Monday, April 16, 2007
A Dane by the name of Thomas Dam created the dolls and obtained a copyright in Denmark. He also got a copyright in America, which was invalidated because certain dolls of this type had been sold in America prior to Dam's copyright, and the design fell into the public domain.
After Dam died, his heirs granted the exclusive right to make the dools to Trolls Co., a Danish company.
Congress enacted 104A of the Copyright Act, which put America into compliance with the Berne Convention, having the effect, among other things, of restoring Dam's copyright. Trolls Co. applied for and was granted a registration certificate in 2000.
Uneeda Doll Co. had been manufacturing trolls under a license from Dam's company since the 1960s. Uneeda had told Trolls Co. that it had no intention of manufacturing trolls. However, Trolls Co. found out that Uneeda was about to do so just at the time that Trolls Co. was about to relaunch the dolls. Trolls Co. told Uneeda that its dolls were infringing Trolls Co.'s copyright.
Trolls Co. sued and obtained an injunction. The Second Circuit has affirmed. The decision in Trolls Co. v. Uneeda Doll Co. can be found here.