Posts from 2019.

On December 11, 2019, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Peter v. NantKwest, Inc. that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) cannot recover the salaries of its attorneys or paralegals as “expenses” in district court cases filed under 35 U.S.C. § 145.

Categories: Business
Substantial Performance When Time Is (Not) Of The Essence

In Magic Carpet Ride LLC, et al. v. Rugger Investment Group, LLC, the California Court of Appeal recently reversed a trial court’s decision to grant summary adjudication on a breach of contract claim where the defendant was eight days late in depositing a required lien release.   Even though the contract stated that “time is of the essence” and the late deposit violated the strict terms of the contract, the Court of Appeal clarified that it could be considered substantial performance, creating a triable issue of material fact which made summary adjudication improper.

Categories: Business, Litigation

Several recent decisions have addressed the applicability of California Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16, known colloquially as the “anti-SLAPP” law, which provides a procedure by which a defendant can secure the early dismissal of lawsuits that are filed primarily to discourage the free exercise of speech and petition rights.  Under the anti-SLAPP law, defendants are permitted to file a special motion to strike claims “arising from any act…in furtherance of that person’s right of petition or free speech.” 

Tags: SLAPP
New California Court of Appeal Decision Provides a Basis for Finding Insurance Coverage of Wage and Hour Lawsuits under Employment Practices Liability Insurance Policies

Liability insurance policies typically provide two forms of coverage:  (1) coverage for the defense of lawsuits alleging claims covered by the policy in question, and (2) coverage for the settlement of claims covered by the policy in question that the insurer and the insured agree to for payment of a judgment against the insured when a judgment is the result of a covered claim against the insured.  

Infringers Profits and Willfulness:  Supreme Court Set to Resolve Circuit Split Regarding Trademark Damages

October marks the opening of the new Supreme Court 2019-2020 term and there is one case in particular that trademark practitioners are anxiously awaiting for the Court to weigh in on to resolve a longstanding circuit split and definitively answer the question whether willful infringement is a prerequisite for an award of an infringer’s profits in an action for trademark infringement.

Categories: Business, Litigation

In Carriere v. Greene, et al., the California Court of Appeal recently reversed a trial court’s award of attorney’s fees to a plaintiff for “prevailing” on an appeal and on a post-trial motion because the plaintiff had lost at trial and was therefore not a prevailing party.  This holding clarified that even where a contractual attorney’s fees clause exists, only a prevailing party is allowed attorney’s fees — and only one side may be the prevailing party in the whole of a lawsuit.

Words Matter in Design Patents:  Federal Circuit Rules that Claim Language Can Limit the Scope of a Design Patent

On September 12, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held for the first time that “claim language can limit the scope of a design patent where the claim language supplies the only instance of an article of manufacture that appears nowhere in the figures.”  The Federal Circuit’s order affirming the dismissal of a complaint for design patent infringement based on a narrowed construction of the patent-in-suit makes clear that words matter in a design patent.

Categories: Business
U.S. v. Connolly and the Importance of Independent Counsel When Cooperating with Government Investigations

In May of this year, Chief Judge Colleen McMahon in the United States District Court for Southern District of New York issued a highly anticipated opinion and order in U.S. v. Connolly, finding that the government improperly “outsourced” its criminal investigation to Deutsche Bank and its outside counsel. The decision could significantly impact how companies and outside counsel cooperate with government and enforcement investigations in the future.  While Judge McMahon’s opinion was primarily an admonition to the government, companies facing investigations need to be aware of potential conflicts that could arise when interviewing employees regarding potential wrongdoing. 

The California Supreme Court recently issued the latest in a series of decisions concerning the applicability of Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16 (the “anti-SLAPP law”), which was designed to enable early dismissal of lawsuits that are filed primarily to discourage the free exercise of speech and petition rights. 

On July 12, 2019, the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (“CUIAB”) recently added the latest stick to a growing pile of authority that linguists working for interpretation or translation companies are independent contractors.  This holding clarified that under the Borello standard (which still controls in the context of the Unemployment Insurance Code) interpreters and translators can be, in certain circumstances, properly considered independent contractors.

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