Intellectual Property Litigation, Protection and Prosecution

The IP and Trade Secret attorneys at Houston Harbaugh, P.C., have extensive courtroom, jury trial, non-jury trial and tribunal experience representing industrial, financial, individual and business clients in IP counseling, infringement litigation, trade secret protection and misappropriation litigation, and the overall creation and protection of intellectual property rights.

SCOTUS Rules that Copyright Damages Can Be Recovered Beyond Three Years, Leave Discovery Rule For Another Day

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on May 9th, 2024, in the case of Warner Chappell Music, Inc., et al., v. Nealy, et al., that plaintiffs in a copyright ownership dispute can recover damages beyond the three-year statute of limitations, even without a finding of fraud.

In a 6-3 ruling, Justice Kagan, joined by Justices Roberts, Sotomayor, Kavanaugh, Barrett, and Brown Jackson, stated that there “is no time limit on monetary recovery.” “So a copyright owner possessing a timely claim is entitled to damages for infringement, no matter when the infringement occurred.”

The Justices did not opine upon what is called the Discovery Rule, which allows for a copyright claim if the plaintiff sues within three years of discovering the infringing act. Specifically, the opinion stated that the Court was confining its review to the "disputed remedial issue, excluding consideration of the discovery rule." This effectively means that a copyright claim can be brought at almost any time, and the number of those lawsuits is likely to increase, given the new incentive of increased damages that may go back decades.

Justice Gorsuch, joined by Justices Thomas and Alito, wrote the dissent, criticizing the Court’s decision to not wait to address the Discovery Rule first. Justice Gorsuch posited that SCOTUS should have dismissed the case as "improvidently granted" and waited for a case that presented the question of whether the Copyright Act allows for a discovery rule. 

About Us

The IP and Trade Secret attorneys at Houston Harbaugh, P.C., have extensive courtroom, jury and non-jury trial and tribunal experience representing industrial, financial, individual and business clients in IP counseling, infringement litigation, trade secret protection and misappropriation litigation, and the overall creation and protection of intellectual property rights. From our law office in Pittsburgh, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and other states. Our Trade Secret Law Practice is federally trademark identified by DTSALaw®. We practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and we and our partners and affiliates apply for and prosecute applications for patents, trademarks and copyrights. IP section chair Henry Sneath, in addition to his litigation practice, is currently serving as a Special Master in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in complex patent litigation by appointment of the court. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Intellectual Property Lawyers | Infringement Litigation | Attorneys | Patent, Trademark, Copyright, DTSALaw®

Henry Sneath Pittsburgh Business Litigation Lawyer. Pittsburgh Strong.® DTSALaw® Complex Case Mediation and ADR

Henry M. Sneath - Practice Chair

Co-Chair of Houston Harbaugh’s Litigation Practice, and Chair of its Intellectual Property Practice, Henry Sneath is a trial attorney, mediator, arbitrator and Federal Court Approved Mediation Neutral and Special Master with extensive federal and state court trial experience in cases involving commercial disputes, breach of contract litigation, intellectual property matters, patent, trademark and copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, DTSA claims, cyber security and data breach prevention, mitigation and litigation, probate trusts and estates litigation, construction claims, eminent domain, professional negligence lawsuits, pharmaceutical, products liability and catastrophic injury litigation, insurance coverage, and insurance bad faith claims. He is currently serving as both lead trial counsel and local co-trial counsel in complex business and breach of contract litigation, patent infringement, trademark infringement and Lanham Act claims, products liability and catastrophic injury matters, and in matters related to cybersecurity, probate trusts and estates, employment, trade secrets, federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and restrictive covenant claims. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Business Litigation and Intellectual Property Lawyer. DTSALaw® PSMNLaw®