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Court upholds Flying J floor plan ruling (October 01, 2002)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Flying J won its case against Central California Kenworth and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will let the multi-million dollar copyright infringement verdict stand.The cop...


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Flying J won its case against Central California Kenworth and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will let the multi-million dollar copyright infringement verdict stand.

The copyright was on the floor plan of Flying J’s signature travel plaza. Lawyer Ronald Katz, who represented Flying J at both the trial and appellate levels, convinced both the jury and appellate court that the floor plan was highly significant in saving costs.

“At first blush, a truck stop’s floor plan does not appear to be very valuable intellectual property,” says Katz, “In reality, it is responsible for saving tens of millions of dollars a year for Flying J, which therefore has a tremendous competitive advantage in the market.”

The 9th Circuit, in an unpublished decision, affirmed the lower court’s award of $3.74 million in actual damages arising from the copyright violation.

“This was a complete vindication of Flying J’s damage theory,” says Katz, “which depended on the proposition that the only way to determine the floor plan’s value was to ascertain what a willing buyer would pay for it.”

The only buyers permitted to pay for the copyrighted floor plan are Flying J franchises. According to the defendant, Flying J received more than 18 times what any other plaintiff has received in a case for infringement of an architectural plan. n


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