Copyright Infringement Claim Upheld Where Copies Made Outside US Were Distributed to US Recipients

The World in U.S. Courts: Fall 2017 - Intellectual Property – Copyright

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Wilspec Technologies, Inc. v. Rugao Isen Electronic Co., Ltd., A/K/A Isen Controls, US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, August 25, 2017

The plaintiff Wilspec Technologies alleged that the defendants, a Chinese company and its principal, unlawfully copied pictures of the plaintiffs’ products, apparently in China, and promoted them falsely to customers in the US and elsewhere. Wilspec brought a variety of claims seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief, and the defendants moved to dismiss. A magistrate judge denied the motion in its entirety, in an opinion that did not reveal many of the facts on which the claims were based.

As pertinent here, the defendants argued that Wilspec’s copyright infringement claim was based on an impermissibly extraterritorial application of the statute, as it did not allege any misconduct in the US The magistrate disagreed, finding that the Copyright Act was implicated by Wilspec’s allegation that illegally copied photographs were “distributed” to entities in the US, including to Wilspec customers.

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