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Awardcraft Sues R.S. Owens For Copyright Infringement
Volume 587

Counselor has learned that Awardcraft (asi/37650) has filed a lawsuit claiming that fellow award supplier R.S. Owens (asi/75530) illegally stole 17 designs. "We have filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court alleging multiple copyright infringements of our products by R.S. Owens," says Jay Donlin, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Awardcraft, in a statement. "We have cited dozens of infringements over several years."

Jim Rogers, a member with the law firm of Eastman & Smith representing the plaintiffs, confirmed Eighth Floor Promotions (Awardcraft's parent company) filed a lawsuit on February 11 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. In the suit, the Celina, OH-based supplier is seeking R.S. Owens to stop selling the designs in question and repay any lost revenue or profits as a result of the alleged infringements.

R.S. Owens denies any wrongdoing. "R.S. Owens obviously disagrees with the substance of the allegations," says Lewis J. Alex, a partner with Cook Alex representing the Chicago-based supplier. "We're still reviewing the complaint right now, and we prefer the substance of our pleadings speak to the issue." Both sides have agreed that R.S. Owens will have 45 days from the filing date to formulate a response and enter a pleading.

In general, copyright infringement cases rarely rely on direct evidence, but rather circumstantial evidence. It has to be proven that the defendant had access to the designs and that the two designs are "substantially similar." Says Rogers on behalf of Awardcraft: "We believe we have sufficient evidence under the law to establish copying."

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