Posts Tagged: "amazon"

Eleventh Circuit Affirms Finding that Takedown Notice for Auto Stickers Violated DMCA

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on Wednesday affirmed a district court’s comprehensive order finding that Day to Day Imports, Inc. (DDI) acted with willful blindness in submitting a fifth Takedown Notice to Amazon asking that auto stickers it alleged infringed its licensed artwork be removed from the site. DDI took a license in 2016 to the copyright for artwork created by Harold Walters for a set of replacement stickers for the dashboard climate controls for certain General Motors vehicles. In 2018, Alper Automotive, Inc. began selling a sticker that DDI alleged infringed the licensed copyright. DDI sent Takedown Notices to Alper on May 8, 2018; May 15, 2018; August 2, 2018; and November 1, 2018.

Federal Circuit Delivers Amazon a Win, Vacating Jury Verdict that Echo Induced Infringement

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Thursday reversed a district court’s denial of judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) to Amazon of no induced infringement and vacated a jury verdict finding that it had induced infringement of Vocalife LLC’s patent for a method of enhancing acoustics. Judge Hughes authored the opinion. The asserted patent was U.S. Patent No. RE 47,049, which covers “methods and systems for ‘enhancing acoustics of a target sound signal received from a target sound source, while suppressing ambient noise signals.’” Vocalife filed suit against Amazon, claiming certain Amazon Echo products infringed the ’049 patent–specifically, Claim 1’s reference to “providing a microphone array system comprising an array of sound sensors positioned in a linear, circular, or other configuration” and “determining a delay . . . wherein said determination of said delay enables beamforming for said array of sound sensors in a plurality of configurations.”

Federal Circuit Affirms Denial of JMOL, Partial Costs in Favor of Amazon

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today affirmed a district court’s ruling denying Innovation Sciences’ post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) that claims of three of its patents are not invalid and that Amazon.com, Inc. infringed them, or, alternatively, a new trial. The CAFC said that substantial evidence supported the district court’s finding of anticipation, which Amazon proved via expert testimony relating to a prior art home automation software called HAL.

Amazon Brand Protection Report Details Major Anticounterfeiting Investments But Small Businesses Want Stronger Policing Against Knock-Offs

Earlier this month, e-commerce giant Amazon.com issued its latest Brand Protection Report detailing steps taken by the tech titan to reduce the tide of counterfeit products being sold to consumers around the globe. While the report identifies several concrete steps taken by Amazon to prevent knock-offs from being listed for sale, there are plenty of questions that yet remain as to whether Amazon is genuinely committed to eliminating sales of fake branded products that the company has been known to ignore.

CJEU Advocate General Recommends Clarifying What Constitutes Trademark ‘Use’ by Online Intermediaries

On June 2, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a press release discussing the results of the Advocate General’s opinion on two actions filed by French footwear designer Christian Louboutin, one in Luxembourg and another in Belgium, against the Amazon group (Amazon) alleging trademark infringement. As detailed in the opinion, Amazon regularly advertises red-soled platform shoes which are for sale on its platform without the consent of Louboutin. Louboutin is the owner of the EU position mark referred to as the “red sole” for goods in International Class 25 covering “high-heeled shoes (and other orthopedic footwear).” The mark at issue “consists of the colour red (Pantone 18-1663TP) applied to the sole of a shoe.” Louboutin also has national protection for the mark in both Belgium and Luxembourg.

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing: E-Commerce Platforms Have Curbed Infringement, But Counterfeits and Safety Problems Persist

The full Senate Judiciary Committee convened today for a hearing titled, “Cleaning Up Online Marketplaces: Protecting Against Stolen, Counterfeit, and Unsafe Goods,” in which witnesses explained the continuing challenges of policing stolen and counterfeit products in online marketplaces. The panelists included small business owners, internet platform advocates, academics and retail store representatives.

CAFC Affirms District Court Ruling for Amazon on Claim Construction

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the United States District Court for the Northern District of California’s final judgment of noninfringement of SpeedTrack’s (Plaintiff-Appellant) patent U.S. Patent No. 5,544,360 (the ‘360 patent). SpeedTrack sued online retailers AMAZON.COM, BESTBUY.COM, LLC, OFFICEMAX, INC., MACY’S, INC., MACYS.COM, LLC and many others for infringement of its category-based filing system. The ultimate decision weighed on the district court’s construction of claims and whether or not the ‘360 patent had a hierarchical structure. The district court construed the claims to not have a hierarchical structure and determined that defendants-cross-appellants did not infringe. The CAFC, with Judge Prost writing for the court, agreed.

