College Application Business Admits to Copying Portions From Competition's Website but Denies Infringement
In our June 6, 2021, blog post we reported on a lawsuit between two companies that guide prospective college students in their application process. Plaintiff Ivy Coach, Inc. (“Ivy”) filed a lawsuit against one of its competitors, Defendant Lehren Education, Inc. (“Lehren”), claiming that Lehren copied “significant portions” of its website.
Since then, Lehren has responded to these allegations. On June 13, 2021, Lehren filed its Answer wherein it admitted that it “copied a limited amount of text.” However, Lehren claims that it would characterize the copied text “as limited and immaterial[,]” and asserts that the, "copying falls within the Fair Use exception to infringement . . . ."
Lehren asserts multiple affirmative defenses to Ivy's claims, including copyright misuse and unclean hands. To support both of these claims, Lehren purports that, “after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery there is likely to be further evidence that Plaintiff’s has purchased on-line advertising specifically aimed at competitors with the intention of getting competitors to copy the Plaintiff’s material.” Lehren further alleges that Ivy gets its competitors to copy its advertising “to then sue the competitors and demand settlement amounts that vastly exceed what is typically for copyright infringement, in the hopes of damaging Ivy['s] competition.”
Now that the Complaint and Answer have been filed, both parties will proceed forward into litigation. We will follow this lawsuit and provide updates as they become available.