A California jury recently ordered Apple, Inc. (“Apple”) and Broadcom, Ltd. (“Broadcom”) to pay the California Institute of Technology (“Caltech”) over $1.1 billion in damages for infringing several patents owned by Caltech. The patents relate to a type of error correction code used in wireless technology (known as “irregular repeat
2015 and 2016 saw a wave of transactions among cable, satellite, and other linear programming distributors: AT&T & DirecTV, Altice and Suddenlink, etc. That transactional wave is beginning to spawn a litigation wave, principally over interpretation and application of the pre-existing licenses and contracts between networks and distributors. A recent ruling in one California case is noteworthy to the extent that it allowed a network to proceed against a distributor on multiple theories beyond the parties’ written contract.
On May 16, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, ruling that a plaintiff must sufficiently allege an injury that is both concrete and particularized in order to have Article III standing, and further that a “bare procedural violation” of a plaintiff’s statutory right may not be sufficiently “concrete” under this analysis. This ruling has the potential to affect class actions generally, but may prove especially influential in privacy and data security class actions.
In a putative class action alleging widespread copyright infringement commenced in December 2015 against Spotify, Plaintiff, the lead singer for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, recently moved pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(d) to monitor — and possibly prevent — Spotify USA, Inc. (“Spotify”) from engaging in communications with individuals who fall within the Complaint’s definition of class members. Lowery v. Spotify USA, Inc. The communications at issue concern Spotify’s estimated $30 million settlement with the National Music Publishers Association (“NMPA”), which is not a party to the litigation. The dispute raises an interesting question regarding the appropriate role for the court to play in refereeing class action settlement politics when class counsel has extra-judicial competition in seeking to represent the class.