LOS ANGELES, CA—A federal court in Los Angeles ruled against prolific copyright plaintiff Neman Brothers & Associates, Inc. on January 5, 2022.
The court granted summary judgment in favor of defendant InterFocus, Inc., an e-commerce seller, on Neman Brothers’ copyright infringement claims, ruling that the copyright registrations on which Neman Brothers based its suit were invalid because it falsely claimed it authored works that were actually created by third parties in those copyright registrations, and because it was at least willfully blind to applicable legal requirements that it be an author of all works in the registration when it did so.
The court issued its ruling in Neman Brothers & Assoc., Inc. v. InterFocus, Inc., Case No. 2:20-CV-11181-CAS-JPRx, (C.D. Cal.). The order has been published by Westlaw at 2023 WL115558.
The decision follows a recent Supreme Court ruling in Unicolors, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, L.P., which made it more difficult to attack the validity of a group copyright registration, by requiring that the registration not only include factual inaccuracies, but also that the registrant know of or be willfully blind to the legal consequences of the factual inaccuracies when filing the group copyright application, before a copyright registration could be invalidated. The InterFocus court ruled that InterFocus’ motion met that heightened standard.
Neman Brothers had filed about 60 copyright infringement suits against various companies based on hundreds of group registrations it had filed over many years. Its continued ability to do so has been placed in doubt by this ruling because its method of filing group registrations appears to be similar throughout the years.
Zheng Liu and Mark S. Lee of Rimon, PC. represented InterFocus in this case.