In 2015, Oregon-based company Under a Foot Plant Co. filed a lawsuit against Maryland-based competitor Exterior Design Inc. over the latter company’s alleged copyright infringement. According to the lawsuit, Exterior Design used 24 of Under a Foot Plant Co.’s copyrighted photographs without permission, resulting in 133 instances of copyright infringement. Under a Foot Plant Co. had created the photos to market a product line called Stepables, while Exterior Design used them to market a competing product called Treadwell Plants.
According to the lawsuit, Exterior Design’s infringement of Under a Foot Plant’s copyrighted images began in 2011 and continued through 2014. The legal document claimed that Exterior Design was engaging in ‘copyright infringement, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and unjust enrichment.’ Though Exterior Design denied the allegations, the legal matter proceeded and, after the better part of two years, has reached its conclusion in Under a Foot Plant Co.’s favor.
Per the jury’s decision, Under a Foot Plant Co. can choose to be awarded either $300,000 in statutory damages or $900,000 in actual damages, but isn’t allowed to receive both.