On November 1, 2016, the Eighth Circuit affirmed a $2.57 million damages award and permanent injunction in favor of Warner Bros. The victory protects Warner Bros.’ copyrights and trademarks in The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, and Tom & Jerry cartoons and sends a strong message about the risk of engaging in copyright and trademark infringement.
Warner Bros. sued to prevent the defendants from licensing images and phrases from those works to third parties without Warner Bros.’ permission. Those third parties then manufactured and sold memorabilia that competed with Warner Bros.’ own licensed goods.
In 2009, a federal district court granted summary judgment to Warner Bros. on its copyright infringement claim. The Eighth Circuit affirmed that ruling in the first of two appeals. On remand, the district court awarded Warner Bros. $10,000 for each of the 257 copyrights that were infringed, entered summary judgment on Warner Bros.’ trademark claims, and issued a broader permanent injunction. The Eighth Circuit again affirmed.
Frederick J. Sperling, Clay A. Tillack, Ann H. MacDonald, and Jin Yan represented Warner Bros.