Chad Rutkowski

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The US Supreme Court Decides Oracle v. Google—The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a remarkable opinion in the long-running dispute between Oracle America and Google over Google’s copying of Oracle’s Java SE API for use on the Android platform. BakerHostetler has followed this case for quite some time, and our prior blog posts providing extensive background can be found here, here and here. … Continue Reading

Important Copyright Protections for Software to be Addressed in Pending Federal Circuit Appeal

In December 2014, Cisco Systems, Inc. sued rival ethernet switch provider Arista Networks, Inc., for more than $300 million because it allegedly infringed Cisco’s copyrights in operating system software that manages Cisco switches. Curiously, Cisco did not claim that Arista infringed the copyright in the software’s source code, which many understand to be the subject … Continue Reading

Does Copyright Now Cover Functionality?

On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc. regarding the scope of copyright protection for “pictorial, graphic or sculptural features” that have been added to useful articles—in this case, cheerleading uniforms.   The case has mostly gained attention because its facts crystalize the tension between … Continue Reading

Not Dat Function, Dis Function

  When we talk these days about the role of functionality in determining the copyrightability of a useful article, we are generally talking about the 10 different separability tests currently duking it out at the Supreme Court in the Varsity Brands case. Our posts on that case are here, here and here. These tests enforce … Continue Reading

How Will the Supreme Court Function With the Varsity Brands Test?

On Monday, the Supreme Court announced it had agreed to review the Sixth Circuit’s copyright decision in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, which involves the issue of whether certain designs appearing on cheerleading uniforms are copyrightable or are instead non-copyrightable functional elements that are an inherent part of cheerleading uniform designs. In a split decision, … Continue Reading

Can Software Be Created As a Work-for-Hire?

In early February a decision out of the Southern District of New York added another layer of dicta supporting the notion that software created by an independent contractor can qualify as a work-for-hire. In Stanacard, LLC v. Rubard, LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15721 (S.D.N.Y. February 3, 2016), the court found in dicta that work … Continue Reading

The Monkey in the Machine

In 2011, a Celebes crested macaque took a shot that was heard ’round the world. In a jungle in Indonesia, it depressed the remote trigger button of a photographer’s camera, effectively taking a selfie. The “monkey selfie” has ignited a great deal of commentary musing on the nature of copyright ownership. The human photographer claimed … Continue Reading

The Give and Take of the 2015 Library of Congress Sec. 1201 Copyright Exemptions

I used to love working on cars. As a teenager I had a 1972 Karmann Ghia, which I could repair, MacGyver-like, with rubber bands, tinfoil, and sticks of chewing gum. But as automotive technology advanced, the prospect of making my own repairs to fuel, emission, or transmission systems dimmed. Installation of electronic control units (ECUs) … Continue Reading

The Give and Take of the 2015 Library of Congress Sec. 1201 Copyright Exemptions

I used to love working on cars. As a teenager I had a 1972 Karmann Ghia, which I could repair, MacGyver-like, with rubber bands, tinfoil, and sticks of chewing gum. But as automotive technology advanced, the prospect of making my own repairs to fuel, emission, or transmission systems dimmed. Installation of electronic control units (ECUs) … Continue Reading

Drawing a Line in the Floor—Courts Are Struggling With the Overlap Between Design Patent and Copyright

In 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court in Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. emphasized that “[t]he rights of a patentee or copyright holder are part of a ‘carefully crafted bargain,’ … under which, once the patent or copyright monopoly has expired, the public may use the invention or work at will and without … Continue Reading

Drawing a Line in the Floor—Courts Are Struggling With the Overlap Between Design Patent and Copyright

In 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court in Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. emphasized that “[t]he rights of a patentee or copyright holder are part of a ‘carefully crafted bargain,’ … under which, once the patent or copyright monopoly has expired, the public may use the invention or work at will and without … Continue Reading

What CLS Bank Taketh, Copyright May Giveth Back

CLS Bank and Its Impact on Software Patents Courts, commentators and clients will be struggling for some time to assess the impact on software patents of Thursday’s Supreme Court decision in Alice v. CLS Bank.  Interpreted one way, the decision kills patents directed at computer-implemented business methods.  Interpreted another way, it’s business as usual for … Continue Reading

What CLS Bank Taketh, Copyright May Giveth Back

CLS Bank and Its Impact on Software Patents Courts, commentators and clients will be struggling for some time to assess the impact on software patents of Thursday’s Supreme Court decision in Alice v. CLS Bank.  Interpreted one way, the decision kills patents directed at computer-implemented business methods.  Interpreted another way, it’s business as usual for … Continue Reading
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