Doniger / Burroughs Attains Six Figure Award in a Copyright Infringement and Contempt Case

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 Men’s, Inc.  On April 18, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered judgment ruling that Smash Men’s 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. Steger’s filing of its first lawsuit, the Court entered a judgment against Planet Funk and Smash Men’s 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 Men’s 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. “We’re grateful to the jurors for their service, and for protecting the integrity of our client’s artwork.”

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  • About the Firm

    Doniger / Burroughs is California’s premier fashion, art, entertainment, and technology law boutique. The firm has resolved more than 1,000 disputes over the almost 20 years it has been in existence, and has represented all manner of individuals and businesses in the creative industries. Its lawyers have extensive state and federal court experience, and hail from well-regarded law schools. The firm has been on the forefront of cutting-edge copyright law, appearing often before judges, juries, and the Courts of Appeal. It has tried more copyright infringement cases than virtually any other firm over the last 5-10 years, and has obtained for its clients numerous six- and seven-figure verdicts and settlements.

    The firm is committed to representing artists and content creators, and enforcing intellectual property rights. It has litigated successfully against many of the nation’s largest retailers, film and television studios, web sites, and news organizations. Its partners speak and write often on art and copyright law issues, and devote significant time and resources to ensuring a level playing field for those responsible for the creation of art and content.