On October 8, 2012, Home Legend, LLC ("Home Legend"), based in Adairsville, Georgia, filed a declaratory judgment action against Mannington Mills, Inc. ("Mannington"), alleged to have a principal place of business in Calhoun, Georgia. The lawsuit, filed in the Rome Division of the Northern District, seeks a declaration that a copyright purportedly owned by Mannington is not infringed by Home Legend, is invalid, and is unenforceable.
Home Legend manufactures and sells a wood flooring product known as "Distressed Maple Mendocino," depicted on the right. U.S. Copyright Registration No. VA-1-176-071 ("the '071 Registration") recites Mannington as the author of a work titled "Glazed Maple" and described as "2-D artwork."
Click here to see "Distressed Maple Mendocino"
Included among Home Legends' allegations regarding the copyright of the '071 Registration are that: (1) "the contents of the work purported to be registered are in the public domain"; (2) any similarities between Home Legend's product and "Glazed Maple" are: (a) de minimis; (b) regarding elements that are not protectible as comprising "natural wood grain designs not authored by Mannington"; and (c) fair use; (3) Mannington "misused its copyright, to the extent, if at all, that its copyrighted work is entitled to any legal protection"; and (4) Mannington acquiesced in Home Legend's manufacture and sale of its "Distressed Maple Mendocino" product.
Not counting the declaratory judgment count pleaded in the Zheng Li case summarized above, this is the second copyright declaratory judgment action filed in the Northern District in less than a month. We covered the action filed on September 17 in a prior post.
The case is Home Legend, LLC v. Mannington Mills, Inc., No. 4:12-cv-0237-HLM, filed 10/08/12 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Rome Division. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy.