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In the context of a copyright case, a defendant's prior bad acts and prior conduct are more useful to a plaintiff than is typical in civil litigation.
In the context of a copyright case, a defendant’s prior bad acts and prior conduct are more useful to a plaintiff than is typical in civil litigation. In many instances, copyright infringement lawsuits are brought against defendants who have been sued before for infringement, or related misconduct, or who have been the subject of allegations or informal complaints, or who simply have experience in copyright matters. Under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b), the use to which prior bad acts and conduct may be put by a plaintiff in a regular civil case is limited, and Federal Rule of Evidence 403 balances the probative value of the evidence against prejudice. In copyright cases, however, as a practical matter, the plaintiff has somewhat more latitude, and such evidence may serve several distinct objectives. A defendant’s history, whether related to the misconduct at issue or not, may be used by a savvy plaintiff in three ways: 1) to establish willfulness, and thus both enhance the statutory damages award and obtain attorneys’ fees under the Copyright Act; 2) to establish knowledge, and thereby make a case (where appropriate) for contributory infringement; and 3) as a basis for injunctive relief.
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By Sarah Benowich
Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc.
The Supreme Court, settling a circuit split, held that, although highly important, willfulness is not a prerequisite for a trademark infringement plaintiff to obtain a profits award.
By Anthony J. Dreyer
On May 14, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved a circuit split, finding that any preclusion of litigation defenses must comply with traditional res judicata principles, and ruling that Lucky Brand was not precluded from asserting its defenses in its long-standing trademark litigation against Marcel Fashions Group
By Shaleen J. Patel and Sushmitha Rajeevan
Machine learning allows certain AI to create entirely new content based upon the materials it used to learn. In the process of creating new content, AI may create copies of copyrighted works in memory storage as a byproduct of its overall output sequence. This article explores authorship and ownership of such AI-generated content, and to what extent, if any, can copyrights be infringed upon when AI reproduces copyrighted works for machine learning.
By Rudy Kim and Chris Han
Holding that the parties’ executed agreement mooted the issues in the case, the Federal Circuit recently reversed a district court’s decision to grant summary judgment of non-infringement despite the parties’ agreement. The decision builds upon prior Federal Circuit case law giving effect to settlement agreements.