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Copyright Blog

Further Updates on Neurological Teaching Infringement

Hudson-Mckinney's motion to dismiss, Eichelberger's reply, and the Court's ruling

In recent developments in the Eichelberger v. Hudson-McKinney case (initial report here, subsequent update here), Defendant Hudson-McKinney filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds that the Complaint failed to state a claim for relief. Several arguments were offered in support of the motion, including that the action was barred by the statute of limitations, that the facts gave no basis for damages or an injunction and that the copyright claimed in the teaching materials was invalid. In particular, Hudson-McKinney argued that the teaching materials were created as a derivative work without the proper permission of the owner of the copyright in the underlying neurology textbook. Hudson-McKinney also asserted that there was no basis for the plaintiff's reverse passing off (trademark) claim.

Plaintiff Eichelberger responded with a Memo of Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, reasserting that Hudson-McKinney copied her work and profited thereby and that Eichelberger may have profited had infringement not occurred. The memo also addressed other points such as the timeliness of the complaint and the validity of the copyright held by Eichelberger.

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Hudson-McKinney thereafter gave a Reply in Support of Dismissal which contained some new arguments regarding the questions brought up in the original motion to dismiss. The Reply claimed that the plaintiff had defrauded the U.S. Copyright Office by registering an (allegedly) unauthorized derivative work, and tried to refute the argument that the proceedings were initiated in a sufficiently timely manner according to the statute of limitations.

The Court, having received and reviewed the motion and subsequent memos, determined that the motion was appropriate for decision without oral argument. The ruling stated that the claim for injunctive relief was dismissed with leave to amend, and dismissed the reverse passing off claim without leave to amend. The rest of the motion was denied, including the claim that Eichelberger had defrauded the U.S. Copyright Office. The case will move forward on the merits of the copyright issues.