The Senate passed the America Invents Act (the "AIA") this evening without amendment. So, patent reform is headed to the White House where President Obama is expected to sign the AIA into law within the next two weeks. Here is a link to the AIA. I will begin a series of posts discussing key provisions of the AIA tomorrow.
Peters, p/k/a Vince P. v. Kanye West, No. 10 C 3951, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Mar. 3, 2011) (Kendall, J.).
Judge Kendall granted defendants’ (collectively "Kanye West") Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss plaintiff Vince P’s copyright infringement claim. Vince P alleged that Kanye West copied Vince P’s 2006 song "Stronger" when Kanye West released his 2007 song "Stronger." Vince P sufficiently pled ownership of a registered copyright. So, the issue was whether Vince P sufficiently pled copying. As an initial matter, Vince P sufficiently pled access to Vince P’s work by alleging that Vince P shared his song with Kanye West’s "close friend, advisor and business associate" John Monopoly.
The Court then considered whether the allegedly copied elements of Vince P’s song were copyrightable:
- Title — Titles by themselves are not copyrightable.
- Kate Moss — A reference to Kate Moss in each song was an unprotectable fact.
- Hook — The use of the maxim "that which does not kill us makes us stronger" was not protectable because it was not original to Vince P. And the use of "wronger" in each hook was not protectable because while it was a unique word, it was actually part of a rhyme scheme with "longer" and common rhyme schemes are not protectable.
The combination of the above elements was not used in its entirety or in a nearly identical way. Therefore, the combination was not protectable.
Finally, the two songs did not display "fragmented literal similarity." That doctrine, recognized in other circuits, allows for infringement where a smaller fragment of a work is literally copied, but not the entire work. The similarities between the two Stronger songs, however, did not even rise to the level of fragmented literal similarity. Among other reasons the allegedly copied fragments were not integral parts of the copyrighted work.
Because there was no substantial similarity between the two songs, the Court dismissed the copyright infringement claim.
E.B.N. Enters., Inc. v. C.L. Creative Images, Inc., No. 09 C 6279, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Mar. 28, 2011) (Coleman, J.)
Judge Coleman granted in part plaintiff’s ("Fantastic Sams") preliminary injunction motion in this case involving a non-compete agreement related to a terminated Fantastic Sams hair salon franchise. The Court granted a preliminary injunction regarding Fantastic Sams’ operations manual which defendants were contractually required to return to Fantastic Sams. The Court denied the remainder of the requested injunction. Fantastic Sams alleged that defendant’s decision to operate a new salon at the same location breached the two-year requirement that defendants not operate a salon within five miles of the prior Fantastic Sams location. Fantastic Sams made an uncontested showing that defendants breached that agreement. But Fantastic Sams did not sufficiently show irreparable harm. There is no question of irreparable harm from breach of a non-compete agreement. Fantastic Sams did not ever show that another franchise wanted defendants’ territory. Finally, there was no evidence that defendants’ customers continued using defendants because of features unique to Fantastic Sams.