Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wrench, LLC v. Taco Bell Corp. case brief

Wrench, LLC v. Taco Bell Corp. case brief summary
51 F. Supp. 2d 840

Artists (P), sued corporation (D) for breach of contract, conversion, unfair competition, and misappropriation. 
The defendant moved for summary judgment.

The artists (P) developed a Chihuahua character that appeared on apparel as well as other merchandise.
At a trade show, the P's discussed their character with the defendant corporation's representative.
At the same time, another firm was also promoting the same character to another representative of the defendant.
During this time period, the D hired a new advertising agency.
The new agency pitched the idea of using a Chihuahua.
The defendant used the Chihuahua that was developed by the advertising agency and the plaintiffs sued for conversion, breach of contract, misappropriation, and unfair competition.
The defendant moved for summary judgment.

Summary judgment was granted and the case was terminated.
The court stated that the plaintiff's established an implied in fact contract, however, their claims were preempted by the Copyright Act because the implied contract created legal rights that were equivalent to the rights that were within the general scope of copyright.

Furthermore, the court found that the concept of using a Chihuahua in commercials was independently created.  The ideas of the plaintiffs' were not novel.

OUTCOME: The court granted the corporation's (D) motion for summary judgment.

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