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After its own efforts at registering a fabric design failed, a couture fashion client came to Finnegan to handle the appeal and obtain protection for its coveted and often-infringed pattern. Our knowledge of U.S. Copyright Office appeal procedures and substantive law persuaded the Office to overturn the examiner’s decision and register the design.
A prominent restaurant chain needed a certified copy of its deposit, the chain’s logo, on a expedited basis, to file as evidence in a litigation in China. The deposit copy was lost and the client was unsuccessful in convincing the U.S. Copyright Office to remedy the problem. The restaurant chain turned to Finnegan, counting on our expertise in Office practices and our relationships with Office personnel. We persuaded the Office to accept and certify a new copy of the logo in time to meet the Chinese deadline.
The Fourth Circuit issued its opinion affirming the preliminary injunction issued by Judge Williams in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. v. American Home Realty Network, Inc. The panel’s 3-0 decision sided with firm client Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (“MRIS”) on each issue on appeal, including two issues of first impression in any circuit court: (1) the validity of electronic copyright assignments under the “writing requirement” set forth in Section 204 of the Copyright Act and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (“E-SIGN”) and (2) whether Section 409 of the Copyright Act requires a registrant to list the names of authors and titles for each component work within a compilation. The Fourth Circuit’s ruling that an electronic agreement may effect a valid transfer of copyright interests under Section 204 of the Copyright Act is the first of its kind, and has significant implications for the validity of electronic transfers in other areas. Regarding the Section 409 issue, the Fourth Circuit’s opinion disagreed with a number of district court cases holding that copyright registrants failed to comply with the requirements of Section 409 by not listing authors of component works in the application to register the compilation. The Fourth Circuit’s opinion will likely be heavily cited by the courts and other owners of copyright in compilations in the future.
When an organization that certifies medical personnel discovered that its secure certification exam had been compromised, Finnegan acted quickly to minimize the harm by obtaining an expedited certificate of registration from the U.S. Copyright Office and negotiating a favorable settlement for the client, including reimbursement of the organization’s attorneys’ fees and costs of dealing with the compromised exam.
In a copyright infringement case involving an architectural work, plaintiff Humphreys & Partners Architects sued Finnegan client Lessard Design, Inc., alleging that Lessard’s apartment building infringed Humphreys’ condominium building design. Besides being high-rises, Humphreys alleged both buildings included two elevator cores connected by a fire or service corridor; a barbell-shaped floor plan thicker on the ends and thinner in the middle; corner units with diagonal entry access; and projecting elements at the cornice of the roof line. Lessard successfully moved for summary judgment for non-infringement in the Eastern District of Virginia, which found that none of the architectural elements asserted by Humphreys against Lessard were individually protectable. The court further ruled that even assuming the overall arrangement of those elements was protectable, the buildings were no more similar “than any two randomly selected high-rise multi-family projects would be based on building code regulations and industry standard practices.” Humphreys then appealed to the Fourth Circuit, which affirmed the lower court’s ruling. The Eastern District of Virginia (E.D. Va.) also granted attorneys fees and costs to Lessard as the prevailing party.
An organization of scientists implemented Finnegan’s proposed copyright registration and enforcement strategy for its secured exams and study materials. Now, when the organization finds its study materials or exams posted on the Internet or exchanged by email, it is ready to take quick and forceful action. For example, we filed an infringement suit, which quickly concluded with a consent judgment. Our client was then able to use this enforcement effort in an advertising campaign aimed at educating the community about its rights. The registrations also allow Finnegan to quickly issue persuasive notices and subpoenas under the DMCA and to obtain the identity of infringers.
When a major news organization was accused of copyright infringement, it relied on Finnegan to evaluate the claims and defend against the spurious suit in the Eastern District of Michigan. Finnegan's mediation brief established that our client did not infringe, and a favorable settlement followed.
When the developer of a wireless-networking technology found that its relationship with a joint venture partner had failed, Finnegan represented the developer in a copyright litigation in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Finnegan represented the plaintiff in Massachusetts and California federal courts in a long-running copyright battle between two social networking websites. The case established new law on subject matter jurisdiction over copyright claims in federal court.
The Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of Finnegan clients SplitFish AG, SplitFish Gameware, Inc., and Nabon Corp., granting a preliminary injunction against Bannco Corp. that prohibits Bannco from selling video game controllers that incorporate or use software code copied from our clients' "FragFX" video game controllers. The case is unusual in that the software in question was developed in China and the court applied Chinese law in order to establish that our client was the copyright owner.