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The Southern District of New York recently resolved a question that neither the Southern District nor the Second Circuit had ever squarely faced: Can the lawful owner of an art object create and post a photograph of that object in connection with the sale of the object through an online platform such as eBay, without the permission of the owner of copyright in the object? The sale of the object is clearly permitted under the first sale doctrine, codified at §109(a) of the Copyright Act, but by its terms §109(a) only creates an affirmative defense to the distribution of the physical object itself: “the owner of a particular copy … lawfully made under this title … is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy.” The statute does not allow the making of a reproduction or a derivative work, such as a photo, or the display or distribution of such an image, and indeed courts (notably the Ninth Circuit) have sometimes found similar activities to be infringing.
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By Li-Jen Shen, Cory Smith and George C. Chen
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has finally filled a gap left by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the standard for finding deceptive intent when trying to prove fraud on the USPTO.
By Robert W. Clarida and Robert J. Bernstein
The Ninth Circuit ruling in Flo & Eddie may turn out to be last stop on the long and winding road the owners of pre-1972 recordings have traveled in their efforts to obtain compensation for public performances through platforms like Sirius.
By Willem Klein
Patent marking is an important step in the patent lifecycle as it is generally required to seek damages from infringers prior to the date the suit is filed. While virtual marking has somewhat reduced the overhead of marking, it suffers from the same problems all Internet-based evidence runs into in court: websites are ephemeral and have intermittent accessibility, as well as poor public logging of when information existed where, and for how long. NFTs on a digital blockchain could potentially overcome these hurdles, while still providing the benefits of virtual marking via websites.
By Joshua R. Stein and Jeffrey S. Ginsberg
Pair of Federal Circuit Decisions Address Standing to Appeal Adverse IPR Decision