July 15, 2014 6:32am PT by Eriq Gardner
Man Selling Fake Oscar Statuettes on eBay Ordered to Pay $375,000
A Texas judge has ordered Jaime De La Rosa to pay $375,000 in statutory damages to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for selling replicas of Oscar statuettes on eBay and Etsy.
AMPAS filed a copyright and trademark lawsuit this past February after discovering an eBay item for an "Academy Award Hollywood Metal Movie Acting Trophy Prop Replica." The search for further information led them to De La Rosa, whom they submitted had completed nine sales.
When contacted by the Academy Awards group, De La Rosa was asked to surrender all replicas in his possession. He appears to have cooperated at first, but AMPAS reported in its lawsuit that he then sold more statuettes online.
About a month after the lawsuit was filed in Texas federal court, De La Rosa submitted an admission in court to the charges. He also included some sales records that indicated that the statuettes sold for a few hundred dollars each.
De La Rosa still could have mustered some kind of defense that contested whether consumers were really confused about the source of his counterfeit statuettes, but the court never registered any documents of this kind. So AMPAS brought a motion for judgment on the pleadings.
"Given the willful and recidivist nature of Mr. De La Rosa's copyright infringement and his prior misrepresentations under penalty of perjury, the need for deterrence is especially acute," stated the plaintiff.
For copyright infringement, AMPAS could have sought a maximum of $150,000 per infringement, but citing De La Rosa's "limited means to pay," it only requested $75,000. For trademark infringement, AMPAS believed itself entitled to millions of dollars but requested $300,000 for his use of the Oscar statuette design, the "Oscar" word mark, and the "Academy Award" word mark.
On July 11, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks agreed with those amounts, plus he ordered him to come forward about the source of his replicas, deliver all statuettes in his possession, and submit a report under oath about his compliance. The judge further temporarily enjoined him from manufacturing and selling Oscar statuettes.