Quinn emanuel trial lawyers

Copyright Litigation
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Introduction Print

Quinn Emanuel is highly experienced in litigating copyright disputes. We have been called on to protect some of the world’s most well-known and valuable copyrighted works, including those of the Oscars© telecast, Zynga, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Intuit, the NFL, the Estate of Chet Baker and many others. We have also successfully defended against claims of copyright infringement, preventing injunctions from being entered, convincing juries to award zero damages even after a finding of copyright infringement (in an earlier trial while represented by another firm), and even winning attorneys’ fees on behalf of a defendant found liable for copyright infringement. In just one example of our defense work, we successfully defended Napster in an alleged mass copyright infringement suit brought by a copyright administrator and 26 music publishers. Our work is often precedent setting. One of our partners won his first copyright case—resulting in published opinions since cited by the Supreme Court and most Courts of Appeals—while still in law school. Another of our partners won a precedential case establishing the protectability of a software program’s user interface. Our copyright expertise extends to every industry, protecting the works of movies, sports, music, book publishing, electronic games, and every aspect of the internet and computer worlds.

REPRESENTATIVE COPYRIGHT CLIENTS

  • Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  • Avery Dennison
  • Brøderbund Software
  • Bullet Proof Software
  • Compuware
  • Disney
  • DreamWorks
  • easyJet Airlines
  • GameTech International
  • General Motors
  • Good Technology
  • Google
  • Hughes
  • IBM
  • INVISTA S.a.r.l.
  • Johnson Controls
  • Koch Industries
  • Kosa France
  • LifeScan
  • Mattel
  • Motorola
  • NFL
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Paramount Pictures
  • PeopleSoft
  • Shell Oil
  • Shell Exploration & Production
  • Symyx Technologies
  • Tumblr
  • Vimeo
  • Zynga

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Recent Representations Print

