Foley Hoag won a complete victory for client Lovepop, Inc. in a copyright infringement suit in the District of Massachusetts, with a jury awarding nearly $500,000 in damages for infringement of Lovepop’s original works.
Lovepop creates and sells 3D pop-up greeting cards designed and engineered in style known as sliceform kirigami, which combines kirigami, the ancient art of paper cutting, and sliceform, the art of creating shapes through intersecting planes. Lovepop sued Paper Pop Cards in 2017 for copying several of Lovepop’s sliceform kirigami designs. Lovepop designed and began selling the cards at issue by the end of 2015, and then noticed in the spring of 2016 that Paper Pop was advertising nearly identical versions of Lovepop’s cards. After Paper Pop refused requests to cease and desist its infringing activity, Lovepop brought suit for copyright infringement.
Paper Pop initially tried to avoid liability by arguing that Lovepop’s artistic designs were not protectable under copyright law and that Paper Pop’s cards were not substantially similar. The court rejected those arguments and issued a ruling – the first ever addressing sliceform kirigami – definitively establishing that Lovepop’s works qualify for copyright protection.
Paper Pop then shifted tactics in its defense and produced documents purporting to show that its vendor had designed each of the cards before Lovepop, and brought counterclaims alleging infringement, seeking millions of dollars in damages.
Extensive investigation, including a forensic review of electronic file metadata, and discovery that spanned three countries and two continents, revealed that Paper Pop’s documents were fraudulent. The evidence showed that key documents had been backdated and fabricated for purposes of the litigation. For example, expert forensic analysis and testimony from a software executive established that certain documents were backdated because the software used to create them did not exist on the dates the documents were purportedly created.
After a week-long trial, the jury evaluated the evidence and returned a verdict in under two hours, finding for Lovepop on the copyright infringement claims and counterclaims, and on Paper Pop’s baseless tortious interference counterclaims. The jury found willful infringement and awarded Lovepop nearly $500,000, which was effectively the maximum amount of damages allowable by law.
Foley Hoag advised LovePop with Neil Austin (Picture), Jenevieve Maerker, Natasha Reed and Nicole Kinsley.
Law Firms: Foley Hoag;
Clients: Lovepop Inc.;