Toppan Interamerica Inc. settles copyright infringement claims against Walker Edison Furniture Co. LLC
February 11, 2021, McDonough, Georgia. Toppan Interamerica Inc. (“Toppan“) announced today that it has settled its copyright infringement claims against Walker Edison Furniture Co. LLC (“Walker Edison”) of Salt Lake City Utah.
Toppan and Walker Edison agreed to a consent order, issued by the United States International Trade Commission (ITC), which prohibits Walker Edison from importing furniture models bearing a decorative paper design that Toppan had accused of infringing its popular Fitzroy Pine copyrighted design after February 28, 2021. Other terms of the settlement are confidential.
Toppan, a leading manufacturer of decorative paper products used to finish furniture and other surfaces, sued Walker Edison in federal district court for copyright infringement in October 2020. At about the same time, the ITC instituted proceedings on Toppan’s complaint seeking to exclude products from importation into the US. In the two proceedings, Toppan accused Walker Edison of importing from China and selling in the United States furniture products that infringe the Fitzroy Pine copyright through dozens of retail outlets, including Amazon, Target, Walmart and others. Soon after the filing of the complaints, Walker Edison agreed to switch to a new decorative paper design for its products.
“Toppan puts tremendous research effort and investment into developing unique on-trend designs for the various markets we serve. In most cases we partner with our clients to coordinate our distinctive designs with the high surface quality demands expected by consumers,” said Toppan president Bob Kolar. “For years, both Toppan and our clients have been hurt by dishonest printers in Asia who steal our designs and ultimately our clients’ strategic product placements,” Kolar added.
Because the infringing printers are typically located in China, out of the reach of United States courts, Toppan decided it needed to take action against the companies who were buying decorative paper overseas and then products bearing that paper in the United States. “It’s unfortunate that companies may be buying from these printers thinking that their products are legitimate,” said Kolar, “but we think once the infringers realize they won’t succeed by using our copyrighted designs they will stop. We appreciate Walker Edison’s cooperation in quickly and amicably resolving this matter.”
Toppan will continue to protect its designs going forward. “We are carefully monitoring the market,” said Kolar. “If our ITC action does not serve as a warning to other infringers -- they may see us in court.”
Toppan was represented by Joe Meckes, Adam Hess and David Elkins of Squire Patton Boggs.