Declaratory Judgment Counterclaims Disallowed for Mirroring Affirmative Defenses​

The court granted plaintiff’s motion to strike defendant’s declaratory judgment counterclaims because defendant’s counterclaims were duplicative of its affirmative defenses. “⁠[Defendant’s declaratory judgment counterclaim for copyright invalidity] seeks the opposite effect of [plaintiff’s] complaint and merely restates [defendant’s] affirmative defenses: [defendant] has denied [plaintiff’s] allegations that the subject photographs are original, and it asserts in [an affirmative defense] that ‘⁠[t]he copyrights at issue are invalid because the images are not sufficiently creative.’ Likewise, [defendant’s] counterclaims seeking declarations of non-infringement based on an alleged license, the fair use and first sale doctrine, and [plaintiff’s] acquiescence and authorization are all presently before the court [via defendant’s affirmative defenses]. . . . Similarly, [defendant’s] . . . Affirmative Defenses raise acquiescence, license, and fair use defenses, and . . . assert alleged authorization from [plaintiff] and the first sale doctrine as defenses. Because [defendant’s] declaratory judgment counterclaims seek the opposite effect of the complaint or are redundant of the substantive issues raised in its affirmative defenses, a separate declaratory judgment action is unnecessary to resolve the issues set forth in [defendant’s declaratory judgment counterclaims].”

Maui Jim, Inc. v. SmartBuy Guru Enterprises et al, 1-16-cv-09788 (ILND 2018-01-23, Order) (Marvin E. Aspen)

2018-01-25T12:52:03+00:00January 25th, 2018|Copyright, Docket Report|