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Pro bono success: Serbian artist wins with help from Patterson Thuente IP

May 17, 2022 | Copyright Law, Firm News

Patterson Thuente IP Principals Jim Patterson recently won a favorable settlement for a solo artist in a copyright infringement case involving a Minnesota-based Fortune 500 retailer.  

Filip Zrnzević, a photographer from Belgrade, Serbia, noticed one of his pictures being sold as a canvas on the retailer’s website without his consent. Zrnzević proceeded to contact Radovanović and Stojanović law firm in Belgrade.  

Side-by-side comparison of two photographs. The right picture is the original by Filip Zrnzević; the left is a copycat of Zrnzević’s photo sold on the website of a Fortune 500 retailer for a period of time.

Due to the retailer’s headquarters being in Minnesota, a search for Minnesota-based counsel by Đorđe Vićić, a partner at the law firm, led him to Patterson Thuente IP. 

“This was a perfect case for us considering we work with clients around the globe in securing IP protection. It was of particular interest because our attorneys have a passion for helping solo creators,” Patterson said. 

After reviewing the case Patterson decided it would be a good opportunity to provide their legal services on a pro bono basis.  

First, they needed to register Zrnzević’s copyright with the U.S. Copyright Registration Office. It is necessary to register copyrights with the federal government in order to enforce them in Federal Court. 

With the copyright registered Patterson needed to figure out how best to see the infringing activity halted and to recoup Zrnzević’s losses. The Patterson Thuente team began preparations to sue the retailer for copyright infringement, which eventually led them to a supplier in Ohio — the entity from which the retailer purchased the infringing material. 

“Despite the opposing side’s attempts, our client was owed not only the ceasing of the copyright infringement, but also the profit garnered from the unlawful sale of his intellectual property,” Patterson said. 

After negotiations, the supplier ceased the infringing activity and agreed to a settlement favorable to Zrnzević. In addition to the settlement, the supplier requested to review Zrnzević’s full art portfolio for the possibility of a future licensing agreement. 

“This was an all-around win for our client. He gained a favorable settlement and the possibility of future work prospects. Meanwhile, Jim and I got do what we love and provide our services to a solo artist 5,000 miles away,”