Those Manning Boys Just Cannot Stay Out of Trouble

No sooner did Peyton Manning dodge the ball in the Inflategate Scandal (pun intended), than Eli Manning finds himself named in a lawsuit alleging the distribution of fraudulent Giants memorabilia. A U.S. District Court judge in New Jersey ruled that the lawsuit – filed by one Eric Inselberg – may proceed, but in state court. The Giants, Eli and the other defendants had tried to shift the litigation to federal court believing it would be favorable to their side.

Judge to Louis Vuitton: Lighten Up!

As we often point out in this column, we are not attorneys and we do not dispense legal advice. With that in mind, we will explain that parodies are exempt from infringement claims. When Saturday Night Live performs a parody of a person, place or thing – funny or not (and, lately, not) – it is not trade infringement.

Bank of China Gets $50,000-a-Day Fine

Last September, a U.S. District Court judge ordered Bank of China to turn over financial records from several Chinese companies that were accused of selling counterfeit Gucci goods, and then keeping the ill-gained millions in profits in accounts at state-controlled Chinese banks. The bank argued that turning over such records would violate China’s secrecy laws, and just because these Chinese banks have branches in the U.S., that does not give U.S. courts authority over them. The issue has kicked around for the last few months with various motions being filed and argued.

Blame It on the Attorney

Canadian band Sandman – that specializes in performing Metallica music – was surprised to find a 41-page cease-and-desist order waiting for the band members when they arrived at FitzRay's, a night club in London, Ontario, where they were scheduled to perform. Sandman bills itself as “Canada’s Number One Tribute to Metallica.” It openly performs Metallica music and makes no claims of ownership. In fact, Sandman has been playing Metallica tunes since 2003, and this is the first time they heard from anyone about it.

Judge Trims Back Swiss Army Knife Maker's Award

Victorinox AG, manufacturer of the real Swiss Army knife, and owner of the Swiss Army trademark, won its trademark infringement lawsuit against B&F System Inc., manufacturer of counterfeit products. Victorinox was initially awarded $8 million, and that number was based on treble damages (B&F’s infringement was obviously willful, come on) and for sales going back 30 years and reimbursement of Victorinox’s legal costs. The court also issued an injunction barring sales of the infringing products.

Abbott and Costello Lawsuit Doesn’t Get to First Base

Abbott and Costello – that’s Bud and Lou to those of us old enough to remember their TV show and movies – lost out yet again. A federal judge dismissed a copyright lawsuit filed by the comic duo’s estate against the producers of a popular Broadway play that features Abbott and Costello’s famous "Who's on First?" comedy routine, ruling that its inclusion in the play falls under the fair use doctrine.

So Which Is It, Judge?

Under current federal law, the losing side in a civil lawsuit is permitted to request that it be reimbursed for its legal expenses, and judges will grant such reimbursement if the judge finds that the losing side’s case is substantially without merit. I am not an attorney, but I do play one in this blog column.

TriReme Medical LLC requested $4.7 million in legal fees reimbursement after it won a patent infringement lawsuit filed by competitor AngioScore, Inc. As the judge explained it, AngioScore’s case “wasn’t particularly strong” but it “wasn’t exceptionally weak.”

Who Pays for All Those Illegal Music Downloads?

Music publisher BMG Rights Management could not sue each of the thousands (maybe even millions) of downloaders who infringed the company’s copyrights, so it sued the company that provided the downloads. A jury in DC just ruled that Cox Communications, a regional Internet provider, must pay BMG $25 million for permitting free musical downloads by its subscribers. What really nailed it for the jury was that Cox would cancel the accounts of copyright infringing customers, then promptly reactivate their accounts.

Cisco Wins $37 Million in Counterfeit Goods Suit

We’ve all seen a watch that was probably not really a Rolex. Or a pocketbook that was probably not really a Coach. Well Network Genesis took counterfeit goods to a new level. The company either bought stolen Cisco products and altered the serial numbers, or rebranded non-Cisco products as the real thing. And got caught.

During the trial, Cuong Cao Dang, the defendant in the case, was found to be using a counterfeit laptop and cell phone in court, and both were confiscated. No, not really. But did anyone check his laptop and cell phone?

Copyright Infringer Gets Three Years!

Rocky Ouprasith pled guilty to one count of criminal copyright infringement, and was sentenced to three years in prison. Ouch! Now before you get too sympathetic, Rocky did not copy a Wikipedia article for a high school term paper. Who hasn’t done that?

Through his website, Rocky reproduced and distributed millions of copyrighted songs! Millions! Do they let inmates listen to music at Club Fed?