News

Rock Band The Turtles Loses Royalty Case

The Florida Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Florida law doesn’t protect performers seeking compensation for recordings made before 1972, the ABA Journal reports. The ruling came in the case of members of the band The Turtles, who sued SiriusXM radio over royalties. Flo & Eddie Inc., which controls the music rights for the band, lost a similar lawsuit in New York as well.
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Changes in the Propriety of “Venue” in a Patent Infringement Suit

Recently, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, 16-341, US S. Ct. This decision heralds a major change in the propriety of “venue” in a patent infringement suit brought against a US company in a US district court for infringement of a US patent.
 
The patent venue statute reads as follows:
 
 28 U.S.C. § 1400. Patents and copyrights, mask works, and designs
(a) Civil actions, suits, or proceedings arising under any Act of Congress relating to copyrights or exclusive rights in mask works or designs may be instituted in the district in which the defendant or his agent resides or may be found.
(b) Any civil action for patent infringement may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.
 
The Supreme Court held in TC Heartland that for purposes of §1400(b) (venue in patent infringement actions), a domestic corporation will now be deemed to “reside” ONLY in its state of incorporation. This, in effect, overturns the prevailing interpretation of §§ 1391 & 1400(b), read together, that venue would be proper in any judicial district in which a defendant accused of patent infringement is also subject to personal jurisdiction. The Supreme Court has now determined this interpretation of §§ 1391 and 1400(b) contravenes its decision some 60 years ago in In Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Products Corp., 353 U. S. 222, 226 (1957) that, for purposes of §1400(b), a domestic corporation “resides” only in its State of incorporation.   
 
In light of TC Heartland, a domestic corporation may now only properly be sued for patent infringement in a judicial district (i) in its state of incorporation or (ii) where the domestic corporation has both (a) committed acts of infringement and (b) has a regular and established place of business. The bottom line is that, in the wake of TC Heartland, many of the new patent infringement suits are likely to be brought in states like Delaware, Nevada, and other states where companies have historically favored chartering their business or, of course, in states where such companies have regular and established places of business and have allegedly committed acts of infringement. On the other hand, states like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, and Texas are likely to see a significant drop in the filing of new patent infringement actions.
 
Many new questions are likely to be raised by TC Heartland, which undoubtedly represents a major change in how future patent infringement suits will be brought, including, for example, the impact of TC Heartland on pending or recently filed cases, its applicability to patent declaratory judgment actions, and the like. It is also not known whether Congress will be pressured to act to, in effect, overrule TC Heartland by appropriate legislative amendment to the general and/or patent venue statutes. One approach some are taking as a result of TC Heartland is to sue customers who sell or resell products alleged to infringe patents and/or products made by processes/methods alleged to infringe US patents. This is likely to spark considerably more adjudication over the little-known, but potentially very powerful, “customer suit” exception. The customer suit exception allows a “supplier” or manufacturer entity (the so-called “real party in interest”) to commence a DJ action in the supplier/manufacturer's home state of incorporation or any other state where the suit could properly have been brought, and then intervene and have the case brought against its customer moved to the court where the DJ action is pending, assuming the plaintiff is subject to the jurisdiction of the court in which the DJ action has been filed.
 
Mark Graham, The Graham Law Firm PLLC
 
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Global & Tennessee Specific Trade & Investment Perspectives & Policies for 2018 & Beyond

 
The International Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association is sponsoring a free seminar “Global & Tennessee Specific Trade & Investment Perspectives & Policies for 2018 & Beyond” to be held on Thursday, Nov. 2 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Nashville School of Law, Appellate Courtroom, 4013 Armory Oaks Drive, Nashville, Tenn. 
 
The speakers on the panel include:
  • Terry Olsen, Chair of the TBA International Law Section, as Moderator
  • Clay Banks, Regional Director of Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development
  • James Forde, Prosperity and Economics Officer of British Consulate General, Atlanta
  • Ms. Joanne Chu, Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (New York)
  • Mr. Michael Kwan, Deputy Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (New York)
The seminar will provide an overview of the global & U.S. trade & investment landscape as it concerns Tennessee for 2018 & beyond, and both policy & legal views of the ever-changing global standard of Tennessee in the international investment environment.
 
