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Universal Dyeing & Printing, Inc., A California Corporation v. Us Textile Printing

September 13, 2011

UNIVERSAL DYEING & PRINTING, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
US TEXTILE PRINTING, INC.; ROSS STORES, INC.; UNO CLOTHING, INC.; CNC CLOTHING/ DBA: CANDY RAIN , DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dean D. Pregerson United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

[Motions filed on August 26, 2011 and August 27, 2011]

Plaintiff Universal Dyeing & Printing, Inc. ("Universal") alleges that Defendants US Textile Printing, Inc. ("USTP"), Uno Clothing, Inc. ("UNO"), and Ross Stores, Inc. ("ROSS") (collectively "Defendants") infringed two textile designs, for which they hold the copyright. Plaintiff and Defendants filed cross motions for summary judgment as to both designs. After reviewing the papers submitted by the parties, considering the arguments therein, and hearing oral arguments, the court GRANTS Defendants' motion and DENIES Plaintiff's motion.

I. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate where "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). The evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in its favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

A genuine issue exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party," and material facts are those "that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Id. at 248. No genuine issue of fact exists "[w]here the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

It is not enough for a party opposing summary judgment to "rest on mere allegations or denials of his pleadings." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 259. Instead, the non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings to designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. The "mere existence of a scintilla of evidence" in support of the nonmoving party's claim is insufficient to defeat summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

The Ninth Circuit has expressed disfavor for summary judgment on questions of substantial similarity, but explained that "it is nevertheless appropriate to grant summary judgment if, considering the evidence and drawing all inferences from it in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, no reasonable jury could find that the works are substantially similar in idea and expression." Pasillas v. McDonald's Corp., 927 F.2d 440, 442 (9th Cir. 1991).

II. Discussion

A. Background

Universal is a Los Angeles based printing mill that markets to the apparel industry textile designs for use on fabrics. (First Amended Complaint ("FAC") ¶ 2.) Universal is the copyright registrant of Copyright Certificate No. UA-12291. (Id.) Universal alleges that Defendant "adopted, copied, reproduced, manufactured, distributed and/or sold" textiles, i.e. clothes, with Universal's copyrighted design. Universal seeks relief for copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. § 501. (Id. ¶¶ 28-34.)

Defendants move for summary adjudication of Universal's claim that Defendants have infringed Design UA-12291 and Design UA-13022. Defendants contend that there is no substantial similarity between the designs and garments at issue, that their designs were independently created and copyrighted, and that they are entitled to summary adjudication as to the Design UA-12291 and the Design UA-13022 in their favor.

Plaintiff also moves for summary adjudication of its claims. Plaintiff maintains that Defendants have admitted to copying Plaintiff's designs and that, therefore, Plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment in ...


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