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TODD NOAH & NOAH'S ART, INC. v. ENESCO CORP.

September 11, 1995

TODD NOAH and NOAH'S ART, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
ENESCO CORPORATION, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KOCORAS

 CHARLES P. KOCORAS, District Judge:

 This matter is before the Court on Defendant Enesco Corporation's motion for judgment on the pleadings and Plaintiff Noah et al.'s motion for summary judgment as to Counts III and IV of Plaintiff's complaint. In Counts III and IV of his complaint, Noah alleges unjust enrichment and seeks injunctive relief. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants Defendant's motion and denies Plaintiff's motion.

 BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff Noah is an artist who created several hand-made figurines called "New Beginnings", based upon his interpretation of the Biblical Noah's Ark story. Unlike the more common depictions of the story, Noah depicted the animals interacting with each other while leaving the ark, ready to make their new beginning after the flood.

 Noah established Noah's Ark, Inc. to market his figurines. Realizing his lack of sophistication and experience in this area, Noah solicited the input and advice of several friends and industry insiders. In addition, Noah alleges that the Precious Moments visitor's center assured him that Precious Moments was not contemplating the production of figurines such as his, and ultimately referred Noah to Defendant Enesco. *fn1"

 In December of 1991, Noah contacted Enesco, the country's largest marketer of giftware, in an attempt to negotiate a licensing agreement. During that meeting, the parties signed a non-disclosure agreement in which Enesco agreed in pertinent part:

 
To prevent disclosure of any artwork product ideas, concepts, data, packaging, and/or samples of products submitted by you [Noah; provided that such]. . . ideas. . . which are previously known to us, possibly even in the process of development by Enesco, or which are in the public domain are not subject to this Agreement.

 Soon thereafter, Enesco sent Noah a draft license. In January of 1992, Noah sent Enesco more detailed figurines. On January 10, 1992, the parties entered into a written agreement which provided that Enesco would ship his figurines overseas for development of preproduction samples and costing. The agreement documented the parties understanding that the decision to license and produce the figurines was at Enesco's sole discretion.

 After the samples were made, Enesco, at Noah's urging, displayed the figurines at its fall 1993 Pre-Show trade show. Enesco's Precious Moments line also introduced its new interpretation of the Noah's Ark story in its "Two by Two" collection at the same 1993 show. The Precious Moments' figurines resembled Noah's "concept", in that they both depicted the animals as an interacting pair, as opposed to individually. Noah contends that the certain characteristics of the Precious Moment's figurines resemble features of his figurines, such as the intertwined giraffe necks.

 LEGAL STANDARD

 Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows for judgment on the pleadings when, while viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, it is beyond doubt that the non-moving party cannot plead facts in support of his cause of action. United States v. Wood, 925 F.2d 1580 (7th Cir. 1991). In addition, "[a] party is entitled to judgment on the pleadings only if that party 'clearly establishes that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and that he or she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'" Grossman v. Minnesota ...


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