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On June 1, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Unicolors v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, L.P., 959 F.3d 1194 (9th Cir. 2020) (Unicolors), to address the following question: “Did the Ninth Circuit err in breaking with its own prior precedent and the findings of other circuits and the Copyright Office in holding that 17 U.S.C. §411 requires referral to the Copyright Office where there is no indicia of fraud or material error as to the work at issue in the subject copyright registration?” The issue appears to be a pure question of statutory interpretation, with the language of §411 pointing in one direction but the views of other courts and the Copyright Office arguably pointing the other way. An affirmance of the Ninth Circuit ruling could make the Copyright Office a more significant player in copyright infringement litigation, by requiring the Register to weigh in more often on the validity of registrations.
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By Hanchel Cheng
Regardless of whether a patent practitioner’s clients favor a stricter or more lenient eligibility regime, patent eligibility decisions continue to evolve. We need a line drawn for what practitioners expect to be clearer. Hardware inventions are facing patent eligibility challenges that would have seemed more likely in software inventions. Recent court decisions have shown that what once made a hardware invention eligible may no longer fly.
By Richard S.J. Hung, Jacob N. Nagy and Evangeline T. Phang
A recent Federal Circuit opinion sheds light on the process for settling co-ownership disputes pursuant to an underlying agreement. Although the precedential opinion does not change the rules of contract interpretation, it suggests considerations when drafting ownership agreements.
By Stan Soocher
Composers of pre-1978 works often assigned both the initial and renewal copyright terms in their works when signing songwriter agreements with music publishers. But what happens when a grant of the copyright renewal term of a pre-1978 work has been made post-1977?
By Keith Hauprich
In the last two decades, the music industry and, more specifically, songwriters, producers and recording artists have been losing the value of their efforts to online piracy. Perhaps a business-to-business solution can be found between the music industry and cable providers.