Press Release
September 22, 2010

Holland & Knight Wins Summary Judgment for Clothing Designer in High-Profile Copyright Suit

LOS ANGELES – September 21, 2010 – Holland & Knight is pleased to announce that the firm recently won a summary judgment in a highly-publicized copyright and trade dress case regarding the rights to four plaid fabric designs and the design of a jacket. Claiming that it owned copyrights in each of the plaids, and trade dress rights in the jacket, Express Ltd. brought the case against White Owl, a supplier to Forever 21.

The team, led by Senior Counsel Terry Middlebrook, and included Senior Counsel Jim Michalski, Associate Tara Cooper, and Paralegal Andre Sosnowski demonstrated that Express could never carry its burden of proof on originality, which is required under the Copyright Act. On the trade dress claim, White Owl demonstrated that Express could not prove any of the elements of this claim against White Owl.

The opinion of Judge Otis D. Wright II, of the Central District of California, in this case has become a topic of substantial discussion within the apparel industry, including legal commentary. The decision is particularly valuable for its exploration of originality requirement, a factor typically not given much consideration, but which should no longer be discounted.

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