November 21, 2022 |

Kibler Fowler & Cave Team Prevails on Federal Motion to Dismiss Copyright Infringement Claim

In a victory for Kibler Fowler & Cave’s Entertainment and Intellectual Property Litigation practice group, the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed a complaint against client The Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, one of Europe’s largest university hospitals.

In its First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff MMAS Research alleged that defendants The Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Smartpatient GmbH and My Therapy violated licensing agreements with MMAS Research, which allow the use of a copyrighted diagnostic assessment protocol and certain derivative works. Plaintiff also asserted claims for breach of contract, copyright infringement and unfair competition under California Business and Professions Code.

The Court dismissed plaintiff’s complaint on two independent bases advanced by Kibler Fowler & Cave in The Charité’s motion to dismiss:

First, the Court held that plaintiff failed to establish standing to sue for copyright infringement. The Court found that MMAS was not the owner of the relevant copyrights. While the owner of the copyrights is listed as a plaintiff in the complaint, the Court noted that the complaint did not identify him, nor did it make allegations on his behalf. Further, the Court found that an agreement between the copyright owner and MMAS, authorizing MMAS to represent the copyright owner’s rights and litigate any infringement claims on his behalf, is an invalid attempt to transfer the bare right to sue.

Second, in addition to lack of standing, plaintiff’s complaint was dismissed based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Court held that plaintiff failed to demonstrate that any of the infringements alleged in plaintiff’s complaint occurred in the United States, which would have given the Court jurisdiction over such infringements. Finally, the Court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction as to the plaintiff’s state law claims for breach of contract and unfair competition.

Recognizing the merit of The Charité’s motion to dismiss, the Court warned the plaintiff: “While there may be a Second Amended Complaint, there will be no Third.”

The KF&C team is comprised of Partner John Fowler, Associate Kevin Cammiso, Associate Zien Halwani, and Paralegal Praveeta Garcia.

The Court’s decision can be found here.

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