A Los Angeles Court Ruled Against Prolific Copyright Plaintiff in Summary Judgment
A federal court in Los Angeles ruled against prolific copyright plaintiff Neman Brothers & Associates, Inc. on January 5, 2023. The court granted summary judgment in favor of defendant InterFocus, Inc., an e-commerce seller, on Neman Brothers’ copyright infringement claims, ruling that the copyright registrations on which Neman Brothers based its suit were invalid because it falsely claimed it authored works that were actually created by third parties in those copyright registrations, and because it was at least willfully blind to applicable legal requirements that it be an author of all works in the registration when it did so. The court issued its ruling in Neman Brothers & Assoc., Inc. v. InterFocus, Inc., Case No. 2:20-CV-11181-CAS-JPRx, (C.D. Cal.). The order has been published by Westlaw at 2023 WL115558.
The decision follows a recent Supreme Court ruling in Unicolors, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, L.P., which made it more difficult to attack the validity of a group copyright registration, by requiring that the registration not only include factual inaccuracies, but also that the registrant know of or be willfully blind to the legal consequences of the factual inaccuracies when filing the group copyright application, before a copyright registration could be invalidated. The InterFocus court ruled that InterFocus’ motion met that heightened standard.
Neman Brothers had filed about 60 copyright infringement suits against various companies based on hundreds of group registrations it had filed over many years. Its continued ability to do so has been placed in doubt by this ruling because its method of filing group registrations appears to be similar throughout the years.
“We are pleased that the court recognized the merits of our position and ruled against Neman Brothers,” said Albert Wang, CEO of InterFocus. “We now hope to continue our focus on serving our customers.” InterFocus is the company behind successful e-commerce website www.patpat.com, which sells high quality clothing at reasonable costs. Albert Wang was a former Oracle employee who in 2015 established InterFocus with friends in Silicon Valley.
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