Attendees will also have the opportunity to have direct interactive discussions with the speakers at the end of the seminar.
 
The panel discussion will last from 6pm thru 7pm, and then followed with a FAQ session for attendees, along with a light reception of beverage & desserts. 
 
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Volunteer Service Project

Get involved! Please join in this joint service project with members of Intellectual Property Section and the Entertainment & Sports Section to give back to the community.  

To sign up, just email Jeff Allen at jallen@bradley.com. The event will be Oct. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Second Harvest Food Bank in Metro Center.

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Rutherford County Chancery Court Celebrates E-Filing System Launch

To celebrate the launch of Rutherford County Chancery Court’s e-filing program, a ribbon cutting was held last week at the Rutherford County Judicial Building. Hosted by Chancellor Howard Wilson and Clerk and Master John Bratcher, the event celebrated four years of hard work to put the system into place. “We look forward to the time when our Circuit Court and all of the other state trial courts come online with e-filing,” Wilson said.

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Netflix Sends Humorous Cease-and-Desist Letter to Bar Owners

A lawyer for Netflix took a unique approach to sending a cease-and-desist letter to the owners of a “Stranger Things”-themed pop-up bar in Chicago, the ABA Journal reports. “Please don’t make us call your mom,” the letter from attorney Bryce Coughlin reads. “Look, I don’t want you to think I’m a total wastoid, and I love how much you guys love the show. But unless I’m living in the Upside Down, I don’t think we did a deal with you for this pop-up.” The letter allows the owners to keep the bar open but requests that they do not extend the pop-up beyond its six-week run and that they reach out to Netflix for permission if they plan to do something similar in the future.
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Inventor Legal and Business Boot Camp in Knoxville on Wednesday

The TBA will conduct an Inventor Legal & Business Boot Camp on Sept. 20 in Knoxville to educate all attendees about the legal and business aspects of Intellectual Property and its role in starting a business. This program is designed for those who create or own intellectual property (inventors, makers, artists, licensing organizations, etc.) and the attorneys who represent them. Click here for more information and to register.

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Court Square Series Kicks Off in Chattanooga

On Sept. 21, this year’s Court Square series kicks off in Chattanooga at Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel. Kevin Christopher will address common intellectual property issues for general practitioners. Jay Elliott will cover issues attorneys may encounter when handling matters with in-house counsel and Chris Varner will provide a summary of litigation updates. The last session will be a roundtable discussion offering point and counterpoint scenarios in connection with various contract provisions. For more information or to register.   

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Privacy Concerns Raised Over iPhone's New Facial Recognition Technology

Users of the new iPhone X from Apple will be able to unlock their phones using facial recognition technology, prompting questions from civil liberties groups about whether or not police can use the new feature to access users' information. The ABA Journal reports that, while the Riley v. California decision established that police would need a warrant to search the contents of a phone, whether they can force you to unlock it is unclear. Read the full story here

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Chatbot Allows Users to Sue Equifax Without Lawyer

Legal chatbot DoNotPay is now allowing users to file suits against credit-reporting agency Equifax, in light of last week’s news of a massive data breach, the ABA Journal reports. The online platform can help file negligence claims by walking users through a set of questions that generates a PDF they can file in small claims court. The service is free and available to the public in all 50 states. "It is particularly exciting that a lawyer is never needed in the process," Joshua Browder of DoNotPay said. "The class action lawsuit against the company will only give successful consumers around $500 (with the rest going to greedy lawyers in commissions). I hope that my product will replace those lawyers, and, with enough success, bankrupt Equifax.”

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Music Publishers File Lawsuit Against Spotify in Nashville

Seven independent music publishers sued Spotify in Nashville today for using songs without the appropriate licenses, The Tennessean reports. This is more legal trouble for Spotify, which already settled two similar lawsuits earlier this year. Both of those suits and this new one were filed by entertainment law attorney Richard Busch. The catalogs for the new plaintiffs are administered by the Tennessee-based Songwriters Guild of America.
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Inventor Business & Legal Bootcamp Set for Sept. 20

 
Save the date now for the upcoming Inventor Business & Legal Bootcamp on Sept. 20.
 
