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Malibu Textiles, Inc. v. Label Lane Int'l, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

January 7, 2019, Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California; April 24, 2019, Filed

No. 17-55983, No. 17-55984, No. 17-56531

Opinion

 [*950]  ZOUHARY, District Judge:

Introduction

Five years ago, Plaintiff-Appellant Malibu Textiles filed these copyright infringement lawsuits against Defendants-Appellees Label Lane International, Entry, and H&M Hennes & Mauritz (collectively, "Defendants"), accusing them of illegally copying Malibu's lace designs. And for five years, these cases have languished at the pleading stage. The cases are now before this Court for a second time, after the district court again denied leave to amend and dismissed with prejudice. We again reverse and remand.

Background

In 2014, Malibu sued Defendants for copyright infringement. Malibu alleges it owns copyrights for two lace designs, consisting of flowers, vines, leaves, and other elements arranged in a pattern. Malibu refers to these two designs collectively as the Subject Work and alleges Defendants infringed on both.

The first appeal came after the district court dismissed the [**3]  cases with prejudice for failure to state a claim. This Court reversed, stating that "[d]ismissal with prejudice is appropriate only if the complaint 'could not be saved by any amendment.'" Malibu Textiles, Inc. v. Label Lane Int'l, Inc., 668 F. App'x 803, 803 (9th Cir. 2016) (quoting Leadsinger, Inc. v. BMG Music Publ'g, 512 F.3d 522, 532 (9th Cir. 2008)); Malibu Textiles, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, L.P., 668 F. App'x 800, 801 (9th Cir. 2016) (same). This Court concluded that Malibu could fix its Complaints by adding more allegations of similarity between the Subject Work and Defendants' works and how Defendants had access to the Subject Work. Label Lane, 668 F. App'x at 803-04; H&M, 668 F. App'x at 801.

On remand, Malibu filed new Complaints3 with additional similarity allegations, including side-by-side photos of the Subject Work and Defendants' works. But the Malibu attorneys mistakenly omitted new access allegations. When they realized their error, the parties filed a joint stipulation seeking leave to file amended versions  [*951]  of the post-remand Complaints. Malibu included a declaration explaining the mistake and provided the district court with redlined copies of the new Complaints with the missing access allegations. In a one-sentence, handwritten order, the district court denied leave to amend: "Denied[,] no good cause is shown."

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922 F.3d 946 *; 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11946 **; Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P31,448

MALIBU TEXTILES, INC., a New York corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. LABEL LANE INTERNATIONAL, INC., a California Corporation; ENTRY, INC., DBA ALT B., a California Corporation, Defendants-Appellees.MALIBU TEXTILES, INC., a New York corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. H&MHENNES &MAURITZ, L.P., a New York limited partnership, Defendant-Appellee.MALIBU TEXTILES, INC., a New York corporation, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. H&MHENNES &MAURITZ, L.P., a New York limited partnership, Defendant-Appellant.

Subsequent History: Rehearing, en banc, denied by Malibu Textiles, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, L.P., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 16385 (9th Cir. Cal., May 31, 2019)

Stay denied by, Without prejudice Malibu Textiles, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz LP, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 214541 (C.D. Cal., Aug. 23, 2019)

US Supreme Court certiorari denied by H&M Hennes & Mauritz, LP v. Malibu Textiles, Inc., 205 L. Ed. 2d 272, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 6696 (U.S., Nov. 4, 2019)

Prior History:  [**1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:14-cv-04054-R-MAN. Manuel L. Real, District Judge, Presiding.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:14-cv-01018-R-E. Manuel L. Real, District Judge, Presiding.

Malibu Textiles, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, L.P., 668 Fed. Appx. 800, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16763 (9th Cir. Cal., Sept. 13, 2016)Malibu Textiles, Inc. v. Label Lane Int'l, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 214254 (C.D. Cal., June 29, 2017)

CORE TERMS

similarities, district court, allegations, designs, infringement, patterns, copying, amend, cases, lace, substantially similar, registration, ownership, owns, copyright protection, strikingly similar, registered, arranged

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Pleadings, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Copyright Law, Civil Infringement Actions, Elements, Copying by Defendants, Ownership, Copying by Defendants, Access, Substantial Similarity, Substantial Similarity, Extrinsic Tests, Intrinsic Tests, Copyright Infringement Actions, Judicial Review, Scope of Copyright Protection, Abuse of Discretion, Amendment of Pleadings, Leave of Court