Taylor Corp. v. Four Seasons Greetings, LLC, No. 01-3906.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtRichard S. Arnold
Citation315 F.3d 1039
Decision Date15 January 2003
Docket NumberNo. 01-3906.
PartiesTAYLOR CORPORATION, Appellee, v. FOUR SEASONS GREETINGS, LLC, Appellant.
315 F.3d 1039
TAYLOR CORPORATION, Appellee,
v.
FOUR SEASONS GREETINGS, LLC, Appellant.
No. 01-3906.
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.
Submitted: October 10, 2002.
Filed: January 15, 2003.

Page 1040

Kathleen A. Rheintgen, argued, Chicago, IL (Joseph E. Cwik, Chicago, IL, on the brief), for appellant.

Laura J. Hein, argued, Minneapolis, MN (Gina M. Tiefenthaler, Minneapolis, MN, on the brief), for appellee.

Page 1041

Before RILEY, RICHARD S. ARNOLD, and SMITH, Circuit Judges.

RICHARD S. ARNOLD, Circuit Judge.


The Taylor Corporation, a manufacturer of greeting cards with original decorative designs, obtained a preliminary injunction in the District Court1 against a competitor, Four Seasons Greetings, LLC, to prevent further alleged infringement of its copyrights in six greeting cards. Four Seasons appeals the grant of the preliminary injunction against it on the grounds that the District Court made errors of law when it determined that the doctrine of scénes à faire was inapplicable to this case, and in its application of this Court's intrinsic test of similarity between the original cards and the infringing cards. Four Seasons also argues that the District Court made clearly erroneous factual findings of substantial similarity between each of the six original cards and the allegedly infringing cards. We affirm the District Court's decision to grant a preliminary injunction, recognizing that, if the proof at the trial on the merits should be different, the case could go the other way on final judgment.

I.

Taylor Corporation creates and sells greeting cards with original decorative designs. It holds copyrights on many of its greeting-card designs, including the six greeting cards at issue in this case. The three artists who created the allegedly infringing Four Seasons cards, Frank Stockmal, Aleta Brunettin, and Michael Shelton, had previously worked for Creative Card Company, a company whose assets (including card designs) were later purchased by Taylor, in early 2000. On June 25, 2001, and August 3, 2001, Taylor registered and received United States Certificates of Registration on these six cards, entitled: "Wreath with Verse," "Pencil Sketch Farm," "Colored Presents," "Ribbon of Flags Around Globe," "Three World of Thanks Globe Ornament," and "Thanksgiving Cart."

Four Seasons competes directly with Taylor for customers and sales. It contends that its cards were not copied from any of appellee's designs, and that proper application of the doctrine of scénes à faire requires a holding that there was no copyright infringement. The District Court granted Taylor's motion for a preliminary injunction, to take effect on the posting of a bond in the amount of $205,000, as required by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 65(c), in an amended order of November 26, 2001. Joint Appendix 382-400.

II.

A District Court's decision to grant a preliminary injunction will not be overturned absent a clearly erroneous factual determination, an error of law, or an abuse of discretion. Campaign for Family Farms v. Glickman, 200 F.3d 1180, 1186 (8th Cir.2000). Whether the equitable remedy of a preliminary injunction should issue depends on four factors: (1) the probability that the movant will succeed on the merits; (2) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant should a preliminary injunction be denied; (3) the balance between this harm and the harm that granting the injunction will cause to the other parties litigant; and (4) the public interest. This analysis requires a balancing of the four factors. The scope of review of a grant of preliminary injunction on appeal is narrow. Dataphase Sys., Inc. v. CL Sys., Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 112-14 (8th Cir. 1981) (en banc).

In copyright-infringement cases, the general rule is that a showing of a prima facie case raises a presumption of

Page 1042

irreparable harm. Apple Computer, Inc. v. Franklin Computer Corp., 714 F.2d 1240, 1254 (3d Cir.1983), cert. dismissed, 464 U.S. 1033, 104 S.Ct. 690, 79 L.Ed.2d 158 (1984). If Taylor made a prima facie showing of copyright infringement, the District Court properly presumed that Taylor would suffer irreparable harm in the form of lost sales, absent the grant of a preliminary injunction against Four Seasons. With respect to factor three, the balance of harms as between Taylor and Four Seasons, if copyright infringement is proved, this factor becomes negligible, and would favor Taylor. E.F. Johnson Co. v. Uniden Corp. of America, 623 F.Supp. 1485, 1491 (D.Minn.1985).

