• Storix Backs Up Its Copyright Ownership Claim
  • January 29, 2016 | Author: Paul A. Tyrell
  • Law Firm: Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP - San Diego Office
  • A federal jury in San Diego has found that disaster recovery software developer Storix, Inc. owns all rights to the copyrights to all versions of SBAdmin, its flagship bare-metal network recovery solution. The eight-person jury found unanimously that Storix’s founder Anthony Johnson had transferred ownership of all pre-incorporation copyrights to the company when it was incorporated in 2003 and that the copyrights to all post-incorporation works belong to the company under the work-for-hire doctrine.

    Before its incorporation in 2003, the business had operated as a sole proprietorship, and in 2011, Johnson turned over control of Storix to a group of long-time employees. Johnson quit in 2014 and then sued the company for copyright infringement, claiming that he, not Storix, was the copyright owner. Johnson sought injunctive relief and monetary damages.

    In response, Storix filed a counterclaim for declaratory relief seeking confirmation that it owned not only the registered copyright referenced in Johnson’s complaint, but all copyrights in all versions of SBAdmin as well.

    Prior to trial, Johnson had attempted to contact Storix’s customers to notify them of his ownership claim, telling them that they were in possession of infringing software.

    The five-day trial focused on the question of whether Johnson had included the copyrights and other intellectual property when he transferred “all assets” of the business to Storix at the time he formed the corporation.

    At the conclusion of trial the jury unanimously rejected Johnson’s infringement claim and made it clear that Storix owns the copyrights to SBAdmin.

    The jury also found that Johnson’s claim was barred by the statute of limitations based on evidence that Johnson was aware of Storix’s assertion of copyright ownership more than three years before he sued.

    The verdict is a complete victory for the San Diego-based company whose SBAdmin product provides disaster recovery solutions for the networks of more than 2,000 global customers, including numerous large enterprises. Storix intends to file a motion for attorneys’ fees.

    U.S. District Judge Marilyn L. Huff presided.