Minding Your Business

Proskauer’s perspective on developments and trends in commercial litigation.

First Circuit Treads “Unchartered Waters”: Holds Copyright Sublicenses Can Be Implied

On March 13, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in a case of first impression, held that a copyright licensee given the unrestricted right to grant sublicenses may do so without using express language.

The case, Photographic Illustrators Corp. v. Orgill, Inc., stems from a license Photographic Illustrators Corp. (“PIC”), a provider of commercial photography services, granted to Osram Sylvania, Inc. (“Sylvania”), a leading manufacturer of lightbulbs, permitting Sylvania to use PIC’s copyrighted photographs of Sylvania’s lightbulbs. The license provided that Sylvania had a “non-exclusive, worldwide license in and to all the Images and the copyrights thereto to freely Use, sub-license Use, and permit Use, in its sole and absolute discretion, in perpetuity, anywhere in the world.” The license also contained a requirement that Sylvania and its dealers and distributors would attribute the photographs that it used to market and sell Sylvania products to the PIC photographer who took them. Continue Reading

United Kingdom’s CMA Issues Guidance to Businesses on Co-Operation During the Crisis

As we reported here, the UK government announced that, as part of a package of measures to allow UK grocery supermarkets to work together to feed the nation during the COVID-19 crisis, certain provisions of UK competition law will be relaxed temporarily for the domestic food sector. The CMA has now published a document setting out its approach to business co-operation more generally in response to COVID-19.  Continue Reading

A “Dark Horse” Victory for Katy Perry: Central District of California Overturns $2.8M Copyright Verdict

Nearly eight months after a trial that culminated in an adverse jury verdict, pop singer Katy Perry recently achieved a “Dark Horse” victory, proving that the legal battle was “Never Really Over.” Continue Reading

States Cannot be Sued for Copyright Infringement Says the Supreme Court

On March 23, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled that States cannot be sued for copyright infringement under principles of sovereign immunity. This ruling arose from a filmmaker’s suit against the state of North Carolina for unauthorized use of his copyrighted works—footage of a ship wreckage. Continue Reading

Flexibility within a Crisis: The European Competition Network’s Response to COVID-19

On March 23, 2020, the European Commission announced that all competition authorities in the European Competition Network (ECN) (the Commission, the European Surveillance Authority, and the national competition authorities of each EU/EEA Member State) issued a joint statement on how to apply the European competition rules during the COVID-19 crisis. Continue Reading

Antitrust Enforcers Target Coronavirus-related Violations

As businesses across the globe grapple with the changing realities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. and international antitrust enforcers have warned that business should continue to mind the antitrust laws. Global enforcers are also focusing on the role competition laws play as industries – both essential and hard-hit – grapple with the new environment. Continue Reading

Bipartisan Congress Intensifies Efforts to Restrict Orphan Drug Exclusivity

“Orphan” drug exclusivity, which is intended to reward drug companies’ investment in the development of certain drugs, might soon be harder to get—and keep.

Over the past several months, Congress introduced two similar bills to amend a “loophole” in the Orphan Drug Act (ODA).  On October 17, 2019, a bipartisan group of House members introduced H.R. 4712 (“Fairness in Orphan Drug Exclusivity Act”) (“the House bill”).  On February 11, 2020, bipartisan Senators sponsored a companion bill bearing the same title (S. 3271) (“the Senate bill”).  Consistent with recent political interest in curbing high drug prices, the proposed legislation is intended to limit the availability of orphan drug exclusivity for certain drugs, with the goal of thereby promoting competition. Continue Reading

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