From our private database of 32,400+ case briefs...
Billy-Bob Teeth, Inc. v. Novelty, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
329 F.3d 586 (2003)
Rich Bailey and John White started Billy-Bob Teeth, Inc. (Billy-Bob) (plaintiff), a company that made novelty gag teeth. Billy-Bob was incorporated in May 1996. Bailey and White were 50-50 shareholders until Bailey left the company in 1997. Bailey created the original novelty-teeth prototype, but White created all subsequent designs and handled the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of the teeth. Billy-Bob became enormously successful, eventually signing a lucrative contract with Newline Cinema to provide the prosthetic teeth used in the “Austin Powers” movies. In 1999, Billy-Bob registered copyrights for its novelty teeth. Subsequently, Novelty, Inc. (defendant), which sold products to 5,000 gas stations, requested sample teeth from White because it was considering selling Billy-Bob’s teeth. However, instead of contracting with Billy-Bob, Novelty instructed its own manufacturer to make novelty teeth based off the Billy-Bob design, but with enough differences not to be exact copies. Novelty sold its own, lower-quality teeth in copies of Billy-Bob’s packaging, which negatively impacted Billy-Bob’s sales and reputation. Billy-Bob sued Novelty for copyright and trade-dress infringement. White testified that he orally agreed to transfer his copyrights in the novelty teeth to Billy-Bob in 1996, following its incorporation, and signed a nunc pro tunc copyright assignment stating that he transferred his copyrights to Billy-Bob in 1996. Novelty challenged, arguing that Billy-Bob did not have valid copyrights in the novelty teeth because the transfer of the copyrights from White to Billy-Bob was invalid. The district court granted Billy-Bob damages for trade-dress infringement but held that Billy-Bob did not hold valid copyrights for the novelty teeth because White had not produced sufficient evidence demonstrating he had an oral agreement with Billy-Bob to assign the copyrights in 1996. Billy-Bob appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Evans, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 587,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 587,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 32,400 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.