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STEPHEN & HAYES CONSTR., INC. v. MEADOWBROOK HOMES

January 5, 1998

STEPHEN & HAYES CONSTRUCTION, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
MEADOWBROOK HOMES, INC., Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALESIA

 This matter is before the court on defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and, alternatively, defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c).

 The motion is granted in part and denied in part.

 I. BACKGROUND

 Both parties are designers and builders of residential homes. Plaintiff Stephen & Hayes Construction Inc. ("Stephen & Hayes") alleges that defendant Meadowbrook Homes Inc. ("Meadowbrook") misappropriated and/or copied Stephen & Hayes' plans, drawings, styles, concepts, and/or products for particular homes without permission. Specifically, Stephen & Hayes alleges that Meadowbrook built, promoted, and sold homes substantially similar to Stephen & Hayes' homes; Meadowbrook's promotional literature is virtually identical to Stephen & Hayes' literature; and Meadowbrook directed potential home buyers interested in particular homes who could not view these completed homes to view particular homes built by Stephen & Hayes because the Meadowbrook and Stephen & Hayes' homes were identical.

 Consequently, Stephen & Hayes filed a four count complaint *fn1" premised on: count I - copyright infringement, 17 U.S.C. § 101, et seq.; count II - Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act ("UDTPA"), 815 ILCS 510/1, et seq.; count III - unfair competition; and count IV - unjust enrichment.

 Meadowbrook seeks dismissal or, alternatively, judgment in its favor as to counts II, III, and IV.

 II. MOTION TO DISMISS - LEGAL STANDARD

 In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court "must accept well pleaded allegations of the complaint as true. In addition, the Court must view these allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Gomez v. Illinois State Board of Education, 811 F.2d 1030, 1039 (7th Cir. 1987). Although a complaint is not required to contain a detailed outline of the claim's basis, it nevertheless "must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Car Carriers, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1106 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1054, 84 L. Ed. 2d 821, 105 S. Ct. 1758 (1985). Dismissal is not granted "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957).

 III. DISCUSSION

 A. The Copyright Act

 To establish copyright infringement, the plaintiff must prove that he owns a valid copyright and that the defendant "copied" the constituent elements of the work that are original. *fn2" See Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 363, 113 L. Ed. 2d 358, 111 S. Ct. 1282 (1991). Generally speaking, the Copyright Act protects certain works of authorship from being reproduced, distributed publicly, performed, or displayed publicly. See 17 U.S.C. § 106. Literary works, musical works, dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, motion pictures and other audiovisual works, sound recordings, and architectural works may qualify for copyright protection. See 17 U.S.C. § 102(a). The Copyright Act extends to the authors of such copyrightable works "a right against the world," ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg, 86 F.3d 1447, ...


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