This case involved a proposed class action settlement between AOL and plaintiffs where the parties agreed that AOL would make a series of charitable donations. At issue was whether the district court abused its discretion in approving the proposed class action settlement, including a proposed cy pres settlement distribution. The court held that the cy pres distributions here did not comport with the court's cy pres standards. While the donations were made on behalf of a nationwide plaintiff class, they were distributed to geographically isolated and substantively unrelated charities. The court concluded that the district court judge did not have to recuse herself pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 455(a) or (b)(4), 5(iii). The court declined to address the issue of whether the class notice was sufficient. Accordingly, the court reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded. View "Nachshin, et al. v. AOL, LLC" on Justia Law
This case stemmed from Suzlon's demand that Microsoft produce documents from the Microsoft Hotmail email account of Rajagopalan Sridhar, an Indian citizen imprisoned abroad. Microsoft objected to the production and the district court agreed, finding that Sridhar was entitled to the protections of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), 18 U.S.C. 2510-2522, even though he was a foreign citizen. The court held that the ECPA protected the domestic communications of non-citizens like Sridhar. Thus, the decision of the district court denying the production of documents was affirmed. View "Suzlon Energy Ltd. v. Microsoft Corp." on Justia Law
This case was brought pursuant to the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), 15 U.S.C. 1125(d)(1) over the registered domain name "gopets.com." The main issue on appeal was whether the term "registration" applied only to the initial registration of the domain name, or whether it also applied to a re-registration of a currently registered domain name by a new registrant. The court concluded that such re-registration was not a "registration" within the meaning of section 1125(d)(1). Therefore, the court held that, because Edward Hise registered gopets.com in 1999, long before GoPets Ltd. registered its service mark, Digital Overture's re-registration and continued ownership of gopets.com did not violate section 1125(d)(1). The court held, however, that the Hises violated the ACPA in registering the additional domains because the Hises acted in bad faith and the court affirmed the district court's award for each of those registrations. The court also affirmed the district court's conclusion that the Hises' use of gopets.com violated the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq., and remanded for determination of any relief that the district court might find appropriate for that violation. The court finally vacated the district court's award of attorney's fees and remanded for reconsideration by the district court. View "GoPets Ltd. v. Hise, et al." on Justia Law
Posted in: Copyright, Intellectual Property, Internet Law, Trademark, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Louis Vuitton sued Managed Solutions Group, Inc. (MSG), Akanoc Solutions, Inc., and Steven Chen (collectively, Defendants) for contributory copyright and trademark infringement, contending that Defendants were liable for their role in hosting websites that directly infringed Louis Vuitton's trademarks and copyrights. After trial, a jury found Defendants liable and awarded damages against each defendant. In response to Defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law, the district court set aside the jury's verdict and award against MSG. The district court otherwise denied the motion. The court affirmed the district court on all issues of liability raised by the appeal and cross-appeal but vacated the judgment and remanded with instructions that the district court award statutory damages in the amount of $10,500,000 for contributory trademark infringement and $300,000 for contributory copyright infringement, for which Akanoc and Chen should be jointly and severally liable. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. v. Akanoc Solutions, Inc., et al." on Justia Law
Posted in: Copyright, Intellectual Property, Internet Law, Trademark, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Stearns, et al. v. Ticketmaster Corp, et al.; Johnson, et al. v. Ticketmaster Corp, et al.; Mancini, et al. v. Ticketmaster Corp, et al.
