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CloudFlare loses dismissal motion, ABPIA infringement suit to move ahead

The motion to dismiss the copyright infringement lawsuit against CloudFlare, Inc, filed by the American Bridal and Prom Industry Association on behalf of Mon Cheri Bridals, LLC, and Maggie Sottero Designs, LLC, was denied today by presiding judge Judge Vince Chhabria, who indicated that the plaintiffs have “plausibly stated a claim for contributory copyright infringement against CloudFlare.”

The decision essentially means that the legal action on behalf of the plaintiffs and bridal and formal industries will go forward.

CloudFlare, Inc., a Delaware corporation based in San Francisco, California, offers “one of the world’s largest cloud network platforms,” representing over 10 million domains, serviced by over 155 data centers world wide, as stated on its website.

The legal action, originally filed in November of last year in the US District Court, Northern District of California, asserts that CloudFlare enables counterfeit websites to deceive consumers and violate the image copyrights of Mon Cheri Bridals, Maggie Sottero Designs, and other members of the formalwear industry.

According to that original filing, CloudFlare’s liability arises from its failure to terminate its content delivery services to customers it has reason to know are using those services to infringe on trademarks and copyrights, despite hundreds and repeated “takedown notices” filed with CloudFlare by the plaintiffs that are consistent with the requirements of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).

In Judge Chhabria’s denial to dismiss the case, several previous decisions were cited, including Perfect 10, Inc. v. Giganews, Inc., it which it ruled that a computer system operator is liable “if it has actual knowledge that specific infringing material is available using its system, and can take simple measures to prevent further damage to copyrighted works, yet continues to provide access to infringing works.”

Further, the order states that the notices allegedly sent by the plaintiffs gave very specific information to “plausibly allege that CloudFlare had actual knowledge of the infringing activity.”

Though Steve Lang, Mon Cheri Bridals and Tom Manning, Maggie Sottero Designs, were visibly pleased with the judge’s decision, they indicated that though this is an important skirmish won, it is far from over, and with lead attorney Craig Hilliard, Stark and Stark, are aggressively moving forward with the lawsuit.

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