Design trolls lose another lawsuit over their copyrights
Design Basics is a website that uploads lots of house plans, copyrights them, then sues home builders (they've sued over 100 in recent years).
Introduction from KANNE, SCUDDER, Circuit Judge:
Copyright law protects individual expression while encouraging creativity and maintaining the public interest in spreading ideas. In recent years, however, a cottage industry of opportunistic copyright holders—earning the derisive moniker “intellectual property trolls”—has emerged, in which a troll enforces copyrights not to protect expression, but to extract payments through litigation. Design Basics, LLC fits that bill.
The firm, which holds copyright in 2 Nos. 18-3202, 19-3118 & 20-1515 several thousand single-family home floor plans, has brought over 100 infringement suits against home builders in recent years. But many defendants—the targets of the settlement-extraction scheme—are starting to push back. This case is a good example.
We have affirmed dismissal of Design Basics’s lawsuits twice in recent years. See Design Basics LLC v. Signature Con-struction, Inc., 994 F.3d 879 (7th Cir. 2021); Design Basics, LLC v.Lexington Homes, Inc.,858 F.3d 1093 (7th Cir. 2017). We do so again today. In dismissing Design Basics’s copyright in-fringement suit against the Kerstiens family’s home building business, the district court recognized that the firm has a thin copyright in its plans because they consist largely of standard features found in homes across America. We agree and affirm.
#Copyright #Design #Trolling
Design Basics, LLC v. Kerstiens Homes & Designs, Inc, No. 18-3202 (7th Cir. 2021)