Med-Legal Files Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Over Telephone Directory Compilation

Los Angeles, CA – A copyright infringement, Lanham Act unfair competition, and section 17200 complaint was filed in United States District Court by Med-Legal, a service provider to professionals and companies in the workers’ compensation field. The complaint alleges that Med-Legal created a “Work Comp Directory” which a resource volume and compilation of directories of vendors, various services and professionals. Med-Legal alleges that it invested “substantial time, resources, and research to compile, edit, and organize the listings” even though the information is available in public sources, the compilation directory is entitled to copyright protection because of the research and judgment expended in the selection and organization of the information to include in the directory. The compilation work is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and has received a Certificate of Registration.

Med-Legal alleges that defendant Matrix Document Imaging, Inc. is also in the business of providing services to professionals and companies in the workers’ compensation area. And that in 2006, “Matrix began copying reproducing and repackaging the copyrighted material” contained in the Work Comp Directory without editing or revision. These alleged copies were then distributed to businesses and potential clients to compete with Med-Legal. Med-Legal alleges that there has been actual confusion amongst customers where defendant’s directory was believed to be Med-Legal’s Work Comp Directory. The case is titled: Med-Legal, Inc. v. Matrix Document Imaging, Inc., CV08-1004 JSL (C.D. California).

PRACTICE NOTE: In directory compilations, the creator usually lists and keeps track of fictional entries and/or intentional typographical errors to deem whether they are copied into a competitor’s work. Even though Med-Legal does not have to prove actual confusion amongst consumers to win on its Lanham Act claim, actual confusion amongst a significant numbers of consumers provides strong support for the likelihood of confusion. Playboy Enterprises v. Netscape Communications, 354 F.3d 1020, 1026 (9th Cir. 2004).