SW Legal studies in Business

Copyrighted Symbols Placed on Clothing May Have Been Infringed by Similar Designs
Description District court refused to dismiss a suit brought by a clothing designer that placed copyrighted symbols on its clothing. Clothing sold by Wal-Mart contained symbols that were sufficiently similar to raise the possibility of infringement, so the case could proceed.
Topic Intellectual Property
Key Words Copyrights; Symbols; Similarity
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts U-Neek designs and makes children's clothing with a "whimsical" marketing theme. The company created five new "Zing" designs that included copyrighted artwork (symbols) on clothing-patches of the designs placed on garments. U-Neek sold its clothing, which was made in the Philippines to its specifications, to Wal-Mart for a couple years. Orders from Wal-Mart declined as U-Neek found that Wal-Mart was ordering clothing from the same Philippine maker that "are substantially and confusingly similar to the Zing Designs." U-Neek sued Wal-Mart for copyright infringement. Wal-Mart contends that the patches used on the Philippine designs are not substantially similar to the U-Neek designs. Wal-Mart moved for dismissal of the suit.
Decision Motion denied. "The selection, coordination, and arrangement of Defendants' symbols appear top bear strong resemblance to U-Neek's designs." A reasonable jury could find the designs to be substantially similar. There are also potentially valid claims of trade dress infringement. The case may go to trial, but the parties are directed to engage in good faith settlement negotiations.
Citation U-Neek, Inc. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., - F.Supp.2d - (2001 WL 630498, S.D., N.Y., 2001)

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