then used the Indianapolis Photo on the website to garner the attention of prospective customers. It is alleged that the Indianapolis Photo was displayed on the webpage on or about December 15, 2015 and was still being displayed as of the filing of the Complaint. Bell is suing for copyright infringement and vicarious liability for each third-party download of the Indianapolis Photo from the Mattox’s website. Bell claims that Mattox falsely claimed that Ready Made Resources owned all of the photos and images on their website and used the Indianapolis Photo commercially without paying for the use or obtaining authorization from the Plaintiff. Further, Bell alleges that the Defendant refuses to pay damages for the unauthorized use and has not agreed to be enjoined from further use of the Indianapolis Photo.

It is alleged that the Indianapolis Photo was displayed on the webpage on or about December 15, 2015 and was still being displayed as of the filing of the Complaint. Bell is suing for copyright infringement and vicarious liability for each third-party download of the Indianapolis Photo from the Mattox’s website. Bell claims that Mattox falsely claimed that Ready Made Resources owned all of the photos and images on their website and used the Indianapolis Photo commercially without paying for the use or obtaining authorization from the Plaintiff. Further, Bell alleges that the Defendant refuses to pay damages for the unauthorized use and has not agreed to be enjoined from further use of the Indianapolis Photo.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorney Richard Bell of McCordsville, Indiana filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Amy Polston, infringed his rights to the “Indianapolis Photo” registered on August 4, 2011 with the US Copyright Office, Registration No. VA0001785115. Plaintiff is seeking actual and statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, and any other relief as is just and proper.

Bell, who has filed numerous similar cases, took the Indianapolis Photo in March 2000. He subsequently posted the photo online in August 2000 and registered the photo with the US Copyright Office nearly 11 years later. Bell alleges that Polston used the Indianapolis Photo on a website she created to promote and advertise her business in the Indianapolis area. He further alleges that Polston falsely claimed to Trulia.com, the profile host, that shePolston-BlogPhoto owned the copyrights of all images and photographs used on her profile including the Indianapolis Photo. Bell asserts that Polston began using the Indianapolis Photo on her website beginning in 2014 without paying for the use or licensing the photo from him.

Plaintiff has filed this suit as Polston has refused to pay for the unauthorized use and has not agreed to be enjoined from using the Indianapolis Photo. As such, Bell claims that Polston is vicariously liable for each downloaded copy of the Indianapolis Photo by each third-party that downloaded it from her website. He also claims that she is liable for all profits resulting from these downloads and copyright infringement, even if she did not know that any use of the Indianapolis Photo would infringe Bell’s copyright.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Michel Keck of Jefferson Township, Owen County, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, John Mark Lawrence d/b/a Mark Lawrence Art Gallery of Alpharetta, Georgia, and DOES 1 through 25 infringed numerous pieces of artwork. Plaintiff is seeking judgment, actual damages, statutory damages, cost of litigation, and reasonable attorney’s fees.

Keck-BlogPhotoKeck is a successful abstract and mixed media artist. She opened an online art gallery and her own fine art publishing company in 2006. Over 1,500 of her original paintings had sold by the end of 2006 to art collectors throughout the world. Keck has registered 22 original paintings (the “Works”) with the United States Copyright Office.

Defendant Lawrence gave an interview in 2009 stating that he creates his art by digitally manipulating existing images using Photoshop and other such computer programs. In April 2014, Keck was approached by an online distributor, Framed Canvas Art, and was given Lawrence’s contact information as a reference. In response to Keck’s email seeking information about the distributor, Lawrence stated, “I just took a look at your art – wow! You have a new fan.” Over three years later in September 2017, Keck found numerous art pieces for sale attributed to Lawrence that appeared to be unauthorized derivatives of her Works. It looked as though Lawrence would take one of Keck’s Works and then mirror or rotate it before running it through a computerized filter (creating “Unauthorized Derivative Works”).

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Keith F. Bell, Ph.D. of Texas filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Lloy Ball, of Angola, Indiana, and USA Volleyball of Colorado Springs, Colorado infringed his rights in Copyright Registration Number TX-0002-6726-44 titled “Winning Isn’t Normal”KeithBell-BlogPhoto-192x300 (the “Infringed Work”) and his rights in Trademark Registration Number 4630749. Plaintiff is seeking judgment awarding damages, actual damages, profits, statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, injunctive relief, pre-judgement, and post judgment interest.

