Photographer Awarded $1.6 Million Dollars in Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Jumping Bobcat-Copyright Carolyn E. Wright

Andrew Paul Leonard is a professional photographer who specializes in creating images of microscopic subject matter using a scanning electron microscope (“SEM”). In 1995, Leonard created photographs of human bone marrow stem cells.

Stemtech Health Services is a direct sales company that markets and sells nutrition supplements on its own and through independent distributors. Leonard filed suit against Stemtech in 2008 for direct copyright infringement for ”using, copying, and displaying” his photos on websites, in publications, and in video presentations and for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement for display of his photos on websites of various distributors of Stemtech’s products.

Because Leonard did not register the copyrights to his photos until after the infringements at issue started, he wasn’t eligible for statutory damages. However, after 5 long years of litigation, a jury awarded Leonard $1.6 million dollars in actual damages on October 11, 2013.  Congrats to Leonard for protecting his copyrights!

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