14 August 2017Copyright

Cards Against Humanity granted injunction in copyright and TM claim

A US judge has granted the owners of card game Cards Against Humanity an injunction against Skkye Enterprises, a company accused of selling counterfeit versions of the game.

Cards Against Humanity filed a copyright and trademark infringement claim(pdf) against Skyye in September 2016 at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The card game, which includes a “base” set, expansion and speciality packs, has been sold since December 2009.

Cards Against Humanity owns copyright number TX0007492177 at the US Copyright Office for its “base” set and numerous other copyright for its expansion packs.

The company has used the trademark ‘Cards Against Humanity’ since 2009, along with the tagline “A party game for horrible people”, its trade dress, which consists of white lettering on a black background with vertically aligned text, and a three-card design.

Cards Against Humanity is sold to US consumers through Amazon, its own website, eBay and, since 2014, various selected retail stores.

“The game has been recognised and promoted by Amazon on its storefront as the ‘#1 Best Seller’ in the toys and games category for five years,” said the suit.

Skkye was accused of making and selling counterfeit versions of the card game in a bid to “reap profit from unsuspecting customers”.

Cards Against Humanity added that the defendants, which include the owners of Skkye, communicated to the card game company that they have earned just $241.13 in profits.

“However, Cards Against Humanity has reason to believe that defendants’ revenues and profits earned far exceed this amount,” alleged the suit.

District Judge Audrey Fleissig granted (pdf) a permanent injunction and default judgment on Wednesday, August 9.

On copyright infringement, Fleissig said that an award of $12,000 per infringement, totalling $60,000—or three times the highest estimated sales of defendants’ infringing game—in combination with the other damages, is a “just and suitably deterrent outcome”.

The court awarded $20,000 per trademark infringement, for a total award of $60,000, which Fleissig said “compensates plaintiff in a fashion consistent with the purposes of the Lanham Act and case law”.

Cards Against Humanity was also granted an injunction against Skkye, along with an order for destruction of infringing goods.

It was also awarded attorneys’ fees, subject to a further submission to the court on their reasonableness.

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