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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 Stan Soocher
To survive preemption under §301 of the Copyright Act, courts consider whether a state law claim in a lawsuit has an “extra element” that qualitatively distinguishes it from a federal copyright claim. Courts typically find that state law claims, such as breach of contract, have an extra element. Other state law claims, such as conversion, get varying court determinations as to whether they are preempted.
By Darin Snyder, Brad Garcia, Amy Liang, and Daniel Silverman
In the past year, the Federal Circuit has repeatedly required the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer patent infringement suits from that district to more convenient venues, and in doing so it has provided increasingly specific — and often pointed — guidance to courts and litigants on the appropriate analysis for transfer motions.
By Scott Graham
The agency announced that the Department of Commerce has applied to register the USPTO’s marks in a bid to crack down on scammers who are impersonating the agency.
By Jeffrey S. Ginsberg and Abhishek Bapna
Federal Circuit Clarifies Pleading Requirements for Patent Cases and Affirms Grant of Summary Judgment of Invalidity under 35 U.S.C. §101
Federal Circuit Holds that Pendency of Motions Unrelated to Interlocutory Judgment Does Not Toll 30-Day Limit to File Notice of Appeal