On Friday, May 29, 2020, the California Department of Public Health approved Los Angeles County’s variance request to move further into Stage Two of the California Resiliency Roadmap, allowing Los Angeles County restaurants to provide in-person dining service and hair salons and barbershops to reopen.
On April 23, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a trademark holder need not prove that the infringement of its trademark was willful in order to recover an award of the infringer’s profits. The Court’s decision in Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc. resolves a longstanding circuit split and may make it easier for trademark holders in many jurisdictions, including the Ninth Circuit, to recover damages in trademark infringement cases.
On March 23, 2020, the Supreme Court unanimously held in Allen v. Cooper that, absent consent, states cannot be sued for copyright infringement and are shielded from such actions under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The Court found that the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act of 1990 (CRCA), which expressly provided that states “shall not be immune” under any doctrine of sovereign immunity for copyright infringement, was an unconstitutional abrogation of state sovereign immunity. However, the Court also noted that its decision would “not prevent Congress from passing a valid copyright abrogation law in the future” that is more tailored to pass constitutional muster.
In the midst of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many state and local governments are recommending or imposing restrictions on gatherings of people, including at places of business. In some cases, certain businesses such as bars and restaurants are being required to close or modify their business operations. Additionally, many individuals are staying home and avoiding public places.
As more and more businesses shut down or scale back due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Federal, State and local governments are quickly realizing that these businesses and their employees are facing devastating financial consequences.
Owners conducting business through a legal entity often do so to limit personal liability and to protect assets unrelated to the business from commercial risks. However, once formed, owners sometimes jeopardize those exposure limiting objectives by filing away their incorporation documents and neglecting corporate formalities. That approach may work fine until, of course, an adverse party argues that the business entity should be disregarded as an ‘alter ego’ of the owners.
In Techno Lite, Inc. v. Emcod, LLC, the California Court of Appeal recently affirmed the finding that an employee can be liable for fraud when said employee violates his promise not to compete with his employer while still employed. Though public policy in California places strict limitations on non-compete agreements after an employee has left employment, this shield was never meant to become a sword by which an employee could undermine his employer with impunity even before his employment ends.
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.
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.
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.”
Other AALRR Blogs
- Part 5: Data Privacy in California: Responding to Consumer Requests and Enforcement by the Attorney General Begins
- The Appellate Court Takes a Bite Out of Meal and Rest Break Claims
- Los Angeles County Obtains Approval to Move Further into Stage 2; Restaurants May Resume In-Person Dining and Hair Salons and Barbershops May Reopen
- Better Luck Next Time—Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects Defense Preclusion in Lucky Brand Trademark Row
- Leading Ride Share Servicers Sued by the State of California for Continued Misclassification of Drivers as Independent Contractors
- Orange County Becomes Latest to Secure Variance and Approval from State to Accelerate Reopening Local Businesses Deeper Into Stage Two, Allowing Dine-In Restaurants and In-Store Retail to Reopen; County Officials Issue New Order and Strong Recommendations
- Supreme Court Unanimously Rules Willfulness is Not a Precondition for an Award of Infringer’s Profits in Trademark Cases
- U.S. Supreme Court Rules States Cannot Be Sued for Copyright Infringement
- Disaster Loan Assistance for Small Businesses
- Tax Relief - Federal and State Governments Extend a Helping Hand
- Christopher S. Andre
- Cindy Strom Arellano
- Dan J. Bulfer
- Eduardo A. Carvajal
- Michele L. Collender
- Scott K. Dauscher
- Evan J. Gautier
- Carol A. Gefis
- Amber S. Healy
- Edward C. Ho
- John E. James
- Jonathan Judge
- David Kang
- Joseph K. Lee
- Lana Milojevic, CIPP/US
- Michael J. Morphew
- Shawn M. Ogle
- Jon M. Setoguchi
- Brian M. Wheeler
- Lisa C. Zaradich