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Cert Petition Filed Asserting Copyright Infringement by 'Always Coca-Cola' Ringtone

Thursday, March 20, 2014
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March 18 — Omar Jaso filed a petition for writ of certiorari on March 3 in Jaso v. Coca-Cola Co. (U.S., No. 13-1046, review sought 3/3/14), appealing dismissal of his copyright infringement case against Coca-Cola Co. related to the latter's “Always Coca-Cola” advertising campaign, created by McCann Erickson.

Coca-Cola contended that the campaign ended in 2000 and that Jaso was time-barred with his 2010 lawsuit. Jaso asserted that the music, which he claims is based on his composition, El Juego, is being sold as a ringtone in Mexico.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in an unpublished opinion that there was no evidence affirmatively linking defendants to the alleged copyright infringement in the three years before the suit was filed. 5th Cir., 537 F. App'x 557, 2013 BL 206497 (5th Cir. 2013). And the sale in Mexico was an improper basis for the copyright claim because copyright laws generally do not have extraterritorial application, the court said.

The relevant question presented in the cert petition is:

Whether the Fifth Circuit holding that a sale in Mexico was an improper basis for a copyright claim is in direct conflict with holdings in other Districts and U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Delphine James of Houston filed the petition. Manuel Lopez of Houston informed the court on March 12 that McCann Erickson was waiving its right to respond in opposition.

Petition is available at http://pub.bna.com/ptcj/131046petition.pdf.

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