Dryer v. National Football League

Appellants John Frederick Dryer, Elvin Lamont Bethea, and Edward Alvin White played professional football in the National Football League (“NFL”). They participated in a putative class-action lawsuit in which twenty-three former NFL players sued the NFL on behalf of themselves and similarly situated former players. This suit claimed that films produced by NFL-affiliate NFL Films violated the players’ rights under the right-of-publicity laws of various states as well as their rights under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125. Twenty of those players settled their dispute with the NFL, but the appellants elected to opt out of that settlement and pursue their individual right-of-publicity and Lanham Act claims. The district court granted the NFL’s motion for summary judgment on these claims. We affirm.

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Fox Broadcasting Co. v. Dish Network

Dish Network offers two marsupial-inspired products: the “Hopper,” which “hops” over commercials, and a companion box known as a “Joey.” Fox Broadcasting Company claims these products are contractually out of bounds and constitute copyright infringement. The district court denied the broadcaster’s request for a preliminary injunction. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1292, and we affirm.

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Hobbs v. John

While working on a Russian cruise ship, Guy Hobbs composed a song entitled “Natasha” that was inspired by a brief love affair he had with a Russian waitress. Hobbs tried to publish his song, but was unsuccessful. A few years later, Elton John and Bernie Taupin released a song entitled “Nikita” through a publishing company to which Hobbs had sent a copy of “Natasha.” Believing that “Nikita” was based upon “Natasha,” Hobbs eventually demanded compensation from John and Taupin, and ultimately filed suit asserting a copyright infringement claim and two related state law claims. The defendants moved to dismiss Hobbs’s complaint for failure to state a claim, and the district court granted the defendants’ motion. Hobbs appeals. We affirm.

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Ultramercial, Inc. v. Hulu, LLC

The United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed this patent suit, filed by Ultramercial, LLC and Ultramercial, Inc. (collectively, “Ultramercial”), by holding that U.S. Patent No. 7,346,545 (“the ’545 patent”) does not claim patent-eligible subject matter. In an earlier decision, later vacated by the United States Supreme Court, this court reversed the district court’s holding and remanded. Ultramercial, LLC v. Hulu, LLC, 657 F.3d 1325 (Fed. Cir. 2011), vacated sub nom. WildTangent, Inc. v. Ultramercial, LLC, 132 S.Ct. 2431 (2012). Because this court again holds that the district court erred in holding that the subject matter of the ’545 patent is not a “process” within the language and meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 101, this court again reverses and remands.

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