vs. NFPA Lawsuit Continues; Motion for Summary Judgment Denied
The copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the International Code
Council (ICC) in 2002 against the National Fire Protection Association
(NFPA) will continue, at least for now.
In August 2002, the ICC filed suit against the NFPA, alleging that
the model code NFPA 5000 contained 300 sections and 20 tables copied
from the ICC building model code IBC 2000.
In February, the NFPA filed a motion for summary judgment, which
is used to try to show that the arguments in the case are not valid,
and had it been granted, it would have effectively ended the case.
However, the Honorable Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, who is overseeing the
case, denied the motion.
The NFPA made three main arguments in its motion: 1. that the sections
and tables they are accused of copying are ideas, not expressions,
and cannot be copyrighted; 2. that the ICC didn't own the language
they claim is copied but that rather the people who wrote the document
did; and 3. that the NFPA did not copy the language the ICC is alleging
Judge Pallmeyer found that the NFPA failed to prove its cases in
both the question of ownership and argument that the sections in
question were ideas that could not be copyrighted. Additionally,
it was decided that the question of whether or not the NFPA copied
the material was also disputable.
The case was set for a status hearing in April, at which time a
jury trial was scheduled for October 20, 2006. Deadlines for pretrial
orders were set, though if the ICC and NFPA agree to it, they still
have the option of settling the matter before that time.