LimeCoral, Ltd. v. CareerBuilder, LLC, No. 15 C 7484, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Mar. 9, 2017) (Der-Yeghiayan, J.).
Judge Der-Yeghiayan granted defendant CareerBuilder’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 motion for summary judgment as to plaintiff LimeCoral’s copyright, breach of contract and unjust enrichment claims. The Court also denied LimeCoral’s Rule 56 motion for partial summary judgment.
The Court held that the parties’ actions after the end of their contract created an implied nonexclusive license benefiting CareerBuilder. It was undisputed that: 1) the parties entered into a written agreement for the creation of copyrighted works; 2) LimeCoral delivered the works; and 3) LimeCoral understood that CareerBuilder would use the copyrighted works in its business. In fact, the agreement, even allowed CareerBuilder to create derivative works based upon LimeCoral’s copyrighted works. The fact that LimeCoral refused to transfer the copyright ownership to CareerBuilder was irrelevant. The Seventh Circuit has held that the implied nonexclusive license does not transfer ownership, instead just allowing for use of the works. Based upon the implied license, CareerBuilder could not be held to infringe the licensed works.
LimeCoral’s alleged oral agreements were based upon “vague assertions” and did not match up with the undisputed facts regarding LimeCoral’s pattern of conduct. For example, while the oral agreements required renewal fee payments, based upon the evidence no such payments were either made or requested.
Finally, CareerBuilder was not unjustly enriched. The undisputed evidence showed that CareerBuilder paid for what it used and complied with its understanding of its relationship with LimeCoral. Additionally, the equities did not support benefiting a party that took “steps to foster the creation of its own legal injuries in order to obtain a financial reward in litigation.