F. W. Woolworth Co. v. Contemporary Arts, Inc.
344 U.S. 228 (1952)

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U.S. Supreme Court

F. W. Woolworth Co. v. Contemporary Arts, Inc., 344 U.S. 228 (1952)

F. W. Woolworth Co. v. Contemporary Arts, Inc.

No. 42

Argued November 17, 1952

Decided December 22, 1952

344 U.S. 228

Syllabus

Respondent sued petitioner under the Copyright Act to recover for infringement of copyright on a statuette, infringing copies of which had been sold by petitioner in its stores. Petitioner proved that its gross profit from the infringement was $899.16. The evidence of damage suffered by respondent, though indicating real and substantial injury, was insufficient to establish the amount of damage actually sustained. The trial court allowed recovery of $5,000 "statutory damages."

Held: The award of damages in the amount of $5,000 was authorized by 17 U.S.C. § 101(b). Pp. 344 U. S. 229-234.

(a) The fact that petitioner proved that its gross profit from the infringement was $899.16 does not limit recovery to that amount. Pp. 344 U. S. 231-233.

(b) Sheldon v. Metro-Goldwyn Pictures Corp.,309 U. S. 390, and Jewell-LaSalle Realty Co. v. Buck,283 U. S. 202, distinguished. P. 344 U. S. 234.

(c) The statute empowers the trial court, in the exercise of a sound judicial discretion, to determine whether, on all the facts, a recovery upon proven profits and damages or one estimated within the statutory limits is more just, and there was no abuse of that discretion in this case. P. 344 U. S. 234.

193 F.2d 162 affirmed.

In an action under the Copyright Act to recover for infringement of copyright, the District Court gave judgment for the plaintiff, respondent here. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 193 F.2d 162. This Court granted a limited writ of certiorari. 343 U.S. 963. Affirmed, p. 344 U. S. 234.

Page 344 U. S. 229

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