  • UM Corporation v. Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd. (C.D. Cal. 2017). We obtained a significant victory for Japanese entertainment company Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd. in a jury trial in the Central District of California.  The case concerned a dispute regarding ownership of rights in Tsuburaya’s iconic “Ultraman” superhero character in all countries outside of Japan.  The “Ultraman” universe comprises dozens of movies and television shows dating back to the 1960s, as well as countless products based on “Ultraman” characters.  In 1996, a Thai man claimed that he owned all rights in “Ultraman” outside of Japan based on a one-page contract that, he asserted, had been executed 20 years earlier by Tsuburaya’s former president, who had died shortly before the Thai man made his claim, leaving no other witnesses to the alleged formation of the purported contract.  Since then, the parties have litigated over the validity of the alleged contract in multiple foreign countries, with Tsuburaya contending that the document was forged by the Thai individual.  The dispute reached the U.S. courts in 2015.  After we obtained partial summary judgment on the interpretation of the contract (assuming it is an authentic contract), the question of the contract’s authenticity was tried to a jury.  At the close of a two-week trial, the jury unanimously found that the document was a forgery, thus paving the way for Tsuburaya to greatly increase its exploitation of “Ultraman” in the U.S. and elsewhere.
  • Capitol Records, LLC v. Vimeo, Inc. and EMI Blackwood Music, Inc. v. Vimeo, Inc. (2d Cir. 2016).  We represent Vimeo.com, one of the most popular online video-hosting sites in the U.S., in a groundbreaking copyright case brought by major record labels alleging that Vimeo was liable for hosting thousands of user-uploaded videos that incorporate the labels’ musical compositions or sound recordings.  In the first phase of this case, we convinced the district court to dismiss the majority of the labels’ claims based on the “safe harbor” protections afforded by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which allows websites to avoid liability when they remove videos upon receiving either actual or “red flag” knowledge of their presence.  The district court ruled, however, that the DMCA does not apply to sound recordings fixed prior to February 1972 because the Copyright Act specifically carved out such recordings from federal protection.  On appeal to the Second Circuit, we convinced a unanimous panel that the DMCA does apply to pre-1972 sound recordings, an issue that had never been decided by any other federal appellate court.  We further persuaded the Second Circuit to recognize that mere awareness of a video that incorporates an entire song cannot on its own defeat a motion for summary judgment on safe-harbor grounds.  Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the labels’ request to review the decision.
  • Asian American Entertainment Corporation, Limited v. Las Vegas Sands,Inc. (D. Nev. 2015). We are defending Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Las Vegas Sands, LLC, and Venetian Casino Resort in a trade secret and copyright lawsuit brought by a Macau-based organization that Las Vegas Sands once considered working with to finance its popular Venetian Macao hotel and casino resort.  The plaintiff, Asian American Entertainment Corporation, is seeking in excess of $5 billion dollars based on its early—and ultimately failed—attempt to partner with Las Vegas Sands for the purpose of submitting a bid to qualify for one of the casino operator contracts being offered by the Macau government in the early 2000s.  Las Vegas Sands and AAEC did not end up partnering for the duration of the bidding process, but Las Vegas Sands ultimately succeeded (without the assistance of AAEC) in procuring one of the casino operator contracts, allowing it to develop, open, and operate the Venetian Macao.  Although the case was filed in July, 2014, plaintiff only recently served defendants with a copies of the summons and complaint.  We filed a motion to dismiss in part based on the contention that the bid is not a joint work of authorship under the Copyright Act. The court ultimately dismissed the complaint in favor of our client.
  • Megaupload Ltd. (E.D. Va. 2015). We have represented Megaupload in the largest copyright case in U.S. history in connection with criminal charges brought by the DOJ, and successfully set aside a restrain order that had frozen the client’s assets located in Hong Kong.  We recently filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of a novel issue of constitutional and statutory law relating to contesting civil forfeiture over foreign property.
  • J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Javier Teran Mojica and Evelia Mojica Carpio (N.D. Cal. 2014). We represented pro bono owners of a small restaurant in the Monterrey Peninsula against claims of pirating a pay-per-view boxing match and obtained a dismissal due to Plaintiff’s failure to prosecute.
  • Bouchat v. NFL Properties LLC (D. Md. 2013). We have successfully represented the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens professional football franchise in a series of copyright actions stemming from the Ravens’ adoption of an inaugural logo for its 1996-1998 seasons that plaintiff Frederick Bouchat alleged was substantially similar to a copyrighted drawing he had submitted for consideration.  Most recently, Bouchat alleged that the appearance of the Ravens’ inaugural logo in certain video games sold by Electronic Arts (EA) was infringing.  We successfully had the case entirely dismissed on summary judgment, persuading the Court that the NFL did not license EA to use the logo in the games at issue.
  • AeroManagement, Inc. v. Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co., Alexander Pimenov, Victor Olenin, and Luigi de Franceso (S.D.N.Y. 2013). We represented one of the largest Russian jet manufacturers, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, and three of its senior officers in a breach of contract, trade secret, copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation lawsuit filed by AeroManagement. Plaintiff claimed it provided interior design plans for the Sukhoi Super Jet, and that our client was going to commercially exploit those plans without paying for them. AeroManagement sought an expedited preliminary injunction to prevent our client from displaying its Jet at the 2013 Moscow Air Show, one of the biggest air shows in the world. After we cross examined the plaintiff’s CEO at the preliminary injunction hearing, the court denied the motion for preliminary injunction, allowing our client to display its Jet in the Moscow Air Show.
