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Meshwerks, Inc. v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
528 F.3d 1258 (2008)


Meshwerks, Inc. (Meshwerks) (plaintiff) was hired as a subcontractor to conduct the first stage of creating digital models of several vehicles manufactured by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. (Toyota) (defendant). Meshwerks first used grid tape and an articulated arm to create initial computerized dimensions of the cars. Next, Meshwerks used computer software to fine-tune the lines to create the impression of a 3-D wire-frame vehicle within the confines of a 2-D computer drawing. The process was labor intensive and required skill. After Meshwerks’ work was complete, Grace & Wild, Inc. (G&W) (defendant), which had initially subcontracted Meshwerks, took the wire-frame representations and added detail such as color and texture to make the picture look like a real vehicle. Finally, G&W added animation to enable the image to be used in Toyota’s advertisements. Saatchi & Saatchi (Saatchi) (defendant), Toyota’s advertising agency, used the final vehicle’s representations in a variety of advertisements. Meshwerks sued G&W, Saatchi, and Toyota for copyright infringement, asserting that the defendants were not allowed to use Meshwerks’ work product more than once. The defendants moved for summary judgment, and the district court granted the motion. Meshwerks appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Gorsuch, J.)

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