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It is hard to imagine the current U.S. Supreme Court agreeing on something as simple as their lunch order in a time when 5-4 decisions feel like the norm. So, when it unanimously agrees, one might conclude that the question at hand was not very difficult. Not so here. In Fourth Estate Pub. Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, No. 17-571 (March 4, 2019), the Supreme Court resolved a circuit split decades in the making by holding that a copyright is not “registered” within the meaning of the Copyright Act unless and until a registration certificate actually has issued. The Supreme Court’s short opinion upheld an Eleventh Circuit decision, and undertook no more than a simple statutory construction analysis, finding that the plain language of the Copyright Act cannot be ignored because of hypothetical ill effects, especially ones fully within the purview of Congress to fix. A plaintiff cannot sue for copyright infringement until registration has issued, or been denied by the Copyright Office; a mere pending application will not suffice.
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By Christine K. Au-Yeung
NFTs have been all the rage in the world. So what exactly are NFTs, and how do they reconcile with the basic tenets of intellectual property law?
By Shaleen Patel
The Court cleared Google of copyright infringement in terminating a 16-year long dispute as to whether Google’s Android mobile platform had infringed Oracle’s Java programming language’s copyright. However, the Court did not answer the question of whether specific components of computer software qualifies for copyright protection at all.
By Chidera Anyanwu and Chloe Delehanty
In some instances the appearance of third-party intellectual property on items purchased, owned and customized by the purchaser may be legal under the doctrines of first sale and fair use.
By Jeffrey Ginsberg and Matthew Weiss
Federal Circuit: The Doctrine of Equivalents Is Not a Binary Choice
Federal Circuit: No Estoppel for Party That Joined IPR