Attorney Fees Denied in Copyright Case at Seventh Circuit

Written June 22, 2020

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on June 17, 2020, held that a wellness store’s copyright claims against a former employee didn’t require an attorneys’ fees award, finding that several circumstances justified denying the award. Timothy B. O’Brien LLC v. Knott, 7th Cir., No. 19-2138, 6/17/20.

David Knott started Embrace Wellness after being fired from Apple Wellness. Knott’s shop allegedly shared design features with Apple Wellness’ stores and carried similar products.

Apple Wellness sued Knott and his store in Wisconsin federal court for trademark, trade dress, and copyright infringement. Apple Wellness eventually dropped its claims, and while Knott requested attorneys’ fees for the copyright claims, the district court denied the award.

The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding that Apple Wellness’ claims “seemed to have been brought in good faith,” there were minimal compensation and deterrence concerns because the copyright claim was dismissed quickly, and there was no possibility that the company would re-raise the claims in the future.