Eryn Truong

  • Supreme Court Limits Venue Shopping in Patent Cases

    By Eryn Truong, Esq. The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a unanimous decision that will limit the controversial practice of “venue shopping” by plaintiffs who pick court locations they believe will be more favorable to their case, and who unnecessarily drag defendants into patent disputes in a faraway venue in the process.  The decision has important implications for businesses that rely on patents to protect their innovation. For many years, plaintiffs have relied upon a more general venue law that allowed a lawsuit to be filed where the defendant resides or does any business, which led to a disproportionate number of patent ...

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    Monday, June 26th, 2017

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  • “Fearless Girl” and “Charging Bull” Square Off

    By Eryn Truong, Esq. Last month, on International Women’s Day, the “Fearless Girl” statue was installed in New York City’s Financial District as a symbol of female empowerment, standing opposite the iconic “Charging Bull” statue that has come to symbolize Wall Street.  However, earlier this month, the sculptor who created the “Charging Bull” said “Fearless Girl” violates his copyright and subverts the bull’s meaning. The “Charging Bull” was created 30 years ago after the stock market crash to convey a positive, optimistic message.  The sculptor of the bull, Arturo Di Modica, says that it carries a meaning of “freedom in the world, ...

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    Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

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  • Damages Dispute in Design Patent Case Heats Up

    By Eryn Truong, Esq. As design patents become a more popular method for businesses to protect their products, how damages are determined in the highly-publicized Samsung v. Apple litigation will merit close attention this year. In early December 2016, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision that forced Samsung to pay $399 million in profits for violating three of Apple’s design patents and remanded the case for further consideration.  The award accounted for the entirety of Samsung’s profit from the sale of the infringing smartphones.  Samsung’s argument, however, is that damages should be limited to individual components covered by the patents.  ...

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    Friday, January 27th, 2017

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  • Important New DMCA Safe Harbor Requirements for Web Operators

    By Eryn Truong, Esq. If you or your company has a website or app that hosts material submitted by users or that provides links to materials to other websites, take note: the U.S. Copyright Office has a new electronic filing system for registering websites, apps and other online platforms for “safe harbor” protection from copyright infringement liability under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).  (This electronic system replaces the prior paper-based system.) Section 512 of the DMCA contains a safe harbor provision from copyright infringement liability for online service providers.  For example, the safe harbor provision protects website operators from copyright liability ...

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    Monday, November 28th, 2016

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  • President Signs Bill Providing for a Federal Trade Secret Cause of Action

    By Eryn Truong, Esq. On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”), long-proposed legislation that establishes a federal trade secrets law.  Now companies seeking civil remedies for misappropriation of their trade secrets can bring their claim in federal court and obtain other remedies such as seizure orders and injunctive relief. Prior to the DTSA, plaintiffs had to resort to state courts to bring their trade secret claims, which often led to inconsistent results as states have their own interpretations of key issues including damages, what constitutes “reasonable measures” to secure secrecy, and even ...

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    Monday, May 23rd, 2016

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  • Lessons Learned in an Idea Submission Case

    By Eryn Truong, Esq. In an idea submission case, where Plaintiff alleged that Defendants fraudulently expressed interest in developing Plaintiff’s science fiction story only to use parts of that story in the hit 2009 film “Avatar,” the California Court of Appeal recently affirmed summary judgment in favor of Defendants, dismissing all claims.  In particular, the court found that there was no substantial similarity between the projects and that Plaintiff was unable to prove that Defendants used any of Plaintiff’s ideas in the film. Between 1996 and 1998, the plaintiff, Eric Ryder, wrote a science fiction short story entitled “KRZ 2068” and began ...

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    Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

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  • Does the Term “Work-for-Hire” Really Mean Anything in Software Development Contracts?

    By Eryn Y. Truong, Esq. The term “work-for-hire” is found in many software development contracts, but it is one of most misused phrases.  Typically, companies needing certain software developed will enter into a written contract with an independent contractor and insert the magical phrase “work-for-hire,” thinking it will automatically assign ownership of the intellectual property to the company.  However, works created by independent contractors can constitute a “work-for-hire” only in very limited instances. Works created by an independent contractor can constitute a “work-for-hire” only if: (1) the work is specifically ordered or commissioned; (2) the parties expressly agree in a signed written ...

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    Monday, March 21st, 2016

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  • Wood Laminate Flooring Designs are Original Enough for Copyright Protection

    By Eryn Y. Truong, Esq. Generally, the Copyright Office will not register works by nature, animals or plants.  However, are the designs of wood floors original enough to warrant copyright protection?  One Circuit Court said yes, and found that found that a design for laminate flooring was sufficiently creative to merit copyright protection. Mannington Mills, Inc. and Home Legend LLC are competitors both selling laminate wood flooring.  Mannington created a floor design called “Glazed Maple” that depicted what a wood floor might look like after decades of age and wear and registered the design with the U.S. Copyright Office in 2010. In 2012, ...

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    Friday, February 19th, 2016

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  • Things Every Architect Should Know About Copyrights

    By Eryn Y. Truong, Esq. Some people say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery.  However, with an architectural work, imitation could result in copyright infringement.  This article briefly outlines some things architects should be aware of in order to protect and enforce their copyright, and avoid copyright disputes. It is well established that both architectural drawings and completed architectural works are entitled to protection under the Copyright Act.  According to the Copyright Act, the definition of an “architectural work” is “the design of a building as embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings.  ...

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    Friday, January 22nd, 2016

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  • Rights to “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” Song Passes to Songwriter’s Family

    By Eryn Y. Truong, Esq. This time of the year, we all hear the popular Christmas song, “Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town,” but what we don’t hear is the ownership dispute over it.  Recently, the Second Circuit ruled that the current rights to the song will end December of 2016, and it will pass to the descendants of one of the songwriters, John Frederick Coots. Tracing the history of the song through decades that also included significant changes in copyright law, records showed that the songwriters had sold the song and copyright to EMI Feist Catalog, Inc. (partially owned by Sony) ...

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    Friday, December 18th, 2015

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