Universal Furniture Int'l Inc. v. Collezione Europa USA, Inc., 07-2180 - U.S. Fourth Circuit
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Universal Furniture Int'l Inc. v. Collezione Europa USA, Inc., 07-2180

Universal Furniture Int'l Inc. v. Collezione Europa USA, Inc., 07-2180, concerned a challenge to the district court's judgment that plaintiff possessed valid copyrights in its furniture designs and that defendant had infringed those copyrights, that defendant acted in contravention of both the Lanham Act and the UDTPA, and an award of more than $11 million in damages to plaintiff, in a copyright suit between competing furniture companies.

 

In affirming the judgment, the court held that the district court did not err in concluding that plaintiff established its ownership of the asserted copyrights.  The court held that because the designs are original and conceptually separable from the utilitarian aspect of the furniture, the compilation design elements of plaintiff's two furniture lines are entitled to copyright protection.  The court also held that the district court did not err in determining that most of defendant's redesigns infringed plaintiff's copyrights.  The court affirmed the district court's ruling that defendant violated the Lanham Act as, by displaying plaintiff's furniture as its own for a lower price, defendant appears to have retained customers that would have otherwise purchased form plaintiff.  The court affirmed the district court's ruling that defendant contravened the UDTPA.  Lastly, district court's award of more than $11 million to plaintiff in damages is affirmed.

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