20 April 2017Copyright

Hot Topic in hot water with artist in copyright suit

US-based retail chain Hot Topic has come under fire in a copyright infringement lawsuit focusing on a dragon design created by an artist.

Catherine Gretschel filed her claim against Hot Topic and New York-based Cachet Creations at the US District Court for the Central District of California on Tuesday, April 18.

According to the suit, Gretschel created an original piece of artwork featuring a green dragon figure with its wings spread and a curled tail.

She then applied for protection at the US Copyright Office, and marketed and sold products incorporating the design.

“Following this distribution of product bearing the subject design, plaintiff’s investigation revealed that certain entities within the fashion and apparel industries had misappropriated the subject design, and were selling products that are illegal reproductions and/or derivations,” said the claim.

Gretschel argued that Hot Topic and Cachet had vicariously and contributorily infringed her copyright.

She has asked for profits, statutory damages up to $150,000, pre-judgment interest, costs of bringing the action, attorneys’ fees and a jury trial.

Scott Alan Burroughs, partner at law firm Doniger / Burroughs, and one of the lawyers acting on behalf of Gretschel, told WIPR: "Our client pours her heart and soul into her work and when a company takes that work without permission and attempts to profit from it, that company can expect to wind up in court."

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