Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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Important Open Source Ruling Confirms Enforceability of Dual-Licensing and Breach of GPL for Failing to Distribute Source Code

A recent federal district court decision denied a motion to dismiss a complaint brought by Artifex Software Inc. (“Artifex”) for breach of contract and copyright infringement claims against Defendant Hancom, Inc. based on breach of an open source software license. The software, referred to as Ghostscript, was dual-licensed under the GPL license and a commercial … Continue Reading

Don’t Lose Your DMCA Safe Harbor Protection!

The U.S. Copyright Office’s new electronic system for copyright-agent registration and maintenance goes into effect on December 1, 2016, and with it comes new rules. Beginning December 1, all online service providers must submit new designated-agent information to the Copyright Office through the online registration system. Electronic designations should be filed on December 1, 2016, … Continue Reading

Bargaining with the Little Green Robot: Understanding the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement [1]

This blog entry, which focuses on the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement, is the first of two articles geared at helping app developers understand the fine print of the agreements they are asked to enter into with the companies that distribute their products. Following later this year, the second installment will focus on the iOS … Continue Reading

Bitcoins and Liability in the Wake of Recent Silk Road Arrests

Last week’s arrests[1] of Robert Faiella, an alleged seller on online marketplace Silk Road, and Charlie Shrem, the CEO of the startup BitInstant, marked a recent round in a series of law enforcement actions against what the government characterizes as a “rise in criminal activity”[2] by people using the cryptographically-controlled digital currency, Bitcoin.[3]  The arrests of … Continue Reading

An Unreasonable Royalty Rate is No Gaming Matter

The Honorable Judge James L. Robart recently took on the challenging task of determining a reasonable and non-discriminatory (“RAND”) royalty rate for Motorola’s standards-essential patents (“SEP”). Microsoft Corp. v. Motorola, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60233, No. C10-11823 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 25, 2013). This decision comes after a two-year patent war between Microsoft and Motorola. In … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Narrows Claim Construction Options in Game Controller Suit

In Thorner v. Sony Computer Entertainment America, LLC (Case No. 2011-1114, Feb. 1, 2012) (Moore*, Rader & Aiken (D. Or. sitting by designation)), the Federal Circuit reiterated the prohibition against importing limitations from the specification and reversed a district court construction depending from consistent uses of the disputed phrase in the specification.… Continue Reading

Creating the (Virtual) American Dream: User-Generated Content and Trademarks in Virtual Worlds

When strolling the streets of an online virtual world that allows user-created content, it is not uncommon to see brands that you recognize. A Ferrari may roll past you in the street. The avatar walking toward you may be cushioning its steps with Nike-Swoosh-emblazoned tennis shoes. The virtual jewelry store that you pass may feature a gleaming Cartier … Continue Reading

Who Owns The Tools Of The Trade?

Let’s start with the basics. Under a typical game development contract, a publisher furnishes the funds required to develop a game to a game developer. Understandably, access to these funds is subject to certain restrictions, expectations and other contractual obligations. Invariably, there is a provision dedicated to the handling of the rights to intellectual property … Continue Reading

In-Game Monitoring May Create Exposure to Copyright Liability Claims

In a traditional online game, users are required to abide by the Terms of Use (“TOU”). Companies, cognizant of the fact that not everyone will comply with the TOU, implement various enforcement measures such as automated filters, user-driven complaint systems, or a more involved in-game monitoring system utilizing Game Masters. As the popularity of user-generated content (“UGC”) … Continue Reading

Branded: Product Placement and Video Games

Video games and feature films have a lot in common. Both tell stories and have exciting visuals and music. Although one is "interactive", recent Blu-ray HD discs are now turning linear films into more immersive, interactive experiences. Rights and talent deals for both have likewise followed a path towards convergence with terms and consideration often … Continue Reading

The Digital Countdown

February 17, 2009 will be one of our most important historic dates. No president will be sworn into office. No one will land on the moon. Instead television in the U.S., as we know it, will simply be turned off. The switch from analogue to digital TV will be thrown at midnight. Many will awake … Continue Reading

Gibson’s Patent Action Against Activision Hits Wrong Chord with Court in “Guitar Hero” Dispute: Summary Judgment Granted

Activision licensed the Gibson trademark and trade dress in November 2006 in connection with Guitar Hero’s "custom guitar controller peripheral." Activision paid a one-time fixed license fee to cover the term of the license and Gibson agreed to help promote the Guitar Hero product.… Continue Reading
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