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L.A. Printex Industries, Inc. v. Aeropostale, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
676 F.3d 841 (2012)


Facts

L.A. Printex Industries, Inc. (Printex) (plaintiff) is a fabric-printing company in Los Angeles. Printex created a floral print with repeating patterns of two flower bouquets with a three-leaf branch between them. There were three flowers in each bouquet. In one bouquet, the largest flower was in profile. In the other bouquet, the largest flower faced front. Printex called this print C30020 and copyrighted it. From 2002 to 2006, Printex sold more than 50,000 yards of C30020 to clothing manufacturers, mostly in the Los Angeles area. In 2008, Printex saw that Aeropostale, Inc. (Aeropostale) (defendant) was selling shirts with a fabric design similar to C30020. The Aeropostale shirt fabric had a pattern of two bouquets on either side of a three-leaf branch. Each bouquet had three flowers. In one bouquet, the largest flower was in profile. In the other bouquet, the largest flower faced front. However, the spacing, color, and definition of the Aeropostale’s shirt’s print varied somewhat from C30020, as did the background. Aeropostale had ordered the shirts from Ms. Bubbles, Inc. (Ms. Bubbles) (defendant), a clothing manufacturer in Los Angeles. Printex sued Aeropostale and Ms. Bubbles for copyright infringement. The district court granted summary judgment for Aeropostale, holding that there was no genuine factual dispute about: (1) whether Aeropostale had access to C30020 to copy it and (2) whether there were substantial similarities between the two prints. Printex appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Gould, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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