How Patents Helped Sprout the World’s First Plantable Pencil

It has likely been a while since most of even used a pencil – but would we use them more if they grew flowers, trees and herbs? Enter, Sprout World, a company founded on the concept of sustainability that credits patents as playing a large part in its success. In late 2012, Michael Stausholm, the company’s founder, happened upon a Kickstarter campaign launched by three MIT students for a pencil one could use and then plant in the ground to grow flowers, herbs, vegetables and even trees. “I saw it and thought it was a wonderful idea,” Stausholm says. “I had been working in sustainability for many years and everyone was talking about it, but what was it actually? The pencil was a wonderful way of illustrating the concept.”

European Commission Launches Antitrust Action Against Amazon

The European Commission has formed a preliminary view that Amazon has breached Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union by distorting competition in online retail markets. It announced on November 10 that it had sent a Statement of Objections to the e-commerce company. Article 102 (formerly Article 82 TEC) prohibits “any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the internal market or in a substantial part of it.” Amazon is said to be dominant in France and Germany, its biggest markets in the EU. The Commission said that Amazon systematically relies on non-public business data of independent sellers on its marketplace to the benefit of its own competing retail business. This data includes the number of units of products ordered and shipped, sales revenues, and the number of online visits made to offers.

Artists Urge Bezos to Take Action Against the Streaming of Unlicensed Music on Twitch

On August 10, the Executive Board of the nonprofit organization Artist Rights Alliance (ARA) published a letter to Jeff Bezos, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Amazon.com, Inc. In the letter, the ARA asked Bezos to answer the question of whether the Twitch platform allows users to post or stream unlicensed music and to take necessary actions to stop such activity. The ARA advocates for a healthy music economy and for the rights of musicians, performers, and songwriters in the digital world. The letter expressed the ARA’s respect for Amazon and its products and services, but noted its disapproval of Amazon’s Twitch subsidiary, which allegedly hosts and delivers unlicensed music. Twitch is an online service owned by Amazon since 2014 that is used to watch and stream digital video broadcasts, such as streams dedicated to artwork creation, music, talk shows, and TV series.

Federal Circuit Bars New Suits Against Amazon Under Claim Preclusion, Kessler Doctrine

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today ruled in In Re PersonalWeb Technologies, Inc. that a district court’s 2014 dismissal of a patent infringement suit brought by PersonalWeb against Amazon barred PersonalWeb’s new infringement actions against Amazon and its customers. The Court affirmed the United States District Court for the Northern District of California’s finding that the lawsuits against Amazon and its customers—Patreon, Vox Media, Dictionary.com, Vice Media, Oath, Inc., Buzzfeed, Popsugar and Ziff Davis—were barred in part by a 1907 Supreme Court ruling, Kessler v. Eldred, which said that a losing patent holder cannot later assert the same patents against the winning party’s customers.

Navigating Amazon’s Neutral Patent Evaluation in Real Life: Part II

In part one of this series, I outlined the preliminary steps I took on behalf of my client “Bill” to initiate Amazon’s Neutral Patent Evaluation Process. In part two, I will describe the substantive procedure of the evaluation process and its successful resolution…. Overall, Bill and I were extremely pleased with the speed and efficiency of the evaluation process and delighted with the outcome. Moving forward, Bill requested that my firm monitor Amazon for additional infringing products. Because we have already participated in the Neutral Patent Evaluation Process and obtained a favorable outcome, Bill and I will simply report any future infringers to Amazon without having to initiate the evaluation process for a second time.

Congress Asks Amazon’s Bezos to Testify on Use of Third-Party Seller Data

On May 1, Representative and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and a bipartisan coalition of members of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law signed a letter addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The letter focuses on antitrust issues posed by Amazon’s alleged use of third-party seller data to develop products competing with those sellers, allegations that directly contradict testimony offered by Amazon last year during a House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing. It also calls upon Bezos to testify before the House Judiciary Committee to clear up any discrepancies between the recent Wall Street Journal article and Amazon’s prior testimony to Congress on the subject of third-party seller data.

USTR Special 301 Report and Review of Notorious Markets Highlight Continued Concerns with China

On April 29, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released its 2020 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Protection and its 2019 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy. The Report identifies countries and IP-related market access barriers and steps necessary to address those barriers. Section I of the Report highlights “Developments in Intellectual Property Rights Protection, Enforcement, and Related Market Access” and Section II is a Priority Watch List including country reports for countries where particular problems exist with respect to IP protection, enforcement, or market access. The Review identifies illustrative examples of online and physical markets that are alleged to have contributed to substantial trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy activities around the world.

EU Court Says Amazon Not Liable for Unwitting Third-Party Trademark Infringement

On April 2, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a ruling absolving e-commerce giant Amazon.com of trademark infringement allegations brought by a German perfume distributor seeking redress for Amazon’s storage and distribution of brand-infringing perfume products sold by third-party sellers. The decision, issued by the CJEU’s Fifth Chamber, holds that Amazon’s mere storage of infringing goods in the context of its online marketplace does not constitute an infringement of trademark rights by Amazon.