  • Perfect 10 v. Yandex (N.D. Cal. 2013). We represented Russian technology company Yandex, which operates the world's fourth largest search engine, in a massive copyright infringement lawsuit brought by adult entertainment publisher Perfect 10, seeking over $100 million in damages.  The suit alleged that Yandex had willfully infringed Perfect 10’s copyrights in tens of thousands of its images of nude women by crawling, indexing and linking to third party websites hosting infringing Perfect 10 images, and by hosting unauthorized Perfect 10 images uploaded by users of Yandex’s user-generated content sites.  Early in the case, Yandex defeated Perfect 10’s motion for a preliminary injunction on its copyright claims directed to Yandex’s search and hosting services, obtaining a court ruling that Perfect 10 was unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims and that Perfect 10 had not demonstrated irreparable harm.  Subsequently, Yandex obtained summary judgment on the vast majority of Perfect 10’s claims, on extraterritoriality and fair use grounds.  Specifically, Yandex showed that most of Perfect 10’s claims concerned “extraterritorial” acts of alleged copyright infringement not cognizable under the U.S. Copyright Act, and that the thumbnail-sized images in Yandex’s image search results are a non-actionable "fair use" under the U.S. Copyright Act.  After that victory, Perfect 10 quickly settled for a fraction of its original demand.
  • Viacom International, Inc. v. YouTube Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 2013). We won summary judgment on behalf of YouTube and its parent Google in a precedent-setting, billion-dollar copyright case brought by Viacom in U.S. District Court in New York. Viacom argued that YouTube should be held liable for the presence of allegedly unauthorized, infringing material on the site.  In a decision that helps to establish the rules of the road for Internet services that host user-generated content, the district court agreed with us that YouTube and Google are fully protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
  • Benay v. Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., et al. (C.D. Cal. 2012). We successfully defended the producers, writers and director of the motion picture “The Last Samurai” in a lawsuit alleging that they had used material written by the plaintiffs to write and produce the film.  The plaintiffs asserted claims for copyright infringement and breach of implied-in-fact contract.  After a two week trial in the United States District Court, the jury unanimously rejected the plaintiffs’ claims and rendered a verdict in favor of our clients.
  • Barclays v. FlyOnTheWall.com (2d Cir. 2011). We represented Google and Twitter as amicus in the Second Circuit in a successful effort to narrow the tort of "hot news" misappropriation.
  • Perfect 10, Inc. v. Google Inc. (C.D. Cal. 2010, 9th 2011). For our client Google, we successfully obtained the complete dismissal with prejudice of the long-running Perfect 10 v. Google litigation.  At issue were Perfect 10's claims of copyright infringement seeking to shut down Google's popular Web Search, Image Search and Blogger services.  Prior to the dismissal, we successfully obtained summary judgment of safe harbor under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on Perfect 10’s copyright infringement claims against Google's Web Search, Image Search and Blogger services. The decision precluded Perfect 10 from seeking any monetary damages for almost all of the more than two million alleged copyright infringements Perfect 10 claimed were hosted by Google’s Blogger service or linked to by Google’s Web and Image Search services.  We also defeated Perfect 10’s motion for a preliminary injunction on its copyright and publicity claims, obtaining a court ruling that Google was likely to succeed on the merits, and that Perfect 10 had not demonstrated irreparable harm. We successfully defended that victory on appeal before the Ninth Circuit in 2011.  And finally, on the eve of the close of discovery, after obtaining damaging admissions during several key depositions (including of Perfect 10’s CEO Norman Zada) and winning several critical discovery motions, Perfect 10 offered to dismiss the entire lawsuit with prejudice in exchange for Google’s agreement not to seek attorneys’ fees and costs.  The dismissal, coming after more than seven years of protracted litigation, completely vindicated Google’s legal position, as Google had maintained all along that Perfect 10’s case lacked any merit.  The case ended without Google paying Perfect 10 a cent.
  • SocialApps v. Zynga, Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2012). We  successfully represented Zynga in a copyright and trade secret misappropriation lawsuit involving Zynga’s famous Farmville game.  After a series of very favorable discovery rulings, the case settled extremely favorably to Zynga.
  • Zynga Game Networks v. Green Patch, Inc and Playdom, Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2010). We represented Zynga in a copyright infringement suit against former competitor Green Patch and current competitor (now owned by Disney) arising out of the outright copying of Zynga java script in four Zynga games, and the incorporation of that code in 6 Green Patch/Playdom games.  The case resulted in the entirely changing the accused games and in a very favorable monetary settlement to Zynga.
  • Deborah Thomas v. The Walt Disney Company (9th Cir. 2009). We successfully represented Disney in a suit by a screenwriter and poet who claimed that Disney’s blockbuster Finding Nemo feature film was an unauthorized derivative work from the plaintiff’s poem and treatment. We convinced the trial court to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint on grounds of lack of substantial similarity, which was affirmed in all respects by the Ninth Circuit on appeal.