Because intellectual property ("IP") owned by individuals and small businesses is a key component and contributor to the Tennessee and U.S. economy, the Tennessee Bar Association will conduct an Inventor Legal & Business Bootcamp to educate all attendees about the legal and business aspects of Intellectual Property and its role in starting a business. This program is designed for those that create or own intellectual property (inventors, makers, artists, licensing organizations, etc.) and the attorneys that represent them.
 
Find out more or sign up for CLE credit on the CLE course detail page.
 
Immediately following the CLE program, join your fellow attendees for a light reception and connect with the panelists, attorneys, makers, inventors, entrepreneurs and community leaders. TBA staff will be on hand to share more information about the TBA patent pro bono program.
 
Please contact Jarod Word, Sections & Committees Coordinator with any future Section Connect ideas, or Legal Practice Tips you feel may be beneficial to other Section members.
 
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Inventor Legal and Business Boot Camp in Knoxville

See how inventors and lawyers interact and learn at this unique CLE held in Knoxville on Sept 20. Find out about TBA’s patent pro bono program and connect with panelists, attorneys, makers, inventors, entrepreneurs and community leaders during the reception.

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LAVPA Presents Inventor Legal & Business Bootcamp in Knoxville

Save The Date

LAVPA, the patent pro bono program of the Tennessee Bar Association, is joining forces with the Knoxville Business Support Network to present an Inventor Legal & Business Bootcamp for students, makers, inventors, artisans, small businesses and the attorneys who represent them. The program will feature attorneys, business representatives, professors, community business leaders and the director of the regional office of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The program will be held in Knoxville on Sept. 20, as part of Innov865 Start Up Week. The program will focus on the invention process, business organizations, business plans and investing, including crowdfunding. It is open to the public and free to attend. You may register through Eventbrite. Attorneys who want to receive CLE credit may register and pay for CLE through the TBA

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USPTO Regional Director to Conduct Roundtable in Nashville

Hope Shimabuku, the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark's Texas Regional Office, will speak on “Patent Prosecution from the Examiner’s Side” at in Nashville on Tuesday from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Waller, Landsen Dortch & Davis LLP, 511 Union St. Lunch will be provided. Following her presentation, Shimabuku will meet from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. with lawyers that have, or are interested in, participating in the TBA's Patent Pro Bono Program. This presentation and roundtable are co-sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section and Nashville Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Committee. If you wish to attend the main program with lunch, please RSVP to Jarod Word, TBA Sections and Committees Coordinator by noon (CST) on Monday.

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Roundtable Set with USPTO Regional Director

Hope Shimabuku, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark's Regional Office in Texas, will speak on “Patent Prosecution from the Examiner’s Side” at an event next week in Nashville. Following her presentation, Shimabuku will meet with lawyers that have, or are interested in, participating in the TBA's Patent Pro Bono Program. Shimabuku would like feedback from those attorneys who have participated in the program to find out how her office can support the process. This presentation and roundtable are co-sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section and Nashville Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Committee. Details are as follows:
 
• Topic: “Patent Prosecution from the Examiner’s Side”
• Who: Director Shimabuku
• When: August 22, 12-1:30 pm, Central, lunch provided
• Topic: Patent Pro Bono Program
• Time: 1:30-2:15 pm Central
• Where: Waller, Landsen Dortch & Davis, 26th Fl. (511 Union St, Nashville, TN 37219)
 
If you wish to attend the main program with lunch, please notify Jarod Word, TBA Sections Coordinator by noon on Monday, Aug. 21.