Appellants appealed the district court's denial of certification of their putative class action in Mancini v. Ticketmaster; Stearns v. Ticketmaster, and Johnson v. Ticketmaster. Appellants' actions were directed against a number of entities that were said to have participated in a deceptive internet scheme, which induced numerous individuals to unwittingly sign up for a fee-based rewards program where amounts were charged to their credit cards or directly deducted from their bank accounts. The court held that Rule 23 did not give the district court broad discretion over certification of class actions and the district court erred when it based its exercise of that discretion on what turned out to be an inaccurate reading of the California Unfair Competition Law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200-17210. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's denial of the motions for class certification of the UCL claims in Mancini and affirmed its determination that Mancini and Sanders were not proper representatives. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the California's Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), Cal. Civ. Code 1750-1784, claim in Stearns; affirmed the district court's refusal to certify a class regarding the CLRA injunctive relief claims in Mancini; reversed the district court's dismissal of the Johnson action regarding the CLRA claim; and affirmed its refusal to certify a class regarding the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), 15 U.S.C. 1693-1693r, claim in Mancini. View "Stearns, et al. v. Ticketmaster Corp, et al.; Johnson, et al. v. Ticketmaster Corp, et al.; Mancini, et al. v. Ticketmaster Corp, et al." on Justia Law
CollegeSource, Inc. (CollegeSource), a California corporation with its principal place of business in California, sued AcademyOne, Inc. (AcademyOne), a Pennsylvania corporation with its principal place of business in Pennsylvania, in federal district court for the Southern District of California, alleging that AcademyOne misappropriated material from CollegeSource's websites. AcademyOne moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and the district court granted its motion. The court held that AcademyOne was subject to specific personal jurisdiction, but not general personal jurisdiction, in California with respect to CollegeSource's misappropriation claims. Under the doctrine of pendant personal jurisdiction, AcademyOne was also subject to personal jurisdiction in California with respect to the remainder of CollegeSource's claims. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of CollegeSource's complaint and remanded for further proceedings. View "CollegeSource, Inc. v. AcademyOne, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Contracts, Intellectual Property, Internet Law, Trademark, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Perfect 10 moved for a preliminary injunction against Google, arguing that it was entitled to an injunction because Google's web and image search and related caching feature, its Blogger service, and its practice of forwarding Perfect 10's takedown notices to chillingeffects.org constituted copyright infringement. Perfect 10 also argued that it was entitled to an injunction based upon Google's alleged violation of the rights of publicity assigned to Perfect 10 by some of its models. At issue was whether the district court erred in denying Perfect 10's request for preliminary injunctive relief. The court held that Perfect 10 had not shown a sufficient causal connection between irreparable harm to Perfect 10's business and Google's operation of its search engine. Therefore, the court held that because Perfect 10 had failed to satisfy this necessary requirement for obtaining preliminary injunctive relief, the district court's ruling was not an abuse of discretion. View "Perfect 10, Inc. v. Google, Inc." on Justia Law
Plaintiffs claimed that defendants, owners and managers of a for-profit website called DMV.org, violated federal and state unfair competition and false advertising laws by actively fostering the belief that DMV.org was an official state DMV website, or was affiliated or endorsed by a state DMV. The district court held that defendants violated section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a), but rejected plaintiffs' claim under California's unfair competition statute. The district court issued an injunction ordering DMV.org to present every site visitor with a splash screen bearing a disclaimer and denied monetary relief and an award of attorney's fees to plaintiffs. Both sides appealed. The court held that plaintiffs had established sufficient injury for Article III standing and that plaintiffs had met both prongs of the test in Jack Russell Terrier Network of Northern California v. American Kennel Club, Inc. for Lanham Act standing. The court held that the district court committed no error in holding that defendants violated the Lanham Act but remanded for the district court to reconsider the duration of the splash screen in light of any intervening changes in the website's content and marketing practices, as well as the dissipation of the deception resulting from past practices. The court held that the district court did not err in denying damages. The court held that because the district court erred in finding that defendants'c conduct was not exceptional and that plaintiffs had unclean hands, its denial of attorney's fees was an abuse of discretion. Therefore, the court remanded for the district court to consider the award of attorney's fees anew. The court held that the district court's findings that defendants were jointly and severally liable were not clearly erroneous. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to hold DMV.org in contempt for technical breaches of the injunction. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and reversed in part, remanding with instructions. View "TrafficSchool.com, Inc., et al. v. Edriver Inc., et al." on Justia Law
Posted in: Business Law, Consumer Law, Corporate Compliance, Internet Law, U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Petitioner appealed the Board of Immigration Appeals' ("BIA") determination that it did not have jurisdiction to accept an appeal filed one day late due to a post office error. At issue was whether the 30 day deadline for filing a notice of appeal with the BIA was jurisdictional. The court held that the 30 day deadline must be read as a claim-processing rule that was not jurisdictional. The court also held that, since the BIA erred as a matter of law in concluding that it lacked jurisdiction, the court must remand to the BIA to permit it to fully reconsider whether, under the circumstances presented, it would hear the appeal from the immigration judge's decision in this case. The court also concluded that all the BIA needed to do to avoid subjecting aliens to the risk of losing their appeals due to bad weather or delivery service error was to allow people to send notices of appeal over the internet.
Plaintiff purchased travel arrangements through Expedia, Inc.'s ("Expedia") website and Expedia emailed him a receipt, which included the expiration date of his credit card. Plaintiff claimed that this email receipt violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act ("FACTA"), Pub. L. No. 108-159, 117 Stat. 1952, an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq., in part to combat identity theft. At issue was the meaning of the words "print" and "electronically printed" under FACTA, in connection with an email receipt. The court held that "print" referred to many different technologies, all of which involve the making of tangible impression on paper or other tangible medium. The court also held that a receipt, under FACTA that was transmitted to the consumer via email and then digitally displayed on the consumer's screen was not an "electronically printed" receipt. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).