Ferdinand IP Announces Important Victory for Fashion Brand Sanctuary Clothing and Major Retailers in Copyright Case

(New York, NY; May 15, 2017)  On Friday, May 12, 2017, U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles issued a decision and order in the case of Gold Value Textile v. Sanctuary Clothing, et al.  In the case, Plaintiff, a textile manufacturer, alleges that Sanctuary Clothing and major retailers including Macy’s, Dillard’s, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Amazon and Zappos, infringed its U.S. Federal Copyright Registration for a two-dimensional textile design. Plaintiff sought substantial monetary damages and attorney’s fees for the alleged infringement.  In its ruling on Friday, the Court granted Defendant Sanctuary’s motion for summary judgment which had the effect of dismissing plaintiff’s case in its entirety. The key determination for the Court was to invalidate the plaintiff’s copyright registration because of a filing defect, and then the Court’s refusal to grant Plaintiff leave to amend to file a new Complaint. The Court asked for the opinion of the U.S. Copyright Office, which confirmed that it would have refused registration in the first place had it known that the designs at issue had in fact been published, when the plaintiff claimed in the copyright application that they were not.
Why is this significant?  The plaintiff is represented by Doniger Burroughs, a law firm that is widely known to have pioneered copyright infringement lawsuits for fabric designs which have been plaguing the fashion industry for many years. Ferdinand IP firm founder Jed Ferdinand said in a statement “We are thrilled with the Court’s decision to dismiss the case against our clients Sanctuary Clothing and the retailer defendants. This is an important victory for the fashion industry as it continues to fight against the flood of copyright lawsuits that have been plaguing the industry for years. In these types of cases, plaintiffs count on fashion companies wanting to settle rather than pay litigation costs.  Our clients didn’t want to play that game.  Instead, they decided to mount an aggressive defense. Early on in the case, our team spotted a flaw in Plaintiff’s copyright registration.  The registration of these purportedly “unpublished works” underlies many of these fabric cases. Thankfully, the Court and the Copyright Office appreciated our invalidity arguments and the Court ruled in our clients’ favor.  We hope that this victory gives other fashion companies a roadmap on how to defend these types of cases aggressively in the future.”
About Ferdinand IP: Ferdinand IP is a boutique law firm that handles all facets of intellectual property, licensing, corporate law and litigation with offices in New York, California and Connecticut.  The team from Ferdinand IP handling the case included Jed Ferdinand, Senior Managing Partner, Jessica Rutherford, Partner and Associates Alex Malbin and Dan Lacy.
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