|Timbers at Sunrise from www.vermonttimberworks.com|
In 1999, Stan Isbitski wanted to build his dream home in New Hampshire. T-Peg drew up a preliminary design and then worked with Stan and updated the design and registered the updated design in May 2001. Meanwhile, Stan showed the unregistered preliminary design to Vermont Timber Works which completed its updated design in 2002. The dream home was sold to Mr. Dupee before it was fully constructed, at which time T-Peg sued, seeking $66,000 in damages. The district court dismissed the case finding that no reasonable jury could conclude that the designs were substantially similar. An earlier First Circuit panel reversed and remanded to permit proof of copying. The jury found against plaintiff. Prevailing Defendant sought over $200,000 in attorneys fees. The court, applying 17 U.S.C. §505 exercised its discretion to award only $35,000 in attorneys fees. The First Circuit affirmed the trial court’s application of the discretionary factors district judges are to apply in awarding attorneys fees in copyright cases set forth in Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., 510 U.S. 517 (1994).
To read Judges Torruella, Thompson, and Saris' decision, click here.
Copyright law, fine art and navigating the courts. All practice, no theory.Copyright Litigation Handbook (Thomson Reuters Westlaw 2012-2013) by Raymond J. Dowd