Contract Defenses Argument Can’t Bypass Expired Statutes of Limitation

Drug manufacturer Amylin Pharmaceuticals hired Consumer Health to develop materials to help Amylin more successfully market its diabetes drug, Byetta.  Although Consumer Health began its work in December 2005, the parties signed a contract in March 2006.  The contract assigned to Amylin the copyright in the materials Consumer Health created.  Amylin stopped paying Consumer Health for work after September 30, 2006, but continued to use the materials Consumer Health created. 

Consumer Health sued Amylin for copyright infringement in July 2013.  The district court ruled that Consumer Health filed its lawsuit too late under both the four-year California statute of limitations applying to contract rescission and the three-year copyright statute of limitations and dismissed the suit.  The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s ruling that Consumer Health’s suit was filed more than four years too late.

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Hip-Hop Writer Didn’t Hop to Bringing Copyright Infringement Suit

Tyrone Simmons is a hip-hop music writer and performer.  In February 2006, Simmons bought an exclusive license to use a particular beat from hip-hop producer William C. Stanberry, Jr.  Although Stanberry granted an exclusive license to Simmons, precluding everyone but Simmons from using the beat, Stanberry and rapper Curtis Jackson (aka 50 Cent) collaborated to release a song using the beat, “I Get Money,” in the summer of 2007.  The Stanberry/Jackson song achieved immediate success.  In the meantime, Stanberry attempted to repudiate Simmons’ license in a May 2007 email. 

Simmons brought suit for copyright infringement against Stanberry, Jackson and others in December 2010.  The district court dismissed Simmons’ suit as untimely.  The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision to dismiss the suit as untimely.

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