The most active defendants in copyright lawsuits include department store chain Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST), which was named as a defendant in 276 cases. Following Ross Stores are a series of retailers: TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX), named a defendant in 123 cases; Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), a defendant in 84 cases; Burlington Coat Factory (NYSE:BURL), a defendant in 74 cases; and Rainbow USA Inc., a defendant in 66 cases. Except for Amazon, these are primarily off-price department stores offering brand name goods at discounted prices. Music publishers like Universal Music Group, Inc. (65 suits) and education publishers like Pearson Education, Inc. (NYSE:PSO) (50 suits) are also among the top defendants in copyright cases.
How will libraries hold onto ebooks and other digital files like mp3s so that readers and scholars in the future can still read them? The current state of affairs relies on license agreements with publishers who in turn license to vendors, who in turn, license to libraries. Hardly sustainable when files can and do disappear when either the publisher or the vendor no longer offer them.
Libraries rely on the right of first sale to lend print books, and need an analogous right in the world of ebooks and digital music. To that end, the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries and the Internet Archive filed a brief on Feb. 14, 2017 in support of Redigi, a company that sells used mp3 files to music customers. The brief argues that an evaluation of Fair Use should consider the rationale of the First Sale doctrine, and other specific exceptions. It argues that enabling the transfer of the right of possession should be favored under Fair Use.
The patent appeals board at the US Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to reconsider 16 patent claims owned by Sportbrain Holdings, LLC. The Patent Office’s decision comes just three days after Sportbrain filed a lawsuit against Apple (PDF). Taking on its highest-profile target yet, Sportbrain claims that the Apple Watch violates US Patent No. 7,454,002, titled “Integrating personal data capturing functionality into a portable computing device and a wireless communication device.”
In dozens of lawsuits, Sportbrain’s lawyers have argued that its patent entitles it to collect royalties on a huge range of devices and software products that gather user fitness information. Beginning in January 2016, Sportbrain unleashed a torrent of lawsuits against companies with connected watches and other wearables, like Garmin, Fitbit, Pebble, and Nike (PDF). It also sued tech companies like Apple, Samsung, and HP, and watchmakers including Timex, Tag Heuer, and Nixon.
In a patent suit targeting Chrome web browsers, Google was hit with a $20 million jury verdict for infringing patents covering malware protection software… Google was hit with a jury verdict for $20 million in damages awarded to one inventor and the family members of a deceased co-inventor for the infringement of three reissue patents covering malware protection software. The infringement suit targeted Google’s Chrome web browsers for laptops and mobile platforms as well as the sale of Google’s hardware products having that software pre-installed. The case was decided in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (E.D. Tex.).
The suit was brought by British engineering firm BladeRoom Group (BRG), which in 2015 alleged “BRG spent years developing and refining the prefabricated, modular design and the transportation and construction techniques that Facebook blithely passed off to the world in 2014,” the company said in its federal lawsuit. The company said that Facebook “simply stole the BRG Methodology and passed it off as its own.” BladeRoom notes that Facebook shared some of the ideas for the Swedish data center on the Open Compute Project blog and did not “make any attempt to attribute or credit BRG for any of the elements of the innovative new approach” that Facebook “claimed” it had developed.
BRG says it holds the intellectual property rights and trade secrets to what it termed are “mission-critical modular buildings with complex mechanical and electrical components.” Those buildings, according to the company, include industrial kitchens, hospitals, theaters, clean rooms, and data centers.