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Barefoot Architect, Inc. v. Bunge, No. 09-4495

In an architect's suit against former clients and an architectural firm for violation of the Lanham Act and breach of contract and a claim that defendants had violated its copyright in a home design, judgment of the district court is affirmed in part, vacated in part and remanded where: 1) district court's grant of summary judgment and dismissal of plaintiff's copyright claim on the ground that it did not own the copyright to the architectural plans at the time those rights were allegedly infringed, and that is thus lacks standing to assert a copyright infringement action, is affirmed as although, at least where there is no dispute between transferor and transferee, a third party infringer cannot evade liability by invoking section 204(a) and demanding a contemporaneously-drafted instrument, none of the proffered evidence permits a jury to conclude that an oral transfer of the copyright design from plaintiff's former firm took place on Ocober 5, 1999; 2) district court's dismissal of defendants' tortious-interference counterclaim is vacated as defendants' allegation that plaintiff's delay in permitting and the consequent delay in construction fulfills the elements of section 766A; and 3) the district court's sua sponte dismissal of defendants' breach of contract and of fiduciary duty counterclaims is vacated and remanded as all defendants can use these claims as anchor claims to which they may attach their resurrected tortious-interference-with-contract statute.

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