This copyright suit shows the difficulty in finding protected creative expression in a crowded field, in this case, architectural design of single‐family homes. The case also shows the challenge in administering intellectual property law to discourage so‐called intellectual property “trolls” while protecting genuine creativity.
Plaintiffs Design Basics, LLC; Prime Designs, Inc.; and Plan Pro, Inc. (collectively, “Design Basics”) and their affili‐ ates claim rights to some 2700 home designs. They sued defendants Lexington Homes, Inc. and related parties (collectively, “Lexington”) for copyright infringement, contending that Lexington built homes that infringed four of Design Basics’ designs.
The district court granted summary judgment to Lexington, finding no evidence that Lexington ever had access to De‐ sign Basics’ home plans. Without access, the court reasoned, there could be no copying and no copyright infringement. We affirm. We agree with the district court that Design Basics has no evidence of access. We also conclude that no reasonable jury could find that Lexington’s accused plans bear substantial similarities to any original material in Design Basics’ plans.