The fourth factor to be considered in determining whether a preliminary injunction should issue is the public interest. The public interest is served in protecting the holders of valid copyrights from infringing activity — an interest served here by the grant of a preliminary injunction against Four Seasons. Id. at 1504.

III.

The central issue in dispute is the first...

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47 practice notes
  • Arista Records LLC v. Does 1-27, No. CV-07-162-B-W.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Maine
    • October 29, 2008
    ...will enable them to prevent Defendants' continued infringement. Id. at 3-4, 6-7 (citing Taylor Corp. v. Four Seasons Greetings, LLC, 315 F.3d 1039, 1041-42 (8th Cir.2003); ABKCO Music, Inc. v. Stellar Records, Inc., 96 F.3d 60, 66 (2d Cir.1996)). Plaintiffs also demonstrated why they are li......
  • Lexmark Intern. v. Static Control Components, No. 03-5400.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • October 26, 2004
    ...1082 (9th Cir.2000) (recognizing the split and citing Reed-Union favorably on this question); Taylor Corp. v. Four Seasons Greetings LLC, 315 F.3d 1039, 1042-3 (8th Cir.2003) (finding that the scènes à faire doctrine determined whether substantial similarity existed); Hoehling v. Universal ......
  • In re Verizon Internet Services, Inc., No. CIV.A. 03-MS-0040 JDB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • April 24, 2003
    ...as a matter of law when his right to the exclusive use of copyrighted material is invaded."); Taylor Corp. v. Four Seasons Greetings, 315 F.3d 1039, 1041-42 (8th Cir.2003) (for purposes of injunctive relief "[i]n copyright-infringement cases, the general rule is that a showing of a prima fa......
  • Kennedy v. Gish, Sherwood & Friends, Inc., No. 4:13-CV-2236 JAR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • November 5, 2015
    ...is, therefore, entitled to a presumption of the validity of the facts stated therein. Taylor Corp. v. Four Seasons Greetings, LLC , 315 F.3d 1039, 1042 (8th Cir.2003). This presumption is not irrebuttable, but it shifts the burden to the defendant to offer some evidence to dispute the plain......
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47 cases
  • Arista Records LLC v. Does 1-27, No. CV-07-162-B-W.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Maine
    • October 29, 2008
    ...will enable them to prevent Defendants' continued infringement. Id. at 3-4, 6-7 (citing Taylor Corp. v. Four Seasons Greetings, LLC, 315 F.3d 1039, 1041-42 (8th Cir.2003); ABKCO Music, Inc. v. Stellar Records, Inc., 96 F.3d 60, 66 (2d Cir.1996)). Plaintiffs also demonstrated why they are li......
  • Lexmark Intern. v. Static Control Components, No. 03-5400.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • October 26, 2004
    ...1082 (9th Cir.2000) (recognizing the split and citing Reed-Union favorably on this question); Taylor Corp. v. Four Seasons Greetings LLC, 315 F.3d 1039, 1042-3 (8th Cir.2003) (finding that the scènes à faire doctrine determined whether substantial similarity existed); Hoehling v. Universal ......
  • In re Verizon Internet Services, Inc., No. CIV.A. 03-MS-0040 JDB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • April 24, 2003
    ...as a matter of law when his right to the exclusive use of copyrighted material is invaded."); Taylor Corp. v. Four Seasons Greetings, 315 F.3d 1039, 1041-42 (8th Cir.2003) (for purposes of injunctive relief "[i]n copyright-infringement cases, the general rule is that a showing of a prima fa......
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    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
    • July 1, 2008
    ...Plaintiff is entitled to a rebuttable, presumption that the copyrights listed are valid. See Taylor Corp. v. Four Seasons Greetings, LLC, 315 F.3d 1039, 1042 (8th The rebuttable presumption of validity to which Plaintiff is entitled includes a presumption that the works in question possess ......
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