Attorneys for Plaintiff, Marco Verch (“Verch”) of Germany, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Toolfarm.com, Inc. (“Toolfarm”) of South Bend, Indiana, infringed his rights in United States Copyright Registration No. VA 2-106-766. Verch is seeking actual damages, profits, income, receipts, or other benefits received by Toolfarm, costs, expenses, attorneys’ fees, and pre-judgment interest.
According to the complaint, Verch is a professional photographer claiming Toolfarm has reproduced and publicly displayed his copyrighted photograph of traditional Russian wooden dolls (the “Photograph”). Verch claims Toolfarm ran the Photograph on its website without a license, permission, or consent from Verch. As such, Verch is seeking damages for copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §§ 106, 501, and 504.
This case was filed by Verch’s attorney, Mr. Leibowitz, just six days after he was ordered to personally pay $28,567.50 to a defendant in another case. In that case, Mr. Leibowitz was found to have engaged in discovery misconduct by failing to identify witnesses as required by Rule 26. The court stated that Mr. Leibowitz was:
more focused on the business of litigation than on selling a product or service or licensing their copyrights to third parties to sell a product or service. A copyright troll plays a numbers game in which it targets hundreds or thousands of defendants seeking quick settlements priced just low enough that it is less expensive for the defendant to pay the troll rather than defend the claim.
The Court then ordered his client to post a $50,000 bond to continue with the case. When his client failed to do so, the court dismissed the case.