Culp, Inc. (NYSE: CFI), today announced that it is pursuing monetary damages and injunctive relief against Gum Tree Fabrics for willful infringement of Culp’s copyrighted fabric design known as “Palomino.” Culp has asked the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina to stop Gum Tree Fabrics – and all those acting in concert or participation with Gum Tree Fabrics– from offering, distributing and selling the infringing fabric called “Ringo.” Culp has further requested that the court award Culp damages and a disgorgement of profits wrongly reaped by Gum Tree Fabrics through its unlawful activities.
Culp is the owner of many copyrighted designs, including its Palomino design, which was awarded a copyright registration certificate from the U.S. Copyright Office. The Palomino design has been assigned Copyright Registration No. VA 1-429-919, effective June 15, 2006. Culp’s copyright is valid and enforceable, as evidenced by the thorough examination conducted by the U.S. Copyright Office prior to granting Culp’s registration. Culp has devoted substantial time and money to create innovative and unique fabric designs for its customers. Culp’s highly successful Palomino design is one such design among many others offered by Culp.
Gum Tree Fabrics issued a press release on January 26, 2010, regarding this matter, but it does not answer the questions that have been raised about Gum Tree Fabrics' conduct. Culp has attempted to resolve this matter by communicating with Gum Tree Fabrics to provide fabric samples, explain the legal issues involved, and work out a settlement. To date these efforts have not been fruitful. The comments from Gum Tree Fabrics in its press release about fabric specimens and the alleged "look" of other fabrics in question are not suitable defenses to Culp's copyright claim. Culp has provided Gum Tree Fabrics a full demonstration of the copyright protection enjoyed by its Palomino design, and Culp stands ready to discuss the matter further if needed. Culp is prepared to resolve this matter out of court. In the end, however, Culp intends to fully protect its legal rights, as any business would do. That is the reason the pending lawsuit has been filed, and Culp will vigorously pursue its rights by whatever legal means are necessary.