• Thomas Russell

Habersham wins damages in copyright infringement case

TOCCOA, Ga. — Case goods manufacturer Habersham said that a jury has awarded it damages related to a copyright infringement case against Art & Frame Direct, World of Décor and several other related defendants.

In a case filed last November in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida, Habersham accused the defendants of importing and distributing unauthorized copies of some of its original furniture designs. Some of the items covered by the suit include the Valencia dining table, Belmont bookcase and Central Park bed.

"We are obviously thrilled with the jury's and court's message - that the copying of original American furniture designs by others will not be tolerated - defending Habersham's commitment to distinctive high-end design," Habersham President Matt Eddy said in a statement. "The jury's award of substantial damages in this case should put the copiers on notice. We will continue to enforce our copyright and trademark rights to preserve the exclusivity that the Habersham brand has established with its heirloom quality furniture pieces."

The company did not reveal the amount of damages awarded by the jury, other than to say it is a seven-figure settlement.

Officials also said the case is one more example in which Habersham has pursued legal avenues to protect its designs. This includes the removal of unauthorized copies of its products, and infringers of its trademarks, from the listings of the online auction Web site eBay and other private websites.

Eddy advised website purchasers to use caution in making purchases of Habersham-like pieces over the Internet.

"From our efforts in enforcing Habersham's copyrights and trademarks over the years, we have learned that many of those high-priced, so-called Habersham products are actually inexpensive, poorly made copies," he said.

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, FurnitureToday

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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