United States Ninth Circuit

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Direct Technologies, LLC v. Electronic Arts, Inc., 14-56266

In a copyright infringement and trade secret case arising out of a contract for plaintiff to produce a USB flash drive shaped like a 'PlumbBob' a gem-shaped icon from defendant's computer game, The Sims, the District Court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant is: 1) affirmed in part as to the trade secrets claim, although on different grounds. where plaintiff's contribution to the PlumbBob USB drive, a design for the flash drive’s removal from the PlumbBob object, did not derive independent economic value from not being generally known to the public; and 2) reversed in part as to the copyright infringement claim where the district court erred in ruling as a matter of law that the flash drive was not sufficiently original when compared to the Plumb Bob icon to qualify for copyright protection as a derivative work.

Appellate Information

  • Decided
  • Published 2016/09/06




  • United States Ninth Circuit