L.A. Printex Industries v. Aeropostale Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright
  • Date Filed: 06-13-2012
  • Case #: 10-56187
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nelson, Gould, Ikuta
  • Full Text Opinion

A certificate of registration containing inaccurate information is sufficient to sustain an infringement claim, so long as the applicant was unaware of the inaccuracy, and the inaccuracy would not have caused the copyright office to reject the application.

Opinion (Gould): L.A. Printex Ind. (Printex) designs and prints fabric patterns. In 2002, Printex designed a floral pattern designated C30020. In 2002, Printex received copyright certification for an “unpublished collection” of 5 floral print patterns, including C30020, entitled “Small Flower Group A.” In 2008, Printex discovered that Aeropostale was selling shirts printed in a pattern similar to C30020 and brought suit claiming copyright infringement. After bringing suit, Printex became aware that “Small Flower Group A” contained two patterns that had been published before the group was registered. Printex filed an application for supplemental registration with the copyright office, and was granted an amended registration for “Small Flower Group A” not containing the two previously published prints. Aeropostale then moved for summary judgment, arguing that, due to the inclusion of the published prints in an unpublished collection registration, Printex did not hold a valid copyright for C30020 at the time of the alleged infringement. The district court agreed, and granted summary judgment for Aeropostale. The Ninth Circuit found that a certificate of registration was sufficient to sustain an infringement claim even if it contained inaccurate information, so long as the applicant was unaware of the inaccuracy and the inaccuracy would not have caused the registrar of copyrights to reject the application. Since it was not shown that Printex was aware of the inaccuracy, and the Copyright Office’s grant of an amended registration tended to show that the error would not have led to a rejection of the application, summary judgment was REVERSED.

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