Last fall, before the peak Christmas ornament-buying season kicked off, some small crafters accused ornament wholesaler Cody Foster & Co. of stealing their designs and mass producing them. Those accusations led retailers carrying Cody Foster products to publicly drop them as a supplier. Now the company is suing one of those retailers, Urban Outfitters, and a few weeks ago added an ironic allegation to the suit: they claim that the retailer stole and mass-produced their designs for sale in its stores.
In an addition to its lawsuit against Urban Outfitters, Cody Foster & Co. shows examples of their products and similar ones that appeared for sale on Urban Outfitters’ shelves in 2013. The snow globe pictured above is one of the more obvious examples, but they aren’t all clear ripoffs: check out this wreath and faux-antique locket. The basic idea is the same, but the execution is different.
You can see the other three ornaments in the 34-page complaint.
“Defendants [Urban Outfitters] were aware that Cody Foster owned the rights to these works,” Cody Foster’s attorneys say in their updated complaint in the lawsuit against Urban Outfitters. They continue:
Defendants did not seek permission from Cody Foster to use their copyright protected ornaments for any purpose. Cody Foster did not give permission to Defendants to copy these designs or offer them for sale. Defendants have continued to sell and profit from the sale of these items through their respective websites.
In the original complaint, Cody Foster asked Urban Outfitters for $576,025.08 (plus accruing interest) in damages. Now the total includes that fixed amount, plus the company’s expenses for storing and transporting the unwanted ornaments, and to-be-determined damages in the copyright infringement case.
Maybe Urban Outfitters could try offering the company $650 per design.