Also on the blog this week:
The best lawsuit a man can get?
Gillette is suing Dollar Shave Club for the "unauthorised
use of patented technology",
reports Financial Times.
Procter & Gamble-owned
Gillette is the market leader for razors globally but has
lost 4.3 percentage points of market share in recent years,
as a result of shaving clubs such as Dollar Shave Club.
Gillette launched its own shave club this summer, and
holds a 21% share of the online shaving market compared with
Dollar Shave Club’s 54%.
The FT quoted Deborah Majoras, chief legal officer at
P&G, saying: "Our patents help protect the many technical
advancements we’ve made through the years
– and when it becomes necessary, we take action to
protect these important assets."
The parent of fitness tracking wearable devices Jawbone
has requested a stay of its own patent infringement case
against Fitbit, which
The Recorder reports is a first.
"This has been odd to me," Judge Haywood Gilliam of the
Northern District of California said at a recent hearing. "On
the one hand we have the plaintiffs invoking the court's
jurisdiction, and then immediately seeking a stay in favour
of a later-filed ITC action."
It is the defendant that normally wants the stay, not the
plaintiff. Judge Gilliam told AliphCom’s lawyer,
Susman Godfrey’s Joseph Grinstein, that he had
not been able to find any cases involving the plaintiff
filing then seeking to stay its own case in favour of an ITC
AliphCom has filed three suits against Fitbit this year
– the patent infringement suit, the ITC action and a
trade secrets suit in the San Francisco Superior Court
– with Fitbit also filing its own law suit against
Who’s on First? suit is baseless
A federal judge has thrown out a copyright case filed by
the heirs of Abbott and Costello against the producers of
Broadway play "Hand to God",
reports The New York Times.
In the play, the lead character uses a sock puppet to
perform the comedians’ "Who’s
on First?" routine. The copyright holders sued the
producers and promoters of the play for copyright
"The complaint doesn’t get past first base,"
Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York
wrote when dismissing the suit. The judge said the use was
transformative and assumed the audience recognises the
The main character in "Hand to
God" performs a minute excerpt of the routine with a sock
puppet to impress a girl, before admitting it is a routine
from the 1950s. The character Jason is a shy personality who
expresses his dark inner nature through the sock puppet.
"While the routine, as performed in the play, also results
in comic relief for the audience, it does so for reasons
different from why audiences found the original sketch
humorous," Daniels said.
The play’s lead producer Kevin McCollum had
previously described the lawsuit as a "stunt".
An early birthday present
A class action lawsuit over the copyright of "Happy
Birthday" has been settled,
reports Los Angeles Times. This follows a federal judge in
September ruling that Warner/Chappell did not own the copyright
to the song.
On December 9, Judge George King of the Central District of
vacated the trial after the parties agreed to settle the
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed but the LA
Times quoted a source with knowledge of the settlement saying
the entire case addressing the validity of the copyright and
potential damages owed had been resolved and there were no
Among the parties agreeing to the settlement were the
Association for Childhood Education International, a designated
charity of the Hill family that receives a third of the profits
from the licensing of the song. The association and the Hill
Foundation had both asserted that they were the true owners of
the lyrics since the ruling in September against
The LA Times said: "If the settlement does in fact stipulate
that the parties give up all claims to the song, it is unlikely
that any other entity could credibly claim ownership of the
Prolonging a patent’s litigation life
an interesting piece this week noting a trend of US courts
seeing a "rash of lawsuits" involving old and sometimes expired
The piece referenced RPX data saying that half of all
patents involved in lawsuits in 2014 date back to the 1990s,
and most of the rest are from the early 2000s.
Xerox, Nokia, Cypress Semiconductor, Micron, General
Electric, Hewlett Packard and Boston Scientific ae among the
companies that have sold patent later used in litigation,
according to RPX.
Three companies that own patent sold by Xerox –
Genaville, Loramx and Oberalis – were in the top 10
biggest filers of patent lawsuits in the US in the first half
of this year.
In our news and analysis this week: