Recent Cases (copyright, trade secrets)

by Lee Gesmer on October 12, 2006

In Cambridge Literary Properties, Inc. v. W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik Magistrate Judith Dein issued an extensive Report and Recommendation (adopted by Judge Nancy Gertner) on issues relating to the statute of limitations as a bar to a claim of copyright infringement. The case involves facts going back as far as 1931 which involved the drawings of Berta Hummel, and is a valuable primer on the defense of statute of limitations in copyright actions.

District court Judge Gorton has issued a decision in Echomail, Inc. v. American Express denying IBM’s (a co-defendant) motion to dismiss claims of trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition and violation of M.G.L. c. 93A.

In T-Peg, Inc. v. Vermont Timber Works, Inc. the First Circuit applied the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act for the first time in this circuit. Reversing summary judgment for the defendant and remanding for trial, the court not only recapped the legal standard for substantial similarity (the test by which infringement is judged under copyright law), but clarified its position on expert testimony in copyright cases, making clear that there is no per se rule against expert testimony, and that whether or not it is appropriate depends on the complexity of the subject matter at issue.

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