Harolds Stores, Inc. v. Dillard Department Stores

82 F.3d 1533 (1996)

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Harolds Stores, Inc. v. Dillard Department Stores

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
82 F.3d 1533 (1996)

Facts

Harold’s Stores, Inc. (Harold’s) (plaintiff) learned that Dillard Department Stores (Dillard) (defendant) was infringing on its copyright with skirts being sold in Dillard’s stores. [Ed’s note: The name Harold’s is misspelled in the official header of the case.] Harold’s operated by purchasing original artwork from art studios in New York and Italy, which it used in designing its print fabrics. From these fabrics, Harold’s designed women’s clothing that it marketed as being available only in its stores. Harold’s and its garment manufacturer, CMT Enterprises, Inc. (plaintiff), filed suit against Dillard for copyright infringement. Dillard admitted to infringing Harold’s copyright; therefore, a jury trial was held to determine Harold’s damages. At the damages trial, the district court admitted survey evidence and opinion testimony offered by Dr. Daniel Howard on Harold’s behalf. The court conducted extensive questioning of Howard during voir dire, determining that the evidence was probative relating to damages for copyright infringement and that the survey was performed in compliance with generally accepted survey principles. Howard surveyed 1,231 college-aged women from Southern Methodist University. College-aged women were a key demographic for Harold’s, which intentionally placed its stores where college campuses were located. Harold’s CEO testified that the purchasing habits of college-aged women were the same as those of older customers. Howard testified that the survey participants who had seen the subject skirts at Dillard showed a reduced intention to make future purchases at Harold’s. Specifically, 33.1 percent of participants were less likely to shop at Harold’s within the next year. Based on the survey data, Howard estimated nationwide damages to Harold’s sales, reputation, and goodwill, and a jury awarded damages in the amount of $312,000 for Dillard’s copyright infringement. Dillard appealed, asserting that the trial court erred in admitting the survey evidence because the survey universe was too narrow, not reflecting Harold’s overall customers, and the survey was not probative. Dillard also asserted error in the court’s denial of its 50(b) renewal motion for judgment as a matter of law, asserting that the survey evidence was not sufficient to substantiate the award of damages.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Baldock, J.)

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