A blog about patent, copyright and trademark law in the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York

Court Applies Injury Rule, Rather than Discovery Rule, to Accrual of Copyright Infringement Claim

In an August 21, 2013 ruling, Judge Loretta A. Preska granted in part and denied in part defendants' motion for summary judgment on statute of limitations grounds in plaintiff Muench Photography, Inc.'s copyright infringement claims.  The parties agreed "that the principal question of law at issue with respect to whether certain of plaintiff's claims are time-barred is when a copyright infringement claim accrues under the three-year statute of limitations in the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 507(b)."  The two accrual possibilities are when the injury occurred or when it was discovered.  According to the Court, prior Second Circuit law strongly indicated that the discovery rule applied, but the Supreme Court's decision in TRW v. Andrews, 534 U.S. 19 (2001) required reassessment that position.  Judge Preska surveyed the split of authority in the District on the issue, and joined "what is now the majority approach in this jurisdiction in adopting the injury rule for the purposes of evaluating whether copyright infringement claims are time barred."  Applying the injury rule, Judge Preska found some of Muench's claims time barred, and allowed others to proceed.
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