30
Nov/07

Are There Donut Lampshades In Your Background?


galbraith donut.jpg
donut snap rotate.jpg
We have this pillow and this sofa, in microfiber (because of the dogs) at home. Anyway, Galbraith & Paul owns the copyright in this donut design and someone, allegedly, produced lamp shades that allegedly infringe the fabric, and Ruby Tuesday has such lamps in its restaurants. It then ran photos of its restaurants with the lamps in the background in promotional materials (cropped example above).
Galbraith & Paul has now sued Ruby Tuesday in the SDNY, on copyright and trademark grounds.
Galbraith & Paul v. Ruby Tuesday, 07 cv 10512 (SDNY Nov. 29 2007)
PRACTICE POINTER: If you operate a business in some sort of public space, such as a restaurant, and you utilize a furnishing or a decoration that may contain a copyrightable element (such as a lampshade, or a wallpaper or a poster), then your use of such an item may constitute a public display of the work, and if the item is infringing, then you may have some exposure for copyright infringement. You may have a claim against the supply store that sold you the 50,000 lampshades or whatever, which you may be able to collect on if they still return phone calls. When buying items, even useful items like lamps and chairs, that will be displayed in public, you need reps and warranties and indemnification from the supplier, that will cover potential copyright and trade dress claims.

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