Myers Berstein
Toll Free Communication

PIKASUE NO MORE: RageOn Clothing Company and Pokemon Company Settle Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

pikajewwords.jpgRageOn, a Cleveland based t-shirt company, recently faced a copyright infringement lawsuit from Pokemon Company International for depicting their protected Pokemon characters on clothing.

One character in question was Pikachu, dressed as a Hasidic Jew surrounded by piles of cash and renamed as Pikajew. Another shirt had a character called Jiggly Puff that was smoking marijuana.

RageOn claimed protection under the fair use doctrine because their shirts are "clearly socially and politically-relevant commentary." However, the Court would have looked at the four factors of fair use: (1) the purpose and character of the use, (2) the nature of the copyrighted work, (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market. The fourth factor would likely favor Pokemon Company since their family friendly characters are being tarnished, but we will never know. As of May 2016, both partieshave come to an agreement and settled their dispute. 

jigglypuffpuffwords.jpg

For companies wanting to know what not to do, take note: RageOn had licensing agreements from various artists and companies, but they insisted that these artists and companies were responsible for obtaining licenses of any copyrighted materials being used in the designs. This hands off approach is a lesson learned for RageOn and for those in similar situations.

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