Appeals court upholds BUC verdict

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has affirmed an earlier ruling that BUC International’s online BUCNET yacht listings copyrights were valid and that MLS Solutions and IYC copied them for use in a competing service, BUC said in a release Tuesday.

In a 42-page opinion handed down last week, the court upheld a ruling that awarded BUC $1.6 million in damages plus attorney’s fees in the lawsuit it had filed against the International Yacht Council and MLS Solutions, BUC said.

“It has been an eight-year battle that has cost our company millions,” Walter Sullivan, BUC’s CEO, said in the statement. “This is a win for the brokers and all businesses that endeavor to compete on a level playing field without fear of others copying intellectual property to start a competing business. With this clear vindication of BUC’s employees and the customers who supported us, we will continue to compete in the marketplace with enhanced products and services and innovative new ones.”

“The defendants appealed the verdict on five issues, each of which was rejected by the appellate court,” BUC wrote in its release. “Circuit Judge Tjoflat, who authored the opinion for the Appeals Court, provided a detailed treatise on copyright law. In its opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed that BUC’s copyrights are valid; that the listings on BUCNET constituted an original copyrightable format; that BUC only had to show there was a “substantial similarity” between its listings and the copied listings used by IYC. Accordingly, the court affirmed the jury’s $1.6 million judgment for damages plus attorney’s fees.”

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