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Eden Toys, Inc. v. Florelee Undergarment Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
697 F.2d 27 (1982)


Facts

Paddington and Company, Limited (Paddington) was the copyright holder for the books and characters based on Michael Bond’s fictional character, Paddington Bear. Paddington granted an exclusive license to Eden Toys, Incorporated (Eden) (plaintiff) to produce, sell, and sub-license some types of products with drawings of the Paddington Bear characters in North America. The original written agreement listed “all children’s clothing items” as one of the types of products included in the deal. An amended agreement signed in 1980 specified that Eden held an exclusive license to all products except books, tapes, movies, and other similar, unrelated items. In 1979, Eden became aware of an adult nightgown for sale with a print showing a bear nearly identical to a known drawing of Paddington Bear. The nightgown was produced by Florelee Undergarment Company, Incorporated (Florelee) (defendant). Eden sued Florelee for infringement of Eden’s exclusive North American license to produce and sell Paddington Bear products. Florelee argued that Eden did not have an exclusive license for adult clothing in 1979 and thus that the exclusive license was not infringed. Paddington was not part of the lawsuit. The district court granted Florelee’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of copyright infringement. Eden appealed the decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mansfield, J.)

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