Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Copyright litigation update: copyright register has ‘right to weigh in’ before registration is invalidated

Earlier this month, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s decision invalidating a copyright registration, in spite of its agreement with the lower court’s factual finding that the copyright registrant had lied about the authorship of the work in question and had lied about the supposed transfer of that work to him. The 7th Circuit held that the district court had committed legal error in invalidating the registration without first consulting the Register of Copyrights, as required by law.

In DeliverMed Holdings v Schaltenbrand, Case No. 12-3773 (7th Cir. Oct. 7, 2013), the plaintiffs sued former partners in a mail-order pharmacy venture. The next year, Mark Swift, the owner of DeliverMed, obtained a copyright registration for the logo the partnership had used and the plaintiffs amended their complaint to allege copyright infringement. In the application, Swift claimed that a third party, Deeter Associates, had designed the logo and has transferred the rights to Swift. Neither of these claims were true; in fact someone else had designed the logo and had actually licensed the copyright to the defendants to use on behalf of the partnership…

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