Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Copyright Law - Eleventh Circuit - Can Prior Infringements Help A Substantial Similarity Claim?

Architectural Works, Copyright Infringement, Substantial Similarity, Evidence, Evidence of Prior Acts
Dream Custom Homes, Inc. v. Modern Day Construction, Inc., 476 Fed.Appx. 190 (11th Circuit April 17, 2012).  District court granted summary judgment finding that no reasonable jury could find substantial similarity in architectural drawings and designs.  The 11th Circuit rejected the appellant’s argument that prior act evidence should be admissible.  Appellant tried to draw the analogy to trademark law where such evidence is admissible to prove likelihood of confusion.  The 11th Circuit observed that prior act evidence even if admissible to prove damages is not admissible to lower the threshold to prove liability.  Rule 404 of the Federal Rules of Evidence excludes prior act evidence to prove character to demonstrate action in conformity with that character.
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