This is the latest in a series of appeals in copyright infringement cases arising out of the design and use of the logo for the Baltimore Ravens football team. In the first case, which concluded in 2004, Frederick E. Bouchat sued the Baltimore Ravens, Inc. (the Ravens) and National Football League Properties, Inc. (NFLP), alleging that these defendants had copied one of his drawings in choosing a logo for the Ravens. A jury considering liability found that the Ravens and NFLP had infringed Bouchat’s copyright in the drawing, but a second jury considering damages awarded none. We affirmed in each of two appeals. In the four cases before us today, Bouchat sues several hundred companies (licensees) that used the infringing logo in various endeavors, including the production and marketing of official Ravens merchandise. In summary judgment proceedings in these cases, the district court held that the licensees had infringed Bouchat’s copyright, but denied his requests for actual or statutory damages. Bouchat appeals the judgments, and we affirm. We conclude that the doctrine of claim preclusion prevents Bouchat from obtaining actual damages from the licensees and that his failure to register his copyright before infringement began renders him ineligible for statutory damages.
by Gehrke & Associates, SC
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