Court finds Defendant Willfully Infringed Chandelier Company’s Intellectual Property with “Clear” Bad Faith
We have discussed New York-based lighting and furniture designer and manufacturer Hudson Furniture, Inc. in a previous post. While that case has since been terminated, Hudson recently won summary judgment—a finding that defendant Mizrahi could not defeat Hudson’s claims even if all facts were taken according to Mizrahi’s accounts—that Mizrahi willfully infringed Hudson’s copyrights and trademarks and violated various state laws.
Mizrahi sells furniture and lighting on its own websites. Hudson brought suit alleging patent infringement in addition to the trademark infringement, copyright infringement, and state law claims, although Hudson moved for summary judgment only on the latter three (and certain damages claims). The US District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an Opinion on September 25, 2023, finding in favor of Hudson on all counts except for certain damages.
This case once again involved Hudson’s lighting fixtures, such as the LA CAGE pictured below:
Hudson claimed, and the Court agreed, that the Mizrahi websites created a fictitious association with Hudson and confused consumers about the origin sponsorship, or endorsement of Mizrahi’s products. The Mizrahi websites, for example, often characterized Mizrahi as the designer and manufacturer of Hudson products. Mizrahi’s websites also described it as having created custom chandeliers for over three decades, while using Hudson’s registered trademarks and even including photographs of the CEO and Creative Director of Hudson and claiming that the products were designed by Hudson and/or its CEO.
In evaluating each of the factors for trademark infringement, the Opinion says with respect to the “Good Faith” factor that Mizrahi’s “bad faith [was] clear.” The Opinion lists in support Mizrahi’s copying Hudson’s marks and copyrighted photos identically to sell their own lighting products, admission of superimposing Mizrahi’s branding on copyrighted images of Hudson’s products, and intent to conceal the origin and sponsorship of Mizrahi’s goods to capitalize on Hudson’s good will.
Mizrahi declared that as a wholesaler he simply displayed the pictures of Hudson’s products on his website but did not brand or claim to have designed them. However, the “About Us” portion of the website claims that new Alan Mizrahi Lighting designs are developed on an almost daily basis and Alan Mizrahi Lighting is not only manufacturing their own design but also working close to the architects and interior designers. In fact, Hudson adduced evidence that at least one interior designer had purchased a Hudson product from Mizrahi, despite Hudson never having sold or supplied products to them.
Finally, the Opinion found that an award of attorneys’ fees was warranted because, e.g., Mizrahi willfully infringed on Hudson’s intellectual property.