The Infringed Work was first published in 1982 and registered with the U.S. Copyright Office in 1989. Dr. Bell continues to offer for sale and market his book and derivative works such as posters and t-shirts with a specific passage known as the “WIN Passage”. He has offered and continues to offer licenses to those that may wish to publish or utilize the WIN Passage. The word mark “WINNING ISN’T NORMAL” has also been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office with Registration No. 4630749 for printed matter.

Dr. Bell alleges that Defendant Ball posted a representation of the WIN Passage on his Twitter account on or about November 12, 2015. This post received at least 51 “retweets” and 201 “likes” from Ball’s over 2,000 followers. Dr. Bell also claims that Defendant USA Volleyball posted a representation of the WIN Passage on their Twitter account on or about November 20, 2015 that included a “retweet” of the post by Defendant Ball. This post received at least 30 “retweets” and over 7,000 “likes” from USA Volleyball’s over 123,000 followers. Cease and desist letters were sent to Ball and USA Volleyball on July 15, 2016 and April 21, 2017, respectively. Both Defendants removed their posts shortly after the letter was sent to Ball, automatically removing all retweets of the post. While the Defendants have acknowledged liability to the Plaintiff, they have not agreed to enter into a settlement agreement to protect the Plaintiff’s rights and compensate him for his injuries, leading to this suit for both copyright and trademark infringement.

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Bell-v-Association-BlogPhoto-300x128Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorney Richard Bell of McCordsville, Indiana filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, The Association for Behavior Analysis, Inc., infringed his rights to the “Indianapolis Photo” registered on August 4, 2011 with the US Copyright Office, Registration No. VA0001785115. Plaintiff is seeking actual and statutory damages, costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and any other relief as is just and proper.

Bell has sued many in Indiana federal courts asserting copyright infringement on his own behalf. See:

In this case, Defendant created a website for their business to promote an Indianapolis convention [http://hoosieraba.com/category/Indianapolis]. Plaintiff alleges Defendant published the Indianapolis Photo on that site without his permission. Bell has fully controlled his photograph from 2000 and registered it with the US Copyright Office in 2011. He discovered this alleged infringement of his photo in May 2018 with the use dating back to 2014. The Plaintiff not only alleges copyright infringement, but also vicarious liability for each copy of his photograph downloaded by third-parties from the Defendant’s website.

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Bell-v-Fischer-BlogPhoto-300x144Indianapolis, Indiana –Plaintiff and Attorney, Richard N. Bell of McCordsville, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Harold Fischer, infringed his rights to the “Indianapolis Photo” registered on August 4, 2011 with the US Copyright Office, Registration No. VA0001785115. Plaintiff is seeking actual and statutory damages, costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees and other relief deemed just and proper.

Bell is notorious for filing many lawsuits on his own behalf asserting copyright infringement in Indiana federal courts. He has published or licensed the Indianapolis Photo in compliance with copyright laws since March 2000. The photograph was first published online on August 29, 2000 by Bell on his Web shots account. Almost eleven years later, Bell registered the photograph with the US Copyright Office.

Defendant, Fischer, created a website for his Indianapolis-based business at http://pooltablemoving.com/. It is alleged that he committed copyright infringement by including the Indianapolis Photo on his website from 2016 to 2018 without properly licensing from Bell. The Plaintiff also claims that Fischer is vicariously liable for each downloaded copy of the Indianapolis Photo by any third-party user from the business website.

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Eli Lilly & Company and its subsidiary, Elanco US Inc., both of Greenfield, Indiana, filed suit in the Eastern District of Wisconsin alleging that Arla Foods, Inc. USA of Denmark, and Arla Foods Production LLC a Delaware Corporation used false advertising and unfair businessLilly-v-Arla-BlogPhoto-233x300 practices in regards to Arla brand cheeses.

In 2017, Arla Foods launched a $30 million advertising campaign focused on expanding its cheese sales in the U.S. These advertisements included ads featuring a seven-year-old girl describing recombinant bovine somatotropin (“rbST”), an artificial growth hormone used to treat cows, as a type of monster. The ads implied that milk from cows that were treated with rbST was unwholesome and unnatural, therefore not good for your family.

Elanco makes the only FDA-approved rbST supplement, marketed under the name Posilac®. After the Arla campaign launched, Elanco filed suit alleging that Arla was in violation of the Lanham Act and simultaneously moved for a preliminary injunction with supporting copies of ads, evidence that a major cheese distributor decreased its purchasing of rbST in response to the ad campaign, and scientific literature pertaining to rbST’s safety. The district judge issued the requested injunction and later modified the injunction to cure technical deficiencies.

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