Ankenman Associates Architects Inc. v. 0981478 B.C. Ltd., 2017 BCSC 333
Read full decision. Summary prepared by Alan Macek:
AAAI, a small architectural firm, has filed a petition for damages for breach of copyright based on the unauthorized use of architectural plans and drawings in respect of an apartment development AAAI prepared the copyrighted architectural plans for the project, named “Murray’s Walk”, for MWDL, the original developer. MWDL later went bankrupt and failed to pay all of AAAI’s fees. MWDL’s property, including the lands and the plans for the project, was sold to the respondent, the Newmark Group, a second developer, in the course of foreclosure proceedings. The Newmark Group hired the respondent Mr. Podhora, an architect licensed to practice in British Columbia, who used the plans in the construction of Murray’s Walk. AAAI submits that the Newmark Group used its copyright plans without its permission and thereby committed copyright infringement. The respondents, however, maintain that the Newmark Group acquired MWDL’s right to use the plans by virtue of having purchased all of MWDL’s property in the foreclosure proceedings. They also argue that AAAI is estopped from seeking damages in this petition by having been a respondent in the foreclosure proceedings and failing to object at that time. The Court found that since MWDL had not paid AAAI in full prior to the foreclosure, its license to use the plans had ended and therefore the Newmark Group did not have rights to use the plans. The Court awarded $52,527.07 in damages.