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TBJ August Issue Features Fiction Contest Winners

The Journal has never published fiction before and certainly not an eerie story about an inmate who is the subject of an experimental drug program designed to keep him alive long enough to serve consecutive sentences -- 100 years for murder, in this case. But in its First Annual Fiction Competition, that's what the winning entry, "The Sentence," is about. It was written by Kristi Wilcox Arth, an attorney with Bradley in Nashville. D. Adam Moore, who is with Pinnacle Financial Partners in Knoxville, earned an Honorable Mention in the contest. Both stories are published in this issue. The submission period for next year's contest will be Jan. 12 through March 12, 2018, so start thinking about what you are going to write. Also in this issue, more fiction by lawyers and judges, as Reelfoot Killins’ by the Hon. Joe G. Riley is reviewed by Covington lawyer J. Houston Gordon.

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Nashville Music Publishers Sue Spotify Over Licensing

Two Nashville music publishers filed separate lawsuits yesterday against streaming service Spotify for failing to obtain the appropriate licenses for thousands of songs, The Tennessean reports. The publishers claim Spotify didn’t follow proper protocol and has been streaming the songs illegally. The plaintiffs are Bluewater Music Services, a publisher and music catalog administrator, and Bob Gaudio, a publisher and songwriter who penned hits for Frankie Valii and the Four Seasons.
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July Columns: Bitcoin, Temporary Insanity and the President's Tweets

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that appears to be favored by cybercriminals, Knoxville lawyer Wade Davies writes in his July Tennessee Bar Journal column. There are fascinating cases involving the use of Bitcoin, but because the cases were solved, Davies points out that "Bitcoin isn’t foolproof for the criminal." Chattanooga lawyer Russell Fowler writes about the first case of temporary insanity. He writes that the insanity defense is especially unpopular when it is based on so-called “temporary insanity.” But in the first case when this plea was used, "people rejoiced in the streets when the defendant was acquitted." Nashville lawyer Jim Thomas reviews Broken Scales: Reflections on Injustice, a book by Joel Cohen. Memphis and self-professed non-Tweeting lawyer Bill Haltom asks in his column, "should lawyers vet the president’s Tweets?"

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Modak-Truran Elected President of TIPLA

Nashville attorney Anita Modak-Truran has been elected president of the Tennessee Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (TIPLA). The organization is comprised of patent, trademark, and copyright attorneys who volunteer together to educate others on emerging trends and best practices within the industry. Modak-Truran is the head of the entertainment and media industry group at Butler Snow’s Nashville office.
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Item of Interest

Below is an article that was published in the the Disability Section Connect. We thought it had information that would be of interest to those of you in this section as well.  

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Journalist Must Admit to Embellishing Articles to Sue Over Infringement for Tupac Biopic

In order to sue a movie studio for copyright infringement, journalist Kevin Powell must admit that he embellished articles he wrote for Vibe magazine about the life of rapper Tupac Shakur without the late musician’s permission, The Hollywood Reporter reports. While true details about Shakur's life should be considered a part of the public domain, in a complaint filed in New York federal court on Friday, Powell admits to having made up a character that was based on a real-life figure in the rapper’s life. The suit alleges that the character, as well as other details from Powell’s articles, were lifted by Lionsgate Films for the Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me.
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SCOTUS Allows Band to Call Itself by Disparaging Name

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Asian-American rock band The Slants, which had previously been denied a trademark by the U.S. Patent Office due to the disparaging nature of its moniker, NPR reports. The ruling could have major implications for other trademark cases and disputes, like the Washington Redskins football team. "The disparagement clause violates the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion.
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SCOTUS Ruling on Printer Cartridges Has Major Retail Ramifications

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on printer toner cartridges this week protects a consumer’s “right to tinker,” The Washington Post reports. The Court found that in Impression Products v. Lexmark, Lexmark’s patent rights on their toner cartridges were not violated by Impression Products refilling Lexmark cartridges at a cheaper price. The decision has implications for companies that try to use patent law to restrict what consumers can do with their products after purchase. 
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Burchett Confesses, Gets 4 Years Probation in Cyber-Attacks

Knox County’s former first lady confessed Thursday to cyber-harassing the cancer-stricken estranged wife of her millionaire beau, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. Allison Burchett, 35, pleaded guilty in Knox County Criminal Court to six misdemeanor charges of unlawful access to computer accounts. She will serve no jail time, but will spend four years on probation.

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