Westlaw Journals weekly round-up

February 12, 2015

Westlaw Journals Weekly RoundupSome highlights from recent litigation news headlines over at the Westlaw Journal blog include a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the duration of retiree health benefits, Adobe beats suit over its early-termination fee for Creative Cloud service, Jaguar and Ford win in patent suit over user interfaces in vehicles, and more:

Supreme Court remands question on duration of retiree health benefits: The 6th Circuit violated “ordinary principles of contract law” when it decided that a collective bargaining agreement that did not clearly define the duration of retiree health benefits intended those benefits to last a lifetime, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. “When a contract is silent as to the duration of retiree benefits, a court may not infer that the parties intended those benefits to vest for life,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the unanimous high court Jan. 26. (Employment)

Adobe early-termination fee suit dismissed: On Jan. 8, a federal judge dismissed a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing Adobe Systems of charging customers an illegal termination fee when they cancel their subscriptions to the company’s Creative Cloud service. The lawsuit by Scotty Mahlum alleged the fee, which can be hundreds of dollars, constitutes an illegal penalty under California’s unfair-competition law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, and Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 1750. (Software Law)

Judge’s claim construction leads to patent victory for Jaguar, Ford: Based on a judge’s construction of the seemingly simple term “page,” automakers Ford Motor Co. and Jaguar Land Rover have defeated patent infringement claims filed against them by Vehicle Interface Technologies Inc. U.S. District Judge Richard G. Andrews of the District of Delaware sided with Jaguar and Ford regarding the meaning of the term in VIT’s patent for its “user interface systems and methods for a vehicle.” The judge granted summary judgment to the defendants Jan. 21. (Intellectual Property)

Investment manager can’t disqualify opponents’ attorney, N.Y. appeals court rules: A New York appeals court ruled Jan. 8 that a phone conversation between an investment management firm’s attorney and a former employee of the firm did not create a conflict sufficient to prevent the attorney from representing the firm in a lawsuit the worker filed against the firm. The former employee, plaintiff Matthew R. Mayers, did not disclose information during the phone call with the attorney that was not already known by the defendant investment management company, the Supreme Court Appellate Division’s 1st Department ruled in denying Mayers’ bid to disqualify the defense firm. (Derivatives)