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First off today, Brian Darville at Mondaq reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a $3,938,227.22 attorney’s fees award in a dispute over alleged infringing derivative works based on the character Ultraman.
The dispute pits UM Corporation (UMC) against Tsuburaya Products Co. (TPC). The dispute centered around a 1976 agreement between the companies in which TPC granted UMC limited rights to certain Ultraman works. However, TPC claimed those rights did not include the right to create derivative works, something TPC alleges UMC did. Courts in Japan, China and Thailand have sided with TPC on that issue and, with this ruling, the U.S. is added to that list.
However, the attorney’s fee award became a point of contention as UMC felt it was excessive and that the tests were inappropriately applied. The Ninth Circuit disagreed, letting the award stand though dismissing $567,118.13 for non-taxable costs, which were recently disallowed in a Supreme Court ruling in a separate case.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that, in the UK, two men have been convicted for violations of the Serious Crimes Act and face lengthy sentences for their role in selling pirate TV set-top boxes.
The case stems from an arrest 2017 that followed an operation by Hertfordshire Trading Standards. Though the case took two-and-a-half years to make it to trial, when it did come it took four days for a jury to convict Thomas Tewelde and Mohamed Abdou under both the Serious Crimes Act of 2007 and the Fraud Act of 2006.
The two men were also found guilty of selling devices that failed to comply with Electric Equipment Safety Regulations as prosecutors pointed out safety issues with the devices sold. The pair will be sentenced on February 28.
Finally today, Rory O’Neill at the World Intellectual Property Review reports that a UK court has a British homeware brand, Edinburg Woollen Mill (EWM) infringed the rights of Response Clothing, a clothing and fabric supplier that had previously worked with them.
According to the lawsuit, Response Clothing provided womens’ tops to EWM between 2009 and 2012. Some of those tops featured a wave design that was woven into the fabric itself. However, when Response sought to raise the price they were charging EWM, the company went with another supplier, that continued making tops very similar to the ones sold by Response.
Drawing on recent decisions from the Court of Justice of the European Union, the UK court not only ruled that the frabic was eligible for copyright protection but that EWM had infringed when making the new, but slightly different, tops with a new supplier.