LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Flying J won its case against Central California Kenworth and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will let the multimillion 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The 9th Circuit, in an unpublished decision, affirmed the lower court’s award of $3.74 million in actual damages arising from the copyright violation.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 franchisees. 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.
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