Brinson Askew Berry partners Frank Beacham and Sam Lucas are involved in the appeal of a case in the Eleventh Circuit that may have repercussions for copyright cases across the country. Along with lead counsel Saul Ewing, LLP of Baltimore, Beacham and Lucas represent Mannington Mills Inc. in a copyright dispute over the company’s “Glazed Maple” laminate flooring. In July, Judge Harold L. Murphy, United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Rome Division, rejected Mannington's copyright claim. In its appeal, Mannington argues that the trial court misinterpreted the law related to the copyrightability of the decorative elements of useful articles. The appeal is pending.
Along with co-counsel from Saul Ewing, LLP, Frank Beacham and Sam Lucas obtained a potentially-landmark win in the Eleventh Circuit regarding copyright law. The District Court had held that there was no copyright infringement because Mannington Mills could not copyright nature. But in reversing the District Court, the Eleventh Circuit held that Mannington Mills’s “Glazed Maple” laminate-flooring design is entitled to copyright protection. Lead counsel, Sherry Flax of Saul Ewing, LLP of Baltimore, praised the decision: “The Eleventh Circuit’s determination that the original elements of Mannington’s laminate flooring design are protectable under U.S. copyright law not only vindicates Mannington’s long standing practice of registering the copyright in its original flooring designs, but also has broad implications for the entire industry, which is now able to protect and enforce against counterfeiting.” The case now returns to the District Court for further proceedings.
The case is styled Home Legend, LLC v. Mannington Mills, Inc. et al., Case Number 14-13440.