Civic Partners Stockton v. Youssefi

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright, Infringement
  • Date Filed: 08-08-2013
  • Case #: C067304
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Cal. App. 3d Dist.
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 629
  • Westlaw Citation: 2013 WL 4035715
  • Full Text Opinion

The fact that one may not successfully sue for copyright infringement because he or she is not the copyright holder does not mean he or she is not preempted from attempting to sue on a claim that amounts to copyright infringement.

Opinion (Hull): Civic Partners Stockton ("Stockton"), was a developer who contracted with a redevelopment agency for the City of Stockton ("the Agency") for the renovation of a historic hotel. Stockton obtained a copy of the architectural plans from the architect, the copyright owner, for use in its credit application. Cyrus Youssefi and his company, CFY Development (collectively "CFY"), was the general partner of of an investor group for the hotel. On or about May 2, 2000, the Agency entered into an agreement with CFY for renovation of the Hotel Stockton ("the Hotel"), a historic building. The Agency later entered into a new redevelopment agreement with other developers who took over the project. In January 2003, Stockton filed suit against the City, the Agency and CFY for declaratory relief to establish its rights in the Hotel plans and for damages for breach and interference with its contracts with the Agency and the City. The developer alleged conversion of the plans, which contained a copyrightable work, when the Agency had given the plans to the competing developers for use in preparing their own credit application for the project. The court ruled that the fact that one may not successfully sue for copyright infringement because he or she is not the copyright holder does not mean he or she is not preempted from attempting to sue on a claim that amounts to copyright infringement- such as for the conversion of the plans containing copyrightable material. The Court concluded the trial court erred in granting judgment on the pleadings on this cause of action and therefore REVERSED the judgment of dismissal.

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