Amini Innovation Corporation ("AICO") filed suit on June 30, 2014 in the United States District Court for the Central District of California (AICO's home court) again Yuan Tai Enterprises, Inc., a Texas corporation. The lawsuit involves two of several tools available to furniture manufacturers to defend its designs: namely patents and copyright. AICO is suing Yuan Tai again after Yuan Tai allegedly violated a 2007 agreement that settled earlier litigation. AICO is suing on 21 copyright registrations and 14 design patents. This approach highlights the one-two punch that copyright registrations and design patents provide. While the scope of protection under the copyright registrations may overlap with the design patent protection, there is a different standard for infringement (substantially similar (copyright) versus whether a consumer would confuse one with the other (design patent)). Armed with both copyright registrations and design patents, a furniture manufacturer has potentially strong tools at its disposal to enforce its rights. The case is: Amini Innovation Corporation v. Yuan Tai Furniture, Inc. a/k/a Yuan Tai Enterprises, Inc., Case No. 2:14-cv-05071. An image of one of the protected AICO pieces is shown below:
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