Clients turn to us to resolve their thorniest copyright and trademark litigation matters. We quickly identify and focus on the key issues for trademark-infringement, dilution, and Lanham Act false-advertising actions; as well as the novel secondary liability and DMCA issues that arise as new technologies change the way consumers access protected material.
Cases of Note
Robin Antonick v. Electronic Arts Inc.: Robin Antonick, programmer of the John Madden Football video game for the Apple II that was released in 1988, alleged that EA owed him royalties on sales of all Madden Football video games over the last twenty-two years. Antonick claimed that all Madden games since 1990 are derivative works of the game he programmed, and he was therefore owed royalties under a 1986 contract with EA. On behalf of EA, we contended that none of Antonick’s source code, which was written for a more primitive platform and was outdated by the time it was released, was ever used in any subsequent Madden game. Although the jury initially awarded the plaintiff a small portion of what he demanded, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer later entered judgment for EA, reversing the award and strongly discouraging similar suits based on additional versions of the game.
Oracle America, Inc. v. Google Inc.: We represented Google in a high-stakes patent and copyright war brought by Oracle with billions of dollars at stake. Oracle, which bought the Java programming language by acquiring Sun Microsystems in January 2010, alleged that Google’s Android mobile technology infringed Oracle's Java patents and copyrights. An expert for Oracle estimated Google owed Oracle up to $6 billion in damages for infringement. Our team defended Google against all the patent and copyright claims, and also argued that the damage estimates were wildly inflated. Following repeated rounds of motions and briefing, the judge dismissed the bulk of Oracle’s copyright claims, and at trial the jury rendered a unanimous verdict rejecting all claims of patent infringement. Although the jury decided that Google infringed an Oracle copyright on nine out of millions of lines of source code, the case is considered a sweeping victory for Google, with zero damages.
Software Co. v. Software Co.: We defended a red-hot Silicon Valley software company that provides information analysis to the intelligence, defense, and law enforcement communities from trade secret and copyright charges. Our client's competitor brought the charges in the Eastern District of Virginia. We successfully settled the case after five and a half torrid months of rocket docket litigation.
Dillinger LLC v. Electronic Arts Inc.: We won summary judgment for Electronic Arts Inc in this right-of-publicity and trademark case. The heirs of John Dillinger alleged that EA improperly used the Dillinger name in a series of videogames. Plaintiff sought damages and an injunction to prevent EA from selling the games. The court's orders not only affirmed EA's fundamental First Amendment right to design and publish its games, but also made clear that Indiana's right of publicity statute could not be applied retroactively to individuals who died before it was enacted. Law360 described the rulings as a "total victory" for EA.
Toy Company v. Product Designer: We represented the designer of a very popular line of dolls in a federal trial to determine which toy company owns the doll's copyright. We settled the case on favorable terms before the commencement of trial.
Venture Capital Firm v. Music Publishing Group: We represented online file-sharing company investors against allegations of copyright infringement, and asserted counterclaims of antitrust violations. After we used crime fraud arguments to pierce the plaintiff's attorney-client privilege, the case settled on favorable terms.
Entertainment Companies v. Software Company: We defended a software company that created a popular peer-to-peer file-sharing program against copyright infringement claims brought by 25 of the largest entertainment companies. We represented the client before the District Court, and the Court of Appeals.
Broadcom Corporation v. SiRF Technology and CSR: We served as trial counsel for Broadcom, one of the world’s leading semiconductor companies, against SiRF, a GPS chip manufacturer, and its parent CSR. Broadcom asserted multiple patents covering graphics, video processing, and digital signal processing techniques, as well as claims arising under the Lanham Act and unfair competition laws. This case, along with other actions between the parties, was settled shortly before trial on terms that were very favorable to Broadcom.
Internet Company v. Google: An Internet company based in Lafayette, Louisiana filed suit in its local federal court against Google for trademark infringement and unfair competition. The plaintiff alleged Google's various uses of the term "gadget" infringed the federal trademarks "website gadget" and "gadget." We represented Google, and counterclaimed to cancel both marks as not protectable under either federal or Louisiana law because they are generic or at best descriptive and have not attained secondary meaning. The court agreed with us and granted summary judgment, canceling the marks and dismissing the lawsuit.