Copyright owner fails to prove counterfeiting

Created on Wednesday, 09 September 2020 00:05

Sole entrepreneur Oleg Chernikov has filed in Commercial Court of Moscow city a lawsuit against Factor LLC, claiming counterfeiting of skateboard image, printed on T-shirts sold by the Defendant and requesting a compensation in excess of 26 million rubles. The Claimant has licensed the original image in 2013 and subsequently purchased all rights under an assignment contract in 2018. In 2016 he became aware of that a network of clothes shops sells t-shirts with prints, closely resembling the skateboard image, with a few details in common, including “Black Flag” punk rock music band logo on both.

The court of law, however, dismissed the suit, largely supporting the Defendant’s opinion that the t-shirt print was created independently from the copyrighted image and before the latter was assigned to the Claimant. An idea of upturned skateboard design cannot be copyrighted on its own and the details of both images differ greatly, allowing to presume absence of reworking. “Black flag” logo (consisting of four black bars) is a very widespread reference to a punk rock culture and may not be regarded as plagiarism evidence.

Both the 9th Court of Appeals and the Intellectual property Court have supported the decision of the first instance court.

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