Wyche Attorneys Secure $1.4 Million Verdict for Frank Betz Associates: Architectural Works Copyright Infringement Case

February 15, 2012

GREENVILLE, SC – February 15, 2011 – Wyche attorneys Wallace K. Lightsey and Troy A. Tessier secureda $1.4 million verdict for Frank Betz Associates, Inc. (“Betz”) in anarchitectural works copyright infringement case against Signature Homes,Inc., Brian Burns, and Signature Partnership, LLC. This verdict, one ofthe largest ever for an architectural works copyright case, wasannounced on February 2, 2012, after a three-week jury trial in federalcourt in Nashville, Tennessee.

Betz is one of thecountry’s leading home plan designers, and has achieved nationalrecognition for the quality and originality of its work. Betz has wonnumerous awards for its residential home plan designs, and itscopyrighted plans have become popular throughout the U.S. In this case,the jury determined that the Signature defendants had used unauthorizedcopies of 8 copyrighted Betz designs to advertise and build 78infringing homes in the Murfreesboro, TN area. The jury awarded damagesto Betz in the amount of $1.4 million, rejecting the Signaturedefendants’ claims that no infringement occurred and that a properdamages award should be in the range of $42,000 – $56,000.

Wyche represents some of the largest and most successful residentialhome plan designers in the nation, and actively assists these clients inprotecting their portfolios of copyrighted designs. When litigationbecomes a necessary part of the process in a particular case, it isimportant to have a strong trial team ready to take action. Mr.Lightsey and Mr. Tessier are experienced trial lawyers, each with morethan 50 trials to verdict to their credit. Verdicts of this size areunusual in the context of single-family residential design copyrights.


About Wyche
Wyche is a full-service law firm which has practiced law and served theGreenville community for more than 90 years. In that time, Wyche hasparticipated in landmark litigation, served as counsel on cutting-edgetransactions, and provided community leadership that has helped shapeand drive our region’s growth and success. With offices in Greenvilleand Columbia, Wyche is the South Carolina member of Lex Mundi, theworld’s leading association of independent law firms. Visit www.wyche.com to learn more.