Doniger / Burroughs client, J. Steger, a high-end rock-inspired clothing line, achieved a total victory in a copyright infringement case filed against retailer Elite and its vendor Smash Mens, Inc. On April 18, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered judgment ruling that Smash Mens willfully violated an injunction granted in September 2009, which barred it from selling knock-off garments bearing J. Steger artwork.
In 2009, after the release of its premiere line, J. Steger discovered knock-offs of its original designs on hoodies and jackets sold at Planet Funk retail stores. After J. Stegers filing of its first lawsuit, the Court entered a judgment against Planet Funk and Smash Mens for copyright infringement. However, less than one year later, J. Steger found infringing shirts with the Smash label selling in different retail stores and online.
J. Steger filed its second lawsuit in 2010, which resulted in a jury finding that Smash Mens was liable for willful infringement in violation of the 2009 injunction, and awarding $40,750 in statutory damages. Additionally, this Court awarded J. Steger its attorney fees in the amount of $81, 707.50.
This ruling is especially important because the defendants knew they were selling apparel that should have been destroyed after the first case, said attorney Regina Yeh. Were grateful to the jurors for their service, and for protecting the integrity of our clients artwork.