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Summary Judgment Awarded to Crowell & Moring Client Dewberry & Davis in Significant Copyright Case

Washington, D.C. – January 21, 2011: On January 5, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted summary judgment in a significant copyright case to Crowell & Moring LLP client Dewberry & Davis LLC, a large international engineering firm with headquarters in Northern Virginia. The ruling represents a major victory for Dewberry in a long-running, high stakes litigation.

The case arose out of work performed by Dewberry and others for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in connection with its National Flood Insurance Program. In the late 1990s, a software application known as the RSDE was developed for FEMA to be used by local officials conducting residential damage assessments after natural disasters. Once the RSDE was implemented by FEMA, Dewberry provided on-site support to local officials in using RSDE in the aftermath of Hurricane George, Hurricane Katrina, and a number of other "flood events."

In early 2008, Marshall & Swift/Boeckh (MSB), a large California publisher, brought suit against Dewberry and others, alleging causes of action for direct and contributory copyright infringement, trademark infringement, breach of contract, breach of implied contract, unjust enrichment, statutory and common law unfair competition, misappropriation, and tortious interference. MSB alleged that the RSDE utilized its intellectual property, specifically its algorithms for construction cost analysis and its database of residential construction costs. The company sought in excess of $40 million in damages against Dewberry.

MSB's breach of contract, statutory and common law unfair competition, and misappropriation causes of action were dismissed as preempted by the Copyright Act early in the litigation. Similarly, MSB's trademark causes of action were dismissed because they failed to allege any reasonable likelihood of consumer confusion. Discovery relating to the remaining causes of action lasted more than 18 months and produced a voluminous evidentiary record that presented a substantial challenge to a successful summary judgment motion.

In a sweeping victory for Dewberry, the Court granted summary judgment in its favor on all of the remaining causes of action against it.

The Crowell & Moring team was lead by Washington, D.C. Intellectual Property Group partner Terence P. Ross. The team also included Kathleen Balderama in the firm's Los Angeles office, Andrew Slade in the firm's Orange County office, Jonathan J. Anastasia in the firm's New York office, and Beth Goldman and Jeffrey Ahdoot in the firm's Washington, DC office.

Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with nearly 500 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity. The firm has offices in Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Anchorage, London, and Brussels.


Christine Elfmann
PR & Internal Communications Specialist
+1 202.508.8848

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