Curtis et al. v. Illumination Arts

Court: United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

Document status: Order Granting Default Judgment

Key issue or relevant point:  Whether or not Plaintiffs’ motion for default judgment should be granted, and if granted, what should be: (a) the amount of statutory damages for willful infringement, and (b) the amount of attorney’s fees and expenses.

Ruling of Finding:  Under the facts of the case the Motion for Default Judgment was granted.  The court believed a “Substantial” award of statutory damages was more appropriate than a maximum award, largely based on the preexisting relationship between the parties.  Here, although the Defendants’ conduct prior to and during litigation was tantamount to “egregious”, the previous long-term and mutually beneficial contractual and licensing relationship between the parties hindered the Courts willingness to award $150,000 in max damages.  The Court also awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses in favor of the Plaintiff.

Gorski v. Gymboree

Court: United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division (2014).

Document status: Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant’s Pre-Trial Motion to Dismiss

Issue or relevant point: 1. Can the court make a finding of non-infringement while considering a motion to dismiss?  2.  Does Plaintiff’s complaint sufficiently plead ‘substantial similarity’ between protectable elements and the alleged copying?

Ruling or Findings: Yes – courts have authority to find non-infringement when considering a pre-trial motion to dismiss.  In this case, the copyright claim was dismissed because the Plaintiff had not plead sufficient facts to show infringement; however, the court granted the Plaintiff the option to file an amended complaint.

Getty v. Virtual

Court: United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle  

Document status: Court Order on Award of (Statutory) Damages

Issue or relevant point: When are maximum statutory damages appropriate?

Ruling:  Maximum statutory damages are appropriate when the evidence shows willful infringement, profit by the infringer, loss of revenue to the rights holder, and where the award will serve to protect the copyright system from flagrant violation of the law.