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Court Revives Copyright Claim Over Necklaces

(CN) - A jewelry maker won another shot at proving that the Home Shopping Network sold a necklace that was "virtually identical" to its Lady Caroline Lorgnette necklace.

The 9th Circuit reinstated Cosmetic Idea's copyright infringement lawsuit, saying the lower court was wrong to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.

The lower court had ruled that Cosmetic Idea did not have the registered copyright needed to sue Home Shopping Network for copyright infringement.

But the Pasadena-based panel said a registered copyright is not a prerequisite for an infringement claim, citing the Supreme Court's ruling in Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick.

"Therefore, the district court's dismissal of Cosmetic's complaint on the basis of lack of subject-matter jurisdiction -- which must have been predicated on a conclusion that Cosmetic had not registered its copyright -- was error," wrote U.S. District Judge Trager, who participated in the panel decision.

Much of the ruling addressed a question that has divided federal appeals courts: whether a copyright is deemed "registered" when the Copyright Office first receives the application, or when the office acts on that application.

The 9th Circuit backed the former interpretation -- that a copyright is registered upon receipt -- but noted that the issue is irrelevant in Cosmetic's case, because the office has since issued a certificate of registration.

"Once a certificate is issued," Trager explained, "the registration dates back to the date of application."

The federal appeals court vacated the dismissal order and remanded.

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