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Universal Dyeing and Printing Inc v. Knitwork Productions II, LLC

United States District Court, C.D. California

June 26, 2019





         Plaintiff Universal Dyeing & Printing, Inc. brings this action against Defendants Knitwork Productions II, LLC and Dolgencorp, LLC (collectively, “Defendants”) for the alleged infringement of copyrighted fabric designs. Pending before the Court are Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (“MSJ”) (ECF No. 43) and Motion for Issuance of a Request to the Register of Copyrights and Stay Pending Response (“Motion for Issuance”) (ECF No. 51).[1] For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Defendants' MSJ (ECF No. 43) and Motion for Issuance (ECF No. 51).


         On July 31, 2017, Plaintiff filed its initial Complaint against Defendants alleging a single claim for copyright infringement of one textile design. (Compl. ¶¶ 9-19, ECF No. 1.) On August 24, 2017, Plaintiff amended its Complaint by alleging that Defendants infringed an additional textile design. (See First Am. Compl. (“FAC”) ¶¶ 13-16, ECF No. 12.) The designs at issue in this case are (1) UA 14823; and (2) UA 17679. (FAC ¶¶ 9-16.)

         A. UA 14823

         In September 2010, Plaintiff registered UA 14823 with the U.S. Copyright Office, which matured into registration VA 1-738-959 (the “‘959 Registration”). (Defs.' Statement of Uncontroverted Facts (“DSUF”) 3-4, ECF No. 43-1.) However, the artwork deposited for the ‘959 Registration was not UA 14823. (DSUF 5.) Instead, UA 14823 was deposited for a different copyright application, registration VA 1-738-956 (the “‘956 Registration”). (DSUF 9.) Plaintiff intended the ‘956 Registration to cover another design, UA 14882, not UA 14823. (DSUF 10.)

         On January 4, 2019, Plaintiff received a supplementary registration for the ‘956 Registration with number VA 2-134-041 (the “‘041 Registration”). (DSUF 13; Pl.'s Statement of Undisputed Facts (“PSUF”) 46, ECF No. 55-1.) The supplementary registration corrected the information on the copyright application so that the ‘956 Registration corresponded to the material deposited, UA 14823. (See DSUF 14; PSUF 45, 46.)

         B. UA 17679

         On June 24, 2013, Plaintiff registered UA 17679 along with 14 other designs with the U.S. Copyright Office, which matured into registration VA 1-868-100 (the “‘100 Registration”). (DSUF 22; see also PSUF 40, 41.) The ‘100 Registration was registered as a single work registration with a single publication date of May 15, 2013, for all the designs. (DSUF 23.) Certain designs included in the ‘100 Registration, including UA 17679, are comprised of various public domain elements taken from design books. (DSUF 24.) However, the ‘100 Registration did not disclose this fact. (DSUF 25.) Further, the ‘100 Registration failed to disclose that certain designs in the ‘100 Registration were not authored by Plaintiff but purchased from another author through an assignment. (DSUF 27, 28.)

         Around January 8, 2019, Plaintiff submitted an application for supplementary registration for the ‘100 Registration to supplement/correct its previous statements on the registration. (DSUF 26.) While the motions were under submission, Plaintiff received the supplementary registration from the U.S. Copyright Office for the ‘100 Registration with number VA 2-146-315 (the “‘315 Registration”), effective as of January 8, 2019.[2] (Request for Judicial Notice, ECF No. 70.) The ‘315 Registration purported to correct the problems in the ‘100 Registration. (See id.)


         A court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Courts must view the facts and draw reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). A disputed fact is “material” where the resolution of that fact might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, and the dispute is “genuine” where “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Conclusory or speculative testimony in affidavits is insufficient to raise genuine issues of fact and defeat summary judgment. Thornhill Publ'g Co. v. GTE Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 738 (9th Cir. 1979). Moreover, though the Court may not weigh conflicting evidence or make credibility determinations, there must be more than a mere scintilla of contradictory evidence to survive summary judgment. Addisu v. Fred Meyer, Inc., 198 F.3d 1130, 1134 (9th Cir. 2000).

         Once the moving party satisfies its burden, the nonmoving party cannot simply rest on the pleadings or argue that any disagreement or “metaphysical doubt” about a material issue of fact precludes summary judgment. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); Cal. Architectural Bldg. Prods., Inc. v. Franciscan Ceramics, Inc., 818 F.2d 1466, 1468 (9th Cir. 1987). Nor will uncorroborated allegations and “self-serving testimony” create a genuine issue of material fact. Villiarimo v. Aloha Island Air, Inc., 281 F.3d 1054, 1061 (9th Cir. 2002). The court should grant summary judgment against a party who fails to demonstrate facts sufficient to establish an element essential to his case when that party will ultimately bear the burden of proof at trial. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.

         Pursuant to the Local Rules, parties moving for summary judgment must file a proposed “Statement of Uncontroverted Facts and Conclusions of Law” that should set out “the material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine dispute.” C.D. Cal. L.R. 56-1. A party opposing the motion must file a “Statement of Genuine Disputes” setting forth all material facts as to which it contends there exists a genuine dispute. C.D. Cal. L.R. 56-2. “[T]he Court may assume that the material facts as claimed and adequately supported by the moving party are admitted to exist without controversy except to the extent that such material facts are ...

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