Eryn Truong

  • Damages Dispute in Design Patent Case Heats Up

    By Eryn Truong, Esq. Email Eryn January 27, 2017 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 ...

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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. Email Eryn November 28, 2016 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 ...

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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.E-mail Eryn May 23, 2016 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 ...

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    Monday, May 23rd, 2016

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  • Lessons Learned in an Idea Submission Case

    By Eryn Truong, Esq. E-mail Eryn April 25, 2016 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” ...

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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. March 21, 2016 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 ...

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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. February 18, 2016 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 ...

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    Friday, February 19th, 2016

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  • Things Every Architect Should Know About Copyrights

    By Eryn Y. Truong, Esq. January 22, 2016 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, ...

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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. December 21, 2015 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 ...

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    Friday, December 18th, 2015

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  • Takedown Notices under the DMCA

    By Eryn Y. Truong, Esq. November 23, 2015 A “Takedown Notice” under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) exempts certain online service providers (“OSPs”) from liability for copyright infringing acts by its users, provided they meet certain conditions. The definition of an OSP for purposes of the DMCA is quite broad: “a provider of online services or network access, or the operator of facilities therefor.” 17 USC §512(k)(1)(B).  This would include most sites that offer user-generated content such as web hosting companies, blogging platforms, discussion forums, and so on. Among the conditions that an OSP must meet to be exempt from liability are: No actual ...

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    Friday, November 20th, 2015

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  • “Happy Birthday to You” Lyrics May not be Copyrighted

    By Eryn Truong, Esq. October 20, 2015 Most people sing “Happy Birthday to You” without even thinking it might be protected by copyright.  But since 1988, Warner/Chappell Music has been enforcing its alleged copyright in the song and has collected an estimated $2 million per year in royalties. However, on September 22, 2015, after two years of litigation, a U.S. District Court judge declared that the copyright claimed in the lyrics to the song “Happy Birthday to You” is invalid. The lawsuit was brought by several artists against Warner/Chappell Music challenging the copyright and seeking the return of the licensing fees that have been ...

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    Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

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