Unicolors argued that it should not have lost its suit against the fashion giant because of a “good-faith mistake” and argued that its case could threaten countless other copyright registrations. However, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was sceptical of Unicolour’s argument while other justices recommended that the case could be dismissed entirely.
Unicolors sued H&M in April 2016 over a jacket that it claimed copied its fabric-design copyright. H&M argued that Unicolors has sued most major clothing retailers across the States and argued that it had acquired its copyright regulation through fraud on the US Copyright Office.
A jury found in favour of Unicolors, which was then later awarded over $750,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees. However, last year, the 9th Circuit reversed the award based on inaccuracies in Unicolor’s federal copyright registration. The 9th Circuit said that the application did not meet the US Copyright Office’s requirements and that Unicolors was aware of this when it applied. It also said that whether or not Unicolors meant to defraud the copyright office was irrelevant.
On Monday, Joshua Rosenkranz, representing Unicolors, argued the company had honestly misunderstood the law and that the decision should be reversed. However, Sotomayor was sceptical of Unicolors argument and its portrayal of itself as a defender of artists. Sotomayor told Rosenkranz, “I understand you want to make this about lay people, artists and poets, but there’s an argument here that your client is not an artist or poet, but a “troll.”