Segrets, Inc. v. Gillman Knitwear Co.

207 F.3d 56 (2000)

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Segrets, Inc. v. Gillman Knitwear Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
207 F.3d 56 (2000)

Facts

Segrets, Inc. (plaintiff) registered copyrights for two sweater designs, the Blanket Stitch (Blanket) design and Primitive Patterns (Primitive) design, both of which had intricate patterns. Gillman Knitwear Co. (Gillman) (defendant) purchased both sweaters and sent them to Gillman’s manufacturer. The manufacturer copied the Blanket sweater to make Gillman’s Christie-I sweater. The only difference between the two sweaters was color. Gillman then made the Christie-II sweater, which Gillman described as largely identical to the Christie-I sweater. For the Christie-II, Gillman made a few changes to the embroidery and embellishments. Gillman’s manufacturer then produced Gillman’s Charro sweater using the Primitive sweater as a model. The Charro sweater contained differences in stitching and some patterns arranged in a different order from the Primitive design. Segrets made the Primitive sweater in one color combination of gray, black, white, and off-white tones. Gillman offered the Charro sweater in a stone-color combination. Segrets filed a complaint in district court alleging Gillman’s Christie-I and Christie-II sweaters infringed the copyright for Segrets’s Blanket design and Gillman’s Charro sweater infringed the copyright for Segrets’s Primitive design. The district court granted summary judgment in part for Segrets and held that: (1) Segrets’s copyrights were valid, (2) Gillman actually copied both of Segrets’s sweater designs, and (3) Gillman’s Christie-I sweater was substantially similar to the Blanket design. Subsequently, the court found that: (1) the Christie-II was substantially similar to the Blanket design, and (2) the Charro in the stone-color combination was substantially similar to the Primitive design. Gillman appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lynch, J.)

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