  • German Software Litigation (Frankfurt District Court 2010). One of the partners in our Hamburg office successfully defended a German software company against an individual who had claimed to have acquired rights in a standard Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software product. The dispute centered around a number of licensing/copyright and insolvency law related questions that were still uncharted at the time of the proceedings. Adopting the position advanced on behalf of the defendant software company, the Frankfurt District Court fully dismissed the case in a final and binding judgment.
  • Flaherty v. Filardi (S.D.N.Y. 2009). We represented The Walt Disney Company, Executive Producer Dana Owens (p/k/a “Queen Latifah”), screenwriter Jason Filardi and various independent producers of  the hit comedy film “Bringing Down the House” (starring Steve Martin) in a long-running copyright infringement lawsuit filed by an aspiring screenwriter.  Along the way, we obtained published summary judgment rulings dismissing all claims against our clients, including copyright, Lanham Act and fraud claims relating to the final motion picture as well as similar claims relating to draft screenplays created during the development of the film.  In addition, we also defeated countless motions filed by the plaintiff, including one seeking to enjoin the network and cable premieres of the movie and another challenging the propriety of a single firm jointly representing multiple defendants in such cases to promote efficiency and reduce legal costs.
  • Funky Films, Inc. v. Time Warner Entertainment Co., 462 F.3d 1072 (9th Cir. 2006). On behalf of Time Warner Entertainment and HBO, we obtained a summary judgment dismissal of copyright and trademark infringement claims valued in excess of $50 million challenging the originality of the popular hit series “Six Feet Under.”  Our win was later affirmed by the Ninth Circuit in an oft-cited ruling articulating the application of copyright law to television and film properties.
  • Corbis v. TemplateMonster.com (S.D. Fla. 2006). One of our partners represented Corbis against Ukrainian and other foreign professional copyright pirates, obtaining a TRO and injunction against all defendants that permanently shut down several foreign copyright pirate operations, and winning a $20 million judgment against several of the defendants.
  • MCS Music America v. Napster (E.D. Tenn. 2006). We successfully defended Napster in an alleged mass copyright infringement suit brought by a copyright administrator and some 26 music publishers.  The suit alleged that thousands of digital music tracks offered for download and/or streaming on Napster’s service were infringing.  Plaintiffs had claimed more than $220 million in damages.  After our depositions of plaintiffs’ representatives cast doubt on their ownership rights and claims of unauthorized use, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their suit.
  • Mattel v. Radio City Entertainment (2d Cir. 2006). As appellate counsel, we won a decision by the Second Circuit vacating a district judge’s adverse verdict after a bench trial against Mattel in a copyright infringement case litigated at the trial level by a different firm.
  • Nicholls v. Tufenkian Import/Export Ventures (S.D.N.Y. 2005). Even though we were retained by Tufenkian Carpets less than a month before trial, we won a defense verdict, including specific findings of lack of access and lack of substantial similarity in a rug design case.
  • Ninox Television v. Fox Entertainment Group (S.D.N.Y. 2005). We represented Fox Entertainment Group and FreemantleMedia against a New Zealand-based production company over the format to “The Complex: Malibu,” a home renovation reality competition series.  After we obtained an early stay of discovery and moved for summary judgment on the ground that generic elements of television programming are not entitled to copyright protection, the plaintiff withdrew its complaint with prejudice.
  • Robbins v. Mattel (S.D. Ohio 2005). In complex suit alleging reversion of previously assigned copyright and trademark ownership rights to the famous game UNO, we won summary judgment for Mattel on the bulk of plaintiffs’ claims, which plaintiffs asserted were worth in excess of $75 million.  The case subsequently settled on terms that included the entry of final judgment declaring Mattel’s exclusive, superior rights to the UNO properties.
  • Mattel v. American First Run Studios (C.D. Cal. 2003). We defended Mattel against state and federal suits claiming Mattel’s TARZAN action figures infringed a studio’s copyrights and related rights, winning summary judgments in both actions, later affirmed by the California Court of Appeal and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, respectively.
  • Greiner & Hausser GmbH v. Mattel (C.D. Cal. 2003). In cross-border actions in the U.S. and Germany, we defeated a former owner’s claims seeking to rescind the assignment of copyright and patent rights that formed the basis of Mattel’s BARBIE product line, worth more than $2 billion in annual revenues.  Reported decisions include 354 F.3d 857 (9th Cir. 2003).
  • Kling v. DIC Entertainment (C.D. Cal. 2003). We successfully defended production and merchandising entities against a $20 million copyright claim based on a highly successful television and motion picture property, winning a complete defense verdict.
  • Kling v. DIC Animation (C.D. Cal. 2001). We won a unanimous defense verdict on behalf of Artisan Pictures, DIC Animation, Hallmark Cards, Mattel and United Feature Syndicate when they faced a multi-million dollar copyright infringement trial over the RAINBOW BRITE and ROBOTMAN TV programs and videocassettes.
  • MP3Board v. AOL Time Warner (S.D.N.Y. 2001). We obtained a dismissal with prejudice of claims against AOL Time Warner for alleged contributory and vicarious copyright infringement based upon its “Gnutella” information-sharing software.
  • Danjaq LLC v. Sony Pictures Entertainment (C.D. Cal. 1998). One of our partners represented the producers and distributors of the James Bond film franchise in a copyright and trademark dispute concerning the right to create James Bond films.  He obtained a preliminary injunction (affirmed by the 9th Circuit) and later won a defense judgment on a copyright infringement counterclaim, subsequently affirmed by the Ninth Circuit in a published opinion.

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